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What does “Sexual” mean in compulsive sexual behavior disorder? •

Commentary to the debate: “Behavioral addictions in the ICD-11”

Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Peer Briken and Daniel Turner

Abstract

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.

Open access

Background and aims

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Open access

Abstract

Introduction

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.

Methods

We collected data for five time points in four retrospective measurement points in an online convenience sample (n T0 = 399, n T4 = 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.

Results

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. 

Discussion

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.

Open access