Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research
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Are nonparaphilic sexual addictions a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder? A pilot study

Are nonparaphilic sexual addictions a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder? A pilot study | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"Nonparaphilic sexual addictions (NPSAs)........have been proposed as an obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder. In the present study we examined the functional differences in repetitive sexual thoughts and compulsive behaviors between patients with OCD (n = 6) and with NPSAs (n = 6). Compared to patients with NPSAs, those with OCD reported significantly more fear and avoidance related to their sexual thoughts. Individuals with NPSAs reported higher levels of sexual arousal associated with their thoughts and a greater degree of sexual pleasure from performing compulsive behaviors. These preliminary findings challenge the notion that NPSAs are related to OCD......."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: Some people are keen to recast descriptions of sex addiction as a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder.  This study disputes that assumption, although the relevance of its findings may be diminished by its small sample size.


Schwartz, SA & Abromowitz, JS, Are nonparaphilic sexual addictions a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder? A pilot study. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 10(4) 372-377 (2003).


Abstract only.

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Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research
This is a collection of research findings, trends and controversies related to the type of problematic sexual behavior in which a person is unable to stop or control certain sexual behaviors despite a desire to do so.  This site is likely to be of primary interest to researchers, mental and sexual health professionals, and those with an academic interest in the topic.  
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READ THIS FIRST

Sex addiction.  Hypersexual disorder.  Compulsive sexual hehavior.


These are just a few of the many names that are used to describe the act of repeatedly engaging in sexual behavior that is likely to cause negative consequences despite a desire to stop.


The goal of this site is not  to legitimize the existence of this behavioral syndrome.  Those who argue against the idea that some people struggle with sexual self-control are like climate change deniers.  Nothing is going to convince them.  There are many ways of looking at the problem, but no way to pretend that it doesn't exist.  


In addition to this site I have created a list of "Recommended Sex Addiction Resources"  for the general public and people dealing with this issue in their personal lives.


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This site is curated by Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT, an Atlanta-based psychotherapist  who specializes in helping good people maintain consistent, safe and ethical sexual boundaries. 

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Self-Reported Indicators of Hypersexuality and Its Correlates in a Female Online Sample

Self-Reported Indicators of Hypersexuality and Its Correlates in a Female Online Sample | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"The purpose of the present study was to examine which sexual behavioral patterns are associated with self-reported indicators of hypersexuality in a female online sample. The second aim was to evaluate the association between hypersexuality and sexual risk behavior in women."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Commentary: Little research has focused specifically on the behavioral patterns of hypersexuality in women, making studies like this especially important.


Journal of Sexual Medicine. Volume 11Issue 8pages 1974–1981August 2014


Abstract only.

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Enhanced Attentional Bias towards Sexually Explicit Cues in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours

"Here we assess male compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) subjects compared to age-matched male healthy controls using a dot probe task to assess attentional bias to sexually explicit cues. We show that compared to healthy volunteers, CSB subjects have enhanced attentional bias to explicit cues but not neutral cues particularly for early stimuli latency. Our findings suggest enhanced attentional bias to explicit cues possibly related to an early orienting attentional response. This finding dovetails with our recent observation that sexually explicit videos were associated with greater activity in a neural network similar to that observed in drug-cue-reactivity studies. Greater desire or wanting rather than liking was further associated with activity in this neural network. These studies together provide support for an incentive motivation theory of addiction underlying the aberrant response towards sexual cues in CSB."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Commentary: This important study that lends credence to the theory that pornography triggers brain activity in people with compulsive sexual behavior­ similar to that triggered by drugs in the brains of drug addicts.


Citation: Mechelmans DJ, Irvine M, Banca P, Porter L, Mitchell S, Mole TB, et al. (2014) Enhanced Attentional Bias towards Sexually Explicit Cues in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours. PLoS ONE 9(8): e105476. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105476

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Methodological Review of Treatments for Nonparaphilic Hypersexual Behavior

Methodological Review of Treatments for Nonparaphilic Hypersexual Behavior | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"(T)he authors conducted a methodological review of empirical studies that evaluated treatment for nonparaphilic hypersexual behavior."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

This study concludes that "much of the outcome research in the field contains significant methodological limitations".


