What is Nymphomania?

Nymphomania is a condition characterized by compulsive sexual behaviors. Compulsions are defined as repeated actions that one does without deriving pleasure from them. Mostly, people with compulsive disorders can’t control their actions.

Nymphomania was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1980. A similar disorder named “Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder” was proposed for the DSM-5 but was rejected by the American Psychiatric Association. But the disorder is now included in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases 11th edition (ICD-11).

Etymology and History

The word “nymph” comes from Greek mythology and Roman traditional stories and it refers to a female goddess or spirit found in natural entities, such as a mountain, river, tree, etc. It also meant a young woman or bride and was most commonly used to refer to beautiful, powerful, sexually appealing, and mythological maidens.

nymphomania greek mythology picture

Mania, on the other hand, refers to a period of intense moods, hyperactivity, illogical euphoria, and delusions. In mania, people engage in several troublesome experiences that could be bad either for themselves or the people around them.

In the nineteenth century, the term nymphomaniac was coined to refer to women with hyperactive sexuality. Classically, the term was reserved only for women and generally for those who engaged with different partners for sexual activities. Simultaneously, the term satyriasis was coined to describe sexual hyperactivity in men.

In recent years, the word nymphomania has been used to describe sexual hyperactivity in both men and women.

Nymphomania Symptoms

Nymphomania is marked by compulsive sexual acts. It can manifest in various forms including promiscuity and indulgence in shameful acts. Obsessive-compulsive disorder seems to play a part in almost every nymphomania case. Other disorders, such as psychosis, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder also seem to be associated with nymphomania.

Some of the most common symptoms of nymphomania are outlined below. These symptoms can have varying degrees of occurrence; some can occur several times a day and some may occur only once a week or month based on the severity of the condition.

  • Occurrence of repetitive, unwanted, or uncontrolled thoughts (obsessive thoughts)
  • Indulgence in repeated, shameful, sexual acts (compulsive acts)
  • Guilt over those thoughts and actions
  • A feeling of helplessness
  • Disinhibition (in this case of moral depravity, the individual often lacks remorse)
  • Being in the habit of touching and exposing genitals in front of others
  • Compulsive need to use inappropriate, sex-laden phrases in front of others

Nymphomania Causes

Like many mental disorders, the exact cause of nymphomania remains largely undiscovered. But it’s thought that several environmental triggers can cause people with a hereditary disposition to develop nymphomania. It’s also known that certain personalities are more at risk of developing the condition. Certain other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, also accompany the condition. In my opinion, nymphomania is genetic because certain stereotypes are more likely to develop it.

An imbalance in the concentration of some neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, can also lead one to become a nymphomaniac. Imbalanced sex hormones, such as androgen and estrogen, can also cause nymphomania.

Childhood sexual abuse is also thought to cause nymphomania, especially in people prone to developing psychosis.

People with nymphomania often suffer from mental distortion but you should that correlation is not causation.

In the following, I have outlined some of the most important risk factors for nymphomania.

  • Childhood abuse
  • Family history of mental disorders
  • Homosexual or bisexual orientation
  • Pedophilia
  • Exhibitionism 
  • A personal history of traumatic events
  • Post-traumatic stress due to a past or recent traumatic life event
  • Stress in life
  • Suffering from psychosis, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder

Nymphomania Treatment

Currently, there is no single successful treatment for nymphomania. But one or two of the following possible treatments could help.

  • Psychotherapy or talk therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy to understand the cause and deal with triggers (it’s a part of psychotherapy)
  • Drugs such as antianxiety, antidepressants, and antipsychotic drugs as well as medications for BD and BPD.
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

Psychologist

High Ranker is a self-taught psychologist and a freelance writer. He graduated in botany and likes to describe himself as a nature lover. He spends most of his time exploring different subjects and navigating existing academic research. He has a profound interest in health sciences and issues related to scientific research. When he's not writing something, you can find him talking to random people, reading a book, or gardening at home.

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