CausesBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Although the causes of compulsive sexual behavior are unclear, they may include:
Sept. 13, 2014
- An imbalance of natural brain chemicals. Certain chemicals in your brain (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine help regulate your mood. High levels may be related to compulsive sexual behavior.
- Conditions that affect the brain. Certain diseases or health problems may cause damage to parts of the brain that affect sexual behavior. Epilepsy, Huntington's disease and dementia have all been associated with compulsive sexual behavior. In addition, treatment of Parkinson's disease with some dopamine agonist medications may cause compulsive sexual behavior.
- Changes in brain pathways. Compulsive sexual behavior may be an addiction that, over time, might cause changes in the brain's neural circuits — the network of nerves that allows brain cells to communicate with one another. These changes may cause pleasant reactions by engaging in sexual behavior and unpleasant reactions when the behavior is stopped.
- Reid RC, et al. Re: Report of findings in a DSM-5 field trial for hypersexual disorder. European Urology. 2013;64:685.
- Leeman RF, et al. A targeted review of the neurobiology and genetics of behavioral addictions: An emerging area of research. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2013;58:260.
- Reid RC, et al. Report of findings in the DSM-5 field trial for hypersexual disorder. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2012;9:2868.
- Dawson GN, et al. Evaluating and treating sexual addiction. American Family Physician. 2012;86:73.
- Karim R, et al. Behavioral addictions: An overview. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 2012;44:5.
- Estellon V, et al. Sexual addiction: Insights from psychoanalysis and functional neuroimaging. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology. 2012;2:1.
- Garcia FD, et al. Sexual addictions. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 2013;36:254.
- Kaplan MS, et al. Diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of hypersexuality. Journal of Sex Research. 2010;47:181.
- Paraphilic disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed July 26, 2014.
- Rosenberg KP, et al. Evaluation and treatment of sex addiction. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 2014;7:77.
- Reininghaus E, et al. Sexual behavior, body image, and partnership in chronic illness: A comparison of Huntington's disease and multiple sclerosis. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 2012;200:716.
- Bianchi-Demicheli F, et al. "Sleeping Beauty paraphilia": Deviant desire in the context of bodily self-image disturbance in a patient with fronto-parietal traumatic brain injury. Medical Science Monitor. 2010;16:15.
- Rullo J (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 12, 2014.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 14, 2014.