Short Summary of the Epidemiology and Effects of Compulsive Sexual Behavior

Compulsive sexual behavior (or sex addiction/ hypersexuality) is a highly troubling disorder that interferes with different aspects of the affected individual’s life. The stigmatization of the disorder and the associated shame make an extensive evaluation of the entirety of the disorder very difficult. (Black et al., 1997) 

Nevertheless there are some studies that highlight the different aspects that could be seen as causes or triggers for such an addiction. A difficult or even dysfunctional family background seems to be a common factor found in many suffering from compulsive sexual behavior. (Derbyshire et al., 2015) Other studies go even further pointing out specific factors such as abuse, parental non- compliancy and lack of compassion, all of them (and more) resulting in a desire for wellbeing which (in this case) can be met with excessive sexual behavior. (Derbyshire et al., 2015) Many of the affected individuals have reported a correlation between their sexual behavior and specific moods, meaning that either depression, loneliness, sadness or even happiness might trigger their compulsion. Furthermore, additional addictions have often been found to be coherent  or occur simultaneously. Even though it would be very helpful for the general understanding of the disorder there haven’t been enough studies in neuroscience to identify if there might be specific neuroanatomical differences in individuals with and without or with different addictions. (Fong, 2006) 

As of today the whole field of addictions is highly controversial and debated with little empirical evidence on the epidemiology of the disorder. In a commentary, Mark D.Griffiths (Griffiths, 2016) explains how some papers, specifically Kraus et al.’s paper, state that co-occurring behavioral addictions are a possibility. Interestingly, Mark D. Griffiths doesn’t agree stating that while there might be a possibility for substance abuse and simultaneous  sex, there is little face validity that an individual could be able to display to behavioral addictions as they are very time consuming, he then proceeds to give an example (work and sex, impossible to be carried out simultaneously). (Griffiths, 2016) All in one: There are still many different contentious issues that need to be studied and explored in order to have a clear view on the field of addictions, specifically on compulsive sexual behavior.


Derbyshire, Katherine L.; Grant, Jon E.  (2015). Compulsive sexual behavior: A review of the literature. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 4(2), 37–43.        

   Fong, T. (2006, November 3). Understanding and Managing Compulsive Sexual Behaviors. NCBI.

Griffiths, Mark D. (2016). Compulsive sexual behaviour as a behavioural addiction: the impact of the internet and other issues. Addiction, (), n/a–n/a.        

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