Hypersexual disorder is a proposed diagnosis for people who engage in sex or think about sex through fantasies and urges more than normal. These individuals may engage in activities such as porn, masturbation, sex for pay, and multiple partners, among others. As a result, these people may feel distress in areas of life including work and relationships.
The existence of "sex addiction" is under heated debate. However, in a controversial decision, compulsive sexual behavior disorder was added to the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases. Some researchers see this tendency as a problem of regulating behavior, while other experts wonder whether this behavior derives from a higher sex drive or if it stems from impulse control problems. Because of such disagreement over the validity of this behavior, the number of those affected is also under scrutiny—some say it is 3 percent to 10 percent of adults.
Other experts believe that the real causes of the behavior include emotional states, namely anxiety, depression, or relationship conflict. For some individuals, shame and morality may also be involved. Whether the condition exists or not, psychotherapy may be useful for individuals seeking to regulate emotions and gain insight into their sexuality.
Hypersexuality is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. It was previously listed in the DSM-4 as a Sexual Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified with the definition "distress about a pattern of repeated sexual relationships involving a succession of lovers who are experienced by the individual only as things to be used."
The 2010 proposal for the addition of hypersexual disorder into the DSM-5 included the criteria of uncontrollable sexual behavior. Supporters of the behavior's inclusion argued that people who engage in this excessiveness suffer from great distress. In the proposed criteria, hypersexual disorder was conceived as a nonparaphilic sexual desire disorder with an impulsivity component.
The proposed diagnosis was not added to the DSM-5. Experts note that there isn’t enough empirical evidence to support the diagnosis. Many do not view it as an addiction and believe it has no similarities to other addictions.