(2014). Methodological Review of Treatments for Nonparaphilic Hypersexual Behavior. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy: Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 294-308.


Abstract only available online.

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Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption

The objective of this study was to "determine whether frequent pornography consumption is associated with the frontostriatal network."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Commentary: These findings support the idea that frequent pornography use can structurally alter reward systems.  This is not a longitudinal study, so these brain differences could have been present prior to the porn use, but this is still an interesting study.


The entire article is available online.


JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(7):827-834. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.93.

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Compulsive sexual behavior among male military veterans: Prevalence and associated clinical factors

"The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of and factors related to compulsive sexual behavior among male military veterans.....This exploratory study suggests that compulsive sexual behavior is prevalent among veterans returning form combat and is associated with childhood trauma and PTSD, particularly re-exoeriencing."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Commentary: It's rare to find articles addressing compulsive sexual behavior in the military, which is a curious omission in the professional literature that makes this article exceptionally important. Also it's available online!


Journal of Behavioral Addictions: Volume 3, No 4, 2014.

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An Online Assessment of Personality, Psychological, and Sexuality Trait Variables Associated with Self-Reported Hypersexual Behavior

An Online Assessment of Personality, Psychological, and Sexuality Trait Variables Associated with Self-Reported Hypersexual Behavior | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"To investigate hypersexual behavior, an international sample of 510 self-identified heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual men and women completed an anonymous online self-report questionnaire battery........Interestingly, interactions among the variables assessed did not significantly predict hypersexual behavior, suggesting the possible existence of multiple and predominantly independent taxa for various persons reporting hypersexual behavior."

Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Commentary: There are previous publications by one of these authors related to the topic of differentiating subtypes of hypersexual behavior.


Arch Sex Behav. 2015 Oct 26. [Epub ahead of print]

(Abstract only)

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The Psychological Context of Sexual Compulsivity Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

The authors selected two indicators of the construct of sexual compulsivity: the frequency of sexual thoughts and urges (i.e., sexual preoccupation), and the perception that sexual behavior is difficult to control (i.e., sexual impulsivity).


Among the MSM population of this study, sexual preoccupation was found to be associated with dissociative experiences in response to stressful life circumstances. The authors conjecture that:


“(s)exual thoughts and urges shift one’s attention to immediate sensations and proximal goals, (which) may facilitate escape or avoidance of stressful life circumstances. More specifically, those who experience dissociation in response to stress may utilize sexual thoughts and urges as a method of avoidant-oriented coping, which is positively reinforced because it increases the likelihood of having sexual experiences that serve as a source of physical pleasure or emotional validation (as well as) a sense of psychological cohesion in the face of painful fragmentation of the self.”


The study also found that among ths MSM population the perception that sexual behavior is difficult to control was independently associated with increased anger arousal. The authors conjecture that:


“anger-related increases in appetitive motivation may lead individuals to seek out sexual partners via processes that require little conscious, effortful self-regulation. It is also plausible that individuals interpret the physiologic arousal of anger as sexual arousal, which has been linked to sexual risk taking behavior among MSM. Consequently, perceptions that sexual behavior is difficult to control may reflect an underlying, dual vulnerability to experiencing hyperarousal in response to negative emotions coupled with decreased awareness of negative affective states.”


In other words, some people may react to stress with increased sexual thoughts and urges which provide “immediate sensations and proximal goals” such as “physical pleasure .... emotional validation and .... “psychological cohesion”.  Additionally, some people who perceive their sexual behavior as difficult to control may have trouble recognizing anger and responding to it with “conscious, effortful self-regulation”.  A "dual vulnerability" associated with perceived lack of sexual self-control may include inadequate awareness of negative emotional states coupled with “hyperarousal in response to negative emotions.” 


Note that the sample as taken from a 202-2003 collection of data.  The last dozen years has seen a transformation in sexual hook-up apps and readily available streaming pornography.  This probably does not negate these findings but it's well woth noting.


