Hypersexuality and High Sexual Desire: Exploring the Structure of Problematic Sexuality

Introduction

The concept of hypersexuality has been accompanied by fierce debates and conflicting conclusions about its nature. One of the central questions under the discussion is a potential overlap between hypersexuality and high sexual desire. With the relevant research in its early phase, the structure of hypersexuality remains largely unknown.

Aim

The aim of the present study was to systematically explore the overlap between problematic sexuality and high sexual desire.

Methods

A community online survey was carried out in Croatia in 2014. The data were first cluster analyzed (by gender) based on sexual desire, sexual activity, perceived lack of control over one’s sexuality, and negative behavioral consequences. Participants in the meaningful clusters were then compared for psychosocial characteristics. To complement cluster analysis (CA), multigroup confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of the same four constructs was carried out.

Main Outcome Measures

Indicators representing the proposed structure of hypersexuality were included: sexual desire, frequency of sexual activity, lack of control over one’s sexuality, and negative behavioral outcomes. Psychosocial characteristics such as religiosity, attitudes toward pornography, and general psychopathology were also evaluated.

Results

CA pointed to the existence of two meaningful clusters, one representing problematic sexuality, that is, lack of control over one’s sexuality and negative outcomes (control/consequences cluster), and the other reflecting high sexual desire and frequent sexual activity (desire/activity cluster). Compared with the desire/activity cluster, individuals from the control/consequences cluster reported more psychopathology and were characterized by more traditional attitudes. Complementing the CA findings, CFA pointed to two distinct latent dimensions—problematic sexuality and high sexual desire/activity.

Conclusion

Our study supports the distinctiveness of hypersexuality and high sexual desire/activity, suggesting that problematic sexuality might be more associated with the perceived lack of personal control over sexuality and moralistic attitudes than with high levels of sexual desire and activity. Carvalho J, Štulhofer A, Vieira AL, and Jurin T. Hypersexuality and high sexual desire: Exploring the structure of problematic sexuality. J Sex Med 2015;12:1356–1367.

Source: Online Library, Wiley

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