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Myers, W.A. (1994). Addictive Sexual Behavior. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:1159-1182.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:1159-1182

Addictive Sexual Behavior

Wayne A. Myers, M.D.


Case material is presented from two patients suffering from addictive sexual behavior. The term addiction is used because of the intense, driven quality of the behavior and because of its mood-elevating effects.

Psychodynamically, the patients' sexual acts helped to undo feelings of rejection at the hands of their mothers and to enhance feelings of lovability and of self-esteem. The behavior also helped to neutralize powerful feelings of rage toward the mother. In one patient, the acts also helped to ease inner turmoil related to an underlying attention deficit disorder. I speculate that some adults with addictive sexual behavior may have underlying attention deficit disorders. In both my patients, the sexual behaviors served the self-regulatory function of alleviating inner feelings of anhedonia and depression. When they decreased their sexual activities during the course of the treatment, they required adjunctive antidepressant medication. The underlying meaning of the medication and countertransference attitudes toward such patients are explored.

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