Link Between Sex and Gambling Addiction

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The existence of addictive behaviors is still a controversial topic among many experts. While some argue that addiction is something that some people are genetically predisposed to, others don’t recognize that pathological gamblers are people with genuine behavioral addictions; they think this is simply a question of bad habits. Nevertheless, when looking at the characteristics of various obsessions, it seems that they have a lot of symptoms in common. So in this article, we take sexual addiction and compare it to excessive gambling, in order to prove they are indeed very similar.

Common Symptoms

Research published in the ‘Comprehensive Psychology’ journal has indicated that hypersexuality and compulsive gambling have more in common they were previously considered to have. Dr. Joseph M. Farré of the University of Barcelona pointed out the similarities and differences of personality traits found among people who are suffering from these compulsions.

The results of the study have proved that there are no significant differences between sex and gambling addicts when it comes to their personality characteristics. The test subjects completed a self-assessment questionnaire test, which showed they shared the following symptoms in common:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Psychoticism
  • Paranoid ideation
  • Phobic anxiety
  • Sensitivity

However, what is remarkable here is not only the similar symptoms of the two groups; because in addition, the intensity of their symptoms was pretty much identical.


Sex Behavior in Casino

On the whole, gambling and sex addiction don’t share many similarities; however, the effects they cause in the lives of addicts are still very much alike. Both the thrill of sexual activity and the excitement of placing a bet produce adrenaline, providing the ecstasy of a powerful high.

These obsessions often lead to addicts living a secretive double life, hiding their compulsive behavior from their family and friends. On top of that, the process does become highly ritualized over time. A sex addict doesn’t solely crave the feeling an orgasm gives them; similarly, a player with a gambling disorder isn’t simply obsessed with winning money, and nothing more!

Conversely, the whole process, from the beginning to the end, is what attracts people to it; which is why behavioral addictions are referred to as process addictions. The exciting thrill that the entire trajectory of experience brings them is what makes addicts come back time and time again, for yet another dose.


The similarities between the symptoms of problem gambling and sex obsession can be attributed to the similar effects they have on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Every time someone experiences a positive sensation, the brain releases dopamine to the reward center. Once this is done, the brain questions what exactly triggered this sensation, remembers it, and then tries to reproduce it after a while.

With that in mind, a compulsive gambler will continuously chase the feeling of ‘being high’ at the blackjack table; while a sexaholic is always going to be on the hunt for intimate pleasures, so they can recover any dopamine they’re missing!

Addiction Treatment

Once you feel your mental health is suffering and you’re getting involved in pathological gambling or hypersexuality, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your close friends, family, or professionals will examine your obsession, and they’ll also help you to manage your urges. Please don’t put off the problem, thinking it will quickly dissipate.


Studies have shown significant differences in relation to gambling disorder and sexual obsessions; however, various facts do confirm there is indeed empirical evidence of some specific similarities that both kinds of problem share with substance additions: such as characteristic symptoms, behavioral indicators, and various other factors.

Roulette Wheel in Casino

What was the purpose of this study? We can now better understand the common threats arising from these two addictions; and in doing so, we can also start searching for a more effective way to treat and overcome the problems.

This Is Also Interesting…

  • Can problem gambling be inherited?

A University of Iowa study has proved that problem gambling runs in families. This research has also showed that first-degree relatives of compulsive gamblers are eight times more likely to develop this addiction in their lifetime than relatives of people unaffected by problem gambling.

  • Can a gambling addiction be cured?

As any addiction is an illness of the brain, and certain behaviors become harder to change over time; however, that doesn’t always mean that it’s impossible to treat a gambling obsession. Today, those who suffer from a gambling compulsion can (and really should) get professional help; such assistance, aided by your own willpower and strength of mind will help you find the courage to overcome this ailment.

  • What are the positive effects of gambling?

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages, and gambling is no exception. So while problem gambling can indeed cause many adverse effects, the positive side of the question is indisputable. For instance, the elderly find gambling to be a useful form of therapy; while for the working class, it can serve as a hobby and as a good way to relax.

  • Are there any connections between alcoholism and gambling addiction?

Due to the similar reaction of consuming alcohol and gambling both have on the brain, someone who’s addicted to one of these two has a potentially higher risk of being addicted to other substances. Often, people who suffer from binge drinking seek comfort in casinos. Likewise, people addicted to gambling often try and settle their nerves by having some alcohol.

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