The study of the University of Minnesota finds frequent difficulties with sexual impulses

The anguish of sexual impulses and impulses is a wider problem than previously thought – both for men and women – and could interfere with the work, relationships and happiness of millions of Americans.

This was the starting point for a new study by the University of Minnesota, which found that 8.6% of people responding to a national survey on sexual health report "clinically relevant levels of discomfort and / or impairment associated with difficulties in controlling sexual feelings, stimuli and behavior. "

Previous research had estimated that only 2 to 6% of people were struggling with control of their sexual impulses, said Janna Dickenson, the principal author and researcher of human sexuality in the University of Medicine School & # 39. ;. "This is a much higher prevalence than we thought," he said.

The types of behavior that cause suffering could vary, Dickenson said, from having more sex than desired, to masturbate during work hours, to habitual sexting or pornography. People who commit sexual violence could be contained in this group, but Dickenson said the survey reflects a much larger group of people struggling with everyday problems rather than illegal actions.

The authors noted that the media coverage of sex scandals involving celebrities such as Tiger Woods raised the possibility of an increasing problem with sexually compulsive behaviors, but few studies have verified whether this was true.

The anxiety about sexual impulses is a key symptom of the disorder of compulsive sexual behavior (CSB), which was recently recognized in the latest compendium of the medical diagnosis of the World Health Organization, the ICD-11. However, not all people who expressed such feelings in the survey have the trouble.

The researchers of U of M analyzed the responses of 2325 adults to the National Survey of Sexual and Behavior in 2016. Considered one of the richest sets of data regarding sexual attitudes in the United States, the survey is conducted by Indiana University and funded from the mother house of Trojan Condoms.

The researchers said they were surprised to find only a modest gender division: 7% of women reported anxiety for sexual impulses, compared to 10.3% of men. This in some way challenges the cultural expectations that men are much more "irrepressible" and women are "sexual guardians" who keep their impulses under control, the authors wrote

The researchers found that the discomfort was more common among people with low incomes and without high school diplomas, but it was also more common among higher incomes. It was also more common among people who were racial minorities or who were gay, but the authors urged caution in interpreting those results. Their higher levels of sexual distress may partly reflect the higher levels of stress that come from individuals marginalized in the first place.

Dickenson said he hoped that this study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's open online network, could increase the profile of compulsive sexual behavior as a problem that requires doctors' attention in patient assessment.

"CSB is clearly an important sexual health problem," he said, "requiring more attention."

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