A Look at Stimulant Drugs and Hypersexual Behavior

There is a big connection between the consumption of stimulant drugs and hypersexual behavior. First off, there are strong aphrodisiac effects from stimulant use. When people use substances like cocaine and methamphetamine they may feel an increased sex drive and a reduction of inhibitions. When these two features (sex drive and reduced inhabitions) are combined the results are compulsive, hypersexualized behaviors that are often destructive and risky. 

Examples of Hypersexual Behaviors are: 

  • Obsessively watching pornography 
  • Video recording sexual encounters 
  • Compulsive masterbation 
  • Partaking in risky sexual encounters, like having sex with people you know are HIV-positive
  • Sex with multiple partners 
  • Sex with strangers 
  • Sex with prostitutes
  • Sex with partners knowing they have Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) 
  • Crossdressing 
  • Exhibitionism
  • Fetishism 
  • Sado Masochisme 

Effects of Stimulants 

While some stimulant users experience hypersexualized behaviors, others experience little to no aphrodisiac side effects from the substances they take. This discrepancy is especially pronounced within the male/female population. A recent study into the effects of stimulant drugs over rural American communities found that about half of all male users partake in risky sexual behaviors while high on methanphetamine and/or cocaine. On the other hand, females are known to partake in less sexually risky behaviors, with only 25% of the population doing it. Furthermore, researches found that once hypersexual behaviors and stimulant drug use was linked within a user’s brain or subconcious, sex became a trigger for drug relapse. This is known as “reciprocal relapse.” It occurs when a person leaves one addictive behavior, but ends up engaging in another. Reciprocal relapse can work the other way too. If someone is addicted to hypersexual behavior, drug use can trigger a relapse for them. Once powerful associations exist between sex and drugs, they can trigger relapse. Reciprocal relapse isn’t exclusive to hypersexuality and drug use, it can also occur with other risky behaviors like stealing, and gambling. Even overeating and shopping can trigger reciprocal relapse. 

Open Dialogue Regarding Stimulant Drugs 

Acting out while under the influence of stimulant drugs is unfortunately something that happens more often than not. Acting out is drawing attention to oneself in an embarrassing way. Sometimes people realize they’re doing it and other times it’s completely compulsive. These actions are likely to cause guilt, embarrassment and a reluctance to “talk about it.” It may take a while for a user to feel comfortable enough to talk after something like this happens. Addiction specialists have the insight to bring substance users out of their shell, but these are still sensitive issues to uncover. Open dialogue is usually achieved after a significant amount of time. In addition to not wanting to talk about dangerous behaviors, those who take specific drugs may feel embarrassed if their sexual performance is impaired due to drug use. Methamphetamine and cocaine are especially known to impair performance in men and/or women, especially when the drugs are taken in large doses. At the same time these substances may continue to increase sexual desire and certain sexual fantasies. This can be a frustrating combination as the user is now faced with the inability to achieve sexual satisfaction, while at the same time having increased desire. For many, this leads to unusual behaviors or risky behaviors. It can also lead to a person needing stimulants to achieve sexual satisfaction, therefore giving them stimulant-induced sexual disfunction. Users will use sildenafil and PDE5 inhibitors to try and remedy these dysfunctions. 

When a person has hypersexual tendencies, they have a number of outlets for self-fulfillment. This includes pornography, masterbation, cybersex, paying for sex, and having more than one sexual partner. Oftentimes, these outlets take over their regular life. Pornography, sex with prostitues, and etc can often be the focus of their lives. This is what they spend all of their time and money focusing on. This complete focus causes a great disruption to their normal lives. A person’s work, personal relationships, health, and mental happiness may be impacted by their obsession. 

Even with these facts readily available to the mental health community, there are many mental health experts who don’t categorize hypersexuality as a real addiction. There are also experts that refuse to acknowledge the link between hypersexuality and stimulant use. In other words, there is still a lot that needs to be studied and understood when it comes to hypersexuality. In good news, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that hypersexuality is infact a mental health disorder. While the root cause is unclear, the fact that the WHO recognizes it as a disorder is great news. Professionals in the mental health sector believe it may have something to do with the neural circuits and pathways in the brain. The chemicals and neurotransmitters in the brain may impact the influence of hypersexuality, but this is not for certain. Much needs to be studied and understood, but at least acknowledgement is there.