-A recurring pattern of sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors lasting six months or longer, which are not caused by other issues like substance abuse, another medical condition or manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder;
-A pattern of sexual activity in response to unpleasant mood states, such as feeling depressed, or a pattern of repeatedly using sex as a way of coping with stress;
-A lack of ability to reduce or stop sexual activities the patient believes are problematic;
-Evidence of “personal distress” caused by the behavior, like interference with work or relationships.
Such a definition is important, as it is often difficult to diagnose a mental disorder based on behavior alone. For instance, the study found that sex addicts have an average of 15 partners a year, which may be a normal amount for some sexually active people. Also, of the sex addicts studied, 17% had lost a job, 39% had a relationship end, and 28% had contracted a STD because of their addiction. However these same consequences can and do occur to people whose behavior falls within the normal range of human sexuality.
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