Do you have a healthy sexual appetite or a problematic obsession with sex? In the past, those who had erotic cravings considered beyond the norm were diagnosed as having satyriasis. The preferred tag of late is ‘hypersexuality.’ But no matter what label you apply, being consumed with carnality is a relative condition. There are no specific tests to diagnose hypersexuality, and since sex drives can vary widely among individuals, who’s to say what is a normal sexual appetite?
Although if may be difficult to pin down and identify the hypersexual person, it is necessary to understand the condition because it can interfere with daily life. The hypersexual person has a need for some form of genital stimulation frequently enough that it becomes incapacitating in some way. He fails to achieve the long-term sexual or emotional satisfaction that ordinarily comes with a healthy sexual experience. This leads him into a vicious cycle of eroticism. The dissatisfaction fuels the need for more sexual contact more often and even leads to other physiological and neurological problems.
Hypersexuality is sometimes an unavoidable consequence of having bipolar disorder. People have been known to exhibit extreme swings in sex drive during periods of mania, which are characteristic of the disorder. There are frenzied bouts during which the person has an insatiable hunger for sex beyond what they would consider normal and other times when cravings dangle toward the frigid end of the libido scale.
There are other underlying physiological demons that sometimes plague the overly promiscuous as well. Neurological conditions such as epilepsies, Alzheimer’s disease, frontal lobe tumors and Klein-Levin syndrome can make one hypersexual. Early exposure to sexuality could also contribute to hypersexual behavior later in adult years, but research in this area has been inconclusive.
Rooting out the biological causes of hypersexuality isn’t necessarily the solution, though. Sometimes people are simply mismatched in terms of sexual appetite. Sex drive, just like any other individual interest, should always be considered when seeking a mate.
Hypersexuality is sometimes triggered by drugs like crystal methamphetamine. A first-ever study of crystal meth use among gay men in South Florida revealed that the drug may be linked to a jump in HIV/AIDS in recent years. Participants in the survey claimed the drug gave them a decrease in inhibitions and an increase in artificial feelings of intimacy. The men shared how they attended weekend-long parties where they engaged in unprotected sex with multiple partners, some of whom were anonymous internet hookups. “Anecdotally, everyone knows this is going on,” claims Kevin Garrity, executive director of the South Beach AIDS Project in Miami Beach. “This gives us the scientific proof of the hypersexuality that crystal meth can cause.”