, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 37-52

High Rates of Sexual Behavior in the General Population: Correlates and Predictors

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We studied 2450, 18–60-year-old men and women from a 1996 national survey of sexuality and health in Sweden to identify risk factors and correlates of elevated rates of sexual behavior (hypersexuality) in a representative, non-clinical population. Interviews and questionnaires measured various sexual behaviors, developmental risk factors, behavioral problems, and health indicators. The results suggested that correlates of high rates of intercourse were mostly positive, whereas the correlates of high rates of masturbation and impersonal sex were typically undesirable. For both men and women, high rates of impersonal sex were related to separation from parents during childhood, relationship instability, sexually transmitted disease, tobacco smoking, substance abuse, and dissatisfaction with life in general. The association between hypersexuality and paraphilic sexual interests (exhibitionism, voyeurism, masochism/sadism) was particularly and equally strong for both genders (odds ratios of 4.6–25.6). The results held, with a few exceptions, when controlling for age, being in a stable relationship, living in a major city, and same-sex sexual orientation. We conclude that elevated rates of impersonal sex are associated with a range of negative health indicators in the general population.