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large-scale representative survey of sexual behavior),[9]

1.9% of men ages 1859 masturbated daily, and 1.2%
masturbated more than once per day.[10]

Hypersexuality is extremely frequent or suddenly increased sexual urges or sexual activity. Hypersexuality
can be both a symptom and side eect of medical conditions and their treatments; however, most causes of
hypersexuality are unknown. Alcohol or mental health
problems such as borderline personality disorder can give
rise to hypersexuality,[1] . Some drugs can aect social
and sexual inhibitions of some people. A number of theoretical models have been used to explain or treat hypersexuality. The sexual addiction approach is the most
well-known form of treatment; however, sexologists have
not yet reached any consensus on its accuracy or success. Alternative explanations for the condition include
compulsive and impulsive behavioural models.

2 Etiology
There is no consensus among experts as to the causes of
hypersexuality, and many etiological factors have been
proposed. Some research suggests that some cases can
be linked to biochemical or physiological changes that
accompany dementia. Psychological needs also complicate the biological explanation, which identies the temporal/frontal lobe of the brain as the area for regulating libido. Persons suering from injuries to this part
of the brain are at increased risk for aggressive behavior and other behavioral problems including personality
changes and socially inappropriate sexual behavior such
as hypersexuality.[11] The same symptom can occur after unilateral temporal lobectomy.[12] There are other biological factors that are associated with hypersexuality
such as premenstrual changes, and the exposure to virilising hormones in childhood or in utero.[13] It should
be noted that there can be psychological causes for this
condition. Hypersexuality, in these cases, may be related
to the longing for intimacy with another individual. Often, this desire is inappropriately expressed. This can be,
once again, related to the condition of dementia. As this
illness progresses, loss of self-esteem is often inevitable.
A loss of cognitive function as a result of this disease
may be compensated for through hypersexuality.[14] In
research involving use of anti-androgens to reduce undesirable sexual behaviour such as hypersexuality, testosterone is deemed necessary, but not sucient, for sexual
drive.[15] Other proposed factors include a lack of physical closeness, and forgetfulness of the recent past.[14]

The International Classication of Diseases (ICD-10) of

the World Health Organization includes Excessive Sexual Drive (coded F52.7)[2] which is divided into satyriasis for males and nymphomania for femalesand
Excessive Masturbation (coded F98.8).[3] A proposal
to include a diagnosis called hypersexual disorder, simply describing the symptom without implying any specic theory, is under consideration for inclusion in the
appendix of the DSM, but not in the main list of ocial
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) rejected a
proposal to add sexual addiction to its list of psychiatric
disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (DSM). Some authors have questioned whether
it makes sense to discuss hypersexuality at all, arguing
that labeling sexual urges extreme merely stigmatizes
people who do not conform to the norms of their culture
or peer group.[5]


Pathogenic overactivity of the dopaminergic mesolimbic

pathway in the brainforming either psychiatrically, during mania,[16] or pharmacologically, as a
side eect of dopamine agonists, specically D3 preferring agonists[17][18] is associated with various addictions[19][20] and has been shown to result
among some in overindulgent, sometimes hypersexual,

The number of people who are hypersexual or consider

themselves hypersexual is unknown. Although several estimates have been published, it is not clear on what basis
they were made.[6] The estimates asserted are usually 3
6% of the United States population.[6]

Many proposed denitions of hypersexuality are relative

to cultural or peer group norms. Surveys of convenience
samples suggest that 35% of high school or college age
males masturbate on a daily basis.[7] In the Kinsey studies, 7.6% of males engaged in some sexual behavior lead- 3 Models and labels
ing to orgasm (masturbation, sexual intercourse, oral sex,
etc.) on a daily basis or more.[8] In the Laumann study (a Sexologists have been describing cases of hypersexuality


since the late 1800s.[10] In some cases, the hypersexuality was a symptom of another medical disease, such as
Klver-Bucy syndrome or bipolar disorder, or the side
eect of a medication, such as the drugs used to treat
Parkinsons disease. In other cases, the hypersexuality
was reported to be the primary problem.

