What is Hypersexual Disorder?
Hypersexual disorder, also known as hypersexuality or sex addiction, is a time-consuming, fantasy-based disorder that was under consideration for inclusion in the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-5). Though rejected by the American Psychiatric Association for inclusion in the DSM-5 the disorder has become widely recognized by mental health experts across the world.
Hypersexual disorder is characterized by repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors in response to stressful life events, boredom, depression, or irritability. It is not caused by an outside substance; i.e. drugs or alcohol, and is also characterized by frequent but unsuccessful attempts to control or reduce these fantasies. These characteristics must be persistent for at least six months to be considered hypersexual.
- High levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine
- History of physical/sexual abuse
- Families with histories of substance abuse
- Androgen imbalance
- Prevalence of other disorders that can increase libido, including bipolar disorder
Signs of Hypersexual Disorder
- Excessive time spent focusing on sexual fantasies and urges and planning and engaging in sexual activities
- Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies in response to anxiety, depression, boredom, or irritability
- Repeatedly engaging in sexual behavior without regard to safety of self or others
- Personal distress or impairment due to obsessive sexual urges or fantasies
- Multiple sexual partners or extramarital affairs
- Avoiding emotional involvement in sexual relations
- Intense romance
- Fixation on an unattainable partner
- Obsession with pornography
- Anonymous sex/engaging in prostitution
- Telephone/cyber sex
Researchers have found that, among people who participated in a study on hypersexuality and met the diagnostic criteria for hypersexual disorder, 17 percent reported experiencing job loss due to their sexual behaviors, while 28 percent received a sexually transmitted infection (STI), 39 percent experienced the end of a relationship, and 78 percent said healthy sex had been inhibited by their hypersexual behavior.
Hypersexual disorder appears to be an overwhelmingly male disorder, with studies showing that between 85 and 95 percent of those who meet the proposed diagnostic criteria being male.
Treatment for Hypersexual Disorder
Since hypersexual disorder has only recently been recognized as a disorder, there are no uniform treatments that have been developed thus far. As with any diagnosis, the best option is to seek professional help, available in the form of medical doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists.
- Grohol, John M. “Symptoms of Hypersexual Disorder (Sex Addiction).” PsychCentral. Last reviewed 06 July 2012. Web. 24 January 2013.
- “Hypersexual Disorder: Diagnostic Criteria For DSM-5 Tested In New Study.” Huffington Post. 23 October 2013. Web. 24 January 2013.
- Ley, David J. “The Danger of Hypersexual Disorder.” Psychology Today. 01 May 2012. Web. 24 January 2013.