Sex Addiction in America: Is it Common?
Sex addiction is a type of behavioral or process addiction. As with other process addictions, experts disagree whether it is a true addiction or an impulse control disorder. Sexual addiction (also called hypersexual disorder or compulsive sexual behavior) is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, published in 2013. Despite this omission, diagnostic codes for this disorder were incorporated on October 1. 2015 into the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), the primary diagnostic codes used in the U.S. So how does sex addiction manifest? A person might be obsessed with pornography or strip clubs, sexting, compulsively engaging in sex acts with multiple partners, excessive masturbation or exhibitionism/voyeurism. In some cases, this problem can progress to rape or pedophilia. The pattern of sexual impulses and behavior causes marked distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.1
The prevalence of sex addiction and cardiovascular disease in America are nearly the same.
Conservative sex addiction statistics indicate compulsive sexual behavior affects an estimated 3-6% of U.S. adults, which equates to 7.4-14.7 million adults.2 On the low end, that’s the exact same number of Americans working for large employers who leave or lose their jobs every year. On the high end, this nearly rivals the number of adults with cardiovascular disease.3
More people are addicted to sex than those who abuse prescription drugs.
Some sites list higher rates of sexual addiction, with estimates ranging from 6-8%, or 14.7-19.6 million adults. On the high end, more people have sexual addictions in America than the number who abuse prescription drugs (19 million).4 The prescription drug epidemic is well publicized in America due to it tragic consequences, while sex addiction is typically kept a secret.
A different woman, every day for his entire adult life: that’s sex addiction!
Celebrity sex addiction has been widely publicized, especially since the inception of social media. Yet there’s probably no case more infamous than the 20,000 women the late basketball star Wilt Chamberlain purportedly bedded. This equates to slightly more than a different women, every single day, for his entire adult life.5
The time spent on PornHub in 2016 equaled 5,245 centuries!
Every year, PornHub (the largest porn website in the world) publishes insightful statistics. In 2016, they racked up 23 billion visits to their site and collectively, 4.6 billion hours. The bandwidth used was an astounding 3,110 petabytes, which is enough data to fill 194 million USB sticks. End to end, this would cover 11,000 kilometers or stretch all the way around the moon.6
Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection rivaled Gene Simmons’ sex addiction.
Rocker Gene Simmons, the most famous member of Kiss, reportedly had sex with 5,000 women.7 This is approximately twice the number of shoes discovered when protestors stormed Malacanang Palace, forcing former First Lady Imelda Marcos to flee the Philippines.8 The latter is classified as compulsive buying disorder and treated in a similar manner as sex addiction.
Nearly as many condoms are sold every minute as weekly SAA meetings.
In any given week, there are more than 1,000 Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings across the U.S. to help people cope with sexual compulsions.9 It’s statistically possible that more than the 856 condoms are sold every minute in the U.S., based on annual sales of 450,000,000.10
As many as one in five American men have solicited a prostitute.
Recent studies estimate the percentage of American men who have engaged in commercial sex (prostitution) at least once is 15-20%. Compared to their peers, these men thought about sex more often; and were less likely to be happily married, been sexually molested as children or reported forcing women into sexual acts.11 About 15% of women say a one-night-stand can be the best sex and 19% of both sexes say it can be the worst.12
Sex addiction, shame and drug abuse are bedfellows.
In the acclaimed 2011 film Shame, Michael Fassbender plays Brandon. He is addicted to a sexual function that no longer provides pleasure, but instead serves as a profound form of self-abuse. “He loves no one, is attracted to no one, is driven to find occasions for orgasm – whether alone or in company hardly seems to matter.”13 The guilt and shame experienced by sex addicts fuels a vicious cycle of out-of-control behavior and co-occurring substance use and behavioral disorders. More than 83% of self-identifying sex addicts are dependent on alcohol or drugs, are workaholics or compulsive gamblers.14
- Krueger RB. Diagnosis of hypersexual or compulsive sexual behavior can be made using ICD-10 and DSM-5 despite rejection of this diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association. Addiction. 2016 Dec;111(12):2110-2111. doi: 10.1111/add.13366.
- Schmidt C, Morris LS, Kvamme TL, Hall P, Birchard T, Voon V. Compulsive sexual behavior: Prefrontal and limbic volume and interactions. Human Brain Mapping. 2017;38(3):1182-1190. doi:10.1002/hbm.23447.
- Protect Patients First. AARP website. http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/politics/advocacy/2017/06/patients-first-national-fact-sheet-june-12-2017-aarp.pdf Published June 12, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- Federal Survey Finds 119 Million Americans Use Prescription Drugs. NPR website. http://www.npr.org/2016/09/08/493157917/federal-survey-finds-119-million-americans-use-prescription-drugs Published September 6, 2016. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- Sexual claim transformed perception of Wilt. ESPN website. http://static.espn.go.com/nba/news/1999/1012/110836.html Published October 13, 1999. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- Pornhub’s 2016 Year in Review. PornHub website. https://www.pornhub.com/insights/2016-year-in-review Published January 4, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- 10 Famous Men Who’ve Had Sex With Over 1,000 Partners. The Richest website. http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/most-shocking/10-famous-men-whove-had-sex-with-over-1000-partners/ Published September 15, 2015. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- Imelda Marcos shoe museum: The excess of a regime that still haunts the Philippines. ABC Australia website. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-02/imelda-marcos-shoe-museum:-the-excess-of-a-regime/7877098 Published October 1, 2016. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- Is sex addiction real? Depends on whom you ask. CNN website. http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/14/health/sex-addiction-real-or-not-kerner/index.html Published December 14, 2016. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- Condom Use Statistics. Statistics Brain website. http://www.statisticbrain.com/condom-use-statistics/ Published May 9, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- Percentage of Men (by Country) Who Paid for Sex at Least Once: The Johns Chart. ProCon website. http://prostitution.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004119 Updated January 6, 2011. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- Singles in America: Match Releases Largest Study on U.S. Single Population. Match website. https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8024551-match-7th-annual-singles-in-america-study/ February 6, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- Shame. Roger Ebert website. http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/shame-2011 Published November 30, 2011. Accessed August 9, 2017.
- Risky Business: Sex. Mental Health America website. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/risky-business-sex Accessed June 5, 2017.