Hypersexuality can be defined as an obsession with sexual thoughts or urges that may cause a significant amount of distress within the individual experiencing it. Just like with typical obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD and hypersexuality is intertwined with painful, reoccurring obsessions and embarrassing compulsions.

There is no clear-cut link as to why some people are obsessed with washing and cleaning while the other person is obsessed with sex or pornography. Though, there may be some indication as to why some people wash while others hoard, the reasons behind such behaviors are not as black and white as we may like them to be. Nevertheless, there have been many scientific studies that have looked at the connection between sex and obsessiveness or compulsiveness. [1, 2, 3, 4]

Causes of OCD and hypersexuality

It should be noted here that just because someone has obsessive-compulsive disorder doesn’t mean that they will experience any type of hypersexuality throughout there life. The same is said for the individual who is hypersexual. Just because someone is hypersexual doesn’t also mean that they must then suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder as well. OCD and hypersexuality are not interchangeable terms.



There is no definitive cause of this condition. However, genetics and one’s environment do play a very significant role in the development of OCD and hypersexuality. As far as genetics go, we must look at the prevalence of whether or not a family history of this illness exists, as well as if the individual has a predisposition for developing mental illness in the first place.

Another potential cause for OCD and hypersexuality may be as a result of sexual abuse experienced early in one’s life. This is not to say that this is an obvious cause of OCD and hypersexuality. It is merely a possibility. Another possible cause of OCD and hypersexuality may simply be someone who greatly enjoys sex, yet also suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. Thus, the symptom of hypersexuality may naturally manifest.

Symptoms of OCD and hypersexuality

The symptoms that are experienced as a result of OCD and hypersexuality are typically full of impulsiveness and embarrassment. Someone who is hypersexual may feel extremely strong urges to flirt with someone they know is married, to cheat on their significant other, to engage in unprotected sex, to force themselves on others, etc.

There are a lot of nuances with the many diverse symptoms of OCD and hypersexuality. Everyone’s obsessions and compulsions will nonetheless be different and may have their own personal spin on it. Below, the symptoms of OCD and hypersexuality will be categorized by either being obsessions or compulsions.

Obsessions

  • Unwanted sexual thoughts
  • Unable to stop ruminating over sex
  • Fantasies of cheating on your significant other
  • Reoccurring inappropriate sexual thoughts
  • Constantly thinking about your sex life

Compulsions

  • Frequently watching pornography
  • Excessive masturbation
  • Excessive phone sex or sex with escorts
  • Frequent unprotected sex
  • Frequent one-night stands

Diagnostic criteria of OCD and hypersexuality

The diagnostic criteria for OCD and hypersexuality is similar for someone suffering from traditional obsessive compulsive disorder. First, you would want to seek out a psychiatrist so that you can get a proper diagnosis. To get diagnosed with OCD and hypersexuality, you will need to have endured some of the trademark symptoms of this illness for a significant amount of time.

Not only is this important for diagnosing OCD and hypersexuality, but the individual also has to experience a great deal of distress from these symptoms. Essentially, their symptoms need to negatively affect the individual’s day to day life. This is typically how OCD and hypersexuality, as well as most mental disorders get diagnosed.

Treatment for OCD and hypersexuality

Treatments for those suffering from OCD and hypersexuality typically include therapy and sometimes medication. The need for medication will depend greatly on whether or not therapy alone is enough to help subside the symptoms of this mental illness, as well as the severity of the individual’s symptoms. Some medications that may be prescribed for individuals experiencing this disorder are Paxil, Luvox, Zoloft, and other similar drugs. Typically, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) are the drugs of choice when treating someone with OCD and hypersexuality and hypersexuality.



A very effective type of therapy treatment that can help give relief to those inflicted with obsessive thoughts about sex is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT therapy helps the individual to understand the faulty wiring in their thinking. It may first begin with teaching the individual that it is “not them”, it’s “their OCD” that is causing the intrusive and unwanted thoughts about sex. This helps to let the person suffering from these symptoms realize that they are not crazy. They are simply experiencing what they are experiencing due to a chemical imbalance in their brains.

Also, depending on the type of symptoms that someone with this mental illness may be experiencing, it may be more appropriate for them to seek out treatment from a sex therapist instead of a traditional therapist. Irregardless of this, therapy with the combination of medication can definitely help the individual with their symptoms to give them much more control over their unwanted thoughts and urges.


References

1) “Two Cases of Hypersexuality Probably Associated with Aripiprazole.” NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3687056/
2) “Understanding and Managing Compulsive Sexual Behaviors.” NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945841/
3) “Pramipexole and Compulsive Masturbation.” NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2880944/
4) “Science supports sex addiction as a legitimate disorder.” UCLA Newsroom. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/how-to-prove-a-sexual-addiction-239783