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.
Despite the high prevalence of perceived problems relating to symptoms of hypersexual disorder (HD), important aspects remain underinvestigated. This study examines symptoms of depression, symptoms of problematic cybersex, and coercive sexual behavior in a large online sample from a German-speaking population.
In an online survey, N = 1,194 (n = 564 women) participated in this study and completed measures including self-report questionnaires to assess depressive symptoms (PHQ-9), HD (HBI-19), symptoms of problematic cybersex (s-IATsex), as well as questions characterizing participants sexually, including fantasies and actual sexual coercive behaviors.
Men reported increased levels of HD symptom severity, pornography consumption, masturbation, and partnered sexual activity. Moreover, 59% of men and 18% of women reported fantasies of sexual coercion, whereas 21% of men and 4% of women reported acts of sexual coercion. Moderated regression analyses showed that symptoms of depression as well as sexual coercive fantasies and behaviors were associated with levels of HD symptom severity. Problematic cybersex, total sexual outlet (TSO), pornography consumption, and number of sexual partners were also associated with HD symptom severity. Interaction effects indicated that, in women, the connection of TSO as well as pornography was more strongly associated with levels of HD symptom severity than in men.
This survey indicated that levels of HD symptom severity are often associated with severe intra- and interpersonal difficulties. Furthermore, the amount of sexual activity seems to be more strongly connected to levels of HD symptom severity in women than in men.
Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD) is a new category in ICD-11. Research examining underlying brain mechanisms is sparse. Research into neurobiological differences can be helpful in advancing the possibilities of new diagnostic approaches and therapeutic methods. The present study aimed to examine brain matter volume and resting state functional connectivity (rs-FC) in CSBD.
Structural and rs-FC magnetic resonance imaging and data from questionnaires were collected in 30 men with CSBD and 32 age- and education-matched controls. Whole brain voxel based morphometry (VBM) and seed based rs-FC in a-priori defined seeds were analyzed.
Structural analyses showed that men with CSBD had significantly increased gray matter volume in the right cerebellum, middle occipital and superior frontal lobe. No differences in rs-FC could be detected when using these brain structures as seed regions in rs-FC. In contrast, literature based rs-FC analysis revealed decreased rs-FC between the right orbital middle frontal cortex (mOFC) and the right gyrus rectus, as well as between left pallidum and right post/precentral gyrus in men with CSBD. In the left amygdala we observed increased rs-FC with precuneus in this group. In addition, most of these measures correlated with symptom severity.
Structural findings may underscore the idea that the cerebellum plays an important role in sexual arousal and CSBD. Perhaps, a simultaneous activation of the left amygdala and the precuneus reflects a constant sexual occupation of men with CSBD. Furthermore, lower connectivity between mOFC and gyrus rectus in CSBD may support the assumption that sexual stimuli are evaluated more positively because inhibition is decreased.
Hypersexual disorder is characterized by recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, or sexual behaviors that can lead to clinically relevant levels of distress and adverse consequences for affected individuals. Earlier research has established a connection between sexual phenomena, such as compulsive sexual behavior, and personality features. The aim of the present study was to gain further insights into the associations of personality maladjustment and HD.
The present study applied the dimensional approach of personality maladjustment presented in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to connect compulsive sexual behavior to personality maladjustment. We investigated 47 men suffering from HD (age: M = 36.51, SD = 11.47) and 38 matched men without HD (age: M = 37.92, SD = 12.33) regarding personality maladjustment using a 100-item version of the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5-BF).
The men with HD showed higher levels of personality maladjustment regarding all PID-5-BF domains (negative affect, detachment, psychoticism, antagonism, and disinhibition) and significantly differentiated from men without HD in the level of subordinate facets. However, no domain of personality differentiated significantly between groups using a binary stepwise logistic regression analysis.
Discussion and conclusions
In sum, the findings of the study underline the extent of personality maladjustment in men with HD. Interpersonal difficulties which men with HD frequently experience can contribute to clinically relevant levels of distress and adverse consequences reported by affected individuals.