Sex addiction is a mental illness

Nymphomania - the sex addiction

What is nyphomania?

In everyday life, nymphomania is equated with unbridled sexual desire. Women with excessive sex drive are commonly referred to as nymphomaniacs. In men, this is referred to as a Don Juan complex or satyriasis. The word "mania" indicates, however, that those affected are subject to compulsive behavior. Whereby mania is medically defined as a severe form of psychosis. The few available figures suggest the following distribution among those affected: 70 to 80 percent men and 20 to 30 percent women. The golfer Tiger Woods, who has successfully completed therapy, is often cited as a prominent example of a man who is addicted to sex.

Women who fall within the definition of nymphomania are constantly on the lookout for sexual satisfaction. At the same time, however, they are usually not able to experience a climax. Often they cannot build an inner bond with the respective partner. They are forced to look for new men over and over again, driven by the hope of sexual fulfillment.

How common is "nymphomania"?

The "real" nymphomania is very rare. Often girls or women who live out their sexuality openly, do not hide their desires and take the initiative in choosing a partner are incorrectly described as nymphomaniac, love-mad or crazy about men. In the 19th century, for example, any woman who had sexual intercourse outside of marriage or who masturbated was accused of nymphomania.

Although moral concepts have changed significantly since then, even today girls and women who want to have sexual experiences are sometimes referred to as nymphomaniacs, sluts and whores or given other discriminatory expressions. In this regard, double standards are still being measured. Because a man who gains experience with the female gender is more likely to meet with recognition than criticism. One understands that "horns have to be pushed off". Not least because of the misuse of the term nymphomania, this prejudiced term should be avoided as much as possible. The "politically correct" expression for this clinical picture is "sex addiction".

When are you addicted to sex?

One speaks of sex addiction when there is an excessively increased sex drive. In this context, the definition of "increased" is difficult. Girls and women who have frequent sexual contact and orgasm in the process are completely healthy and certainly not sex addicts. Sexuality plays an important role for these women, but it does not exclusively determine their lives. The desire for sexual get-togethers is usually very pronounced, especially in new relationships. However, this completely normal behavior definitely has nothing to do with sex addiction.

If, on the other hand, the sex life is not perceived as satisfactory and if the thought manifests itself in the woman that this is exclusively the fault of the partner, there is the possibility that the search for the right man and the urge for sexual satisfaction - which is usually not achieved - that determine further lives.

What are the causes of sex addiction?

In the past, nymphomania was viewed as an organic disease and treated accordingly - for example by placing ice packs on the genitals, applying leeches or, in the worst case, removing the clitoris or ovaries.

There is no such thing as "one" cause for sex addiction. As with other addictions, many influences come into play. These lie in the emotional, sociocultural area, just as in childhood, in personality and disposition. Inner conflicts, feelings of inferiority, disturbed emotional relationships, and the compulsive search for closeness can all promote sex addiction.

Sex addiction begins insidiously - as does alcohol, drug or gambling addiction. The addictive behavior increases slowly, whereby personal freedom is increasingly restricted. If the sex addiction persists over a longer period of time, it can lead to health problems and personality changes. The demands of normal everyday life can usually no longer be met. In spite of the numerous sexual contacts, one's own isolation remains and the pressure of suffering arises. In order to break out of this vicious circle, professional help from psychotherapists is essential in most cases. It should also not be neglected that the risk of transmission of infections increases with frequently changing sexual partners.

Therapy for sex addiction

If there is any doubt as to whether there is a sex addiction, the first step is to seek psychotherapeutic advice. This is true in any case when there is an obsessive, life-defining desire for sex and an inability to form emotional bonds. The transfer to competent hands is unfortunately still a bit difficult at the moment, as the number of specially trained doctors or therapists who are experienced in this area still leaves something to be desired.

There is a consensus among therapists of sex addicts that successful treatment must be carried out over several years and include intensive psychotherapy. Central topics are sexual life and family history, approaching possible abuse, developing the role of the addictive substance sex, enduring and accepting feelings, gaining positive self-awareness and self-esteem. The point is that the person affected can find a relationship with themselves again and, based on this, live better, healthier relationships with others again.

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