Study: Does Compulsive Sexual Behavior Really Exist? Psychological, Relational, and Biological Correlates of Compulsive Masturbation in a Clinical Setting (2015)

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researchersYBOP Comments: In this study, compulsive masturbators were younger than other ED patients and had more severe erectile dysfunction. It goes without saying that compulsive masturbation in today's young men would be associated with internet porn use. Compulsive masturbation was associated with higher anxiety and depression, but with less phobic anxiety and obsessive compulsive symptoms. Study's Conclusion:

"Compulsive masturbation represents a clinically relevant cause of disability, given the high level of psychological distress reported by subjects with this condition, and the severe impact on quality of life in terms of interpersonal relationships."


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Castellini, G.1; Corona, G.2; Fanni, E.3; Maseroli, E.4; Ricca, V.5; Maggi, M.4

1University of Florence, Department of Experimental, Cl, Italy; 2Endocrinology Unit, Bologna, Italy; 3Careggi Hospital, Sexual medicine and Andrology, Florence, Italy; 4Sexual Medicine and Andrology, Florence, Italy; 5Psychiatric Unit, Florence, Italy

Objective: The present study attempted to assess the prevalence of Compulsive masturbation (CM) in a clinical setting of sexual medicine, and to evaluate the impact of CM in terms of psychological and relational well-being.

Methods: A consecutive series of 4,211 men attending our Andrology and Sexual Medicine Outpatient Clinic for sexual dysfunction was studied by means of the Structured Interview on Erectile Dysfunction (SIEDY), ANDROTEST, and the modified Middlesex Hospital Questionnaire. Presence and severity of CM were defined according to the SIEDY items related to masturbation, considering the mathematical product of the frequency of masturbation episodes by the sense of guilty following masturbation, as measured in a Likert scale (0–3).

Results: Within the whole sample 352 (8.4%) subjects reported any sense of guilty during masturbation. CM subjects were younger than the rest of the samples, and showed more psychiatric comorbidities were more often present in subjects reporting any CM score.

CM score was positively associated with higher free-floating (p < 0.001) and somatized anxiety (p < 0.05) as well as with depressive symptoms (p < 0.001), while subjects with higher CM score reported less phobic anxiety (p < 0.05), and obsessive compulsive symptoms (p < 0.01). Higher CM score was associated with a higher alcohol intake (p < 0.001).

CM subjects reported more often partner's lower frequency of climax (p < 0.0001), and more problems to obtain an erection during sexual intercourse (p < 0.0001). CM severity was positively associated with worse relational (SIEDY Scale 2), and intrapsychic (SIEDY Scale 3) domains (all p < 0.001), but no relationship was found with the organic domain (SIEDY Scale 1).

Conclusion: Clinicians should take into account that several subjects seeking a treatment in a sexual medicine setting, report compulsive sexual behaviors. Compulsive masturbation represent a clinically relevant cause of disability, given the high level of psychological distress reported by subjects with this condition, and the severe impact on quality of life in terms of interpersonal relationships.

Policy of full disclosure: None