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Experts Discuss Differences Between Womanizing and Sexual Addiction

As stories of the recent attempted rape by Dominque Strauss-Kahn toward a hotel maid continue to circulate, new questions are popping up about the difference between sex addiction and someone who is called a “womanizer.”

The questions, say psychiatrists, call into focus where the line falls between what is typical sexual behavior and what constitutes pathological behavior, according to an article on Physorg.com. Director of the Montevideo Clinic of France, William Lowenstein, says it’s critical to understand how someone who seduces a person, someone who is sexually obsessed with a behavior or someone who is addicted to a sexual behavior are different.

Typically, says Lowenstein, sexual seduction is about generating desires from another individual and is not forceful. When someone becomes sexually obsessed with someone else, they may be channeling stress or tension, such as related to an event, toward sex. With cases of sexual addiction, says Lowenstein, a person has lost their ability to control the action and brain changes may be taking place.

People with sex addictions realize the consequences of their behavior, but are still unable to stop. The behavior can increase in intensity over time, such as increases in sexual partners or escalated use of pornographic materials. Sometimes, say some psychiatrists, this can also include impulsive, aggressive behavior like attempted rape. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders may include hypersexual disorder in forthcoming publications.

Experts have not stated publicly that Strauss-Kahn’s actions fall into the category of sexual addiction, but the story is generating attention toward a French National Institute of Health and Medical Research statistic stating that up to six percent of adults in France, mostly men, have sexual addictions. Increasing numbers of treatment centers for sexual addictions continue to open worldwide as celebrity cases draw attention to the problem.

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