Sex-addicted men have long been accused of lacking self-discipline — but new research suggests there may be a scientific reason for their insatiable bedroom appetites.
A new study published Wednesday in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that men with “hypersexual disorder” have “significantly higher” levels of oxytocin in their system.
The research could significantly change the way that hypersexual men are viewed by society — transforming them from lusty Lotharios with poor impulse control to helpless victims of their own biology.
Oxytocin — informally known as the “love hormone” — is naturally produced by both men and women and helps fuel positive emotions, like other hormones such as dopamine and serotonin.
According to Healthline, previous research has shown “couples in the first stages of romantic attachment had significantly higher levels of oxytocin than their unattached counterparts.”
Oxytocin is also credited with increasing levels of relaxation and trust — but the new study asserts that too much of the hormone could be a bad thing for men.
The study examined 64 males with hypersexual disorder, as well as 38 men who reported ordinary levels of sexual interest and arousal.
Researchers found “significant positive correlations between oxytocin levels and the rating scales measuring hypersexual behavior.”
“Oxytocin plays an important role in sex addiction and may be a potential drug target for future pharmacological treatment,” co-author Dr. Andreas Chatzittofis told Newswise.
Interestingly, the levels of oxytocin in the sex-addicted men significantly reduced after they underwent cognitive behavioral therapy — appearing to confirm that sex addiction can successfully be treated without pharmaceuticals.
Sex addiction is not recognized as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, and many people have questioned whether it is a legitimate ailment or simply an excuse for bad behavior.
However, in 2018, compulsive sex behavior was included in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases list for the first time.
WHO’s list describes compulsive sexual behavior disorder as a “persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in a repetitive sexual behavior.”
Symptoms include sex becoming the “central focus” of the person’s life at the neglect of health, personal care or interests and responsibilities. The behavior should be clear for six months or more and cause distress in personal lives.
It’s previously been estimated that between 3 and 6 percent of American adults suffer from sex addiction.