There is no single cause of sexual addiction. Multiple research studies indicate that up to 60% to 80% of people with sexual addiction were victims of child abuse. There is also frequent comorbidity with depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Many researchers believe that sexual addiction follows the same neural pathways as drug and alcohol abuse.
Compulsive Sexual Behavior typically begins in late adolescence or early adulthood and impacts men more so than women. There may actually be brain impairments in individuals who have a sexual addiction which makes it so that they cannot judge the danger and negative impact of their sexual behavior. Alternatively, individuals with sexual addiction may have such impaired impulse control they immediately gratify sexual cravings without regard to the consequences. Regardless of the reasons, sexual addicts may seek out stimulation by viewing pornography, engaging in cybersex, or having sex with others, often paid, sex-trade workers. This puts them at risk for a number of life-threatening illnesses (e.g., AIDS), legal problems, (e.g., purchasing child pornography), and financial ruin.