Preliminary investigation of the impulsive and neuroanatomical characteristics of compulsive sexual behavior

Michael H. Miner, Nancy Raymond, Bryon A. Mueller, Martin Lloyd, Kelvin O. Lim

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106 Scopus citations


In recent years, there has been increased interest in a clinical syndrome characterized by excessive sexual thoughts, sexual urges, and/or sexual behaviors that has many aspects in common with impulse control disorders. This study provides a preliminary examination of the impulsive aspects of this syndrome, compulsive sexual behavior (CSB). Sixteen male subjects, eight CSB patients and eight non-patient controls, completed psychometric measures of impulsivity and compulsive sexual behavior, performed a behavioral task designed to assess impulse control (Go-No Go task), and underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) procedures. The results indicated that CSB patients were significantly more impulsive; whether measured by psychometric testing or the Go-No Go procedure, than controls. The results also indicate that CSB patients showed significantly higher superior frontal region mean diffusivity (MD) than controls. A correlational analysis indicated significant associations between impulsivity measures and inferior frontal region fractional anisotropy (FA) and MD, but no associations with superior frontal region measures. Similar analyses indicated a significant negative association between superior frontal lobe MD and the Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory. Thus, while CSB patients were more impulsive than controls, the DTI results were not consistent with impulse control disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-151
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 30 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship from the University of Minnesota to Michael H. Miner, R01MH060662 and P20DA024196 to Kelvin O. Lim and by P41 R008079, P30 NS057091, M01-RR00400 and the MIND Institute.


  • Brain structure
  • Compulsive sexual behavior
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Impulsivity
  • MRI
  • Sexual addiction


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