Compulsive sexual behaviours

What is Compulsive Sexual Behaviour?

Compulsive sexual behaviour is defined by an intense urge or desire to engage in various kinds of sexual activity. The terms “sex addiction” and “hypersexuality” are often used interchangeably with Compulsive sexual behaviour disorder. While sexual desire and activity are part of human nature, it can become problematic when the behaviour results in adverse consequences or is used as an escape mechanism.

Sexual thoughts, urges, or behaviours can have negative consequences when a person is preoccupied with them, and they begin to take up more space in their minds and lives.

Fantasies and urges may feel intrusive, intense, and challenging to change or manage. These compulsions or actions can significantly affect a person’s quality of life and create problems at home, work, school, and relationships.

Additionally, a person with hypersexuality disorder may experience emotional distress, find themselves in financial or legal trouble, or need evaluation or treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


More research is needed on the cause of hypersexuality. However, a review of the literature on hypersexual behaviour has identified several factors that may lead to hypersexual behaviour, including:

Medication side effects

Medical conditions

Disruption or imbalance in neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) like dopamine

Presents as a symptom or a means of coping with trauma

Individuals with easy access to sexual content or material may have a higher risk of developing compulsive sexual behaviour. Additionally, mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or addiction may also be risk factors.

Psychodynamic therapy may help clients identify triggers and examine feelings of guilt, shame, and self-esteem that may contribute to hypersexuality.

In Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), clients learn to recognize unhealthy beliefs about themselves and their sexual behaviour, develop tools to manage complex thoughts and emotions, and sustain healthy behaviours.

Learning to cope with hypersexuality and its impact on your life is essential to recovery.