"People who are vulnerable can get hooked before they know it." To those who say a behavioral compulsion is not a true addiction, Dr.Schneider responded with a definition of addiction that would clearly apply to cybersex abusers: "Loss of control, continuation of the behavior despite significant adverse consequences and preoccupation or obsession with obtaining the drug or pursuing the behavior." Although behavioral addictions involve no external drugs, preliminary research has suggested that they cause changes in brain chemicals, like the release of endorphins, that help to perpetuate the behavior. He doesn’t care how many partners you’ve had; it’s all in the past. To find out the answer, fall back to the fundamentals: identifying the addict is the first step. One-night stands, extra-marital affairs, GPS hook-ups, obsessive online dating.And when it comes to sex addiction, that first step is a doozy. The list is long and gets darker the further down you go: compulsive masturbation, exhibitionism, voyeurism, prostitutes.“If you’re married, your acceptable sexual behavior may be defined differently than if you’re single,” says Mike Weiss, a certified addiction therapist and founder of The Sexual Recovery Institute.In a world where sex is everywhere – online, on billboards, on television, in schools, books, magazines and other forms of media – there is an increased likelihood for an individual to have a strong sexual desire that is difficult to control.
However, this does mean every addict eventually transforms into a sex offender.In June of last year, on a whim and mostly out of boredom, Abuhamdeh mounted his phone next to the register and began to broadcast his day on You Now, a live streaming service. People would walk up and pay, he would ring them up, and then as they left, nail them with a zinger spoken to the camera. But I was nervous, I felt like there were people watching. It was weird.” After a few weeks of broadcasting he began to find his rhythm.“People don’t escalate outside their arousal templates,” says Weiss.It’s about spending more and more time to get your fix and disregarding the negative consequences.