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Scientists say sex addiction caused by having too much of this hormone

Oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus. The hormone plays a key role in sexual behavior, and abnormal amounts may lead to sex addiction, say the researchers.

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Couples feet crossed under the duvet in bed.

 By Mark Waghorn via SWNS

Sex addicts really are suffering from a medical condition caused by high levels of the "love hormone" oxytocin, according to new research.

The discovery could lead to the development of a drug that blocks it, curing "hypersexual disorder." Cognitive behavioral therapy also works.

A host of celebrities have spoken of their struggles with keeping it in their trousers, including Tiger Woods, Robbie Williams, Russell Brand, Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen. Some have met the claims with skepticism.

Now, a study has linked infidelity with too much oxytocin. It can make men - or women - attracted to many people, simultaneously.

The hormone, which boosts bonding, is also thought to make sex more rewarding.

Lead author Dr. Andreas Chatzittofis, of the University of Cyprus in Nicosia, said: "We discovered that men with compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) had higher oxytocin levels compared with healthy men.

"Cognitive behavioral therapy led to a reduction in both hypersexual behavior and oxytocin levels."

An international team compared blood samples from 64 male sex addicts and 38 healthy peers.

The former group had more oxytocin - 30 of whom went through a cognitive behavioral therapy program.

They saw a significant reduction in their oxytocin levels after the treatment.

Dr. Chatzittofis said: "Oxytocin plays an important role in sex addiction and may be a potential drug target for future pharmacological treatment."

Hypersexual disorder involves excessive, persistent sexual behaviors related to various mood states.

Afflicted individuals act on impulse and have less self control - leading them to compulsively seek out sex.

Oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus. It is secreted by the pituitary gland.

The hormone plays a key role in sexual behavior, and abnormal amounts may lead to sex addiction, say the researchers.

It is estimated to affect one in ten men and one in 12 women. Many refuse to believe it is a real condition.

But now researchers say they have found differences in the genetic make-up of sex addicts.

It can have adverse effects on their lives - from broken relationships to depression and anxiety.

In 2018 the World Health Organization declared compulsive sexual behavior -- commonly called sex addiction - a mental illness for the first time.

It was controversially listed on the International Classification of Diseases list - used to study health problems, injuries and causes of death.

The disorder was defined as a "persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in repetitive sexual behavior."

Not all doctors agree the condition is worthy of inclusion. Some view the label as potentially shaming.

The study is in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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