AIDS Behav. 2015 May 10. [Epub ahead of print]

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Sexual Compulsion - Relationship With Sex, Attachment and Sexual Orientation

Sexual Compulsion - Relationship With Sex, Attachment and Sexual Orientation | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it
"........lesbian women showed higher rates of sexual compulsivity than heterosexual women. This is a finding that to the best of our knowledge has not been shown before and it should be investigated further. The lack of difference in sexual compulsivity between homosexual and heterosexual men is also surprising......"
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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Bill's comment: This finding seems contrary to conventional wisdom, especially the non-significant differences in sexual compulsivity between heterosexual and homosexual subjects (apart from the fact that this binary distinction seems to me to be a false and outdated dichotomy, i.e. where are the bisexual/pansexual subjects?)


The entire article is available here:

"Sexual Compulsion -- Relationship With Sex, Attachment and Sexual Orientation"


Journal of Behavioral Addictions 4(1), pp. 22–26 (2015) DOI: 10.1556/JBA.4.2015.1.6

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Hypersexual, Sexually Compulsive, or Just Highly Sexually Active? Investigating Three Distinct Groups of Gay and Bisexual Men and Their Profiles of HIV-Related Sexual Risk

Hypersexual, Sexually Compulsive, or Just Highly Sexually Active? Investigating Three Distinct Groups of Gay and Bisexual Men and Their Profiles of HIV-Related Sexual Risk | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"Emerging research supports the notion that sexual compulsivity (SC) and hypersexual disorder (HD) among gay and bisexual men (GBM) might be conceptualized as comprising three groups—Neither SC nor HD; SC only, and Both SC and HD—that capture distinct levels of severity across the SC/HD continuum."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

What immediately caught my eye here is the athor's contention that there may be a distinction between "hypersexual" and "sexually compulsive" behavor.  They are suggesting a three-group classification for people who engage in similarly high levels of sexual activity, so that (a) some people may be sexually compulsive but not hypersexual, (b) others may be hypersexual but not sexually compulsive, (c) some may be both and (d) some may be neither.


Note that just last month the same basic group of authors published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine their findings comparing the Sexual Compulsivity Scale (SCS) and the Hypersexul Disorder Screening Inventory (HDSI).  Those findings seem to be central to their distinctions between the two concepts.  Apparently they determined that there is a lot of correspondence between the two instruments but that they don't capture exactly the same features.


Finally, this same group of researchers published a study last year in the Archives of Sexual Behavior titled "The Role of Maladaptive Cognitions in Hypersexuality Among HIghly Sexually Active Gay and Bisexual Men."  I found that article very provocative (see my review of it here) and would love to be able to engage one or more of the authors in some discussion about their conclusions.

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The Relationship Between Online Sexual Compulsivity, Dissociation and Past Child Abuse Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

The Relationship Between Online Sexual Compulsivity, Dissociation and Past Child Abuse Among Men Who Have Sex with Men | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

The objective of this study was to measure the relationships between online sexual compulsivity, three dimensions of dissociation.....and past child abuse among men who have sex with men (MSM). A total of 517 MSM, recruited from Internet chat rooms, completed the survey. Results indicated that past child abuse was significantly related to dissociation but not online sexual compulsivity. It was also found that the amount of time MSM spent online in a one-week period, in general and specifically engaged in sexual activity, was significantly related to online sexual compulsivity and three dimensions of disssociation....."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

(2014).  Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling: Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 146-163. doi: 10.1080/15538605.2014.895663

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Calming the tempest, bridging the gorge: healing in couples ruptured by “sex addiction”

Calming the tempest, bridging the gorge: healing in couples ruptured by “sex addiction” | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"The current paper proposes precise definition and diagnostic language regarding a range of compulsive sexual behaviors. It maps a model for understanding and treating compulsive sexual activity in marital therapy in a stepwise sequence, beginning with careful history taking and diagnostics of both partners, identification of the mutually reinforcing relationship dynamics keeping destructive behaviors in play, processing of underlying psychological and developmental roots of such behaviors, cultivation of empathy and trust, and revitalizing of the couple's sexual relationship."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

(2014). Calming the tempest, bridging the gorge: healing in couples ruptured by “sex addiction”. Sexual and Relationship Therapy: Vol. 29, pp. 76-86. doi: 10.1080/14681994.2013.869314


Abstract only.

