Examples of paraphilias include fetishism (arousal by objects or specific body parts), voyeurism (arousal by watching sexual behaviors), exhibitionism (arousal by having others view his or her sexual behaviors) and pedophilia (arousal by sexual contact with children).
When paraphilias include the sufferer having obsessions about the object of their desire, they may be considered sexually addicted.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) only refers to nonparaphilic sexual addictions in the category of sexual disorder, not otherwise specified.
Sexually addictive behaviors have been described in modern times for more than a hundred years.
Other studies indicate that middle-aged women using home computers were more at risk for Internet sexual addiction.
Psychological risk factors for sexual addiction are thought to include depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
Sufferers of these disorders tend to be socially isolated and have personality traits like insecurity, impulsivity, compulsive behaviors, trouble with relationship stability and intimacy, low ability to tolerate frustration, and a tendency to have trouble coping with emotions.
People who are sexually abused are at somewhat higher risk of developing a sexual addiction.
Research differs somewhat in terms of gender-based patterns of sexual addiction.
For example, some studies describe males who are introverted and highly educated as more inclined to develop an Internet addiction, including sexual Internet addiction.
The examiner also explores whether the person with a sex addiction suffers from other mental illnesses like schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and other psychotic disorders or a substance abuse, personality, or behavior disorder like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Any disorder that is associated with hypersexual behavior, like some developmental disorders, borderline personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, or multiple personality disorder (MPD), may be particularly challenging to distinguish from a sex addiction.
In the general adult population, about 12 million people are thought to have a sex addiction.