About 10% of men and 7% of women find it difficult to control sexual thoughts and feelings, a new study reveals.
It has been shown that a healthy sex life has benefits for health and happiness, but when sex becomes a compulsion it can interfere with daily functioning and cause discomfort to those who must constantly fight impulses.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that the number of Americans struggling with difficult-to-control sexual desires may increase.
Furthermore, it is a problem that can affect different groups – especially sexual and racial minorities – disproportionately, suggesting that sexual coercion can form part of wider health inequalities.
About 10% of men and six percent of women in the United States struggle with difficult-to-control sexual impulses, raising concerns among psychiatrists
American attitudes towards sex have undergone a kind of transformation in recent decades.
In the 1970s, most men and women in the United States disapproved of sex before marriage.
Now, most of the Milanese are in favor of sex before marriage, casual sex is on the rise and much more open to the idea of couples and same-sex activities.
And while these perspectives have moved, access to sexually explicit content has proliferated online.
Coupled with an apparently inexorable flow of sexual misconduct movements that feed the #MeToo movement, some psychiatrists, parents and public health experts have worried that sexual behavior is losing control.
But it is a topic that divides, and despite these concerns, hypersexuality – also known as sex addiction – has been rejected by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) every time its addition is proposed.
Still, there has been concern for the psychiatrist of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Janna Dickenson, especially in light of the growing number of celebrities and high-profile people who have publicly admitted their compulsions.
"From Tiger Woods to Harvey Weinstein, newspaper articles have speculated that" sex addiction "is a growing and unrecognized epidemic," while the scientific community discusses whether such a problem exists, "he said.
"Although psychiatry has a long history of attempts to characterize hypersexuality, researchers and clinicians have disparate views about whether it represents a true psychiatric disorder or is merely indicative of a broader socio-cultural problem – labeled as out-of-control sexual behavior."
How to define and label this also the experts, but a new recognized classification of the compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) was used.
Dr. Dickenson added: "In particular, CSBD is characterized by a persistent pattern of inability to control intense and repetitive sexual impulses, which result in repetitive sexual behaviors that cause marked distress or social harm.
"Such discomfort and disability include neglecting social activities or personal health, repeatedly trying to control sexual behavior without success, and continuing to practice sexual behavior despite the negative consequences or even when the individual derives minimal pleasure from his sexual activities ".
However, previous studies have found that most were denied and relatively few individuals perceived their sexual behavior as problematic.
The previous estimates for the prevalence suggested by the United States ranged from one to six percent in adults, with the expectation that sexual compulsions were two to five times more common among men.
In the middle of the #MeToo movement, Hollywood's disgraced magnate Harvey Weinstein (left) and comedian Louis CK (right) have both claimed to struggle with sexual compulsions
Therefore the new study aimed to obtain an accurate estimate of the prevalence of CSBD by questioning 2,325 adults – 50.5% of whom were women – aged between 18 and 50 who took part in the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior in November 2016.
The anguish and discomfort associated with difficulty in controlling feelings, stimuli, and sexual behavior were measured using the inventory of compulsive sexual behavior.
The study found that 8.6% of the nationally representative sample – 7% of women and 10.3% of men – approved clinically relevant levels of distress and / or impairment associated with control difficulties feelings, sexual stimuli and behaviors.
Dr Dickenson said that the gender difference was much smaller than assumed.
"The explanations that justify the hypothesis that CSBD may be much more common among men than women have been vague, although some researchers have indicated differences in male sexuality with regard to intrinsic sexual motivation, the ease of 39; excitation and more permissive attitudes towards casual sex, "she said.
"These explanations draw on the socio-sexual culture that underlies the conceptualizations of masculine ideology, in that male sexuality as" irrepressible "and suggest that when men gain greater access to sexual outlets," they may be more inclined to develop sexual behaviors. compulsive ".
Traditionally, sex has been viewed as masculine behavior, while women were expected to be modest and less interested in sex, particularly in the United States, where social values were initially founded on Puritan Christianity.
"The feminine ideology that distinguishes women as" sexual guardians "who are required to keep sexual impulses under control and, therefore, would be less likely to develop compulsive sexual behavior," said Dr. Dickenson.
But finally it's starting to change.
"Given the recent cultural changes towards greater permissiveness of female sexual expression and the proliferation of accessibility to sexual images and occasional sex through the Internet, software applications and social media, a possible explanation of the minor differences in gender found in our study, the prevalence of difficulties in controlling sexual behavior among women may be increasing ".
The dott. Dickenson concluded: "The high prevalence of this sexual symptom has significant public health significance as a socio-cultural problem and indicates a significant clinical problem that deserves attention from health professionals.
"In addition, gender, sexual orientation, race / ethnicity and income differences suggest potential health disparities, underline the relevance of the socio-cultural context of CSBD and support a therapeutic approach that takes into account the health of minorities, 39. gender ideology and socio-cultural norms and surrounding sexual and gender values ".
He warned that health professionals should be on alert, as sexual compulsions become more common and perhaps more distressing to those who fight them.