Is sex addiction a true addiction, or is it just a behavioral issue? In the world of psychiatry, that is a hot topic for debate.

In fact, there are ongoing high-level discussions on the subject of adding it to the official Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders.

The process of officially recognizing compulsive sexual behavior has been somewhat hindered by the relative lack of empirical data on which to base the decision.

Obviously, academic studies on sexual activity are difficult to conduct given its social stigmatization and the reluctance of people to share such private information.

But a significant, and growing, number of professionals are convinced that sex addiction is a true addiction, and the research reports that have been published present some surprising statistics.

1. 18 million – 24 million Americans are estimated to be sex addicts

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, there are approximately 18 to 24 million Americans dealing with an addiction to sex.

Although that is an estimate and professionals disagree on an exact number, they do agree that under-reporting is an issue and that the actual portion of the general population with an addiction to sex is likely higher than that.

Compulsive sexual activity is something that psychologists and other mental health professionals are still discussing.

While many recognize that sexual addiction is a problem, some professionals are hesitant to call it an addiction, which makes it more difficult to diagnose in the people that may be trying to overcome the problem.

2. An estimated 8 percent of men and 3 percent of women are sex addicts

It is common knowledge that men and women deal with sex and how sex affects them differently.

And, in sexual addiction, it’s not surprising that the statistics reflect that difference.

It is important to note, however, that 3 percent is still a fairly significant number of women that are dealing with this addiction.

More often than not, sex addiction in women is going to show up differently than it would in men.

For most women addicts, sex is focused on power and control, but men focus more on the sex itself and how it feels.

3. 2% of sex addicts say they have not had a one night stand

This is probably a really surprising statistic to see when it comes to this sort of addiction, but one night stands are incredibly common for people who are driven by a compulsive need for sexual gratification in any form or fashion.

As discussed in the previous statistic, for women it’s about having power over the person that they are having sexual relations with.

For men, they are so focused on getting the sexual release that they seek that they don’t even care who it is that they are getting that release with – they just want to make sure that it happens.

The double life that often comes from constant one night stands can ruin people’s lives and make it difficult for them to even reveal that they are dealing with compulsive sexual behavior.

4. Alzheimer’s Disease patients: 4.3-9% percent also suffer from sex addiction

Sexual promiscuity and sex addiction are very common in people who are afflicted with neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s.

Why? Mainly because these sorts of disorders assault the frontal lobe and the temporal lobe of the brain.

Not only does that affect their libido (which can, subsequently, result in hypersexuality), but it can also affect their decision making capabilities.

People with Alzheimer’s and other similar disorders deal with a lot of impulsivity as well, which can result in an addiction to sex and other things that make them feel good in the midst of the confusion that they may feel as a result of their affliction.

5. Four out of ten women who find out their partner has a sex addiction withdraw emotionally

This statistic is a very sad one based on what goes on as a result of sexual addiction.

The fact is, sex addiction always affects the partner of the person who is dealing with the addiction.

Women will withdraw emotionally, not only because they don’t want to be objectified, but also because they are trying to prevent themselves from getting emotionally harmed by their partner’s behavior.

As mentioned above, one night stands are common for addicts and, as a result, those involved don’t want to let themselves be hurt again and again.

6. The UK has 52 million adults making 2,000 calls per month seeking help for sex addiction

Sex addiction is a big problem in the United Kingdom as well, and it’s clear from this statistic that there are many people out there trying to find out just what needs to happen so that they can break free from their behaviors.

Recent reports show that the vast majority of mental health centers associated with the UK’s health care system do not provide treatment for sexually addictive behavior issues.

But there are a number of resources available for people who are seeking help, including not for profit associations and private treatment centers.

7. 55% of sexual offenders are sex addicts

As with any addiction, you will find that the addicts are constantly looking for the next big high or big risk that will help them to get their fix.

While a majority of sexual addicts don’t end up becoming sexual offenders, there is definitely a percentage of them that do.

Many of them will escalate what they’re doing to more risky behaviors – like rape, voyeurism, and exhibitionism – in order to try and see what sort of high that they can get from the behavior itself.

So, while not all sexual offenders deal with sex addiction, there is a vast majority that do.

This should guide the way that we treat sex offenders so that they can get the help they need and prevent future issues from happening with them as well.

