What is Nymphonania?

Nymphomania is a female-specific term sometimes used to describe the unofficial mental disorder known by names that include compulsive sexual behavior, hypersexuality and sexual addiction. The male-specific term for the same condition is satyriasis. Reference to a woman as a "nymphomaniac" or "nympho" has a negative connotation linked historically to attempts to control female sexual desire and women’s roles in society. In modern times, people still sometimes use these terms for more or less the same purposes. However, in reality, while women do develop sexual addictions, the problem appears more frequently in men.

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When is a Sex Addiction Real?

Some people cheat, juggle many lovers, have multiple relations and watch porn. Could it be just your desire for different appetites or are you a sexual addict? A sex addiction is defined as the inability to cease sexual behaviors even when it damages your life, according to a recent news article.

The number of therapists for sexual addictions has risen worldwide in the past five years from 400 to over 1,000 according to the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals.

IITAP Vice President Tami VerHelst says debate is flaring up over whether compulsive sexual behaviors are really a disorder in themselves or not. Perhaps they are just the result of bad decision making. Hypersexual disorder is being talked about for inclusion in the DSM-V addition to be published in 2013.

Rory Reid, a clinical psychologist and principal investigator says the term addiction is overused for anything that is pleasurable and he thinks the label lacks any empirical evidence from genetics, neuroimaging or studies that assess patterns of tolerance and withdrawal.

The DSM-IV currently has an entry titled "sexual disorder not otherwise specified" and is defined as distress about constant sexual relationships with a string of lovers that exist just to be used. Reid feels the description is limiting and vague.

An adult needs to meet the following four out of five criteria in order to be diagnosed with hypersexual disorder:

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Should Sexual Addiction Become a Legitimate Diagnosis?

By Robert Weiss, MSW, CSAT

Is Sex Addiction Real?

There will always be controversy – as there should be – when any form of inherently healthy human behavior such as eating, sleeping, or sex is clinically designated as pathological. And while the power to “label” must always be carefully wielded to avoid turning social, religious, or moral judgments into diagnoses (as was homosexuality in the DSM-I and DSM-II), equal care must be taken to not avoid researching and creating diagnostic criteria for healthy behaviors when they go awry due to underlying psychological deficits and trauma.

Pre-Internet sexual addiction research in the 1980s suggested that approximately 3 to 5 percent of the adult population struggled with some form of addictive sexual behavior. Those studied were a self-selected treatment group, mostly male, who complained of being “hooked” on magazine and video porn, multiple affairs, prostitution, old-fashioned phone sex, and similar behaviors.

Read Should Sexual Addiction Become A Legitimate Mental Health Diagnosis? on Psych Central.

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