If you have discovered that someone you know is a sex addict, you might be wondering what causes hypersexuality?

This discovery can seem life shattering but to help your loved one, you need to learn more about this disorder.

While everyone’s sex drive is different, if it reaches a point that it starts interrupting an individual’s life or the lives of others, it can be considered to be hypersexuality or sex addiction.

Hypersexuality like other addictions can be caused due to numerous factors. It might also be masking other psychological issues like depression and anxiety. Hypersexuality and bipolar disorder might also be connected in some cases.

The apparent causes of hypersexual disorder are still unclear but many experts have highlighted the following five major factors that can cause hypersexuality:

1. Biological Causes

This hypersexual disorder can be caused because of an addict’s unique genetics and physiology. Some individuals might enjoy sexual pleasure so much that it might get difficult for them to stop.

Moreover, the ability to resist temptations with rationality is a major brain function, which might be affected by different factors. Thus, the person is unable to resist sexual desires. A hypersexuality test can help determine the main issue in addicts.

Following are some of the biological causes identified for hypersexuality:


Your loved one might have a genetic predisposition to sensation seeking behavior, impulsivity, or emotional dysregulation to traits that are typically linked to sexual addition like depression or anxiety.


Increased level of hormones like estrogen or testosterone also plays a major part in the hypersexuality of an individual.

Chemical Imbalances

Hypersexuality can also be caused due to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Chemicals like norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin helps in regulating the moods of humans.

If your loved one has increased levels of these chemicals, it might be the cause of their excessive sexual behavior.

Brain Pathways Changes

Numerous disorders can affect the neural circuits of the brain and cause changes. This means the more intense the addiction is, the more difficult it would be for the addict to get rid of it.

Moreover, this also means that gradually your loved one require more intensive sexual stimulation or content in order to achieve sexual relief and satisfaction. This indicates their hypersexuality might get worse.

Health Issues Affecting the Brain

Some health issues and diseases like dementia and epilepsy, can damage certain parts of the brain. These parts can also impact the sexual behavior of the individual.

Aside from these health issues, some medications also contribute towards excessive sexual behavior, for instance, medications for Parkinson’s disease that contain dopamine.

2. Psychological Causes

There are numerous psychological causes of hypersexuality, for instance mental health issues. People have different abilities and skills of managing unpleasant circumstances or emotions. If an individual has poor coping abilities, that makes them more vulnerable to addiction.

Sex addicts don’t have enough tools to manage their emotions and impulses, which means they are more likely to act on them as compared to an average individual with even moderate coping skills.

Same can be said about stress management skills. If a loved one has poor stress management skills, that can also make them more vulnerable to any form of addiction.

Following are some of the psychological causes of hypersexuality:

Coping Mechanism

Various psychological researches have highlighted the reasons why some individuals repeat specific activities, even if they are well aware of the harmful consequences of those activities for them and for others around them.

Sex could be a coping mechanism for numerous of their other issues but gradually becomes an addiction. Your loved one’s excessive sexual desires might be a way of helping them with:

  • Deal with increased stress levels,
  • Boredom relief,
  • Negative situations or feelings.

There could be other issues that they may be dealing with that resulted in sex being a way of coping for them.

Mental Disorder

There are various mental issues that have been linked with impulsive sexual behavior. Hypersexuality and depression have been linked by various experts. Other such disorders include performance anxiety, lack of impulse control, personality disorder, and other type of anxieties.

There has also been a strong connection found between hypersexual disorder and bipolar disorder. People diagnosed with bipolar tendencies have been found to be more likely to engage in risky or excessive sexual behavior.

3. Social Causes

The development of hypersexuality can also be influenced by social and cultural factors. While a hypersexuality questionnaire can help assess the causes of your loved one’s behavior, their beliefs, values and social interactions can also shed light to their behavior.

