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Articles and topics related to compulsive sexual behavior.
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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. | Sex  Addiction | 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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Treatment of Sexual Addiction Within the British National Health Service

Treatment of Sexual Addiction Within the British National Health Service | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"This study investigated what treatment services were available within British Mental Health Trusts (MHTs) that are currently provided for those who experience compulsive and/or addictive sexual behaviours within the National Health Service (NHS) system.........Based on the responses provided, only five MHTs reported having had treated sexual addiction as a disorder that took primacy over the past 5 years. There was also some evidence to suggest that the NHS may potentially treat sexual addiction as a secondary disorder that is intrinsic and/or co-morbid to the initial referral......"

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.

February 2014


Abstract only.

DOI 10.1007/s11469-014-9485-2

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The Pornography Craving Questionnaire: Psychometric Properties

The Pornography Craving Questionnaire: Psychometric Properties | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Despite the prevalence of pornography use, and recent conceptualization of problematic use as an addiction, we could find no published scale to measure craving for pornography. Therefore, we conducted three studies employing young male pornography users to develop and evaluate such a questionnaire. This questionnaire could be applied in clinical settings to plan and evaluate therapy for problematic users of pornography and as a research tool to assess the prevalence and contextual triggers of craving among different types of pornography users."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: The authors designed the instrument to measure several possible dimensions of craving for pornography: desire,

intention, physiological arousal, and anticipated difficulty restraining
use.


Arch Sex Behav
DOI 10.1007/s10508-013-0229-3


Published online 28 January 2014.

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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” | Sex  Addiction | 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


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Mental Health and Clinical Correlates in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Young Adults

Mental Health and Clinical Correlates in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Young Adults | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"LGBQ students were significantly more likely to report histories of affective, substance use, and certain anxiety disorders as well as compulsive sexual behavior....."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: One of the authors has previously been referenced on this site for a 2001 case report examining the  use of naltrexone in the treatment of compulsive sexual behavior.  



(2014). Mental Health and Clinical Correlates in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Young Adults. Journal of American College Health: Vol. 62, No. 1, pp. 75-78. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2013.844697


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Sex addiction – an extraordinarily contentious problem

Sex addiction – an extraordinarily contentious problem | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Sex addiction is a phenomenon that has a variety of names and even more meanings depending on who you talk to....."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This article makes a grievous error in the first five words of the abstract: sex addiction is not a phenomenon; it is a description.

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Symptoms Of Addiction: Could Your Idea Of Fun Be Turning Into A Problem?

Symptoms Of Addiction: Could Your Idea Of Fun Be Turning Into A Problem? | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Whether it’s sex......or bungee jumping, the desire to experience that 'high' becomes so strong, the addict loses control and seeks the activity despite all negative consequences."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: Articles like this, which apply the word "addiction" to any behavior that continues despite the presence or possibility of negative consequences, are simplistic and therefore highly problematic. If "drug addiction", "sex addiction" and "plastic surgery addiction" are all on the same level then the word ceases to have much discriminatory meaning.  

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

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


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The Role of Childhood Experiences in the Development of Sexual Compulsivity

The Role of Childhood Experiences in the Development of Sexual Compulsivity | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Participants (n = 348) were users of support websites relating to drug, alcohol, gambling, and sexual addictions who completed an online survey including addiction questionnaires, the Sexual Compulsivity Scale, and the Early Trauma Inventory (Short Form). Multiple regression modeling indicated that gender, sexual orientation, childhood emotional abuse, childhood exposure to pornography, and parental sex addiction were associated with sexual compulsivity in adulthood. Childhood sexual or physical abuse and addictions to other behaviors.....were not associated with adult sexual compulsivity."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: The authors acknowledge the limitations of the study since the sample was self-selected and the history of childhood events is influenced by the vagaries of subjective recall.  The power of childhood emotional abuse to shape coping styles that incorpoate sexual compulsivity is consistent with theories of disordered attachment.


(2013). Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 20:4, pp. 259-278.


