Impulsive-Compulsive Sexual Behavior

A. Allen, E. Hollander

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The term impulsive-compulsive sexual behavior refers to sexual thoughts, urges, and behaviors that are normative, but occur with such frequency or intensity that they are distressing or interfere with functioning. The most common impulsive-compulsive sexual behaviors are promiscuity, masturbation, pornography dependence, phone sex, and use of the Internet for sexual purposes. Impulsive-compulsive sexual behavior is estimated to affect 5-6% of the general population and to be approximately 3 times more common in males than females. It is conceptualized as either an impulse control disorder or as a behavioral addiction. The pathophysiology, comorbidities, diagnosis, and treatments, both pharmacological and psychological, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780080914558
ISBN (Print)9780080453965
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Hyperactive sexual desire disorder
  • Hyperphilia
  • Hypersexuality
  • Nonparaphilic sexual addictions
  • Out-of-control sexual behavior
  • Paraphilia-related disorders
  • Sexual addiction


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