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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Is Nymphomania the Same Thing as Sex Addiction?

Nymphomania refers to excessive sexual drive among women, while Satyriasis refers to men with the same condition. The words stem from the nymphs and satyrs of Greek mythology, and encourage an idealized image of hypersexual individuals. Nymphomania is a more popular term, most likely due to the stereotype that men already want sex all the time but that a sex-obsessed woman is a novelty.
The term is usually used in a joking way to refer to those with a high sex drive. It does not describe an actual medical condition, because there is no set standard for what is “excessive” sexual desire. Sex addiction means sex becomes a compulsive need and begins to control a person’s actions, but it does not define a universal level of “excessive” sexual desire either.

What Is Sex Addiction?

The prevalence of terms like nymphomania and casual portrayals of sex addiction in popular media have given the impression that sex addiction is not serious, but in reality it can ruin people’s lives. Sex addiction is not simply having a high sex drive. Sex becomes compulsive, and the addiction causes people to do things they normally wouldn’t such as engage in prostitution or cheat on their spouse. Sex addiction can also include an addiction to porn and masturbation.
People addicted to sex use it as a coping mechanism for depression and anxiety or to cope with negative emotions. The neurological response to sex is a surge of the feel-good brain chemicals dopamine and endorphin. People become addicted to these chemical surges. This is similar to how drug and alcohol addictions develop. People addicted to sex do not find it to be a positive or satisfying experience but merely a way to satisfy an overwhelming craving.

Causes of Sex Addiction

Sex addiction can stem from a variety of causes and often coincides with mental health issues, eating disorders or substance abuse. Many sex addicts suffered from sexual abuse or sexual assault in the past and used masturbation or intercourse as a way to avoid negative feelings about the abuse. People addicted to sex disregard qualities of a normal healthy sex life such as emotional trust, boundaries and intimacy.

Get Help for Sex Addiction or Substance Abuse

If you think you may be suffering from sex addiction, call us now. We can answer your questions about sex addiction and co-occurring drug issues or mental health concerns and help you find treatment that is right for you. Call our toll-free helpline now, as our counselors are here for you 24 hours a day.

What Is the Difference between Sex Addiction and Enjoying Sex?

 The act of sex to perpetuate the human race is an indirect survival action. As such, it awakens the pleasure receptors in the brain and is recognized as an enjoyable activity. As one becomes closer to his chosen partner and has sex with the same person many times over a long period, his brain conforms to that reward pathway and becomes habit-forming without being a true addiction. However, sex may become literally addictive. One who fears that he enjoys sex too much may begin to ask himself if he is indeed addicted to it.

Recognizing Sexual Addiction

Sexual addiction may be defined by the following qualifiers:
  1. Feeling compelled to have sex, think about sex or otherwise arouse one’s sex drive to an excessive and/or immoral degree
  2. Increasingly craving sex beyond the point satisfaction and toward compulsive habit
  3. Continuing to pursue sex despite the detrimental effect to your personal welfare, loved ones and partner(s)
  4. Being unable to form or maintain an emotional bond with a single partner, but changing frequently in pursuit of a never-realized ideal partner
  5. Experiencing escalation as the thrill of previous experiences no longer meets your desires
  6. Seeing a current partner as a disposable object that fulfill your needs rather than someone of equal value in a relationship
  7. Feeling guilty about an obsession with sex but being unable to stop
Sexual addiction is exacerbated by alcohol and drug use, so consider your drug use as you weigh the likelihood of sex addiction.

Who Is Likely to Be a Sex Addict?

Someone who was neglected or belittled in her childhood may feel unworthy of true affection or unable to contribute to a committed monogamous relationship. This means she may seek compulsive sex instead to fulfill her emotional needs, which may make her only feel worse after every episode. Sexual addiction is likely to occur in a personality already prone toward addiction, characterized by abysmal self-esteem, mental disorders and negative mindsets. These patients will embrace anything that temporarily numbs the pain, which sex can do.

Sex Addiction vs. Healthy Sex

Sexual addiction and a strong sex drive are often confused, whether jokingly or in earnest, but the difference is the amount of guilt, self-harm and inability to stop despite repercussions. Sex addicts are usually unable to bond emotionally with their partners or enjoy any kind of committed long-term relationship, while those who simply enjoy sex can appreciate both benefits. In fact, enjoyment of sex is a great asset in a relationship, but it simply needs to be kept in proportion with the rest of life’s necessities.

Professional Help for Sexual Addiction

If you fear that you or a loved one suffers from sexual addiction, there are recovery programs available that we can connect you with. Please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline and let one of our counselors discuss recovery options with you. There is hope, so don’t give up. Call us today and start getting help.