Hypersexuality is defined as “exhibiting unusual or excessive concern with or indulgence in sexual activity.” In short, hypersexuality is a behavioral addiction in which the individual has a preoccupation with sexual fantasy. This can manifest in a variety of ways, but when it comes down to it, you may never feel satisfied after sex or masturbation and put other elements in your life at risk because of it. Let’s look more closely at how hypersexuality can impact you.
What are the signs and symptoms of hypersexuality?
Hypersexuality doesn’t necessarily have definite determiners. After all, what is a “high” sex drive or a “low” sex drive? We often compare these to those we are having sex with. As a sexual health condition, though, hypersexuality often reveals itself in the obsessive pursuit of casual sex, pornography, compulsive masturbation, or objectified partner sex for at least six months. No matter how much sex or masturbation you get, you may never feel satisfied or feel that it is “enough.” You may feel shame from the persistent fantasies you have or regularly sacrifice work, sleep, or social time for sexual exploits. You may experience sore genitals from excessive sexual activity or feel bad that your pursuit of sexual satisfaction prevents a genuine relationship.
Hypersexuality: a mental health disorder
When considering hypersexuality, it’s important to remember that it is a mental health disorder and sexual health condition. In the same way that gambling and binge eating disorder are processing addictions, hypersexuality focuses on the pursuit of sex and romance rather than the act of sex itself.
Paula Hall, a sexual relationship and sex addiction therapist, spoke on this very issue in an article about hypersexuality published on the American Association of Sexuality Educations, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) website.
“Sex addiction is about addiction, not about sex,” she insists. “It's about the function of the behavior and the dependency on it — not about the behavior itself. Too many people focus on the morality of sexual behavior, but that's a red herring. Whether you're pro or anti-alcohol, some people use alcohol as a primary coping mechanism despite the damage it is doing to their lives, and they can't stop. That's called alcoholism. The same is true of sex addiction.”
American Association of Sexuality Educations, Counselors, and Therapists
When to seek treatment
All that said, hypersexuality can interfere with your life and the lives of those around you, which is why it’s essential to raise awareness about this mental health and behavioral disorder. Seek help from a doctor if you’re struggling to manage sexual impulses, stressing about your sexual behavior, hiding your sexual conduct, or finding that your sexual behavior is impacting your work and relationships. Remember, you are not alone in this, and struggling from a mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of.
Auteri, S. (n.d.). What You Need To Know About…Hypersexuality. Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://www.aasect.org/what-you-need-know-about-hypersexuality
Compulsive sexual behavior. (2020, February 7). Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/compulsive-sexual-behavior/symptoms-causes/syc-20360434
Dutta, E., & Naphade, N. M. (2017). Hypersexuality – a cause of concern: A case report highlighting the need for psychodermatology liaison. Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6085926/
Weiss, R. (2018, October 8). Hypersexuality: Symptoms of Sexual Addiction. Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/hypersexuality-symptoms-of-sexual-addiction/