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Abstract: Sexual Arousal, Inhibition and Cognitive Control: What They Tell Us about Hypersexuality

Out of control sexual behavior has been conceptualized using a number of different constructs. These constructs include addiction, compulsivity, impulsivity, and sexual drive. While there are overlaps between the major conceptualizations put forward to characterize hypersexual, or out of control sexual behavior, each conceptualization has unique implications for the underlying mechanisms that might drive the observed behavior. The most prominent, in both the professional and popular literature is sexual addiction and to lesser extent, compulsive sexual behavior or sexual compulsivity. This talk will explore the results from a comprehensive study of the underlying mechanisms that were exhibited by a sample of men who have sex with men. The talk will explore the implications of two sets of data, laboratory tasks measuring top down cognitive control and laboratory and self-report measures of sexual arousal and sexual inhibition. These findings will be discussed within the context of the existing models of hypersexuality and the implications for understanding sexual dyscontrol.


Dr. Miner received his Ph.D. in Psychology from St. Louis University, Missouri. He is currently Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health. Dr. Miner began his work in sex offender research in 1986 as the research psychologist for California’s Sex Offender Treatment and Evaluation Project and joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota’s Program in Human Sexuality (PHS) in 1992. Dr. Miner coordinated sex offender treatment at PHS until 2008 and currently coordinates forensic assessment services. He was Vice President of the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders until September 2008 and is President of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Dr. Miner is a recipient of the Professional Services Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Dr. Miner’s research has been supported by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Justice, and the National Institute of Mental Health.