Nymphomaniac is a sexually explicit drama about a woman's erotic journey from birth to the age of 50 as told by the main character, the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, Joe. On a cold winter's evening, the old, charming bachelor Seligman finds Joe beaten up in an alleyway. He brings her home to his flat where he tends to her wounds while asking her about her life. He listens intently as Joe, over the next eight chapters, recounts the lustful story of her highly erotic life. Seligman reads a lot of books, from which he has acquired various general knowledge. He connects the stories told with what he has read about. The story is divided in two volumes and eight chapters; Volume I follows young Joe as portrayed by Stacy Martin, and Volume II follows the older Joe in later life and Seligman's apartment as portrayed by Charlotte Gainsbourg.