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Sexual Compulsivity Scale: Adaptation and Validation in the Spanish Population

Sexual Compulsivity Scale: Adaptation and Validation in the Spanish Population | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"The aim of this study was the adaptation and validation of the Sexual Compulsivity Scale to a sample of Spanish young people......The reliability of the Sexual Compulsivity Scale was found to be high. Moreover, the scale showed good temporal stability.......The authors’ results suggest that the Sexual Compulsivity Scale is an appropriate measure for assessing sexual compulsivity, showing adequate psychometric properties in the Spanish population."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

(2013). Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy: Vol. 39, No. 6, pp. 526-540. 


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Sexual compulsivity and interpersonal functioning: sexual relationship quality and sexual health in gay relationships

Sexual compulsivity and interpersonal functioning: sexual relationship quality and sexual health in gay relationships | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"The present study examined the role of sexual compulsivity (SC) in four aspects of interpersonal functioning relevant to main partnerships......SC was associated with lower sexual relationship quality and increased potential for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission from a casual partner and subsequent transmission to (or reinfection with) a primary partner. Couples interventions for SC may be relevant to individual and public health. They provide a platform to practice communication skills, identify preferred sexual activities, and negotiate sexual safety."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Starks, Tyrel J.; Grov, Christian; Parsons, Jeffrey T.

Health Psychology, Vol 32(10), Oct 2013, 1047-1056.

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Mentalization-based therapy for sexual addiction: foundations for a clinical model

Mentalization-based therapy for sexual addiction: foundations for a clinical model | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

".....In our model of mentalization-based therapy for sexual addiction (MBT-SA) we hold that out-of-control sexual behaviour may often be a maladaptive psychological strategy to defend the individual against difficult or problematic thoughts and feelings......MBT, which can be used conjunctively alongside other therapeutic modes and techniques, provides a means for understanding and working with the client's unique and subjective experience of out-of-control sexual behaviour......"

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  This is the only article that applies the specific treatment protocol of mentalization-based therapy to this issue.


Authors: Michael Berry and Philip Berry


(2013). Sexual and Relationship Therapy.

Published online 11 Nov 2013


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Development and Preliminary Evaluation of a Continuing Education Curriculum in Problematic Sexual Behaviors

Development and Preliminary Evaluation of a Continuing Education Curriculum in Problematic Sexual Behaviors | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"A curriculum development team......created and implemented an educational program for the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH). Consistent with broader training approaches in medicine and mental health, the content was conceptualized as a basic overview of problematic sexual behavior (PSB). Professionals were provided with an introduction to PSB so that they might appropriately screen and refer their clients......."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: The development of a basic curriculum capable of training generalists to appropriately assess and refer certain manifestations of problematic sexual behavior is likely to be very useful.


(2013).  Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 336-346.


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The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the ‘Pornography Addiction’ Model

The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the ‘Pornography Addiction’ Model | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"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 VSS 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."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  This site is committed to curating all perspectives about this complex topic, including those that are controversial or critical.  Note that this is a 'review' article, not a research article, which makes it more susceptible to the bias of its authors.  Along with their blanket dismissal of thousands of professionals who utilize various components of addiction theory to help people with out-of-control use of visual sexual stimuli, Ley and Prause never-the-less raise some arguments that require thoughtful discussion.  


Based on the abstract and the accompanying press release from Springer, it appears that the authors enthusiastically praise the positive benefits of pornography.  They seem to only very grudgingly admit that some people "struggle" regulating their use.  The relative reluctance to acknowledge problematic use of pornography, especially by David Ley, is evident, and the contention that unrestricted access to porn actually reduces rates of child molestation is surprising. Prause seems much more willing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the phenomena of dysregulated sexual behavior.  Her article in Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology in the summer of 2013 garnered a lot of attention among people interested in this topic. 


