The Genetics of a Sex Addict

A new study recently published by researchers in Israel claims that the genetics of a sex addict may differ from those of others. This raises the interesting question of whether sex addiction can be considered a disease and what the best methods are for treating this disorder.

Sex addiction has received a huge amount of attention in the last few years, with famous actors, athletes and politicians among those unveiled as sex addicts.  But what are the psychological reasons behind sex addiction? A team of researchers at Israel's Hebrew University are suggesting that there may not be a psychological reason at all, and that sex addicts are genetically geared towards their disorder.

The new research centres on a gene called D4, which is involved in the brain's reaction to the pleasure chemical, dopamine. Tests on animals have shown that this gene can influence sexual drive and arousal. Those with a higher functioning D4 gene may have a more powerful sex drive than those with less activity. People with one particular variation of the D4 gene have a much larger chance of developing an over active sexual appetite.

These startling findings question whether sexual addiction should be recognised as a disease and if any treatment or recovery is available. Scientists at Hebrew University believe that too many people go to sex therapists for problems that may just be part of their genetic make-up. They suggest that unless the behaviours are causing a problem in the person's life, it's best to just live with it. Moreover, those with less interest in sex and sexual contact can find comfort in knowing that their low libido is determined before birth.

Signs of unmanageable sexual addiction may include frequently engaging in sex with more than one partner, persistently craving sexual contact, neglecting obligations in pursuit of sex, an escalation of activities related to sex and irritability when unable to engage in sexual activity. Those who experience three or more of these symptoms should seek help from a counsellor or a peer support group in their area. Reasons behind the behaviour can stem from a variety of sources such as traumatic experiences, home situations, unsuccessful romantic relationships or family pressures.

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