When it comes to sex – like alcohol, chocolate or shoes – some people just can't get enough. But how much is too much? What's enough? And is there such a thing as 'normal'?
Many years ago, a woman whose sex drive was obsessively high was labeled with the pejorative term nymphomaniac and considered a social misfit. (She was also considered an excellent choice for a Saturday night date.) Sartyriasis is the term applied to men with the same condition, though male hypersexuality has never carried the same social stigma as its female counterpart.
In a relationship, when one partner's sexual appetite far exceeds that of his partner's, hypersexuality can be a serious problem. The less enthusiastic partner can feel pressured and inadequate, or she may become suspicious that her mate is finding satisfaction elsewhere, causing a strain and trust issues in the relationship.
And what about the other end of the spectrum: frigidity? This condition can be just as damaging to a couple's relationship as sexual addiction. A frustrated partner can easily feel rejected and undesirable, ultimately seeking sex and emotional validation outside of the relationship.
To get some clarity on the issue, Minerva spoke with sex addictions expert and Logo talk show host Dr. Christopher Donaghue. Every week on his TV series Bad Sex, Donaghue spotlights different sexual obsessions and offers advice to individuals about what to do if you’re dating a sexually troubled soul.
In this question and answer interview, Dr. Donaghue discusses the signs, ramifications and treatment of sexual addiction and frigidity:
How prevalent are sexual addictions?
Highly prevalent. Due to technology, sex is accessible in an anonymous way. The Internet promotes access to partners and prostitution, so sex can be tapped into easily. Previously, sexual liaisons took planning, but now you can seek it out without much thought.
What are the signs of sexual addiction?
People who are sexually addicted must show compulsiveness. Many people are misinformed and describe someone as sexually addicted who isn’t. Tiger Woods, for example. Had he been single, he wouldn’t have been described as a sex addict. Yes, he had no integrity, but had he been single with multiple sex partners, he would have been fine. Just because he’s married didn’t make him sexually addicted.
So what defines being sexually addicted?
People who are engaged in sexual behavior that is out of control, creating negative consequences in their social life, and making them feel shame... It’s an intimacy disorder. They’re not able to connect in a relationship or in an emotional way.