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Shame, Sexual Compulsivity, and Eroticizing Flirtatious Others: An Experimental Study

Shame, Sexual Compulsivity, and Eroticizing Flirtatious Others: An Experimental Study | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it


"The present study tested whether experimental induction of shame leads to increased interest in erotically suggestive targets among more sexually compulsive individuals............Shame appears to increase sexualization (i.e., reduces salience of agentic features and increases appeal of physical attributes) of erotically suggestive targets among more sexually compulsive individuals." 

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  This appears to be an intriguing study, as a complete reading of the abstract will demonstrate.  Shame is an esential component of this topic.  See also, for example,  "The Role of Shame and Guilt in Hypersexual Behavior"


Authors: Petrican, R., Burris, C.T. & Moscovitch, M.

Source: The Journal of Sex Research. Published online 03 Dec 2013. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2013.829796


Abstract only.

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The Relationship Between Hypersexual Behavior, Sexual Excitation, Sexual Inhibition, and Personality Traits

The Relationship Between Hypersexual Behavior, Sexual Excitation, Sexual Inhibition, and Personality Traits | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"The main aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of different personality traits on the degree of hypersexual behavior........ A further aim was to evaluate the association between sexual inhibition and excitation [as described in the Dual Control Model (DCM)] and hypersexual behavior....... The results provided strong support for the components of the DCM—sexual excitation and inhibition—to explain hypersexual behavior, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation. Some of the general personality traits also showed significant relationships with hypersexual behavior....."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Commentary: Anyone looking to become well-versed in basic theory about the overall concept of hypersexual would benefit from learning about Bancroft's dual control model or sexual excitation and inhibition.


Abstract only.

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Neural Substrates of Sexual Desire in Individuals with Problematic Hypersexual Behavior

"Our study aimed to investigate the neural correlates of sexual desire with event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)..... Relative to controls, individuals with problematic hypsexual behavior (PHB) experienced more frequent and enhanced sexual desire during exposure to sexual stimuli. Greater activation was observed in the caudate nucleus, inferior parietal lobe, dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus, thalamus, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in the PHB group than in the control group. In addition, the hemodynamic patterns in the activated areas differed between the groups. Consistent with the findings of brain imaging studies of substance and behavior addiction, individuals with the behavioral characteristics of PHB and enhanced desire exhibited altered activation in the prefrontal cortex and subcortical regions."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:
Entire article available online

Front. Behav. Neurosci., 30 November 2015 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00321
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Sexual Compulsivity and Sexual Risk in Gay and Bisexual Men

Sexual Compulsivity and Sexual Risk in Gay and Bisexual Men | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it
"(T)his analysis evaluated the ability of the Sexual Compulsivity Scale (SCS) to correlate with/predict sexual risk behavior in a community-based sample of gay and bisexual men. HIV-associated risks were operationalized in a multitude of ways and, in bivariate analyses, the SCS was consistently and significantly associated with these outcomes."
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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Entire article available online.


doi:  10.1007/s10508-009-9483-9

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Relevance of Hypersexual Disorder to Family Medicine and Primary Care as a Complex Multidimensional Chronic Disease Construct

"The role of family medicine in the detection, treatment, and followup of hypersexual disorder (HD) is not well studied. The purpose of this paper is to describe the complexity of HD as a multidimensional chronic disease construct and its relevance to family medicine and primary care."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Commentary: This  article is useful for several reasons: (1) The introduction of a "case complexity' model is helpful.  (2) The focus on primary care and family medicine addresses a critical need to increase the knowledge base available to the front line of medical care.  (3) It is written with terms and in a style that is different from most of what is published on this topic, which helps widen an appreciation of trans-theoretical approaches to a complex set of behaviors.  (4) Finally, it is available in its entirety online.