It's unclear whether the authors were attempting to be wry by using the phrase "no clothes" in an article about visual sexual stimuli.
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Transgression as Addiction: Religiosity and Moral Disapproval as Predictors of Perceived Addiction to Pornography

Transgression as Addiction: Religiosity and Moral Disapproval as Predictors of Perceived Addiction to Pornography | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it



"(T)he present study indicated that religiosity and moral disapproval of pornography use were robust predictors of perceived addiction to Internet pornography while being unrelated to actual levels of use among pornography consumers."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  This article supports the idea that some people who perceive themselves to be addicted to pornography are experiencing psychological distress in large part because it conflicts with their religious beliefs.  On the one hand this makes intuitive sense: people who have a strong sense of what they "should" and "shouldn't" do are more likely to be distressed by their behavior than people who don't give a rip. Articles like this are a reminder of the importance of carefully negotiating the addiction narrative with people who perceive themselves to have a problem because of their strong moral convictions around matters of sexuality in the absence of harm to others.


See also the accompanying  press release from Case Western Reserve University concerning this article.


Arch Sex Behav. 2014 Feb 12. [Epub ahead of print]
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“I’m Married to a Sex Addict… But That’s Okay”

“I’m Married to a Sex Addict… But That’s Okay” | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it
It made one woman’s marriage stronger, but her route was anything but traditional.

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  There are many paths to healing for couples, and the work "codependency", which is used here, divides many of them. 

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BK's curator insight, February 11, 8:39 AM

"Then, four years later, everything shattered. I was at a family party at his parents’ place when I needed to make a call. Rather than hunt for my phone, I grabbed my husband’s—when a text from my best friend flashed up on the screen. It was immediately clear that they were having an affair."

Read more: Sex Addiction - Married to a Sex Addict - Redbook 
Follow us: @redbookmag on Twitter | REDBOOK on Facebook 
Visit us at Redbook.com

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Characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) who attend sex parties: results from a national online sample in the USA

Characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) who attend sex parties: results from a national online sample in the USA | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it


 "A significantly higher proportion of (men who have sex with men who attended a sex party in the past year)....... demonstrated sexual compulsivity symptomology (39.2%)......"

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:


Curator comment: They were also more likely to be HIV-positive, to have recently used drugs, and to have had the greatest number of sexual partners and  instances of unprotected anal intercourse.


Sex Transm Infect 2014;90:26-32 doi:10.1136/sextrans-2013-051094


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Ontario man blames sex addiction for robbing church to pay for hooker he brought there after hours

Ontario man blames sex addiction for robbing church to pay for hooker he brought there after hours | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Bringing a hooker to church after hours, stealing from its petty funds to pay her and then claiming he'd been attacked and robbed, was the 'worst decision of his life"'said a Peterborough man, sentenced Friday."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:This brief article points to two trends, using "sex addiction" in a criminal proceeding and as a quick way to sensationalize a headline.

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What Every Sex-Addict Husband Should Know About His Wife's Recovery

What Every Sex-Addict Husband Should Know About His Wife's Recovery | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Don't keep your "recovery" a secret like you kept your sex addiction a secret. This does not help a wife who has been traumatized by your addiction........You are the reason your wife is in pain..........(N)o matter how you look at it, with rare exception, your actions are the primary reason she is feeling what she is feeling now. I say this not to shame you, but to hopefully help make all this a little easier on you."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  For indiviuals (and couples) in 12-step-based sex addiction recovery, this article is an excellent resource for keeping the balance in favor of the betrayed partner's healing.  With the exception of the final recommendation that a formal disclosure should optimally take place as part of a three-day intensive, this is an outstanding statement of principle and practice.

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Do Sex Addicts Have Multiple Personality?

Do Sex Addicts Have Multiple Personality? | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"There are a number of reasons why sex addicts can seem to be sociopathic and similarly, there are a number of reasons why it might appear that sex addicts have multiple personalities."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: Linda Hatch is a prolific and insightful writer on this topic, and this is one of her better recent articles..

