CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

Is Sexual Addiction a Genetic Disease?

Founder Awarded Fulbright for Sexual Addiction Research

Dr. Patrick Carnes has received the prestigious 2016-2017 Fulbright - Canada - Palix Foundation award in Brain Science. He will conduct groundbreaking research into the genetics of sexual addiction and serve as Distinguished Visiting Chair at the University of Alberta in 2017. In receiving this award, Dr. Carnes joins the ranks of distinguished scholars and scientists including Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer Prize winners who have received this award.

The research study is unprecedented in its size and scope. Over 1,000 people will be enrolled (half sex addicts and half non-addicts) from various centers across the U.S. and Canada. Dr. Carnes intends to find answers to the following questions:

  • What genes are linked to sexual addiction?
  • How do these genes compare to the genes linked to alcoholism and drug addiction?
  • Are there specific clusters of genes that predispose sexual addicts to behave in specific ways? That is, can we predict whether an addict will become compulsive about adultery or pornography or voyeurism, for instance?
  • What psychological disorders are linked to the different types of sexual addiction? For instance, if one is anti-social, is he more likely to compulsively pay for sex, become a voyeur, or pursue anonymous sex?
The study will involve thorough, full-genome genetic analysis of all participants (via saliva specimens) and careful characterization of psychological disorders using well-validated measurement tools. Sophisticated statistical techniques will be used to identify the genes that are linked to sexual addiction and its various types, and to link psychopathology to sexual addiction type and genetic patterns.

This will be the very first in-depth genetic investigation into the origins and psychology of sexual addiction. This work could lead to a screening tool for those afflicted by sexual addiction, similar to testing for alcoholism. This work may definitively show that sexual addiction involves the same brain pathways as other addictions, and facilitate coverage of the disorder by insurance companies and reimbursement for treatment. This research may help reduce stigma and lead to prompt and effective treatment for those who are suffering.

AFAR is supporting this innovative work in partnership with Fulbright Canada and the Palix Foundation. Because of the large number of research subjects, we need more donors to support this important work. Will you consider making a donation to help us with this groundbreaking research?
Dr. CarnesDr. Patrick Carnes Fulbright Canada
AFAR is supporting this innovative work in partnership with Fulbright Canada and the Palix Foundation. Because of the large number of research subjects, we need more donors to support this important work. Will you consider making a donation to help us with this groundbreaking research?

PREVIOUS RESEARCH PROJECTS

Since 2012 AFAR has funded research focused on sexual addiction. More than 40 scientific articles have been published based on this work.

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