yes, therapy helps!
Nymphomania (sex addiction): causes, symptoms and treatment

Nymphomania (sex addiction): causes, symptoms and treatment

January 16, 2023

People with hypersexuality or sex addiction, formerly known as nymphomania in women and as satiriasis in men , they feel the need to obtain sexual gratification continuously. However, they do not do so much looking for pleasure as trying to relieve the tension and emotional discomfort they feel.

In this article we will analyze the causes, symptoms and treatments of sex addiction . In addition we will define this concept and its relationship with other nearby: hypersexuality, nymphomania and satiriasis.

  • Related article: "Hypersexuality: what happens in the brain of a sex addict?"

Nymphomania, addiction to sex and hypersexuality

Hypersexuality is defined as Frequent, excessive and uncontrollable increase in desire and of sexual activity. Although the term is not included in the diagnostic classifications, 'hypersexuality' is the official concept to refer to alterations of this type. Hypersexuality is also known as 'sex addiction'.


The addictions are behavioral and / or cerebral alterations that consist in the compulsive search of rewarding stimuli or that provoke relief of the emotional discomfort. This compulsion comes to occupy most of life to the detriment of other aspects, such as social and occupational functioning.

"Nymphomania" is an archaic word which was used to specifically denominate female hypersexuality but has become a colloquial synonym of 'sex addiction'. In the case of men, the term 'satiriasis' was used mainly. ICD-10 still includes these two terms within the category 'Excessive sexual impulse'. In the DSM-5, hypersexuality was not included due to lack of scientific evidence.


A person is considered to be hypersexual or sexually addicted when their concern for sexual activity causes discomfort or interferes with their normal functioning. It is estimated that between 3 and 6% of the population has some degree of sex addiction.

Causes

If we understand nymphomania or hypersexuality as an addiction to sex, we can explain the development of this disorder from cerebral dopaminergic activity. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and reinforcement; our body secretes it when we eat, when we consume some substances or when we have an orgasm.

The biological component of addictions is attributed to the search for sensations associated with dopamine . When a person becomes addicted to a behavior or stimulus, he acquires a physical and / or psychological dependence and also develops tolerance to the object of addiction; This means that to obtain the same physiological effect requires an increasing dose.


Hypersexuality can also occur as a consequence of the consumption of dopamine agonist drugs, such as those used to treat Parkinson's disease, as well as lesions in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which regulate the sexual impulse.

In many cases, nymphomania appears as a Secondary symptom of other psychological disorders . Particularly noteworthy are dementias, borderline personality disorder, autism, bipolar disorder and the Klüver-Bucy and Kleine-Levin syndromes. Addiction to alcohol and other drugs can also facilitate the development of hypersexuality.

  • Maybe you're interested: "Addiction: disease or learning disorder?"

Symptoms of sex addiction

Not being officially considered a disorder, sex addiction does not have its own diagnostic criteria . However, experts have identified different signs and symptoms characteristic of hypersexuality.

Masturbation and the practice of excessive sex are the main symptom of sex addiction. The person spends most of their time looking for sexual gratification, for example visiting pornographic sites and trying to find sexual partners (including prostitution professionals), and he is unable to abandon these activities even though he tries on multiple occasions.

People with nymphomania neglect their obligations and responsibilities in favor of their addiction, and maintain their compulsive behaviors despite the negative consequences they have for your life ; among others, it is usual for those who have hypersexuality to repeatedly be unfaithful to their partners or who find it difficult to connect intimately with them.

Sex addiction facilitates the appearance of paraphilias, that is, obtaining sexual pleasure from atypical sources (such as pain or specific objects), and behaviors classified as harassment, especially if the sexual desire is focused on specific people .

Intervention and treatment

The treatment of nymphomania is similar to that which would be carried out in addictions of another type, both behavioral and relative to substances. Thus, the main focus is abstinence, at least temporarily, as well as the acquisition of healthy habits.

1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the dominant orientation in the psychological treatment of addictions. It focuses on the interrelation between behavior, thought and emotion. In cases of addiction, CBT consists above all in increasing the motivation for change and in the development of alternative gratifying activities .

  • Related article: "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: what is it and on what principles is it based?"

2. Dialectic Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy, developed by Marsha Linehan, is one of the treatments that we know as 'third generation cognitive-behavioral therapies'. It differs from classical CBT in its emphasis on emotions and meditation through Mindfulness , as well as training in problem management skills.

  • Related article: "Dialectic Behavioral Therapy: theory, phases and effects"

3. Support groups

This type of group therapy is led by experts, who may be psychotherapists or addicts recovered. Support groups are very useful for people with hypersex or other types of addictions because they help to share their problems and possible strategies to manage them . They are especially effective for the person to confront their denials and rationalizations regarding addiction.

Many of these groups are based on the 12-step scheme developed by the Alcoholics Anonymous community, which was one of the first groups to identify hypersexuality as an addictive disorder.

4. Marital and couple therapy

In cases of sex addiction, couple therapy can be very beneficial for improve communication, confidence and sexual satisfaction between the person with nymphomania and his partner or companion.

5. Medication

Antidepressant drugs can be effective to reduce hypersexuality derived from emotional distress. If nymphomania occurs as a consequence of bipolar disorder or hormonal alterations, mood stabilizers and hormonal therapies (particularly antiandrogenic) are prescribed, respectively. However, the use of drugs should only be initiated by medical indication.


5 Signs Of Hypersexual Disorder (January 2023).


Similar Articles