International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 519265, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/519265

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Pornography addiction - a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity

"Addiction has been a divisive term when applied to various compulsive sexual behaviors (CSBs)..... (E)vidence increasingly supports the description of CSBs as an addiction. This evidence is multifaceted and is based on an evolving understanding of the role of the neuronal receptor in addiction-related neuroplasticity, supported by the historical behavioral perspective. This addictive effect may be amplified by the accelerated novelty and the ‘supranormal stimulus’......factor afforded by Internet pornography."

Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Commentary: A neurosurgeon offers his opinions about the application of the word "addiction" to human consumptive behavior such as sex. This important article is available in its entirety online.


Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology,Volume 3 (2013) 

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Sexual Excitability and Dysfunctional Coping Determine Cybersex Addiction in Homosexual Males

Sexual Excitability and Dysfunctional Coping Determine Cybersex Addiction in Homosexual Males | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"Recent findings have demonstrated an association between cybersex addiction (CA) severity and indicators of sexual excitability, and that coping by sexual behaviors mediated the relationship between sexual excitability and CA symptoms. The aim of this study was to test this mediation in a sample of homosexual males.........Results showed strong correlations between CA symptoms and indicators of sexual arousal and sexual excitability, coping by sexual behaviors, and psychological symptoms. CA was not associated with offline sexual behaviors and weekly cybersex use time. Coping by sexual behaviors partially mediated the relationship between sexual excitability and CA. The results are comparable with those reported for heterosexual males and females in previous studies and are discussed against the background of theoretical assumptions of CA, which highlight the role of positive and negative reinforcement due to cybersex use."

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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2015 Oct;18(10):575-80. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2015.0152. Epub 2015 Sep 16.

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Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update

Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review  and Update | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it
Within this review, we give a summary of the concepts proposed underlying addiction and give an overview about neuroscientific studies on Internet addiction and Internet gaming disorder. Moreover, we reviewed available neuroscientific literature on Internet pornography addiction and connect the results to the addiction model. The review leads to the conclusion that Internet pornography addiction fits into the addiction framework and shares similar basic mechanisms with substance addiction. Together with studies on Internet addiction and Internet Gaming Disorder we see strong evidence for considering addictive Internet behaviors as behavioral addiction.
Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

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Bill's comment: This is an excellent article that brings together a comprehensive amount of research in a cogent way.

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A Study on the "Natural Course" of Excessive Sexual Behavor

I recently came across "Natural Course of Behavioral Addictions: A 5-Year Longitudinal Study" in the journal BMC Psychiatry. The entire article is available at the above link, which is always a treat.


The aim of this study was to provide data on the prevalence, substance use comorbidity and five-year trajectories of six excessive behaviors (exercising, sexual behavor, shopping, online chatting, video gaming and eating).  4121 adults in Ontario were followed from 2006 to 2011.  


Subjects were asked "are there activities that you engage in where your over-involvement has caused significant problems for you in the past 12 months?" The severity of each identified problem was also assessed.


The following results seem relevant to the field of addictive/compulsive sexual behavior:


"The present results indicate that self-identified excessive....sexual behavior .....tend(s) to be fairly transient for most people."  (3.1% of males reported excessive sexual behavior over the past five years, almost four times higher than females).  

 

"The results concerning the trajectories of symptom severity over time shows that the excessive behaviors in this population were not steady: they were episodic rather than continuous in nature........The largest part of the change in symptom severity.....is to be considered as spontaneous and not professionally assisted recovery."


"Further research is needed to investigate whether the spontaneous recovery from problem behaviors is typically permanent or whether affected individuals 'switch' to other forms of dystunctional behaviors...."


Of the people who identified at least one problem related to their excessive sexual behavior over the previous five years, 5.4% reported that the problem spanned the entire five years.


So this seems to say that most individuals who self-identify as having problems with excessive sexual behavior remit naturally over time.  No surprise there: while most "past-year" incidents of excessive sexual behavior do not fit within commonly established addictive criteria, there is a subset of people with "chronic sexual over-involvement" severe enough to warrant consideration as a behavioral addiction.

