What is Hypersexuality?
It is important to state that sexual behavior is a normal and healthy part of the life and that many people like being active with multiple sexual partners or seeking different types of sexual experiences. Nevertheless, when sexual behavior constitutes a risk for an individual to harm themselves or others, it turns into a problem.
It is important to take the role of the culture into consideration in the concept of hypersexuality. Cultures that have a more positive approach toward sexuality may have values that do not consider sexual behavior to be “extreme”. Similarly, cultures that deem sexuality to be a taboo may be inclined to consider sexual behavior “extreme”.
Spending excessive amounts of time on planning and practicing sexual fantasies, urges and sexual behaviors; gravitating toward sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors in a recurrent manner as a reaction to unpleasant moods (e.g. anxiety, depression, distress); gravitating toward sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors in a recurrent manner as a reaction to developments causing stress. Making recurrent unsuccessful attempts or efforts to control or substantially decrease these sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors, and gravitating toward sexual behaviors in a recurrent manner by ignoring the risk of oneself or others getting physically or emotionally damaged are defined as “hypersexual disorders”. It is estimated that 3 to 10% of adults are affected by this condition.
Causes of Hypersexuality
The causes of hypersexual behaviors have not been fully comprehended. Some children or adolescents may show developmentally-inappropriate sexual behaviors that increase due to traumatic experiences, stress factors or mental diseases. Some researchers consider sex addiction a problem of regulating the behaviors, while some deem this behavior to be a higher sexual urge or an urge control problem. Studies show that the reasons of this condition can be complicated. Both psychological and physiological factors can be the etiology. It was found that factors that may cause behavioral disorders, such as frontal and temporal lobe dysfunctions, head traumas and stroke, could be associated with hypersexuality. When the personality traits of the patients are analyzed, impulsiveness, anxiety disorder, lack of self-discipline and emotional irregularities stand out.
Treatment of Hypersexuality
Treatment of hypersexuality can include the following:
- Psychotherapy: rehabilitating the relationships, coping with stress, determining triggers for sexual thoughts or compulsive sexual behaviors, finding less destructive behaviors. It is known that cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, couples therapy and neurofeedback are particularly effective.
- It can be helpful to decrease impulsive behaviors through pharmacological treatment. Moreover, regulating the levels of testosterone and estrogen can help regulate hypersexual behaviors.
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