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Psychiatry Res. 2009 Nov 30;174(2):146-51. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2009.04.008. Epub 2009 Oct 17.

Preliminary investigation of the impulsive and neuroanatomical characteristics of compulsive sexual behavior.

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Program in Human Sexuality, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.


In recent years, there has been increased interest in a clinical syndrome characterized by excessive sexual thoughts, sexual urges, and/or sexual behaviors that has many aspects in common with impulse control disorders. This study provides a preliminary examination of the impulsive aspects of this syndrome, compulsive sexual behavior (CSB). Sixteen male subjects, eight CSB patients and eight non-patient controls, completed psychometric measures of impulsivity and compulsive sexual behavior, performed a behavioral task designed to assess impulse control (Go-No Go task), and underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) procedures. The results indicated that CSB patients were significantly more impulsive; whether measured by psychometric testing or the Go-No Go procedure, than controls. The results also indicate that CSB patients showed significantly higher superior frontal region mean diffusivity (MD) than controls. A correlational analysis indicated significant associations between impulsivity measures and inferior frontal region fractional anisotropy (FA) and MD, but no associations with superior frontal region measures. Similar analyses indicated a significant negative association between superior frontal lobe MD and the Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory. Thus, while CSB patients were more impulsive than controls, the DTI results were not consistent with impulse control disorders.

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