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Cogn Emot. 2015;29(8):1505-16. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2014.993595. Epub 2015 Jan 6.

Sexual desire, not hypersexuality, predicts self-regulation of sexual arousal.

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a Department of Psychology , Idaho State University , Pocatello , ID , USA.
b Department of Psychiatry , University of California , Los Angeles , CA , USA.
c Department of Psychology , Stony Brook University , Stony Brook , NY , USA.


A person's ability to control their own sexual arousal is important both to reduce the risks associated with some sexual behaviours and to respond sexually with intimate partners. A lack of control over sexual urges is a proposed feature of "hypersexual disorder", though some evidence suggests that sexual desire predicts the self-regulation of sexual arousal better than hypersexuality. In the current study, a sample (N = 116) of men and women recruited from community ads viewed a series of 20-second neutral and sexual films. Before each sexual film, participants were instructed to increase their sexual arousal, decrease their sexual arousal or respond as usual. Higher levels of desire for sex with a partner consistently predicted failures to downregulate sexual arousal. Hypersexuality was unrelated. These findings replicate Winters et al.'s study and extend their findings by including upregulation, women, a new measure of hypersexuality and a higher-trial design.


Hypersexuality; Self-regulation; Sexual arousal; Sexual desire

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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