Sex addiction can be a very serious condition, however, despite the support for sufferers increasing, it is often not fully understood by the general public.
Now though, a team of experts from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has now tested a proposed set of criteria, which would redefine hypersexual disorder as a mental health condition.
Commenting on this development, senior sex therapist and counsellor, Dr Rajan Bhonsle, claims that addictions are compulsive preoccupation with any activity.
He told the Times of India: “When an obsession starts affecting a major aspect of a person’s life and relationships, it is classified as an addiction.
“Sexual addiction, therefore, implies an inability to control one’s sexual behaviour despite its negative consequences.”
This can cause dysfunction in other areas of a person’s life, such as study, work, relationships, family life and personal hygiene.
However, Dr Bhonsle was keen to point out that it may take a professional to ascertain whether a person is addicted to sex.
“Some people have a higher libido. As long as it doesn’t make them dysfunctional in any aspect of their life, it is not an addiction,” he said.
However, “if they have conflicts over it, or worse, are doing things on the sly, then it is a case of sex addiction,” Dr Bhonsle went on to say.
Sex addiction can be difficult to diagnose, with many people fearing repercussions from revealing the truth about their compulsive behaviour.
This can lead to secretive actions, which in turn can make a problem easier to spot.
However, with continued support from professionals, the root cause of the obsession can be found and it can be treated effectively.
Being reclassified as a mental health condition could be a comfort to many sufferers and encourage more people to come forward if they notice that they themselves, or those close to them, are exhibiting symptoms of sexual addiction.