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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dysregulated sexuality, sexual desire and sexual arousal regulation Winters, Jason

Abstract

The studies described in this dissertation examined the relationships among dysregulated sexuality, heightened sexual desire and sexual arousal regulation. Study one addressed the association between dysregulated sexuality, commonly referred to as sexual compulsivity, sexual addiction or sexual impulsivity, and sexual desire. A sample of 14,396 men and women, some of who had sought treatment for sexual compulsivity, addiction or impulsivity, completed an online survey comprised of various sexuality measures. Male and female treatment groups scored significantly higher on dysregulated sexuality and sexual desire, and for all groups, dysregulated sexuality was associated with increased sexual desire. Exploratory factor analysis revealed that in both male and female participants, regardless of treatment status, dysregulated sexuality and sexual desire variables loaded onto a single underlying factor. The final stage of analyses showed that sexual desire can account for the relationship between dysregulated sexuality and risky sexual behavior. The results suggest that dysregulated sexuality, as currently conceptualized, may simply be an indicator of heightened sexual desire and the distress associated with managing a high degree of sexual thoughts, feelings and needs. The objectives of study two were to examine the effectiveness of emotional reappraisal in regulating male sexual arousal, and to evaluate the relationships between sexual arousal regulation, and sexual desire and dysregulated sexuality. Participants completed a series of online sexuality questionnaires, and were subsequently assessed for their success at regulating sexual arousal in the laboratory. Results showed that the ability to regulate emotion crosses emotional domains; those men best able to regulate sexual arousal were also the most skilled at regulating their level amusement to humourous stimuli. Participants, on average, were somewhat able to regulate their physiological and cognitive sexual arousal, although there was a wide range of regulation success. While some were very adept at regulating their sexual arousal, others became more sexually aroused while trying to regulate. Age, sexual experience and sexual compulsivity were unrelated to sexual arousal regulation. Conversely, sexual excitation, inhibition and desire correlated with sexual arousal regulation success. Increased sexual excitation and desire were associated with poorer regulatory performance while propensity for sexual inhibition was related to regulatory success.

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