Stanton Peele on Brain Scans and Sex Addiction


Reigh LeBlanc / Foter / CC BY-NC

Last July, researchers at UCLA reported that the brains of people diagnosed as "hypersexual" do not display distinctive responses to sexual images. The study's authors interpreted their findings as evidence that hypersexuality, defined as a harmful and distressing preoccupation with sex, is not a true addiction or mental disorder. Stanton Peele says the debate about the nature of hypersexuality exemplifies a broader cultural confusion about addiction, a concept that has been medicalized to the point that people think it means both less and more than it really does.