This paper comments three recent publications in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions (Brand et al., 2022; Gola et al., 2022; Sassover & Weinstein, 2022). It shortly discusses (1) the role of researcher biases and the significance of the naming of a disorder (here “sexual addiction” and “pornography use disorder”) for stigma and treatment, (2) the development and course of CSBD and its significance for research results, (3) the role of “Sexual” in CSBD. The paper concludes that the guidelines for CSBD give a precise description and the authors plea for an exchange between disciplines and a sex positive treatment approach.
Compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) will be included in ICD-11 as an impulse-control disorder. CSBD also shares clinical features with obsessive–compulsive spectrum disorders (OCSDs) and behavioral addictions. There has been relatively little systematic investigation of CSBD in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), the paradigmatic compulsive disorder. We aimed to determine prevalence of CSBD in OCD, and its associated sociodemographic and clinical features, including associated comorbidity, to learn more about the nature of CSBD.
Adult outpatients with current OCD (N = 539) participated in this study. The Structured Clinical Interview for OCSDs was used to diagnose OCSDs (Tourette’s syndrome, compulsive shopping, pathological gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, intermittent explosive disorder, self-injurious behavior, and CSBD). Prevalence rates of OCSDs in male versus female patients as well as comorbid disorders in OCD patients with and without CSBD were compared.
Lifetime prevalence of CSBD was 5.6% in patients with current OCD and significantly higher in men than women. OCD patients with and without CSBD were similar in terms of age, age of onset of OCD, present OCD illness severity, as well as educational background. Lifetime prevalence rates of several mood, obsessive–compulsive, and impulse-control disorders were considerably elevated in patients with lifetime CSBD.
Discussion and conclusions
A substantive number of OCD patients suffered from CSBD. CSBD in OCD was more likely comorbid with other mood, obsessive–compulsive, and impulse-control disorders, but not with disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors. This finding supports conceptualization of CSBD as a compulsive–impulsive disorder.
The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and correlates of indicators consistent with Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD)—defined and operationalized according to the ICD-11 guidelines—in a large (n = 4,633; 50.5% male; 49,5% female) probability-based German national sample.
Participants were asked if they had ever experienced “intense and recurring sexual impulses or sexual urges that I had difficulty controlling and resulted in sexual behavior” over a period of several months. Those who reported this experience were queried about the associated distress.
Overall, 4.9% of men [95% CI = 3.9–6.1] and 3.0% of women [95% CI = 2.3–3.9] reported experiences consistent with ICD-11 diagnostic requirements for lifetime diagnosis. In the 12 months preceding the study, 3.2% of men [95% CI = 2.4–4.2] and 1.8% of women [95% CI = 1.2–2.5] reported experiences consistent with CSBD requirements. Compared to controls and participants who reported elements of compulsive sexuality but without accompanying distress, strict religious upbringing was most prevalent in the CSBD group. The CSBD group was more likely to view sexual practices like men having sex with men as unacceptable and to report the belief that pornography has negative impacts on their sex life and life in general. Compared to the other two groups, the CSBD group was significantly more likely to have received psychiatric treatment for depression or another mental health problem during the past 12 months.
Discussion and conclusions
The current study provides novel and important insights into the prevalence and characteristics of CSBD in the general population.
The COVID-19 pandemic had numerous consequences for general, mental and sexual health. As gender differences in sexual compulsivity (SC) have been reported in the past and SC has been connected to adverse events and psychological distress, the current study aims at investigating associations between these factors in the context of contact restrictions in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany.
We collected data for five time points in four retrospective measurement points in an online convenience sample (nT0 = 399, nT4 = 77). We investigated the influence of gender, several pandemic-related psychosocial circumstances, sensation seeking (Brief Sensation Seeking Scale), and psychological distress (Patient-Health-Questionnaire-4) on the change of SC (measured with an adapted version of the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale) between T0 and T1 (n = 292) in a linear regression analysis. Additionally, the course of SC over the time of the pandemic was explored with a linear mixed model.
Male gender was associated with higher SC compared to female gender over all measurement points. An older age, being in a relationship, having a place to retreat was associated with a change to lower SC during the first time of the pandemic. Psychological distress was associated with SC in men, but not in women. Men, who reported an increase of psychological distress were also more likely to report an increase of SC.
The results demonstrate that psychological distress seems to correlate with SC differently for men and women. This could be due to different excitatory and inhibitory influences on men and women during the pandemic. Furthermore, the results demonstrate the impact of pandemic related psychosocial circumstances in the times of contact restrictions.
Compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) which includes problematic pornography use (PPU) is a clinically relevant syndrome that has been included in the ICD-11 as impulse control disorder. The number of studies on treatments in CSBD and PPU increased in the last years. The current preregistered systematic review aimed for identifying treatment studies on CSBD and PPU as well as treatment effects on symptom severity and behavior enactment.
The study was preregistered at Prospero International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (CRD42021252329). The literature search done in February 2022 at PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and PsycInfo, included original research published in peer-reviewed journals between 2000 to end 2021. The risk of bias was assessed with the CONSORT criteria. A quantitative synthesis based on effect sizes was done.
Overall 24 studies were identified. Four of these studies were randomized controlled trials. Treatment approaches included settings with cognitive behavior therapy components, psychotherapy methods, and psychopharmacological therapy. Receiving treatment seems to improve symptoms of CSBD and PPU. Especially, evidence for the efficacy of cognitive behavior therapy is present.
Discussion and conclusions
There is first evidence for the effectiveness of treatment approaches such as cognitive behavior therapy. However, strong conclusions on the specificity of treatments should be drawn with caution. More rigorous and systematic methodological approaches are needed for future studies. Results may be informative for future research and the development of specific treatment programs for CSBD and PPU.