alcoholism.[5][46] Multiple 12-step style self-help groups

now exist for people who identify as sex addicts, including
Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex
and Love Addicts Anonymous, and Sexual Compulsives

Sexologists have not reached a consensus over how

best to describe when hypersexuality is the primary
problem,[21][22][23] or if it is ever appropriate to think
of these behaviors and feelings as a separate pathology.
Some researchers assert that such situations represent a
literal addiction;[24][25] other researchers assert that such
situations represent a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or OCD-spectrum disorder; and other
researchers assert that it is a disorder of impulsivity.
Moreover, some authors assert that there is no such
thing as hypersexuality at all[26] and that the condition
merely reects a cultural dislike of exceptional sexual

3.2 Impulsivity model

Barth and Kinder (1987) argued against classifying hypersexuality as an addiction or as a compulsion, arguing instead for the classication of hypersexuality as an
impulsivity problem.[47] They argued that an addiction
entails a substance and withdrawal states, whereas sexual behavior has neither, and that compulsive behaviors
exclude intrinsically enjoyable activities, whereas sexual
behavior is intrinsically enjoyable. Hypersexuality does,
however, contain the essential elements of an impulsivity

Because hypersexuality has no determined or agreed

1. It pertains to the failure to resist an impulse, drive,
upon causes, [10] authors use many dierent labels to refer
or temptation
to it, sometimes interchangeably, but often depending on
which theory they favor or which specic behavior they
2. There is an increasing sense of tension before the
are studying. Contemporary names include compulsive
masturbation, compulsive sexual behavior,[28][29] cyber3. There is an experience of either pleasure, graticasex addiction, erotomania, excessive sexual drive,[30]
tion, or release at the time of committing the behavhyperphilia,[31]
disorder,[34] problematic hypersexuality,[35] sexual addiction, sexual compulsivity,[36] sexual dependency,[27] sexual impulsivity,[37] out of control sexual behavior,[38]
and paraphilia-related disorder.[39][40][41] Other, mostly 3.3 Medical disorders and drugs
historical, names include Don Juanism, the Messalina
Some people with borderline personality disorder (somecomplex,[42] and nymphomania.[43]
times referred to as BPD) can be markedly impulsive,
seductive, and extremely sexual. Sexual promiscuity,
3.1 Compulsivity model
sexual obsessions, and hypersexuality are very common
symptoms for both men and women with BPD. On ocCompulsions are behaviors a person performs in order to casion for some there can be paraphilic drives such as
reduce feelings of anxiety or tension. According to this voyeurism, necrophilia, sadomasochism, urolagnia, and
explanation of hypersexuality, persons engage in what- other more extreme forms of paraphilic drives and deever sexual behavior in order to reduce feelings of ten- sires. 'Borderline' patients may also have a signicantly
sion, instead of to express sexual desire. Because engag- higher rate of bisexuality or homosexuality.[1] 'Bordering in the behavior can worsen the situation causing the line' patients, due in the opinion of some to the use of
tension, the person experiences a longer-term increase in splitting, experience love and sexuality in perverse and
tension, despite the shorter-term relief, resulting in a self- violent qualities which they cannot integrate with the tenperpetuating cycle.[44][45]
der, intimate side of relationships.[48]
People who suer from bipolar disorder may often display tremendous swings in sex drive depending on their
mood. As dened in the DSM-IV-TR, hypersexuality can
Main article: Sexual addiction
be a symptom of hypomania or mania in bipolar disorder
or schizoaective disorder. Picks disease causes damage
the temporal/frontal lobe of the brain; people suering
The most commonly discussed way of understanding hywith
Picks disease show a range of socially inappropriate
persexuality is with an addiction model. The concept of
hypersexuality as an addiction was started in the 1970s
by former members of Alcoholics Anonymous who re- Several neurological conditions such as Alzheimers disalized they experienced a similar lack of control and ease,[50] various types of brain injury,[51] Klver-Bucy
compulsivity with disruptive sexual behaviors as with syndrome,[52] Kleine-Levin syndrome,[53] and many

