Sex Addicts Don't Watch More Porn, Says New Study, They Just Feel More Shame About It

Hypersexual disorder, aka "sex addiction," struggles to be empirically proven. It isn't formally recognized by the DSM-5, and study after study confirms why it shouldn't be. Most recently, in a new study out of Croatia and published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, researchers found that high sexual desire is not a facet of so-called "sex addiction."

The survey looked at 1,998 men who were placed in three groups: those who supposedly suffered from hypersexual disorder (determined using the Hypersexual Disorder Screening Inventory and the Hypersexual Behavior Consequences Scale), those who experienced high sex drive (determined by those who gave the two highest indications of sexual desire/interest), and the rest, who formed the control group. The survey notes that crossover between men who fell into the hypersexual disorder group and men who fell into the high sex drive group was negligible.

Researchers found:

"Men in the [hypersexual disorder] group had significantly higher odds of being single, not exclusively heterosexual, religious, depressed, prone to sexual boredom, experiencing substance abuse consequences, holding negative attitudes toward pornography use, and evaluating one's sexual morality more negatively. In contrast, the [high sex drive] group differed from controls only in reporting more positive attitudes toward pornography use."

In other words, "sex addicts" weren't found to experience more engagement with pornography than their counterparts — they simply experienced higher levels of shame about it. While it may seem obvious to a sex-positive person, the clinical implication here is that a person's sex-negativity might influence a belief that their sexual behaviors are pathological.

As clinical psychologist and author of The Myth of Sex Addiction Dr. David Ley tweeted in response to the study, "Sex is a behavior with no intrinsic meaning. Attempting to define its value by reference to its meaning is inherently flawed and invalid."

And isn't scientific data that backs up why it's unhelpful to yuck people's yum the best kind of science?

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