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Another Controversial Article Regarding Pornography Use and Erectile Dysfunction

Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Recently an article appeared in the journal Sexual Medicine Open Access entitled Viewing Sexual Stimuli Associated With Greater Sexual Responsiveness, Not Erectile Dystunction.  This study was reported in popular media under headlines such as Study Finds No Link Between Viewing Porn and Erectile Dysfunction.


Several item-by-item criticism of this study quickly followed.  Here is one entitled "New Research on ED and Hours of Porn Use Inconclusive".


Another comprehensive rebuttal is "Nothing Adds up in Dubious Study".


Yet another rebuttal can be found here.


To date there does not appear to be any public response by the authors to these criticisms.


Although this topic is not specifically about sexual compulsivity it is important to include here becuse it does not control for compulsive use of pornography and therefore confuses rather than clarifies the issue, as these to critiques demonstrate.

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The "Emperor Has No Clothes" Controversy

A controversy erupted in 2014 regarding the notion of pornography addiction.  Here is the chronology and source material.

Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

In February 2014 an artice appeared in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports titled "The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the Pornography Addiction Model".  The authors, David Ley, Nicole Prause and Peter Finn, were extremely critical of the concept of porn addiction, stating in part:


"The theory and research behind ‘pornography addiction’ is hindered by poor experimental designs, limited methodological rigor, and lack of model specification.......Individuals reporting ‘addictive’ use of visual sexual stimuli could be better conceptualized by considering issues such as gender, sexual orientation, libido, desire for sensation, with internal and external conflicts influenced by religiosity and desire discrepancy.......When faced with such complaints, clinicians are encouraged to address behaviors without conjuring addiction labels."


Note that this was a 'review' article, not a research article, which makes it more susceptible to the bias of its authors.  Their condemnation was sweeping, criticizing the use of any compoent of addiction theory to help people with out-of-control use of online pornography.  The authors challenged almost every notion that viewing online pornography can reach unhealthy levels for some people who find it difficult to stop or control despite their use negative consequences and a sincere desire. to do so.  However, the authors raised some arguments deserving of thoughtful discussion.  


The publishing company of the journal that printed this article released an accompanying press release about this review, in which it appears that the authors enthusiastically praise the positive benefits of pornography. They seemed to only grudgingly admit that some people "struggle" regulating their online porn use.  The relative reluctance to acknowledge problematic use of pornography, especially by David Ley, and the contention that unrestricted access to porn actually reduces rates of child molestation seems tenuous and counterintuitive. Prause seems more willing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the phenomena of dysregulated sexual behavior, a concept Ley rejects out of hand.  Prause co-wrote an article in Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology in the summer of 2013 (curated elsewhere on this site) that garnered a lot of attention among people interested in this topic. 


In March 2014, the rebuttal came in the form of an article entitled "The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Fractured Fairy Tale Posing as a Review" , which appeared on the website proncritiquestudies.com.  It was a hard-hitting, lengthy, point-by-point rebuttal to Ley, Prause and Finn. It is well worth reading, even though it unfortunately also stooped occasionally to a demeaning emotional tone that undercuts its potent arguments.  This rebuttal did  not list authorship, which is unusual. 
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‘High desire’, or ‘merely’ an addiction? A response to Steele et al.

‘High desire’, or ‘merely’ an addiction? A response to Steele et al. | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"To trivialize, minimize, and de-pathologize compulsive sexuality is to fail to understand the central biological role of sexuality in human motivation and evolution. It demonstrates a naiveté with regard to what is now an accepted understanding of current reward neuroscience, in that it pronounces sexual desire as inherent, immutable, and uniquely immune from the possibility of change either qualitatively or quantitatively......

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This is Donald Hilton's scathing response to a 2013 article in  Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology.  The details may seem arcane to a casual reader but the issues go to the heart of what neuroscience is attempting to discern about just what is meant by "desire" and its relation to the concept of addiction.  Other material referencing the original study can be found on this site by clicking this link.


Published 21 February 2014.

Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 2014, 4: 23833 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/snp.v4.23833.  

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The Benefits and Limitations of the Phrase "Sex Addiction"

Bill says:


This article describes the difficulties devising commonly accepted, theory-neutral language capable of reliably describing this fprm of problematic sexual behavior.

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