Desire Discrepancy and Hypersexuality
In almost all couples, one member of the couple has a higher sex drive than the other. This is because it’s very unusual to have two people with sexual desires that always coincide. This ‘desire discrepancy’ is usually not too much of a problem; sexual desire usually coincides often enough to maintain a satisfactory sex life for both members. However, what happens when one person has a high sex drive and their partner doesn’t? What’s the answer to those wondering ‘am I oversexed?’. It can also help to understand the term hypersexuality.
Hypersexuality – ‘am I oversexed?’
The term ‘hypersexuality’ is often used to describe a sex drive that is higher than average. However,the same term has been applied to people with sexual urges that seem out of control and the unwelcome and sometimes destructive consequences that come from these behaviours (Steele et al. 2013). This dual meaning leads to problems about what we’re actually talking about.
Although the term is used a lot, there is actually no medical definition of hypersexuality. Instead, we often fall back on a simple but inaccurate measurement; does a person’s sexuality seem like it’s too much, which leads to individual asking ‘am I oversexed?’
In practice, when a couple has desire discrepency, then there needs to be some adjustment. Someone needs to accept that they’re not going to always get sex when they want it The alternative – unacceptable to most – is someone putting up with sex when they really rather not.
These negotiations are very commonplace; unless the couple’s sex drive is perfectly matched, happens for all couples.
The moral position
The situation is only more complicated by people’s moral stance. This seems to ultimately be the thing that informs us about whether someone’s sexuality is too high or not – is higher than I think it should be? Like any judgments, when we come back to moral judgments like this, we lose any scientific credibility.
Finding your way through
In the end, couples need to find their own way through this. When talking about sex, an attitude of listening and mutual respect is the appropriate way to go. When we do this, it doesn’t help for one person in the couple to feel that their level of sexual desire is right and the other person is wrong.
Although couples are often comfortable getting help with other problems, when it comes to sexuality, is a lot more reticence. However, getting help from a counsellor to help sort out problems of desire discrepancy or hypersexuality can bring new life to the relationship.
I offer individual counselling and couples counselling regarding pornography use in Richmond in Sunbury. This counselling is designed to help you get clear about your level of sexual desire, and if it’s a problem or not.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Now, read about what the research shows about whether masturbation is harmful or not.
– Tim Hill
Braun-Harvey, D., & Vigorito, M. A. (2015). Treating out of control sexual behavior: Rethinking sex addiction (1 edition). New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Steele, V. R., Staley, C., Fong, T., & Prause, N. (2013). Sexual desire, not hypersexuality, is related to neurophysiological responses elicited by sexual images. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 3(1), 20770. https://doi.org/10.3402/snp.v3i0.20770
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