How to Live With a Nymphomaniac

Two Parts:Addressing Hypersexual DisorderLiving With Someone Who Has an Overactive Sex Drive

Nymphomania is a pop-psychology term that refers to a condition called hypersexual disorder. This condition has also been called compulsive sexual behavior, hypersexuality, or sexual addiction. There is debate in the mental health professional community about how to diagnose and treat hypersexual disorder.[1] It is also possible that your partner just has an overactive sex drive, but that can still disrupt your life. Living with someone who has hypersexual disorder or even just an overactive sex drive can be difficult, but there are ways for you to improve your situation.

Part 1
Addressing Hypersexual Disorder

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    Watch for symptoms of hypersexual disorder. Unequal sex drives between partners is a common problem in relationships, but a high sex drive does not always mean that someone has hypersexual disorder. To be diagnosed as someone with a hypersexual disorder, the person must have repeatedly experienced three or more of these criteria over a period of six months or longer:[2]
    • Not being able to complete goals, activities, or other obligations due to sexual fantasies or a preoccupation with sex.
    • Using sexual fantasies as a way to escape from a boredom, anxiety, or depression.
    • Using sexual fantasies to deal with stress.
    • Having a hard time controlling sexual urges or behaviors.
    • Harming others or putting others at risk of harm (physical or emotional) while responding to sexual urges.
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    Express your concerns. If you think that your partner is engaging in behavior consistent with hypersexual disorder, then the first thing you should do is have a conversation with your partner about your concerns. Tell your partner what you have noticed and explain why you are concerned about his or her behavior.
    • For example, you might say something like, “I am concerned about you and your recent behavior. I have noticed that you have been using sex to deal with stress. I am worried that this behavior might not be healthy.”
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    Encourage your partner to seek help. Hypersexual disorder has not been well-researched research, there are no researched treatments, and the professional community disagrees on where to draw the line between normal and abnormal sexual behavior.[3] However, there are therapists who are willing to help. If your partner is showing signs of hypersexual disorder, then advise your partner to seek help.[4] Help your partner find a therapist to begin treatment.
    • To find a psychologist near you, try this site:
    • Keep in mind that hypersexuality can also be a symptom of a different mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder. However, seeing a therapist will still be necessary to determine if this may be the cause.
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    Get help for yourself. You may also benefit from some one-on-one support from a therapist while your partner seeks help for his or her problem. This may be especially true if your partner’s behavior has made life difficult for you. For example, you may have suffered if your partner has cheated on you, spent money to feed his or her sex habit, or pressured you into sex.

Part 2
Living With Someone Who Has an Overactive Sex Drive

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    Set boundaries. If you live with someone who has an overactive sex drive, then he or she may want to have sex at odd times of the day or even multiple times of the day. It is important for you to express your feelings about this behavior and set clear boundaries about when you are willing to have sex. Keep in mind that your partner may feel rejected or think that you don’t like to have sex with him or her at all.[5] Make sure that you emphasize your attraction to your partner to minimize conflict.
    • For example, if your partner often wants to have sex in the morning when you are trying to get ready for work, explain why this is inconvenient for you. You might say something like, “I love all of the affection that you give me in the morning, but I have been late a few times because of it. I think that we need to keep these encounters to the evening when I have more time to spend with you."
    • Or, if your partner wants to have sex multiple times every day, then you might say, “I am glad that you are attracted to me. I am attracted to you too. However, my sex drive is not as high as yours, so I can’t keep having sex two or three times every day.”
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    Encourage your partner to find non-sexual outlets. People with high sex drives may benefit from incorporating vigorous exercise and other activities into their daily lives. If your partner does not exercise much or if he or she does not have any hobbies, then encourage your partner to do these things.[6]
    • For example, your partner might take up running, cycling, dancing, or swimming to provide an outlet for sexual desire and frustration. Your partner might also take up an enjoyable hobby, such as knitting, cooking, or playing an instrument.
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    Tell your partner that you are okay with masturbation. Some people might feel like it is not appropriate to masturbate when you are in a relationship, so you may need to discuss your feelings about this with your partner. If your partner is interested in having sex every day or multiple times per day, then he or she may need to masturbate once per day or every other day to control his or her sex drive.[7]
    • Talk to your partner about masturbating on a regular basis. For example, you might say something like, “I enjoy having sex with you, but my sex drive is not the same as yours. Would you be willing to masturbate a few times per week or more to help make up for the days that I am not in the mood for sex?”
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    Consider other ways of meeting your partner’s needs. If your partner just has a high sex drive, but does not feel as though sex is a compulsion, then you may need to try some new things to satisfy your partner sexually. Although you may not be up for sex as much as your partner is, there are still ways you can satisfy his or her needs.[8] For example, you could:
    • Incorporate more oral sex into your lovemaking.
    • Try out some sex toys.
    • Watch pornography together.
    • Try phone sex when you are apart.
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    Build emotional intimacy. Some people who have overactive sex drives may use sex as a way to feel closer to their partners on an emotional level. If your partner is using sex as a way to feel emotionally close to you, try to find other ways you two can feel emotionally close other than through sex.[9] Look for other ways to build emotional intimacy with your partner, such as:
    • Asking about your partner's day and sharing about your day.
    • Confiding in your partner when you have a problem or concern.
    • Telling your partner how much he or she means to you.
    • Going on romantic dates.


  • Remember that with many, if not most, relationship issues - both sides are at fault. Relationship issues require effort from both parties to resolve.
  • Hypersexual disorder can affect men and women.

Article Info

Categories: Emotional Conditions | Maintaining Relationships