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Am J Psychiatry. 1997 Feb;154(2):243-9.

Characteristics of 36 subjects reporting compulsive sexual behavior.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242-1000, USA.



The authors describe the sociodemographic features, phenomenology, and psychiatric comorbidity of 36 subjects reporting compulsive sexual behavior.


Twenty-eight men and eight women who responded to advertisements for "persons ... who have a problem with compulsive sexual behavior" completed structured and semistructured assessments, including the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for DSM-III-R disorders (axis I) and the Structured Interview for DSM-III-R Personality Disorders, Revised (axis II).


The typical subject was a 27-year-old man who reported experiencing compulsive sexual behavior for nearly 9 years. Sexual behavior was described as excessive and poorly controlled and was associated with either subjective distress or impairment in interpersonal or occupational functioning or as overly time-consuming. Fourteen subjects (39%) reported a history of major depression or dysthymia, 15 (42%) a history of phobic disorder, and 23 (64%) a history of substance use disorder. Personality disorders were quite frequent, particularly the paranoid, histrionic, obsessive-compulsive, and passive-aggressive subtypes. The compulsive sexual behavior was quite varied and included both paraphilic (e.g., cross-dressing) and nonparaphilic (e.g., compulsive masturbation) types.


Compulsive sexual behavior may be a clinically useful concept, but it describes a heterogeneous group of individuals with substantial psychiatric comorbidity and diverse behavioral problems.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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