Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CBSD)

People with compulsive sexual behavior disorder suffer greatly. In fact, for them, sex loses the pleasurable nature it has for most of us.
Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CBSD)

Last update: 06 December, 2022

There are many different kinds of addictions. However, for a behavior to be considered to be addictive it has to meet the following requirements. It occurs with a certain frequency and level of intensity and a great deal of money and time is invested in it. What’s more, it causes great interference in the family, social, and work relationships of the individual. In this article, we’re going to talk about sex addiction and some interventions to treat it.

It was in 2018 that the World Health Organization (WHO) classified sex addiction under the label of compulsive sexual behavior disorder. Before proceeding to explain how to intervene in sex addiction, we’re going to define this disorder.

Woman grabbing the sheet
When a behavior such as sex becomes a compelling need, there’s an addiction problem.

Compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD)

When you’re thirsty you have a drink. But imagine that you’re thirsty and can’t drink for 24 hours. Then, someone puts a glass of water in front of you. This is how people with CSBD feel. They present extremely intense and repeated sexual impulses. These last for six months or more.

Their life revolves around their repeated sexual activities. That said, they do try to resist their impulses but fail to do so. Consequently, the satisfaction they derive from their sexual activities is rather low. In fact, it may even be non-existent.

CSBD is a clinical condition that occurs more frequently in males. It affects between one and six percent of the population. It’s a newly created clinical disorder and requires further investigation. However, it’s been linked with conditions such as depression, anxiety, addictions, and personality disorders.

According to Vizcaíno (2011), the most frequent forms of compulsive sexual behavior are masturbation (73 percent), prolonged promiscuity (70 percent), and dependence on pornography (53 percent).

“In addition, the complications of the disorder can involve the presence of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as the presence of unwanted pregnancies.”


Interventions in sex addiction

In 2019, Hallberg proposed a cognitive-behavioral therapy for sex addiction. It consists of:

  • Psychoeducation regarding cognitive-behavioral therapy CSBD.
  • Psychoeducation regarding the excesses and deficits of behavior. It also proposes to consider the possibility of carrying out a functional analysis of behavior. This means determining why hypersexual behavior appears.
  • Motivational intervention.
  • Behavioral activation is initiated after identifying the patient’s values.
  • Psychoeducation regarding how dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs influence behavior.
  • Cognitive discussion and behavioral experiments between sessions. During this process, the patient is taught problem-solving techniques.
  • Interpersonal behavioral activation. This consists of training in skills to be more assertive, manage conflicts in a healthier way, and commit to interpersonal goals.

Finally, a summary of the treatment should be made. In addition, a results maintenance program should be designed and implemented to prevent any relapses in addictive sexual behavior.

Hallberg’s treatment is organized into seven weekly sessions of 150 minutes duration. It’s been seen to reduce the scores of hypersexuality in patients. It’s also produced improvements in the symptoms of depression. Furthermore, satisfaction on the part of the patients was observed to be high and the changes produced by the treatment were maintained for months.

“It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover.”

-Marge Piercy-

Patient in psychological therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most widely used for sex addiction.

Other treatments

There are only a few interventions that have been created specifically to address hypersexual behavior. Here are two of them.

The ESTEEM treatment (Effective Skills to Empower Effective Men). It consists of an intervention carried out in ten sessions over twelve weeks. The results indicated improvements in all the clinical variables that were studied. One of these was the reduction in hypersexual behavior.

MAT (Meditation Awareness Training). This is a meditation-based intervention. Its creators, Gordon, Shonin, and Griffiths agreed that meditation could be helpful for people with hypersexual behaviors. For their study, they administered this therapeutic modality to a 30-year-old man. There was a great improvement in his sexual behavior. Moreover, there was a reduction in the time he spent on sexual encounters and consuming internet pornography.

Researchers have also investigated which medication might be effective in treating this disorder. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most widely used drugs. They’re either used alone or in combination with topiramate, naltrexone, or lamotrigine.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Pedrero, F. E. (2020). Manual de Tratamientos Psicológicos. Pirámide.
  • Vizcaíno, E. V., Alfaro, G. P., & Valladolid, G. R. (2011). Adicciones sin sustancia: juego patológico, adicción a nuevas tecnologías, adicción al sexo. Medicine-Programa de Formación Médica Continuada Acreditado, 10(86), 5810-5816.
  • Sánchez Zaldívar, S., & Iruarrizaga Díez, I. (2009). Nuevas dimensiones, nuevas adicciones: la adicción al sexo en internet. Psychosocial Intervention, 18(3), 255-268.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.