There are many terms for people with sexual urges that may seem excessive or uncontrollable. Those terms include hypersexuality, hypersexual disorder, compulsive sexual behavior, nymphomania (women), satyriasis (men), and sex addiction.
What level of sex is more than usual or what to call people who believe they are unable to control their sexual urges and desires has not been definitively resolved by the organizations responsible for defining mental and health disorders.
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) puts “Excessive sexual drive, Nymphomania, Satyriasis” under Sexual Dysfunction “(or sexual malfunction or sexual disorder).”
Even if a person thinks they can’t control their sexual urges or if they think they are addicted to sex, non-consensual sex and harassment are still crimes.
The sourced articles below should provide more information on sex addiction.
- Prevalence Of Distress Associated With Difficulty Controlling Sexual Urges, Feelings, And Behaviors In The United States
“This study was the first we know of to document the US national prevalence of distress associated with difficulty controlling one’s sexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors—the key feature of CSBD. The high prevalence of this sexual symptom has major public health relevance as a sociocultural problem and indicates a significant clinical problem that warrants attention from health care professionals. Moreover, gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and income differences suggest potential health disparities, point to the salience of sociocultural context of CSBD, and argue for a treatment approach that accounts for minority health, gender ideology, and sociocultural norms and values surrounding sexuality and gender. Health care professionals should be alert to the high number of people who are distressed about their sexual behavior, carefully assess the nature of the problem, and find appropriate treatments for both men and women.”
Janna A. Dickenson, Neil Gleason, and Eli Coleman, jamanetwork.com, 11/9/2018
- Is Sex Addiction Real? Depends On Whom You Ask
“From Anthony Weiner to Tiger Woods, there’s no shortage of so-called sex addicts these days. But is sex addiction a real condition?”
Ian Kerner, cnn.com, 3/13/2018
- Hypersexuality (Sex Addiction)
“Hypersexual disorder is a proposed diagnosis for people who have an ‘excessive’ amount of sex and feel distress as a result. There is debate, however, over whether sex addiction exists in the same way as other addictions.”
Online Resource, psychologytoday.com, last reviewed 3/6/2018
- Sex Addiction 101
“Sexual addiction involves an ongoing preoccupation and/or obsession with sexual fantasies and behavior. For sex addicts, sex becomes a primary focus in their lives.”
Online Resource, addiction.com, accessed on 3/1/2018; (Broken link removed 2/2023)
- Sex Cases Put Spotlight On Sex Addiction, But Is It Real?
“A tide of high-profile sexual misconduct accusations against celebrities, politicians and media members has raised these questions — and sowed confusion. Sex addiction is not an officially recognized psychiatric diagnosis, though even those who doubt it’s a true addiction acknowledge that compulsive sexual behavior can upend lives.”
Lindsey Tanner, apnews.com, 12/3/2017
- Does Rehab For Sex Addiction Really Work?
“But what is sex addiction, and is the term even relevant to these men’s alleged predatory behavior? We asked experts to weigh in on the controversial topic.”
Kara Warner, people.com, 11/22/2017
- The Lucrative, But Dubious, Business Of Treating Sex Addiction
“To the last point, there is debate over whether the condition qualifies as an addiction. No reference to sex addiction or compulsive sexual behavior appears in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), considered the definitive guide to mental health disorders.”
Online Resource, cbsnews.com, last updated 10/31/2017
- Internet Has Put A Spotlight On Sex Addiction
“As many as 12 million Americans suffer from sex addiction, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Lennon and a growing number of sex-addiction therapists argue it is a highly treatable disease that affects the brain in ways similar to drug or alcohol addiction, etching in neural pathways a powerful drive for pleasure and an increasingly compromised ability to exert control.”
Lynn Thompson, chicagotribune.com, 8/2/2017
- Insatiable: The Real Lives Of Sex Addicts
“… But unlike other addictions, this one isn’t officially recognized. There’s no health coverage for it, no medication, and for those trapped in its strange and unrelenting spell, no easy way out.”
Nathaniel Penn, gq.com, 4/21/2015
- Is Sex Addiction Real Or Just An Excuse?
“A new study suggests that there’s no such thing as a clinical addiction to sex.”
Jillian Keenan, slate.com, 7/24/2013