Before the mid-20th century when medical literature was dominated by the writings of male physicians, it comes as no surprise that excess sexuality in women blew many minds. The questions surrounding oversexed females were many: Did the problem of oversexed women originate in the brain or the genitalia? Could female sexuality be successfully curtailed without surrendering them to asylums and medical facilities? Masturbation and sexual excess had long been diagnosed in men as a disease and mental disorder, though often it was understood as boys being boys. But now women were increasingly deviating from the popular female archetypes of being passive, self-controlled, and maternal. During a time when the female orgasm was barely understood, one can only imagine the perplexing scope of nymphomania to the medical community. The story of the nymphomania and females is one of taboos, misunderstandings, and evolution.
Nymphomania is defined as the excessive sexual desire in women. For one reason or another, female sexuality has long been viewed as a taboo in many cultures. Among the more popularly assigned symptoms of this disorder include persistent thoughts of sexual images, constant masturbation, promiscuity, or even substance abuse and depression. In her book Nymphomania: A History, Carol Groneman accredits a French physician Bienville for being the first to explore the concept of nymphomania in his 1771 treatise, Nymphomania, or a Dissertation Concerning the Furor Uterinus. Among his accusations in this treaty, he argues that (more…)