The findings of a “hypersexuality and women” study were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in June. The fact that women alone were studied could make the news all by itself, right?
But before we get into the results, it is important to note a few things:
* A total of 988 German women participated in the study via an online survey. These women were mostly college students. The online survey asked how frequently they masturbated, watched porn, and how many sexual partners they’d had.
* The second part of the research involved the same group of women taking the Hypersexual Behavior Inventory (HBI), a questionnaire of 19 questions designed to ascertain how often a person feels that sex is a compulsion, that sex interferes or negatively impacts life, to what degree they may “use” sex as a coping mechanism, and the like.
Here’s what the researchers found:
High masturbation frequency, number of sexual partners, and pornography use were associated with a higher degree of hypersexual behavior in women. Furthermore, the HBI total score was positively correlated to sexual risk behavior.
The results of the current study do not support the idea of previous research that hypersexual women are typically engaged in more passive forms of sexual behavior. Rather female hypersexuality seems to be more characterized by impersonal sexual activity. An association between hypersexual behavior and sexual risk behavior was identified.
What this means is that the women who reported masturbating &/or watching porn more frequently were more likely to score higher on the HBI questionnaire. And those women with a higher number of reported sexual partners were also linked to higher HBI scores. Though only about 3% of the study participants were classified as “hypersexual” based on their HBI scores. (Now is probably a good time to point out that many professionals do not believe in hypersexuality, sex addiction, or even the notion that “too much sex” is an actual problem, let alone a disorder ~ for either sex. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association decided against including sex addiction as a disorder in the most recent (2013) edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), saying there is not enough evidence to show hypersexuality is a mental-health problem. I obviously come from a different background and perspective, but I heartily agree.)
This “more porn, more masturbating, more partners” thing seems more obvious than ominous. The study doesn’t present any causality, or even assert a real problem. The “surprise” findings here are that supposed “hypersexual women” are:
1) not passive regarding sex , i.e. they take action, masturbating, watching porn, and screwing partners, rather than just fantasizing or wishing;
2) are participating in “impersonal sexual activity”, which appears to mean they are not adhering to conservative notions of romance and monogamy.
Who does that sound like?
Men, of course.
At LiveScience, Bahar Gholipour spoke with Rory Reid, an assistant professor & research psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. Reid was not involved in the study, but spoke with Gholipour about the gender differences in the area of human hypersexuality:
“In many cases, it’s much more permissible for men to engage in hypersexuality as opposed to women. Men would be often just characterized as ‘men being men,’ whereas women sometimes would be labeled with derogatory terms if they engaged in hypersexual behaviors. …
Reid said the findings are not surprising. In his own studies, he’s found more similarities than differences when comparing hypersexual women with their male counterparts.
Insert big “A-doy!” here.
And get ready for another one.
This study also found that hypersexual women were more likely to be bisexual ~ more likely to be bisexual than the other female participants in the survey, and more likely to be bisexual than hypersexual men.
So, if we learned anything from this study about hypersexuality (if it indeed actually exists) it’s that perhaps the only real difference between hypersexual men and women is that women are more sexually fluid.
Image Credits: Sex Kitten by Inermiss.