Listen up Charlie Sheen, Anthony Weiner and the entire porn industry.
The good folks at UCLA have come up with a set of scientific criteria for what ails you, a.k.a., sex addiction. And the new guidelines make this one step closer to becoming recognized as a legitimate mental disorder along the lines of drug addiction.
Seriously, though, it could be a good thing. It could help you get the help you need:
UCLA says the new criteria, published in the latest Journal of Sexual Medicine, will allow the editors of upcoming, fifth edition of psychiatry's bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, seriously consider induction of sex addiction as a tried-and-true psych-problem.
(Can you imagine taking legit time off work for sex rehab? Charlie Sheen can ... ).
The guidelines come via Rory Reid, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.
According to the school, here are some of the official things to look out for:
... A recurring pattern of sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors lasting a period of six months or longer that are not caused by other issues, such as substance abuse, another medical condition or manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder.
... A pattern of sexual activity in response to unpleasant mood states, such as feeling depressed, or a pattern of repeatedly using sex as a way of coping with stress.
... Unsuccessful ... attempts to reduce or stop sexual activities they believe are problematic.
The researchers came up with the guidelines after looking at 207 patients and finding that the criteria did a "good job" of distinguishing a vast majority of those with sex addiction (versus those with other mental issues).
Folks ID'd with the disorder were way more likely to have lost a job, broken up or divorced with a partner or contracted an STD, says UCLA. Most of these issues start in the late-teens to mid-20s, according to the research.
The crack cocaine of hypersexual disorder? You guessed it: Masturbation and pornography. And get this, Charlie: The identified sex addicts had an average of 15 partners ... a year. (We know, that's a slow weekend for you, but still ... ).
It's not that a lot of people don't take sexual risks from time to time or use sex on occasion to cope with stress or just escape, but for these patients, it's a constant pattern that escalates until their desire for sex is controlling every aspect of their lives and they feel powerless in their efforts to change.