A new study shows that 'sex addiction' might not be real.
As Anthony Weiner continues to lose credibility towards his New York City mayoral bid, another blow to his defense of womanizing and extramarital activity has come to light. A new study in the Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology found that sex addiction—an excuse everyone from Russell Brand to Tiger Woods has used as a reason for repeatedly cheating—might not actually be real.
According to the study—the first of its kind—sexual addiction "is thought to be associated with sexual urges that feel out of control, high-frequency sexual behavior, consequences due to those behaviors, and poor ability to reduce those behaviors." Many equate it to drug and alcohol addiction, so researchers set out to see if brain neurons reacted in the same way they would to these substances, when stimulated with sexual images. If sex is, in fact, addictive, scientists theorized, then the brain would mimic that of a drug or alcohol user. But what they found, after testing on a group of 52 people (39 men and 13 women), was that their brains did not respond in the same way.
“We expected the brain response to sexual stimuli to be consistent with other drugs of addiction, or even other behavioral addiction studies,” Dr. Nicole Prause, an assistant research scientist in the department of psychiatry at UCLA, and one of the investigators involved with the study, told Slate. “But we just don’t see that at all. We weren’t able to find evidence for any relationship between the measures of high-frequency sexual problems and the brain response to sexual images.”
It should be noted that it's just the beginning stages of researching such a complex issue, but we might not see many more studies like this anytime soon, as addiction is big business. This doesn't mean that sexual compulsions isn't a valid problem for many people, or that those who believe they suffer from an unhealthy sexual appetite shouldn't be helped psychologically. But it does mean that the Carlos Dangers of the world should start looking for better excuses for their incessant sexting.
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Sexting image via Shutterstock