News Release

Adults report distress associated with difficulty controlling sexual feelings, behavior

Peer-Reviewed Publication

JAMA Network

Bottom Line: About 10 percent of men and 7 percent of women reported significant levels of distress and social impairment associated with difficulty controlling their sexual feelings, urges and behaviors.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) is a persistent pattern of failure in controlling intense sexual urges that can result in distress and social impairment. Assessing how common such distress and social impairment are can help to provide the closest estimate of CSBD in the population considering a lack of previous studies and debate around specific symptom presentation and definitions with regard to hypersexuality.

Who and When: 2,325 adults between 18 and 50 who participated in the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior and who were randomly sampled nationwide in November 2016

What (Study Measures and Outcomes): Distress and impairment associated with difficulty controlling sexual feelings, urges and behaviors as measured by a screening tool

How (Study Design): This was a survey study.


Authors: Janna A. Dickenson, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and coauthors

Results: Of the 2,325 adults, 201 (8.6 percent overall or 10.3 percent of men and 7 percent of women) met the criteria for clinically relevant levels of distress, impairment or both associated with difficulty controlling their sexual feelings, urges and behaviors.

Study Limitations: The behavior screening tool may not always be accurate and the survey didn't assess additional causes of distress about participants' sexual behavior.

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.


Editor's Note: The article contains conflict of interest and funding support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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About JAMA Network Open: JAMA Network Open is the new online-only open access general medical journal from the JAMA Network. Every Friday, the journal publishes peer-reviewed clinical research and commentary in more than 40 medical and health subject areas. Every article is free online from the day of publication.

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