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Causes of Sexual Addiction


While the medical and psychological communities debate whether sexual addiction is a real thing, many others are looking beyond this and trying to figure out what causes it. And even here, there are several theories.

Dr. Michael Herkov, writing for believes a "biochemical abnormality or other brain changes" could be to blame.

Sex, food, drugs share common neurological pathways

Herkov says that studies have shown that sex, food and drugs share a common pathway to the brain. So just like with food and drugs, the brain tells the sex addict that having illicit sex is good.

Herkov writes:

This biochemical model helps explain why competent, intelligent, goal-directed people can be so easily sidetracked by drugs and sex. The idea that, on a daily basis, a successful mother or father, doctor or businessperson can drop everything to think about sex, scheme about sex, identify sexual opportunities and take advantage of them seems unbelievable. How can this be?

The addicted brain fools the body by producing intense biochemical rewards for this self-destructive behavior.

Then there is upbringing, which some link to sex addiction. Research shows that most sex addicts come from dysfunctional families. 80% of recovering sex addicts say at least one family member has some sort of addiction.

Most sex addicts report childhood abuse

Perhaps even more disturbing, virtually every sex addict reports some sort of childhood abuse. The Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer of the Spiritual Warfare Ministry writes that 97% of sex addicts were emotionally abused, 83% sexually abused and 71% physically abused.

Schmoyer also writes that inconsistent or poor parenting, "early sexualization," stress and a "sense of betrayal" can also lead to sex addiction.