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Satiriasis or male sex addiction

Satiriasis or male sex addiction

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We can define satiriasis as sex addiction or male hypersexuality. In its feminine version it is known as nymphomania. It is a clearly compulsive behavior in which there remains an overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction in the subject.


  • 1 Definition
  • 2 From orgasm to dissatisfaction
  • 3 Etiology
  • 4 Satiriasis and nymphomania
  • 5 Treatment and perspectives


Sex addiction involves the development of unstoppable sexual behaviors used to produce self-gratification.

These are stereotyped behaviors that are beyond the control of the individual, that interfere with their daily life and cannot stop practicing despite the negative aspects involved. It also includes recurring sexual behaviors, thoughts and fantasies, and an urgency to carry out sexual behaviors. The Professor of Clinical Psychology and expert in the study of addictions Enrique Echeburúa insists that the “sex addict is like an alcoholic who is characterized by a hypersexuality that, when not satiated, is permanently present in the subject, which completely dispenses with the tenderness in the intimate relationship and that manifests a loss of control ”.

From orgasm to dissatisfaction

In people with sex addiction, this becomes a remedy to reduce emotional distress, sexual activity becomes morbid and obsessive. Sex is used as a coping strategy for psychological distress.

This addiction can manifest itself in multiple ways: from masturbation compulsive, brief promiscuous relationships with multiple heterosexual or homosexual couples, sexual encounters with unknown persons or the usual frequency of brothels, until the use of pornography (cybersex or hotlines)

The affected person lose several hours every day in pursuit of the sexual goal. Orgasm generates dissatisfaction and this, in turn, the compulsive pursuit of pleasure. Finally, this person will face negative consequences such as loss of partner, risk of sexually transmitted diseases, legal problems and comorbid mental disorders (depression or suicide attempts)All this associated with an alteration of general health care and a detriment in their social, academic, family or work performance


The causes of this disorder are not completely defined. Some people with sex addiction present history of child sexual abuse and complicated childhoods. However, in other people it is the failure of an emotional relationship that acts as a trigger. Among the risk factors are low self-esteem, dissatisfaction with self-image, sexual dysfunctions or alterations or having unsatisfactory relationships.

Defining sex addiction is a problem as there is no general consensus in the scientific community about what it is and consequently how it should be treated. It has not been included in the DSM-V or ICD10 mental illness catalogs as it is not considered an addiction. Even so, the presence of people with sex addiction in clinical practice and the suffering it generates for these people has led many professionals (doctors, psychologists and sexologists) to investigate the issue.

Satiriasis and Nymphomania

Since the 19th century, many researchers of human sexology have described multiple sexual behaviors with innumerable examples of men (and women) whose sexual appetite was excessive and misfit.

The clinical examples described by these researchers were the precursors of Don Juanismo or satiriasis in men and nymphomania in women. In the case of men, experts point out that in our culture this type of addictive behavior, since many times a man is allowed a certain addiction to sex because he considers it “typical of his gender”.

In 2010, the American psychiatrist Martin Paul Kafka proposed the diagnostic criteria of a new clinical entity (hypersexuality disorder), with some defining characteristics of addictive behaviors, which has reassessed the possible existence of an addiction to sex.

Although his proposal was not finally incorporated into the DSM-5, as previously mentioned, it has served as the basis for various investigations and is used by psychiatrists and sexologists in their daily treatment with patients.

Sex addiction is more frequent in men than in women. From several investigations, only in North America, it is estimated that there is an incidence of between 3 percent and 6 percent of the population that suffers in some of its forms (compulsive masturbation, multiple extramarital affair, excessive use of pornography)

The Internet seems to have facilitated the incidence of cases. It's not just about pornography websites, but it facilitates encounters with unknown people.

Treatment and perspectives

Currently, treatment strategies for people with sex addiction include cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, 12-step program and problem-based therapy. The use of drugs is also common. Of course, the therapist will develop active listening and avoid falling into discussions about morality.

Finally, more research is needed. After all, it is desirable that the patient establishes a balance between their sexual behaviors and their context, so that a full, responsible sexuality and, above all, healthy for themselves and others can be restored


  • Echeburúa, E. (1999). Addictions ... no drugs? New addictions (game, sex, food, shopping, work, Internet). Bilbao: Descée de Brouwer.
  • Echeburúa, E. (2012). Is There Really Sex Addiction? Addictions, 24 (4), 281-285. //
  • Kafka, M. P. (2010). Hypersexual disorder: A proposed diagnosis for DSM-V. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39 (2), 377-400. //