Compulsive Sexual Behavior – A Mental Disorder, According to WHO

compulsive sexual behavior

Compulsive sexual behavior which is also known as sex addiction, hypersexual disorder, sexual addiction and hypersexuality, is now classified as a mental disorder on the World Health Organization (WHO) International Classification of Diseases list.

The list called ICD-11 was updated in June 2018 [1]. It is the primary document that scientists and clinicians, all around the world, use to identify and study about myriad of health issues, injuries and mortality causes.

The ICD-11 now states that compulsive sexual behavior disorder is persistent inability to control repetitive sexual urges or impulses that result in repetitive and intense sexual behavior. The disorder however is not about number of sexual partners a person has or how much he or she has sex. Rather, it is the case when a person’s sexual behavior starts being central focus of his or her life such that they neglect their health, personal aspects and other important activities, interests and responsibilities.

This disorder may start interfering with someone’s ability to do their everyday tasks. It can also ruin several relationships. If a person with this disorder resists their constant urge for sex, they might become unsuccessful in doing that too. At worst, they might not get pleasure from frequent sexual activity. A person will be considered having this disorder if he or she is dealing with this for over six months or more.


There are people from the medical community who are not agreeing to the categorization of sex addiction as mental disorder.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is extensively used by American clinicians to diagnose mental health conditions, did not include sex addiction as a separate category in its update back in 2013.

What Experts Feel About This Recent Categorization?

Dr. Timothy Fong, clinical professor of Human Behavior, University of California said that it is only since last 40 years that there has been researches to understand compulsive sexual behavior from an academic perspective.
Fong also wrote a paper in 2006 on the same. [2]

He adds that few experts believe it is just an addiction while some say that people have different libidos. Fong however believes that when somebody says that he or she is in deep trouble due to this addiction and all their relationships are turning sour, then definitely this is a problem and medical community must help all such people out there.

Few regional and local surveys indicate that sex addiction could affect almost 5% of the population. This suggests that more people suffer with this issue than with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or pathological gambling.

Unfortunately, research is limited due to inconsistency in what compulsive sexual behavior disorder really is and partly, due to lack of funding.

Robert Weiss who is an addiction specialist and author of “Always Turned On” and “Sex Addiction 101” has created free on-line material to help all those people who have sex addiction. Weiss feels that it is indeed important to have a diagnosis of sexual issues including compulsive sexual behavior.

what experts feel about this recent categorization

Both Fong and Weiss state that they had great success in helping clients who had this disorder. Treatment may include traditional psychotherapy and if one likes, he or she can join support groups. Some doctors may also prescribe medications including mood stabilizers and antidepressants.

Weiss has observed that sex addicts often improve quickly when they are able to address the underlying problems which are making that person seek sex.
It is more about helping the patient to cultivate a healthier and positive relationship with sex.

With all this, it is safe to say that you should also not try to repress your sexual desires as sexuality is a part of your life. But, remember don’t let it guide you too or become the pivot of your existence.