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Spotlight on Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder: A Systematic Review of Research on Women

Authors Kowalewska E, Gola M, Kraus SW, Lew-Starowicz M

Received 7 May 2020

Accepted for publication 7 August 2020

Published 4 September 2020 Volume 2020:16 Pages 2025—2043


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Ewelina Kowalewska,1 Mateusz Gola,2,3 Shane W Kraus,4 Michal Lew-Starowicz1

1Department of Psychiatry, Centre of Postgraduate Medical Education, Warsaw, Poland; 2Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience, Institute for Neural Computations, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA; 3Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland; 4Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Correspondence: Ewelina Kowalewska Department of Psychiatry
Centre of Postgraduate Medical Education, 99/103 Marymoncka St., Warsaw 01-813, Poland
Email [email protected]

Purpose of Review: World Health Organization recently included compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) to the upcoming 11th edition of International Classification of Diseases (6C72). Despite the potential benefits of this decision (eg, the acceleration of research in the field will allow the development of effective treatments), previous research focused mainly on men, and as a result, we do not have an accurate clinical picture of compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) among women. Therefore, in this systematic review, we aim to present available knowledge on this topical subject. Literature search was conducted in the guideline of PRISMA methodology. Studies were identified from multiple databases including Academic Search Ultimate, SocINDEX, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, PubMed, and MEDLINE. Out of a total of 10,531 articles identified and screened, 58 were included in this review. Included studies covered the following topics: prevalence and etiology of CSB, behavioral and cognitive processes involved, comorbidities, personality traits, psychosocial and interpersonal difficulties, traumatic experiences, and treatments.
Recent Findings: Available studies indicate that CSB symptom severity is lower in women than in men. Overall, women reported consuming pornography less often than men and exhibit lower rates of feeling urges to these materials. CSB symptoms (including problematic pornography use) have been found to be positively related to trait psychopathy, impulsivity, sensation seeking, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, obsessive-compulsive disorder, pathological buying, sexual dysfunctions, general psychopathology, child sexual abuse, while negatively related to dispositional mindfulness.
Summary: Conclusions that can be drawn from prior studies are considerably limited. There are no accurate estimates of the CSB prevalence or severity among women, and studies have been mostly conducted on non-clinical populations, which has limited application for women diagnosed with CSBD.

Keywords: compulsive sexual behavior, problematic pornography use, women

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