Compulsive Sexual Behavior: Prefrontal And Limbic Volume and Interactions


Schmidt, Casper; Morris, Laurel S.; Kvamme, Timo L.; Hall, Paula; Birchard, Thaddeus; and Voon, Valerie


2017 in Human Brain Mapping, Vol. 38(3), pp. 1182-1190

  • Compulsive sexual behavior is associated with elevated volumes in limbic regions relevant to motivational salience and emotion processing, and impaired functional connectivity between prefrontal control regulatory and limbic regions.
Background: Compulsive sexual behaviors (CSB) are relatively common and associated with significant personal and social dysfunction. The underlying neurobiology is still poorly understood. The present study examines brain volumes and resting state functional connectivity in CSB compared with matched healthy volunteers (HV).

Methods: Structural MRI (MPRAGE) data were collected in 92 subjects (23 CSB males and 69 age‐matched male HV) and analyzed using voxel‐based morphometry. Resting state functional MRI
  • "Emerging evidence suggests potential overlaps with an addiction process particularly supporting incentive motivation theories. We have shown that activity in this salience network is then enhanced following exposure to highly salient or preferred sexually explicit cues along with enhanced attentional bias and desire specific to the sexual cue but not generalized sexual desire... together these findings help elucidate the underlying neurobiology of CSB leading toward a greater understanding of the disorder and identification of possible therapeutic markers."
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