Despite the fact that an estimated three million American women and approximately one million American men suffer from it, the malady is not listed in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) among other such addictions (e.g. drugs, alcohol, food) taken for granted in the modern world. Despite the fact that the problem has been investigated by Oprah and other daytime talk shows and prime-time news magazines, few have rallied around the cause as for AIDS or SIDS. And, in fact, the problem has spawned another type of antisocial behavior in the form of internet addiction. This bane of millions is known as sexual addiction.
So why the lack of concern on the part of the majority of the general population? Perhaps because no physical manifestations of the psychological struggle are visibly obvious, few notice. Indeed, the primary symptoms all have to do with preoccupation and behavior normally attended to in private, as in the case of the aforementioned disproportionate amount of time spent online checking adult websites. Since there are no physical manifestations, security concerns for a friend or relative rarely can emerge with admitting of the problem and intervention rarely takes place. Perhaps it's simply because it sounds too good to be true by many who do not realize that sexual addiction, like the act of rape, is only marginally connected to sex at all.
If you think you may be a sexual addict, don't bother looking for physical manifestations. Consider instead a preoccupation for sex: Are you distracted from work or personal relationships? Have you recently had a positive interpersonal experience? Of high importance, too, should be any physical manifestations you show of social diseases, as sex addicts often visit prostitutes, uncaring of the body at all, throwing the security concerns of the norm out the window.
There is help, however. Clinics exist in most major urban areas in the United States, and the spread of such assistance continues in Great Britain. Few sex addicts have the insight to admit their problem, however, and so it remains to his or her social circle. Look for an obsession with pornography, 900 numbers and adult websites. Look for irritability, easily distracted behavior and irritability at the suggestion a problem exists. The only physical manifestations are those accompanying the above, and thanks to Anglo cultures obsessed with sex while simultaneously attaching taboos to the frank discussion of the act or related habits, the subject is difficult to bring up.
While sexual addiction is not yet recognized by many, there is help. Support groups do exist and recovery is attainable. Not recommended in the beginning of treatment are online chat groups or 'sites, for they may be too close to those other 'pages. And most of all, the sex addict needs patience and understanding. Despite the dearth of acknowledgement and information, realize that sexual addiction is self-destructive, anti-social and, most importantly, real.