Addiction model

more neuro-degenerative diseases can cause hypersexual behavior. Sexually inappropriate behavior has been
shown to occur in 7-8% of Alzheimers patients living at home, at a care facility or in a hospital setting. A positive link between the severity of dementia
and occurrence of inappropriate behavior has also been
found.[54] Hypersexuality has also been reported to result as a side-eect of some medications used to treat
Parkinsons disease.[55][56] Some street drugs, such as
methamphetamine, may also contribute to hypersexual
Hypersexuality can be caused by dementia in a number of
ways, including disinhibition due to organic disease, misreading of social cues, understimulation, the persistence
of learned sexual behaviour after other behaviours have
been lost, and the side-eects of the drugs used to treat

engaging in sexual fantasies in response to stress, repetitive but unsuccessful attempts to control such behavior,
and repetitively engaging in sexual behaviours with disregard for physical or emotional harm to self or others.
There must also be clinically signicant personal distress
or negative eect on social or occupational aspects of life
and the sexual behavior must not be because of an exogenous substance. Some behaviors that are specic to this
disorder are masturbation, pornography, sex, cybersex,
telephone sex, and going to strip clubs.[62]
As of 2010, a proposal to add Sexual Addiction to the
DSM system has been rejected by the APA, as not
enough evidence suggested to them that the condition is
analogous to substance addictions, as that name would

Other possible causes of dementia-related hypersexuality 5 Treatment

include an inappropriately expressed psychological need
for intimacy and forgetfulness of the recent past.[59]
There does not yet exist any treatment approach uniSome patients with autism also exhibit hypersexuality. A formly endorsed by experts and/or community groups.
variety of treatments have been tried for hypersexuality Most clinical authors recommend a multifaceted or mulin autistic patients, with no clear consensus as to their timodal approach that includes a variety of treatments,
including certain classes of anti-depressants (selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs) that reduce
sex drive in some people, motivational interviewing,[35]
and individual, group, or couples therapy (includ4 Ocial diagnostic status
ing cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, and relapseprevention).[6][66]
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association The cognitive-behavioral treatment was rst introduced
(APA) includes an entry called Sexual Disorder Not to drug and alcohol addiction, one technique involved usOtherwise Specied (Sexual Disorder NOS) to apply ing relapse prevention; to train a set of skills, cognitive
changes to identify and cope
to, among other conditions, distress about a pattern of interventions and life style
repeated sexual relationships involving a succession of
lovers who are experienced by the individual only as
things to be used.[61] A proposal to add Hypersexual Disorder to the appendix (but not the main list of ocial di- 6 Historical uses
agnoses) of the DSM is currently under consideration by
the APA.[4]
6.1 Richard von Krat-Ebing
The International Statistical Classication of Diseases
and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) of the World
Health Organization (WHO), includes two relevant entries. One is Excessive Sexual Drive (coded F52.7),[2]
which is divided into satyriasis for males and nymphomania for females. The other is Excessive Masturbation or
Onanism (excessive)" (coded F98.8).[2]
The DSM-V work group has considered hypersexuality
as a sexual disorder and has proposed the following diagnostic criteria for use in DSM-V which has been rejected
but is still worth consideration. The diagnosis is as follows: A subject must have recurrent and intense sexual
desires, sexual urges or sexual behaviours over the period of 6 months or more with 3 of the 5 following criteria; time consumed with sexual fantasies conicts with
other important goals, repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies in response to dysphoric mood states, repetitively

Krat-Ebing described several cases of extreme sexual

behaviours in his seminal 1886 book, Psychopathia Sexualis.[68] Although he also used the term hypersexuality
in that book, he was describing conditions that would now
be called premature ejaculation.

7 See also
Persistent genital arousal disorder
Pornography addiction
Sexual Compulsivity Scale
Sexual obsessions


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