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Do You Have Hypersexual Disorder?

When the nation's manual on disorders and diseases is updated next May for the first time in 13 years, a new class of people may be diagnosed with having hypersexual disorder, or HD.

What’s the Latest Development?

No, you don’t. But you might this May when the nation’s diagnostic manual for disorders and disease, known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, is updated for the first time in 13 years. “A patient diagnosed with HD would typically experience ‘recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior’ for at least six consecutive months. Their hypersexuality would be uncontrollable and distressing, interfering with their normal life and leading to the possibility of self-harm.” The inclusion of HD in the DSM is based on 150 (white, male) patients who sought help for their unconstrained sexual behavior. 

What’s the Big Idea?

While the diagnostic guidelines are still not complete, patients who were thought to have HD reported having an average of 15 sexual partners over a 12 month period. “About 28 percent of the patients interviewed had contracted an STI at least once. Almost 40 percent had ended a relationship over their behavior, while most said they had emotionally hurt a loved one (and for 68 percent, they had done so several times). Over half lost money, and 17 percent had lost at least one job.” While the diagnosis will help those who feel that sexual zeal is interrupting their life, we must still ask whether it is worth interrupting that life for sex.

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