8. Roughly 80 percent of sex addicts also have another type of addiction

Concurrent addictions are common because when people are looking to get the sensations that they want from their addiction, they may try out a number of other things to see if they can make it easier to get that feeling again.

By definition, addicts can never get enough and often turn to substances such as drugs or alcohol that heighten the pleasure.

The relentless need for more frequently results in a substance dependence which compounds the problem and makes it that much more difficult to work things out.

9. 42% of sex addicts have problems with alcohol or drugs and 38% with eating disorders

Alcoholism and drug addiction are two of the most common addictions for people that are working through sexual addiction.

In some cases, it’s to get a high.

In other cases, it’s because they feel shame about what it is that they are dealing with and use it so that they can be numb to those feelings.

On the other hand, eating disorders are also a common issue for those who are dealing with sexual addiction, especially when it comes to women.

Women with an addiction to sex are, more often than not, looking to control or have power over those that they are having sex with.

Eating disorders are also a form of control, but over your own body, so it’s not surprising that these two are linked.

10. Roughly 94 percent of sex addicts have admitted to filming themselves during sexual activity

This may sound like a strange thing, but the fact of the matter is, the people who are going through with the sexual activity want to be sure that they are able to get their fix whenever they want it.

And, as a result, they have wanted to record themselves in the midst of the activity.

Whether it’s for them to use later or they want to show it off to other people that may be impressed by what they are doing sexually, it’s something that gives them affirmation and reminds them of how good it feels to be in the midst of having sex.

11. The average number of partners for a male sex addict is 32

When men are dealing with sexual addiction, they are often doing it to make sure that they can get the sexual relief that they feel like they may need and, as a result, they are going to go on a number of one night stands in order to try and get things the way that they want them to be.

As a result, a male who is dealing with sex addiction is going to end up sleeping with a number of people in order to get their fix.

32 is an average – so there are definitely addicts that have fewer partners, and there are a number of studies that have also shown that male sex addicts have had many more partners as well.

12. Three out of 4 sex addicts have posted naked photos of themselves online

When you’re looking at sexual addiction, you are often looking at someone who is trying to ensure that they can get their sexual fix in new ways so that they always feel that sensation of euphoria.

An addict is always looking for people who are going to be willing to indulge their fantasies or give them whatever it is that they are craving.

In order to do that, these individuals will use online dating sites and other websites in order to post naked pictures so that they can draw potential partners in for a sexual encounter.

They may also just post them to someone in order to get the “high” that comes from this sort of exhibitionism.

13. An estimated 17 percent of college students have a sexual addiction

College is the first time that many college students feel like they are actually able to do whatever they want, whenever they want to do so.

They are not being supervised by their parents constantly and they have a new sense of freedom that they have never been able to have in the past.

And, as a result, they are a lot more likely to do things that they may not have done when they were younger, including experimental sex.

A number of these college students start to fall into a rabbit hole where they are dealing with sexual addiction because they just aren’t sure how to deal with everything that comes with sex.

14. Sex addicts are at a higher risk for attempting suicide than others (19% vs. 4.6%)

The double life that many people live as a result of their sexual addiction is problematic and difficult to handle.

When not in the actual act of satisfying their cravings, the shame and embarrassment of their behavior can be overwhelming.

If you’ve ever read the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you know that Mr. Hyde committed suicide because he was afraid that he would be killed if he got caught.

That’s where a lot of people with a sexual addiction end up – they feel like they need to kill themselves before someone else catches them and kills them for their shameful activity.

Suicide is a big problem with many addicts, but sexual addiction seems to be a very prominent area in which this occurs.

15. Over 70% of sex addicts in treatment experience physical withdrawal symptoms

In between sexual episodes, a number of addicts end up suffering with withdrawal symptoms that you might assume would only happen in relation to chemical dependencies like drugs and alcohol.

They often feel nervous, they experience sleeping issues, they have an increased heart rate and they struggle with fatigue as well.

When they go into treatment, they have to abstain from sexual behaviors and, when they aren’t giving in with their impulses, they end up having anxiety and other issues.

That’s why inpatient treatment is often much more successful than outpatient treatment for addiction.

It allows them to be in a safe, accountable environment with professionals that can help them to work through the withdrawal period in an effective fashion.