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The Effects of Gay Sexually Explicit Media on the HIV Risk Behavior of Men Who Have Sex with Men

The Effects of Gay Sexually Explicit Media on the HIV Risk Behavior of Men Who Have Sex with Men | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"While most men who have sex with men (MSM) consume sexually explicit media (SEM) without problems—including without HIV risk—for a small subgroup of high consumers, our formative research and these results both suggest their behavior may be experienced as problematic. Clinically, it would be helpful to establish what relationship, if any, exists between very high SEM consumption and compulsive sexual behavior, to identify whether the SEM use is compulsive in itself, and then to compare the behavior and characteristics of MSM with and withour compulsive SEM use."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: (1) The above excerpt from the conclusion of this study is only a small part of the overall findings.  (2) The instrument used to measure compulsive sexual behavior is the well-established Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory (CSBI).  (3) And for those not familiar with the phrase, "sexually explicit media" is increasingly replacing the term"pornography" in the sexual health field.


AIDS Behav (2013) 17:1488–1498

DOI 10.1007/s10461-013-0454-8


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Gender, Romance Novels and Plastic Sexuality in the U.S.

Gender, Romance Novels and Plastic Sexuality in the U.S. | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it


"The results reveal that female readers (of romance novels) self-reported greater sex addiction, greater sex drive and greater number of orgasms required for sexual satisfaction than female nonreaders......."


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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This is a non-experimental and somewhat subjectively defined study of 770 white American college students and makes no inferences of causality.  Even with these limitations its interesting and is available in its entirety rather than just in abstract form.


(2006) International Journal of Women's Studies, 8:1, pp. 124-132.

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Sexual Healing? | The Fix

"Just like with drugs, I kept thinking I had a handle on it. I’d get a few weeks or even months without acting out and think, “oh I got this.”  What I know now is that the beast of sex addiction takes lengthy naps and during those respites, I thought I was cured. But then it would be on me again, like a possession....... I can still remember that anticipatory trembling on the way to meet a date which was oddly reminiscent of the rush to meet the dealer. And occasionally…..after…. I would feel empty and shameful. I’d make those meaningless promises to myself.  That was the last time. Never again......."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This first-person accounting is not appropriate for readers who are easily offended by raw language and frank descriptions of sexual objectification  It does, however, join the other personal narratives on this site to offer another perspective into the interior landscape of a self-identified sex addict.

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Signs You Could Be a Sex Addict

Signs You Could Be a Sex Addict | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Sex addiction affects over nine million Americans. Could someone you know be a sex addict? Find out the warning signs."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: It's fascinating to watch how this topic is approached from two very different perspectives in this seven minute segment broadcast on December 16, 2013.

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

Relevance of Hypersexual Disorder to Family Medicine and Primary Care as a Complex Multidimensional Chronic Disease Construct | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"The complexity of an individual patient arises out of interactions
between different domains: biology, genetics, socioeconomics,
environment, culture, behavior, and the health system. In
a chronic condition such as hypersexual idsorder, these “forces” are not easily discerned...... We emphasis the need to reflect upon the principal care responsibility of family physicians in the prevention, detection, and counselling of patients with HD supported by specialists and other (primary) health care providers by means of integrated care networks. Further research and debate are needed on both HD as a multidimensional chronic disease construct and its relevance to family medicine......Enhanced diagnostic accuracy and referral must be connected to structured programmes that provide effective treatment, patient empowerment, regular patient followup, monitoring of treatment adherence, and the use of mental health specialists for the more severely ill patients."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This recent article is useful on a number of dimensions: (1) The introduction of a "case complexity' model is a helpful way to articulate the many factors that can be involved in various forms of problematic sexual behavior that present for tratment.  (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, the fact that this is an Open Access article makes it immediately available to read and download in its entirety, which is a rare treat.   


Liesbeth Borgermans, Bert Vrijhoef, Jan Vandevoorde, Jan De Maeseneer, Johan Vansintejan, and Dirk Devroey, “Relevance of Hypersexual Disorder to Family Medicine and Primary Care as a Complex Multidimensional Chronic Disease Construct,” International Journal of Family Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 519265, 5 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/519265

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