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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » FINALLY.

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Author Topic: FINALLY.
Executive Director & Founder
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If you've hung around a while, you know that we, like many who work in sexuality and sexual health, and many in the psychiatric field as well, have NOT been on board with the idea of "sex addiction."

This new study had findings that weren't surprising to us at all, but we're very glad to see the work done and documented:

The study, recently published in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, had researchers measuring the brain responses of "hypersexual" individuals who had problems regulating their reactions to sexual images. The results show that individual brain responses were not related to levels of hypersexuality but, rather, to sexual desire.

The American Psychiatric Association purposefully excluded "sexual addiction" from its most recent edition of the psychiatrists' guide to diagnosing mental disorders - the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) - effectively rendering it void as an official disorder.

Nicole Prouse, senior author of the study, says: "Potentially, this is an important finding. It is the first time scientists have studied the brain responses specifically of people who identify as having hypersexual problems."

There were a total of 52 people who took part in the study, 13 female and 39 male, each of whom reported having problems "regulating their viewing of visual sexual stimuli." Researchers showed the individuals 225 color pictures that fell under four categories:

Pleasant sexual - a man and a woman "interacting through sexual activities"
Pleasant non-sexual - activities such as skydiving
Neutral - simple portraits, for example
Unpleasant - mutilated bodies, for example.

While the individuals viewed the images, researchers collected brain wave data, specifically event-related responses, using electroencephalography (EEG).

The researchers were most interested in investigating what happened around 300 milliseconds after each picture materialized - known as the "P300" response. This measure is traditionally used in studies involving addiction and impulsive behavior. According to the study, the P300 response is higher when an individual sees something particularly interesting to them.

The researchers predicted that the individuals' P300 responses to the sexual images would spike, given that their self-reported reaction to sexual images was characterized as an addiction. But researchers found instead that P300 responses did not spike or decrease in relation to the severity of the individuals' hypersexuality.

Read the rest of this report on the study, here:

Long story short? Sexual desire isn't a disorder nor a disease. People's levels of desire vary, and some people with high levels of desire clearly have trouble managing those feelings. But that does not an addiction make.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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