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After introduction of compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) in the ICD-11, many questions regarding etiology, classification and diagnostic criteria remain unanswered, providing rationale for further research. In this commentary, we critically review the ongoing discussion reflected in some relevant articles, and try to point out the risks of oversimplification of the broad clinical phenomenon, as well as attract attention to the neglected aspects, such as psychosexual development, intimacy disorder and the role of sexological expertise in the assessment and treatment of individuals presenting with out-of-control sexual behaviors. We also advocate for multimodal, transtheoretical approach and suggest that CSBD may be reconsidered as a condition related to sexual health.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Todd L. Jennings
Tayler Lyng
Neil Gleason
Itor Finotelli
, and
Eli Coleman


Background and aims

In recent years, increasing attention has been given to the relationship between compulsive sexual behavior (CSB), religiosity, and spirituality. This review summarizes research examining the relationship CSB has with religiosity and spirituality, clarifying how these constructs inform the assessment and treatment of this syndrome.


The present paper reviews research published through August 1, 2021, using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Only studies providing quantitative analyses were included.


This review identified 46 articles, subsuming 59 studies, analyzing the relationship between CSB and religiosity or spirituality. Most studies used cross-sectional designs with samples primarily composed of heterosexual White men and women. Generally, the studies found small to moderate positive relationships between religiosity and CSB. Studies considering the mediating or moderating role of moral incongruence identified stronger, indirect relationships between religiosity and problematic pornography use (PPU), a manifestation of CSB. Few studies examined the association between spirituality and CSB, but those that did either reported negative relationships between indicators of spiritual well-being and CSB or positive relationships between CSB and aspects of spiritual struggles.

Discussion and conclusions

Although research examining CSB and religiosity has flourished, such growth is hampered by cross-sectional samples lacking in diversity. Moral incongruence assists in explaining the relationship between religiosity and PPU, but future research should consider other manifestations of CSB beyond PPU. Attention should also be given to examining other religiosity and spirituality constructs and obtaining more diverse samples in research on CSB, religiosity, and spirituality.

Open access