Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 669–683 | Cite as

The Role of Maladaptive Cognitions in Hypersexuality Among Highly Sexually Active Gay and Bisexual Men

  • John E. Pachankis
  • H. Jonathon Rendina
  • Ana Ventuneac
  • Christian Grov
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
Original Paper


Cognitive appraisals about sex may represent an important component of the maintenance and treatment of hypersexuality, but they are not currently represented in conceptual models of hypersexuality. Therefore, we validated a measure of maladaptive cognitions about sex and examined its unique ability to predict hypersexuality. Qualitative interviews with a pilot sample of 60 highly sexually active gay and bisexual men and expert review of items yielded a pool of 17 items regarding maladaptive cognitions about sex. A separate sample of 202 highly sexually active gay and bisexual men completed measures of sexual inhibition and excitation, impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, depression and anxiety, sexual compulsivity, and a measure of problematic hypersexuality. Factor analysis confirmed the presence of three subscales: perceived sexual needs, sexual costs, and sexual control efficacy. Structural equation modeling results were consistent with a cognitive model of hypersexuality whereby magnifying the necessity of sex and disqualifying the benefits of sex partially predicted minimized self-efficacy for controlling one’s sexual behavior, all of which predicted problematic hypersexuality. In multivariate logistic regression, disqualifying the benefits of sex predicted unique variance in hypersexuality, even after adjusting for the role of core constructs of existing research on hypersexuality, AOR = 1.78, 95 % CI 1.02, 3.10. Results suggest the utility of a cognitive approach for better understanding hypersexuality and the importance of developing treatment approaches that encourage adaptive appraisals regarding the outcomes of sex and one’s ability to control his sexual behavior.


Hypersexuality Maladaptive cognitions Gay and bisexual men Mental health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • John E. Pachankis
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. Jonathon Rendina
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ana Ventuneac
    • 2
  • Christian Grov
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division, Yale School of Public HealthYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.The Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST)New YorkUSA
  3. 3.Basic and Applied Social Psychology Doctoral ProgramThe Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY)New YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health and Nutrition SciencesBrooklyn College of the City University of New York (CUNY)BrooklynUSA
  5. 5.School of Public Health at Hunter CollegeCity University of New York (CUNY)New YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyHunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY)New YorkUSA
  7. 7.Health Psychology Doctoral ProgramThe Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY)New YorkUSA

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