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Are you concerned about someone you know, even a current partner, who has had numerous sexual relationships in the past, but never seems happy or fulfilled? Yet they continue with their high rate of sexual activity, and you wonder if they are depressed or have an actual sexual disorder...even addiction?
Whereas some individuals may brag about number of sexual partners they've had, others are experiencing a troublesome condition known as “hypersexuality” that has plagued them with problematic relationships, poor health and overall dissatisfaction with life in general. Hypersexuality is defined as engaging in “high rates of sexual behavior”, and “although clinical studies have found an association between high rates of sexual behavior and a variety of mental and physical problems, there is less agreement on whether excessive sexual behavior should be a distinct disorder." (Source: 2006. Archives of Sexual Behavior).
How would you know if a potential dating partner has, or has a tendency towards, hypersexuality?
The 2006 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found some correlates, or associations, among persons considered to have hypersexuality:
Hypersexuality in Women:
- Early onset of intercourse, relationship instability, diverse sexual experiences including same-sex sexual partners, paraphilic interests (exhibitionism, voyeurism, masochism/sadism), and were more likely to have had an STD.
- No difference based on sexual orientation.
- Engaged in risky behaviors including tobacco smoking, substance abuse.
- Increase in psychiatric co-morbidity.
- History of sexual abuse for women.
- Dissatisfaction with psychological health and with life in general.
Please note: the criteria provided are not predictors or causes; they are not necessarily "red flags" that a person is destined to have a sexual health problem. This list should be used to more fully understand sexual disorders, in hopes that individuals can seek treatment to improve their overall quality of life and health outcomes.