Sexual impulsivity and problematic sexual behaviors in adults: Towards innovative domain-specific behavioral measures (2016)

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Available online 12 January 2016


Impulsivity has been identified as a risk factor for problematic sexual behaviors in adults such as conjugal infidelity, risky sexual behaviors, and sexual coercion. Impulsivity can be conceptualized as a relatively stable intrapersonal characteristic leading individuals to engage in reckless, inconsiderate actions. However, studies have suggested that some individuals may present self-control deficits that are specific to or more pronounced in the sexual domain. The present review of the literature intends to survey the empirical studies having found links between impulsivity and problematic sexual behaviors and to examine how two behavioral measures of impulsivity, the delay discounting task and the stop signal task, have contributed to the generation of new scientific knowledge on human sexuality. This article will also highlight the relevance of adapting these tasks to the sexual domain in order to measure the neuropsychological processes that might mark sexual impulsivity. The remaining gaps in the body of literature as well as the potential outcomes will also be addressed.


  • Impulsivity;
  • Conjugal infidelity;
  • Risky sexual behaviors;
  • Sexual coercion;
  • Stop signal task;
  • Delay discounting

La version en français de cet article, publiée dans l’édition imprimée de la revue, est disponible en ligne :