How should severity be determined for the DSM-5 proposed classification of Hypersexual Disorder?

J Behav Addict. 2015 Dec;4(4):221-5. doi: 10.1556/2006.4.2015.041.


Background and aims: The concept of severity among providers working with hypersexual behavior is frequently used despite a lack of consensus about how severity should be operationalized. The paucity of dialogue about severity for hypersexual behavior is disconcerting given its relevance in determining level of care, risk, allocation of resources, and measuring treatment outcomes in clinical practice and research trials. The aim of the current article is to highlight several considerations for assessing severity based on the proposed DSM-5 criteria for hypersexual disorder.

Methods: A review of current conceptualizations for severity among substance-use disorders and gambling disorder in the DSM-5 were considered and challenged as lacking applicability or clinical utility for hypersexual behavior.

Results and conclusions: The current research in the field of hypersexual behavior is in its infancy. No concrete approach currently exists to assess severity in hypersexual populations. Several factors in operationalizing severity are discussed and alternative approaches to defining severity are offered for readers to consider.

Keywords: DSM-5; hypersexual disorder; severity; sex addiction; sexual compulsivity; sexual impulsivity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological* / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological* / psychology

Grant support

Funding sources: The author is a full-time salaried employee of the University of California Los Angeles, CA, USA.