Hypersexualité : quand la sexualité est perçue comme une maladie

Hypersexuality: When Sexuality Is Perceived as a Disorder

“Sexual obsessions, sex addiction, nymphomania… There are many terms used to describe people suffering from hypersexuality. Particularly affecting men, this disorder is what specialists refer to as an exacerbation of sexual impulse. If left untreated, compulsive sexuality can have serious repercussions on the life of the hypersexual individual. To overcome it, one needs to seek the help of a psychiatrist or join support groups.”

Also known as compulsive sexuality, hypersexuality affects both men (satyriasis) and women (nymphomania). It is an obsession characterized by a persistent and continuous search for sexual pleasure. In the life of the hypersexual individual, libido takes up so much space that it has adverse effects in all areas.

What is Hypersexuality?

The term hypersexuality was used to replace the notions of satyriasis and nymphomania in the early 21st century. Very specific, it is characterized by excessive libido accompanied by obsessive thoughts about sexuality. It is a behavioral disorder where sex appears as a way to alleviate deep-seated anxiety. It is hypersexuality as soon as the sexual behavior adopted has negative impacts on the social domain. Indeed, the hypersexual person is capable of jeopardizing their life solely to satisfy their sexual desires.

Hypersexuality leads to a constant feeling of dissatisfaction. Always in need, the hypersexual person constantly seeks more sexual pleasure, and this need never stops. The frequency and number of sexual encounters become increasingly significant, impacting daily life. Beyond the frequency and number of encounters, it is the significance of this obsession in daily life that is particularly concerning. Moreover, psychological suffering such as depression or addictions is very common.

Different Symptoms of Compulsive Sexuality

A genuine psychological disorder, hypersexuality causes significant psychological distress. This automatically has adverse consequences on daily life and social relationships. This obsession is characterized by:

– A monomania of sexual pleasure.

– Compulsive acts involving sexual activity (masturbation or sex with one or multiple partners).

– An insatiable desire for sex.

– A constant feeling of dissatisfaction despite increased sexual activity.

– An irresistible urge for sex, even when there are negative consequences.

– Emotional and psychological suffering.

– Unmotivated, uncontrollable, and repeated sexual acts.

– Severe impacts on financial, professional, personal, familial, and medical aspects.

– Feelings of guilt and shame.

To diagnose hypersexuality, the duration of the behavior should be sufficiently long, typically one to several months. This disorder should not, however, be linked to medication use or any underlying medical condition.

Possible Causes of Hypersexuality

There are many factors that can contribute to hypersexuality, and it is usually a combination of these factors that explains this behavioral disorder.

1. Psychological Factors

A lack of love and emotional support during childhood can be a primary cause of hypersexuality. Manic episodes or depression can also contribute to this behavioral disorder.

2. Neurological Origins

A functional disorder of the limbic system can be the cause of excessive sexuality, leading to exaggerated concerns, compulsive behaviors, voyeurism, and exhibitionism.

3. Environmental Causes

Exposure to deviant sexual behaviors or pornography can lead to hypersexuality. Additionally, traumatic psychological events, such as sexual assaults and rape, can be contributing factors.

4. Hormonal and Medicinal Factors

Excess testosterone can lead to hypersexuality. Certain medications can also induce this disorder, such as head trauma, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and the use of antiparkinsonian drugs.

What Are the Consequences of This Disorder?

Hypersexual individuals often experience guilt and shame because of their inability to control their sexual desires, especially when they are aware of the consequences of their actions. These consequences are numerous and include neglect of the partner, divorce, financial troubles (pornography, prostitutes, phone hotlines), sexually transmitted diseases, and job loss.

Furthermore, they may engage in socially unacceptable sexual behaviors such as frotteurism, voyeurism, or exhibitionism. People suffering from hypersexuality often risk engaging in highly criminal activities such as child pornography, rape, pedophilia, or incest. Thus, they face the risk of legal prosecution for sexual offenses.

Is Hypersexuality Treatable?

For effective results, it is important to determine the specific type of hypersexuality the patient is suffering from, whether it is paraphilia or unspecified impulse control disorders. Treatment may involve mood regulators and antidepressant medications. In cases of rape or pedophilia, the use of medications that can prevent sexual arousal is mandatory. Negative reinforcement techniques can also be very effective.

Different groups are also created to help people suffering from hypersexuality. Following a therapy model, this principle is inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous. These groups consist of individuals struggling with sexual addictions who decide to share their experiences.

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