Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Is Too Much Sex Possible?

How the erotic drive can go wrong.

Source: iStock

Sex: A Good Thing

For most of us, sex is a good thing. It calms us, keeps us connected to a partner we care about and is physiologically beneficial. Most relationships are uplifted by regular intercourse.

The dance of meeting the needs of another person adds spice and passion to a relationship.

So, is it possible to have too much of a desire for sex?

Fulfilling Needs

In the highly eroticized magic of a new relationship, sex can happen whenever you meet. The mix of newness, infatuation and desire all combine for many into an incessant erotic need. It’s the stuff of song and fantasy. It’s what makes “falling in love” so enticing. And, it’s why so many people fall in love with falling in love.

The sex is great and there’s no letdown.

For most, segueing into a relationship means familiarity over newness, caring over excitement. Sex can continue to be great, particularly if you are able to enjoy your partner enjoying sex as much as you do.

See sex as a form of communication and even as a form of adult play and you’re in business.

Different Needs

Remember that you’re having sex with another person, not with yourself.

So, she may have different needs than you. She may want to be held, or stroked or talked to. He may want to be dominant or submissive, serious or playful. What makes something erotic comes from deep within our psyches and is different for everyone. Be aware that strange things can be erotic for some and plain things—like gazing into one another’s eyes—can be erotic for another.

The erotic is like art, with likes and dislikes, tastes and preferences. What makes it amazing is the way the erotic will pull you in, trigger that Oxytocin rush, and make you swoon.

The trick is to enjoy the differences as well as the places of commonality. If you know how to love, you know how to enjoy your partner’s enjoyment. This is a big thing and makes all the difference in the world.

Sexual appetite is not just about a wish for more orgasms, it’s also about what makes good sex good. When we tell people to communicate during and about sex, we are really asking for great, fun play ... with an erotic twist.

Think about a couple who really know how to dance. It's an ebb and flow. An intuitive enjoyment of what you need and what your partner needs. Sometimes giving, sometimes getting, always enjoying the moment, and enjoying him or her enjoying the moment as well.

To get pleasure in your partner's pleasure while feeling pleasure yourself—well, that's a good thing that's gone great.

Too Much Sex

Can there be too much of a drive for sex with your partner?

Some people have differences in erotic desire. For couples like this, one can feel hounded while the other can feel rejected. If sex was good, it can often be good again. To get out of the rut of pursuer and the pursued, you must see this as a dysfunctional dance that has to stop. Otherwise, something great—sex—will turn into a reason to be disappointed by the one person you care about. Couples therapy can be useful, particularly at getting to the undercurrent of what is pushing you apart.

And, sometimes sex is just not healthy, particularly if it comes from a place of anger, neediness or as a defense against emptiness. Such sex may feel good, but is a saccharine substitute for dealing with real issues.

While the act itself may be gratifying, there is no substitute for dealing with what’s bothering you. Good sex creates a bond. But, if underneath there’s neediness or rage, the relationship is in trouble.

Compulsive Sex

Sometimes sexual desire can be compulsive, where you have an urgent need for sex, pornography, other partners, etc., but it’s never enough. When sex is a compulsion, it’s no longer a simple desire, it becomes relentless pressure. To forgive a pun, it becomes a true hardship.

You know that sex is compulsive when you feel immense pressure for intercourse, and while it may feel good temporarily, it is truly depleting and unsatisfying. This can lead to a destructive addictive cycle in which you are compelled to get more, continue to be unsatisfied, and then want more again.

Compulsive sex in its many permutations lacks satiation.

Only trouble comes of this approach to erotic life.

The Power of the Erotic

Sex can be infused with an unhealthy agenda, whether it’s compulsive sex, angry sex, needy sex or simply a desperate desire to fill a void.

We all deserve better.

Look at your relationship(s) honestly. Consider viewing the many forms of unhealthy sex as a symptom of something to be worked on, either within you or in the relationship. You will be surprised at how good therapy can help you get back to where you want to be.


Research Assistant: Gabriel Banschick

Follow me on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter here.

More from Mark Banschick M.D.
More from Psychology Today