Is masturbation like illegal drugs

Addiction and addiction disordersAn addiction disorder can affect anyone

First of all, the term “sex addiction” is often a source of exhilaration. He is always noticed in connection with celebrities. For example, a world-class golfer is said to be "addicted to sex" - as a man who "just can't let anything burn". But hypersexuality can be a disease, a type of addiction that, according to expert estimates, affects around every 15th person to a greater or lesser extent, whereby - here too, the experts agree - mainly men. But the line between sex addiction and a sexually active life is difficult to draw. But if a person no longer has his libido under control and acts like a driven person or if he continues after every supposedly fulfilling act of love again and again (and this over a longer period of months or years), "pathological" behavior can possibly be assumed.

The underlying mechanisms in sex addiction, as with other addictions, are a self-reinforcing feeling of exaltation or euphoria (positive reinforcement), which conceals inner emptiness, self-doubt or even boredom (negative reinforcement), although this positive feeling does not last long. And - as with other addictions - the sex addict demands ever higher doses in the course of his illness, because his intense feeling of pleasure is less and less pronounced over time. Therefore, those affected inevitably increase their sexual activity, intensifying their sexual acts. However, this does not mean that sex addicts automatically develop a special predilection for fetishes or unusual sexual practices. In fact, most of them even long for a steady, loving and romantic - a "normal" - relationship, but unfortunately their sexual desire gets in the way, which makes them quickly bored of sex with the same partner, so that they mostly use the numerous possibilities of the internet to find new sexual contacts.


As a variant of medically verifiable sex addiction, this Internet sex addiction is becoming increasingly important as an "insurmountable" desire to visit websites with sex content. The consequences are often withdrawal from real life (including partner-related sex life) and avoidance of social contacts and other pursuits in order to be “online”. Many hours, v. a. at night, are spent visiting online sex sites and often lead to daytime sleepiness and reduced ability to work.


The following criteria are used to diagnose sex addiction:


  • frequent, irresistible desire and intense preoccupation with the subject of sex, pornography, masturbation, etc.
  • Loss of control and development of tolerance towards satisfaction
  • Narrowing of the behavior repertoire in favor of addictive behavior and negative consequences due to "consumption"
  • Withdrawal symptoms when doing without or suppressing them
  • Inability to change behavior despite insight and defense mechanisms (justification, lies)
  • Emotion regulation through the use of sex and personality changes (aggressiveness, irritability in situations outside of addictive behavior)


Sex addiction as a dependency disease sooner or later leads to negative social consequences (relationships, family, ability to work) and pronounced subjective suffering, both for those affected (shame, depression) and for those involved (social environment), and therefore requires professional treatment.