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Addicted To Love

Well, perhaps not love, but addiction to sex does seem to exist despite experts arguing whether it is an addiction or not. A concept created to provide a ‘scientific explanation for sexual urges and behaviours ‘ or extreme thoughts and feeling out of control, this addiction has existed for centuries in the form of nymphomania and the male version ‘Don Juanism.’ Also known as hyper sexuality, this addiction is often associated with low self-esteem, mental disorders and obsessive personalities.

Changes in hormones including puberty and menopause and external influences such as drugs and alcohol can change and affect social and sexual reserve. If addiction can be described as a type of behaviour which goes beyond the boundaries of social normality and reduce efficient function in everyday aspects of life, then compulsive sexual behaviour can be correctly classed as an addiction.

Celebrity Sufferers

However the experts wish to define this behaviour it is clearly a problem. Whether it falls into the category of obsessive-compulsive behaviour, a medical form of clinical addiction or a social stigma it is significant enough to create emotional distress and therefore requires professional help. Public exposure of the problem by A-list celebrities such as Michael Douglas and David Duchovny has given it a ‘PR-friendly’ label though there is scepticism in the medical profession. Some believe that celebrities have used the term as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour whilst others firmly believe sexual addiction is very real but the term can be misused.

Indicators Of Sexual Addiction

There are three indicators of sexual addiction, which identify sexual thoughts and actions as a potential problem.

  • An inability to choose whether to cease or continue the behaviour.
  • Taking the addiction too far creating a negative impact on life. Withdrawing from everyday family life to pursue sexual activity can create the risk of damaging relationships, career and finances.  A sexual addict will continue with this destructive behaviour despite the consequences.
  • Obsessive thoughts whereby an individual spends whole days consumed with sexual thoughts and fantasies. This preoccupation can cause neglect in other areas of life.


Whether sexual addiction is an excuse for ‘bad behaviour’ or a very real psychological problem, experts believe that it can be associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is a very real anxiety disorder treated with medication and behavioural therapy. It has also been associated with bipolar disorder, a manic –depressive mood disorder defined by episodes of elevated energy levels and moods followed by depressive episodes. Hospitalisation and support from mental health professionals and mood stabilizing medication form part of the treatment for sufferers of bipolar disorders.

Narcissism, also known as megalomania, is a personality disorder in which an individual is preoccupied with issues of vanity, power and prestige. Along with the elevated feeling of self-worth, individuals have a fragile self-esteem and are unable to handle criticism. Sufferers are often linked with sexual addiction, with obsessive sexual thoughts, empty affairs and frequent visits to prostitutes as an outlet for suppressed emotions.

Whether sexual addiction is just a label or a real addiction is still being debated but hyper sexuality is a very real issue and requires professional help.

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