Having a high sex drive may be natural as a human being. But the excessive obsession of sexual activities, such as having multiple sexual partners, practicing unsafe sex, visiting prostitutes, engaging in prostitution, cybersex, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and compulsive masturbation may indicate that you have a sexual addiction.
This condition has been affecting abound 12 to 30 million people in the US. The biggest question they face is, “Is hypersexuality a mental illness?” Some psychiatrists don’t necessarily conclude that this condition is a mental illness given the limited studies about this matter.
Hypersexuality is also called sexual addiction, hypersexual disorder, sexual dependency, nymphomania (women), satyriasis (men), and sexual compulsivity.
A study has established that hypersexuality is a mental illness. But before it hypersexuality is considered as one, there are criteria to be followed including:
- Such sexual behavior, fantasy, or urge must be experienced repeatedly for more than six months.
- This behavior, fantasy, and urges are not due to factors such as another medical condition, medication, substance abuse, or manic episodes directed to bipolar disorder.
- Sex addicts manifest this behavior as a reaction to their current mood, such as if they feel sad or depressed. Some people having this condition use sexual activities as a means to cope up with stress.
- A person who has hypersexuality tried to avoid or reduce this behavior, fantasy, or urge, but they failed in doing so.
Just like any other mental illness, excessive sexual activities should also be evidenced by personal distress in such a way that this behavior, fantasy, or urge has caused damaged to yourself, relationship, work, and other crucial parts of your life.
A Study Establishing Hypersexuality as a Mental Illness
A study to establish hypersexuality as a mental illness was conducted in various mental health facilities in the US and gathered 207 participants. All the participants are patients of substance abuse, sexual behavior problem, and other psychiatric condition, including depression and anxiety.
Using the mentioned criteria, 88 percent of these participants are categorized as suffering from hypersexuality. The criteria were also used to know whether these patients merely require treatment for other conditions other than hypersexuality, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Hypersexuality leads to harmful consequences
Thus, if a person has complied with the criteria given, then he is most likely suffering from a hypersexual disorder. And hypersexuality can lead to greater consequences and challenges in life. The study also shows that increased hypersexuality is directly proportional to greater impulsivity, inability to manage stress, and emotional disturbance.
Moreover, having a hypersexual disorder leads to graver consequences compared to others who are suffering from addictions other than sex addiction. The study also manifests that 17 percent of those who have hypersexuality lost their job, 28 percent developed sexually transmitted diseases, 39 percent have broken relationships, and 78 percent are disrupted with a healthy sexual activity.
Hypersexuality can start as early as adolescence
It was also reported that 54 percent of these people suffered from this condition before they became 18 years old and 30 percent of these already noticed this condition between ages 18 to 25 years old. Since this is the result of the study, it is recommended to have early precautionary measures to avoid this mental disorder. As you can see, this disorder can occur as early as adolescence to young adulthood.
Hypersexuality includes disturbing behaviors
And the most common sexual behaviors portrayed by these people include compulsive masturbation, cybersex, and pornography viewing resulting in sexual intercourse with others. Aside from that, they have been engaged in sexual activities with commercial sex workers. And these include prostitutes, persons they never knew, and have recurring affairs.
Hypersexuality is controlling that can be remedied by treatment
Indeed, hypersexuality is a mental illness that has been controlling the lives of those who are affected. Hypersexuality is not just a means to be relieved from stress. It is something that cannot be controlled by the victim, and this condition has been holding every aspect of their lives. And they feel too powerless to change this kind of behavior, urge, or fantasy, as it requires treatment being a mental illness.
Hypersexuality as a Symptom of Other Mental Illnesses
Sexual addiction is already a disorder, but it can also be an indication of other mental illnesses. It was shown that this behavior, urge, or fantasy may exist during a manic period for someone who has a bipolar disorder. Do you know that around 5.7 million people in the US are suffering from bipolar disorder? This is a kind of brain disorder that involves the unusual shifts in activity levels, energy, mood, and the ability to carry daily tasks.
Several studies show the relationship between hypersexuality and bipolar disorder. And 25 to 80 percent of people who have bipolar disorder also experience the symptom of sexual addiction during manic periods. During the manic period, a person experiences racing thoughts, inflated energy, and feelings of invincibility. And one of the activities by someone who has a bipolar disorder during the manic period is having obsessive sexual activities. Many mental health experts explain that the reason for this behavior is that it is a way for them to regulate their mood and relieve them from these stressors.
Hypersexuality is a mental disorder that should be treated to avoid further damage. Although there are limited studies regarding the matter, studies establishing that hypersexuality is a mental illness are given repute. Moreover, it was shown that most people with a mental disorder also manifest symptoms of hypersexuality. Hypersexuality, although a condition itself, is also an indication of other mental health problems.