A lot is written and discussed about medical issues which hamper sexual activity, particularly impotence and a low sex drive. Billions of research dollars were invested into discovering a cure for erectile dysfunction before Viagra became a pop culture icon upon its release in 1998.
On the other hand, an excessive desire for sexual activity is hardly discussed. As an indication, ‘erectile dysfunction’ returns over 17 million results on Google, but ‘hypersexuality’ returns about half a million - just 3% of the earlier figure.
Hypersexuality, along with its female-specific counterpart, nymphomania, refers to an excessive or uncontrollable urge to engage in sexual activity. The study of its kind conducted in Germany in 2014 and published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine focused on college-aged women. According to the results, 3% of respondents showed symptoms of hypersexuality.
Of note was the revelation that of these hypersexual women, the majority were bisexual. On the other hand, the research noted that male hypersexuals tend to be heterosexual.
Celebrities like Tiger Woods and Michael Douglas have used the condition to explain away infidelity, a fact which has actually done more damage to sufferers of the condition - the common public perception is that individuals use it as an excuse when they are caught being unfaithful.
The truth is that the brain activity of a sex addict has been shown to be remarkably similar to that of a drug addict. Most importantly, it showed that whereas portions of the brain showed extreme levels of sexual desire when exposed to pornographic videos, the individuals themselves did not particularly enjoy the act of watching them. This coincides perfectly with the reactions of drug addicts exposed to drug stimuli.
The reasons for developing hypersexuality disorder are not quite clear. A study shows that a significant percentage of sufferers experienced some form of abuse as children. It also seemed to indicate that those with addictive personalities are as likely to develop an unhealthy interest in sex as they are to be drawn to similarly uncontrollable urges like substance abuse, kleptomania and gambling.
Nothing like the billions of dollars expended on erectile dysfunction research will ever be invested in studing hypersexuality. Still, organizations exist that are committed to help hypersexual individuals combat their addictions and reclaim their lives from the specter of uncontrollable sexual desire.
The Sexual Recovery Institute cites the research of Juliana Breines Ph.D. to show that self-forgiveness is a simple yet indispensable part of the solution hypersexuals can apply to start the road to recovery on their own.