The Urge Is Driving Me Crazy: A Study of Sexual Addiction Posts on Reddit

Reena Vaziri
Sexual addiction is a controversial and frequently misunderstood condition. An individual with sexual addiction exhibits compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) that interferes with their daily life and relationships. People with sexual addiction may engage in a range of CSBs, including excessive pornography consumption, excessive masturbation, frequent and/or unprotected sexual encounters with strangers, and adultery. These activities often cause feelings of shame and isolation, which can lead to cycles of compulsive behavior and negative emotions. Historically, sexual addiction has been studied through interviews with people struggling with CSB. We study it by analyzing the self-disclosures posted on Reddit with various natural language processing methods. The aim of this research is to study different facets of sexual addiction as presented by the posters themselves. This includes the overall characteristics of sexual addiction posts on Reddit; differences in perspective when it comes to sociocultural differences (gender and religious affiliation), and mental health issues that frequently accompany sexual addiction. The findings demonstrate that a variety of factors, such as childhood trauma, early introduction to sexual content (e.g., porn), and pre-existing mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, can contribute to the emergence of sexual addiction. As sexual addiction is not an official diagnosis, it is self-diagnosed based on problematic sexual behavior causing issues in one's life - and the definition of problematic can vary greatly based on one's sociocultural background. For example, for a devout Christian, masturbation can be a sign of sexual addiction while for someone else, it may just be a pastime. As for other mental health problems, sexual addiction is a comorbid condition often accompanied by depression and/or other different disorders. While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for sexual addiction, therapy (for example, cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, etc.) and support groups can be effective in helping individuals overcome their compulsive behavior. Research indicates that women may benefit from starting with individual therapy. Users also mention therapy combined with pharmaceutical treatment. Overall, this is consistent with the theoretical literature in the field - the thesis broadly supports the findings of earlier research.
Graduation Thesis language
Graduation Thesis type
Master - Conversion Master in IT
Orchid Chetia Phukan, Rajesh Sharma
Defence year