Hypersexuality describes human sexual behavior
at levels high enough to be considered clinically significant.
Nymphomania was believed to be a psychological
disorder peculiar to
females and characterized by an overactive
libido and an obsession with
sex. In males
the "disorder" was called satyriasis (for etymology of the words, see
nymph and satyr).
"Nymphomania" and "satyriasis" are no longer listed as specific disorders in the
The threshold for what constitutes hypersexuality is subject to debate, and critics question if a standardized diagnostic threshold even exists. Sex drive varies widely in humans, and what one person would consider a "normal" sex drive might be considered excessive by some, and low by others. The consensus among those who consider this a disorder is that the threshold is met when the behavior causes distress or impaired social functioning.
Hypersexuality and physical conditions
Hypersexuality can be a symptom of
bipolar disorder, and is generally
associated with the manic phase of the
disease. It can result in behavior that the manic person later bitterly regrets.
Hypersexuality can also be caused by Kluver-Bucy syndrome, a neurobehavioral syndrome associated with bilateral medial temporal lobe dysfunction.
Hypersexuality has sometimes been reported following brain injuries and
diseases that cause dementia and loss of
High levels of sexual activity combined with the attributes of addictive behavior is sometimes referred to as "sex addiction," or an uncontrollable compulsion to repeat a sexual behavior regardless of its negative consequences. Sex addiction can include any type of sexual behavior, including sex with others, sex with oneself (masturbation), or sex involving pornography or non-human objects. Some definitions of sex addiction include thoughts and fantasies as well as behaviors.
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