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Easy Access to Pornography to be Blamed for Sex Addiction in Teens?

Update Date: Dec 13, 2012 07:50 AM EST

Soon after reports that sex addiction has not been included as a mental disorder in DSM-5, here comes a report on similar grounds from a leading expert which suggests that many teenagers are suffering from sex addiction, and easy access to online pornography and poor sex education are to be blamed for the same.

According to sex addiction therapist Paula Hall, almost half of the people who admitted being addicted to sex report first experiencing problems before the age of 16, Mail Online reports.

These claims are based on a survey which found that 40 percent of teenagers had watched pornography before turning 12 and 90 percent believe that this is to be blamed for their addiction. Half of the survey participants also reported being abused in childhood.

According to the research, parental separation, single sex schooling and limited sex education may be some of the other factors responsible for the same.
The survey was conducted for Hall’s new book, "Understanding and Treating Sex Addiction". The survey looked at the age at which people started experiencing sex addiction, the reasons for the same, if they sought help and the consequences of the addiction.

According to Hall’s definition of sex addiction, it is “a pattern of out-of-control sexual behavior that causes problems in someone’s life."

For the inclusion in DSM-5, the proposed definition of sex addiction categorized a person showing symptoms like relentless sexual urges that feel out of their control, excessive sexual activities, frequent usage of sex to cope with stress, and interference of sexual activities in day-to-day life functioning as suffering from the disorder. However, a person who has sex frequently does not qualify for the disorder, Mail Online reported earlier.

Also, through the survey, the difference in the male and female attitudes about sex addiction was highlighted.

Apparently, more men (57.3) than women (38.3) seek help for sex addiction.

Eighty percent of women reported “affirmation and feeling wanted” as their “reward” for their sexual behavior while for men; it was “excitement.”

The damaging consequences of sex addiction were reportedly low self esteem and mental health problems. Nearly half of those surveyed reported losing a partner due to their behavior and a quarter said it had effected their sexual functioning, Mail Online reported.

Also, 63 percent participants said their addiction made them waste time, and 42 percent admitted to wasting money.

Watching pornography was one of the most common results of the addiction, while “easy access” to it and “lack of education” were found to be significant factors contributing to the addiction than “negative” childhood experiences.

“The reality of the Western world today is that ‘opportunity’ is everywhere and people, with or without a background of trauma and/or attachment difficulties, can now indulge their sexual desires and run the risk of becoming addicted,” said Hall.

The results of the survey have been published in her new book, "Understanding and Treating Sex Addiction".

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