Classical Greek mythology is abundant with colorful imagery, but perhaps no character is more absurd than the satyr. The best way to describe the physical appearance of satyrs is as being half man, half goat. More conspicuous than being half goat however is that vase-paintings from the period are consistent in illustrating the satyrsí perpetual erections. Their lives are defined by the tireless pursuit for decadent pleasures. From the framework of a Freudian interpretation of the mind, they represent the ultimate triumph of the lustful Id over the restraint Superego. As lovers of wine and women, artists chose to depict satyrs as hedonists. But, they were more than just randy and unabashedly sexual creatures. Poetry describes them as being shy and cowardly creatures too ñ perhaps a self-acknowledgement that their sexual endeavors were an extreme for the civilization they roamed. Suddenly, elements of the Greek myth begin to reflect psychological disorder behaviors evident in human males.
The story of satyrs explains the etymology for the disorder, Satyriasis. At its most basic, Satyriasis is the excessive and uncontrollable sexual compulsions and behavior in males. This hypersexuality affects a large number of males and females (who are called nymphomaniacs): a simple internet search will reveal many help and support websites for this sexual obsession. Satyriasis is considered to be an illness that prevents an individual from living a life free from their passions. One prominent example is popularly referred to former British Conservative minister, Viscount Lambton who, after being caught in the sack with prostitutes, confessed that having sex three times a day is a compulsion to prevent debilitating headaches. Considering it is a politician in a political scandal, it would be easy to dismiss this reasoning. But many other sufferers of satyriasis often describe similar pains. While increased sex may seem like a positive thing to many, for sufferers, sex is not attached to gratification or leverage: this perpetual male libido becomes a necessity that the manic personalities often regret afterwards. Sex becomes as important as sleeping, eating, or breathing.
But, what are the origins of satyriasis? Is it conditioned or is it innate? Most probably, the truth lies in a variation of both. While the degree that socialization perpetuates the behavior is impossible to verify, the important role that psychosexual development has in this disorder is unquestioned. Even then, there remain many questions. Some psychosexual theories assert that satyriasis is rooted in extreme narcissism. These macho men and their feeling of inferiority are channeled in their sexual conquests. Others believe that the disorder is more biologically rooted: hypersexuality can be a symptom the manic phase of bipolar disease. Many sufferers believe that there is neither ego involved nor any other form of psychological disorders. They describe their helplessness as an addiction in the same way as crack: they need to satisfy their urge, and once they do, the next time requires a greater urge to top it. Like the satyrs, their shyness and insecurities lie in their dread that interactions and situations involving others will force their habit to kick in uncontrollably.
[ad#downcont]The solutions and remedies to satyriasis vary. Sufferers seek psychological and psychiatric help to control their urges. They attempt to avoid vulnerable situations. They use headache medication for headaches that strengthen during a dry spell. Satyriasis and the insatiable appetite for sex is often a source of shame, not pride. It can lead to reckless, antisocial, and unhealthy behaviors because the need for sex is greater than its rewards. For anyone who claims the satyrs to be admirable figures in mythology need only to ask sufferers of satyriasis of its costs over its rewards.