Two Behaviors: One Addiction?
Although the intersection of stimulant abuse and sexual behavior is extremely under-researched, in recent years it has become increasingly apparent that there are many individuals who abuse or are addicted to stimulants who consistently fuse their drug use with sexual activity. It is also clear that when a stimulant drug addict consistently fuses drugs with sex, the sexual fantasy/behavior can both reinforce the intensity and frequency of chronic or binge drug abuse and act as a significant contributor to post-treatment relapse. One recent study (focused on HIV+ gay men and methamphetamine use) strongly supports this idea, finding the leading factor for crystal meth use for these individuals was sexual enhancement, including lowered inhibitions and prolonged duration of sexual encounters.1 The study concluded that with some addicts it is virtually impossible to separate their sexual behavior from their drug abuse. While this study is limited in scope and focused on a specific population, it is not unreasonable to assume that as further, broader studies are conducted these findings will translate across the board. After all, the plethora of research on stimulant abuse shows remarkably consistent results, particularly in terms of how it affects patterns of decision-making, overall functioning, and social isolation – regardless of cultural background or the specific stimulant abused.
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