Sexual addiction, also known as nymphomania in females and satyriasis in men, is a disease that is a slowly, but surely, growing epidemic in western society. Given the varied methods that have been used to determine what accounts for sexual addiction, precise statistics as to its level of prevalence are difficult to determine. Nonetheless, it is estimated that between three percent and six percent of people suffer from some form of sex addiction, and two thirds of those are men. It affects people of all races, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual persuasions and religions.
Some psychiatrists and sex therapists argue that there are a number of factors that can result in a person devolving into a cycle of sexual obsession and dysfunction. A traumatic childhood, excessive drug use and social insecurity are just a few examples. Some sexologists and other sex experts argue that a person’s genetic composition can be a factor in their sexual addiction. To be blunt, being a sexaholic can be in a person’s DNA. Regardless, for its victims, it can result in a traumatic life of risk and frustration.
The fact is that sex addicts often get a sense of euphoria that goes beyond the average person who has a normal or healthy sexual appetite. For addicts, the sexual experience is not about intimacy. On the contrary, they (addicts) use sexual activity to seek pleasure, avoid unpleasant situations, suppress feelings or respond to external pressures such as work difficulties or interpersonal problems. Similar to those who suffer from alcoholism, the pleasure gained from such brief experiences soon evaporates, and, in a number of cases, feelings of depression and guilt can set in. Unfortunately, the cycle of denial often repeats itself again.
A number of celebrities and politicians such as Michael Douglas, Kanye West, Tiger Woods, Tom Sizemore, Charlie Sheen, David Duchovny, Eric Benet and Russell Brand are just a few prominent public figures who have been linked to the disorder. It is interesting to note that all these names are male.
There is no doubt that, in our age of deadly sexually transmitted diseases, sexual addiction is a form of dysfunction that can potentially destroy a person physically, psychologically and mentally. The devastation it causes to families is just as palpable as that created by drugs, alcohol and gambling.
Sex addiction can have a particularly personal impact on those close to the addict, such as the partner or wife. While sexual addiction shares some features with substance addiction, the person is addicted to an activity, not a substance.
Sexual addiction has not been fully established as a medical condition, although it can adversely affect families, relationships, and lives. One difficulty with identifying sexual addiction is that people have different levels of sex drive, or libido. One person may consider their partner a “sex addict” only because they have a higher sex drive.