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There are a plethora of 12-step meetings and treatment programs for sex addiction; however, this is not currently an official diagnosis in the field of psychology. The DSM-IV, the manual that defines the diagnostic criteria for psychiatrists to diagnose mental illness in their patients, is in the process of being rewritten and will likely include the diagnosis among its compulsive behavior disorders.

Presently, the DSM-IV does contain the diagnosis Sexual Disorders Not Otherwise Specified. This vague title is defined by the experience of stress caused by repeatedly engaging in sexual behavior with a string of partners who the addict views as “things to be used.” If this is a starting point for defining sex addiction, then the type of sexual behavior someone engages in may not play a key role in receiving this potential diagnosis.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who believe kinky, high-intensity sexual experimentation is risky because it may lead to sexual addiction. The theory is that the more intense the experience, the greater the high someone will receive, which will in turn cause them to want to do it again. Some conjecture that this is a slippery slope for some with a propensity for addictive behaviors.

Can Kinky Sex Lead to Sex Addiction?

A number of experts in the field of sex and sexual addiction have expressed an opinion on whether or not kinky sex can lead someone to sex addiction. Some of these opinions include the following:

  • Fringe sex may be a risk factor for addiction because of the high it produces.
  • No definitive link between kinky sex and addiction has been found.
  • Wilder sexual behavior may be part of increasing the “high” associated with intercourse.
  • People don’t get addicted to a type of sex but rather the feeling of being desired and needed whether the experience is kinky or not
  • All kinds of sex lives produce addicts, but those who are kinkier may be more willing to talk freely about their sexual practices, thus creating a perception that sex addiction is tied to fringe sexual behavior

You can see there is no consensus on the relationship between fringe sexual habits and addiction.

Is a Lack of Sexual Intimacy Symptomatic of a Larger Problem?

One thing most experts do agree on is that sexual addiction is linked with the inability to be intimate. A lack of intimacy can be associated with certain kinky sex practices, but this does not define fringe sexual behavior either. Monogamous couples often explore their sexuality by living out fantasies that may include kinky behaviors, however, they are perfectly capable of being intimate with each other.

For many sex addiction professionals, the definition of sexual addiction is simply a pattern of repetitive sexual behavior that causes problems in an individual’s daily life and functioning.

Do you think kinky sexual practices fits into the overall picture of sex addiction? How do you think use of drugs or alcohol encourages or limits the development of sex addiction? Share your opinion below.

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