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In the age of smartphones and frictionless-dating apps, sex addiction is like being hooked on a drug that's always available in unlimited supply.
It's like living with a meth dealer at your side, or a brick of cocaine in your pocket.
The movie industry, for its part, has released at least five films on sex addiction in the past five years, six if you count both parts of Lars von Trier’s But even now, sex addiction seems to exist in parallel realities: one in which millions of people are struggling with it, and another in which it is barely studied and not even clinically recognized.
Research has yet to confirm that extreme sexual behavior really is addictive in the same neuroscientific sense that, for instance, habitual heroin use appears to be.
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No drugs exist to treat sex addiction; no health care plan specifically covers it; there’s virtually no funding for studies.
Eli Coleman, a psychologist and director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota, estimates that approximately 19 million Americans—5 to 7 percent of the population—are hypersexual. "We’re all blind in this field," says UCLA neuroscientist Nicole Prause.The number of certified sex-addiction therapists has more than doubled since 2008, according to the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals.