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No drugs exist to treat sex addiction; no health care plan specifically covers it; there’s virtually no funding for studies.Eli Coleman, a psychologist and director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota, estimates that approximately 19 million Americans—5 to 7 percent of the population—are hypersexual. "We’re all blind in this field," says UCLA neuroscientist Nicole Prause.

SEX ADDICTION— diagnosing it, treating it, portraying it on-screen—is big business.

The number of certified sex-addiction therapists has more than doubled since 2008, according to the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals.

Hookup apps like Tinder (26 million matches per day) and Grindr (1.6 million active daily users) are growing wildly and multiplying, like real-life manifestations of the futuristic smartphone imagined by Gary Shteyngart in which rates the "Fuckability" of everyone around you.

In the age of smartphones and frictionless-dating apps, sex addiction is like being hooked on a drug that's always available in unlimited supply.

It's like living with a meth dealer at your side, or a brick of cocaine in your pocket.

Worse, you can get a potential high from every person you meet.But unlike other addictions, this one isn't officially recognized.The movie industry, for its part, has released at least five films on sex addiction in the past five years, six if you count both parts of Lars von Trier’s But even now, sex addiction seems to exist in parallel realities: one in which millions of people are struggling with it, and another in which it is barely studied and not even clinically recognized.Research has yet to confirm that extreme sexual behavior really is addictive in the same neuroscientific sense that, for instance, habitual heroin use appears to be.For this reason, many clinicians prefer the term even though they concede that the distinction is mostly semantic.But the practical effects of such uncertainty are enormous.