Emotion dysregulation and hypersexuality: Review and clinical implications

C. Garofalo, P. Velotti, G.C. Zavattini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


There is a long and varied history of research on hypersexuality, but no consensus on either etiology or therapeutic interventions. In an effort to advance understanding of hypersexuality, we review the largely separate literatures on hypersexuality and emotion dysregulation, which has recently been suggested to be a critical factor in the development and maintenance of mental health problems. Unfortunately, there is also a lack of consensus on the various primary and intervening factors involved in development of emotion regulation or emotion dysregulation. First, we review theories and empirical evidence to try to explain how emotion dysregulation could contribute to the onset of hypersexuality or other inappropriate sexual behavior. Next, an attachment-theory perspective is used to develop a common etiological model for both emotion dysregulation and hypersexuality. Finally, we address the issue of hypersexual behavior in the context of couple relationships, taking an interpersonal perspective on emotion and emotion regulation. We refer to different age categories, ranging from adolescence to elderly, as emotion regulation skills are likely to change throughout the lifespan.
Keywords: Hypersexuality, emotion regulation, lifespan, attachment, couples therapy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-19
JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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