Sex addiction: real problem, or as fake as they come? Although, by some counts, there are some 9 to 18 million sex addicts in America, public acceptance of the addiction is still decades behind alcoholism. This is in part because there’s no accepted definition of what sex addiction is. Sex, like other dopamine elevators, “might generate dependency, especially in people who dealt with childhood trauma,” A.J. Grossman writes in Elle. Recovery takes three to five years of treatment, including group therapy, 12-step work, and cognitive behavior modification.