Following are some of the socio-cultural hypersexual disorder causes:


Rejection from a social circle or any relationship, often results in an individual opting for unhealthy coping means. Many end up seeking unhealthy ways to attain sexual gratification, which becomes a habit and eventually an addiction if not addressed.

Social Isolation

Social isolation causes an array of issues like physical maladies and depression. Lack of interaction and support can drive an individual to seek unhealthy and inappropriate means of attaining pleasure.

The issues caused by being socially isolated increases the likelihood of an individual’s coping skills to progress towards addictions.

Social Learning

The social surrounding of the individual also contributes towards their behavior. They might model similar behaviors of the people around them.

Therefore, having a family member, friends, or colleagues engaging in risky and excessive sexual behavior or watching porn regularly can make the individual vulnerable to hypersexuality.

Sexual Advertisement

The increasing rate of hypersexuality or sex addiction in the past few years has indicated that the major factor is the excessive exposure to sexual content. Sexual behavior has been normalized by numerous social mediums.

Advertisements often utilize sexual content in order to attract the audience and encourage them to purchase products. This has resulted in sexual experimentation, glorified acts and unhealthy sexual behavior.

Individuals like sexually suppressed individuals and teenagers are becoming more vulnerable to hypersexuality due to such advertisement and content.

Social Media Content

Social media is an effective means for people to connect. However, it has also become a platform for sexual glorification, and unhealthy sexual behaviors. Just like advertisement, social media is also contributing to hypersexuality.

It is easier for individuals to attain sexual content like porn, images and other content to assist with their sexual pleasures. Easy excess has increased the likelihood of people becoming sexually addicted.

4. Spiritual Causes

Spirituality has also been labeled as one of the hypersexuality causes. While this might not be the case with everyone but lack of spirituality could result in unhealthy sexual behaviors.

Spirituality of an individual reflects their beliefs regarding the purpose and meaning of life. These strong beliefs help individuals to form certain goals and values.

With a lack of life purpose and values, any individual can fall into bad habits which can lead to addiction. The individual starts getting disconnected with their spiritual being, which progresses as the addiction increases.

This disconnection from one’s spirit removes the concept of moral values, rights and wrongs. These beliefs and values might vary with each individual as per their faith and religion. No matter what their beliefs are, they work as an anchor.

Without this anchor, a sex addict is not even able to realize what they are doing is wrong and unhealthy for them, as well as others around them.

5. Environmental Causes

There are various environmental factors that can cause hypersexuality or excessive sexual behavior. It is essential to conduct a hypersexuality assessment to determine if an individual is actually an addict or just has an unusual sex drive than average individuals.

Indeed the brain is mostly responsible for generating such sexual urges but some environmental factors can also trigger this addiction. In order to ensure successful hypersexual disorder treatment, it is important to determine the environmental causes.

These environmental causes might include:

Toxic Environment

Majority of the sex addicts have been found to be brought up in a toxic environment. This means there might have been a family member involved with alcohol, drug, or even sex addiction.

Growing up in such an environment might have made your loved one more vulnerable to those addictions, which could explain their excessive sexual desires.

Early Sexual Exposure

An individual who experienced early exposure to sex has higher chances of developing unhealthy sex behaviors.

Past Trauma

Even if an individual hasn’t grown up in a toxic environment, a traumatic incident in their past could result in drug or substance abuse, which can also trigger hypersexuality.

Domination of Parents

In many cases, parents can restrict their children so much that they end up opting for unhealthy behaviors as a means of coping with their dominance.

In some cultures, sex is still a taboo subject, which instills curiosity in children. They end up looking at inappropriate content in their pursuit of finding about sex. Getting exposed to such content can trigger their hypersexuality with age.

Lack of Good Role Models

Uncaring parents or caretakers, as well as dysfunctional families can impact the emotions and behaviors of an individual. Without knowing the right way of coping with their stress, they find inappropriate things to help them cope.

The lack of role models and without knowing the right way of coping with stress, these individuals typically continue their unhealthy behaviors, which can manifest into drugs or/and sex addiction.