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Can PTSD Cause Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder?

Compulsive sexual behavior disorder is a mental condition that involves out of control involvement of a person in sexual activities. It inversely harms the personal, professional, and social life of a person. Further, he develops a fear, anxiety, sadness, and guilt. He may occupy himself too much in sexual activities such as masturbation, pornography, multiple sexes, cybersex, etc. On the other hand, PTSD is a mental disorder arising from any traumatic or stressful event. Both of them are often interrelated.

Can PTSD Cause Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder?

Compulsive sexual behavior disorder is marked by one’s excessive preoccupation with sexual urges or behaviors or fantasies out of his control.(5)

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a pathological anxiety disorder that appears after one has experienced a traumatic event. PTSD cases can also arise due to combat or assault experiences. There are also other events that can trigger PTSD symptoms. These events can be kidnappings, car accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and any different traumatic experience or activity in which the patient has witnessed the death or any threat of physical causality.(1)

The development of PTSD cannot be predicted and can appear at any age. The severity and timing of the appearance of PTSD symptoms are different in each individual. Usually, its symptoms are manifested in the first three months after exposure to trauma. In some cases, symptoms appear after a delay of months or even years before a person meets can be diagnosed with PTSD.(1)

Any trauma that can trigger the symptoms of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder and related conditions such as Compulsive sexual behavior disorder can also cause PTSD in the same person thus, PTSD and OCD are so commonly found together.(2)

Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affect the same person simultaneously. It is observed in clinical studies that in some circumstances, obsessive behaviors such as repetitive washing or checking, hypersexuality may become a coping method with post-traumatic stress. Research studies state that the severity of a person’s OCD symptoms is somewhat related to the number of traumatic events that happened in one’s lifetime.(2)

Between 4% and 22% of people diagnosed with PTSD are also diagnosed with OCD. Owing to this frequency of the combination of conditions, PTSD has also given the term “post-traumatic obsessive-compulsive disorder.” But treatment for the OCD is likely to attach with the therapy of the coexisting PTSD.(2)

Hypervigilance with PTSD has contributed to the behaviors that defy logic as the individual regularly indulges himself in repetitive actions (checking doors are locked, looking for danger, sexual activities, etc.) in an attempt to reduce one’s fears and anxiety. These actions may increase slowly and eventually, causing OCD.(2)

With both PTSD and OCD with allied conditions like hypersexuality are interrelated. They culminate intrusive thoughts in a person and then germinate neutralizing behaviors to decrease their anxiety from these distressing thoughts.(3)

In PTSD, a person often attempts to neutralize his thoughts either by altogether avoiding them or engaging himself in other behaviors like isolation, avoidance, or sexual behavior. In OCD and related conditions such as Compulsive sexual behavior disorder, Compulsions are the neutralizing behaviors that assist a person to feel controlled, safe, and less anxious in the current situation. But, in the long-run, these behaviors do not only help in the reduction of the source of the anxiety. On the other hand, they may even elevate the amount of fear he has to deal with.(3)


Post-traumatic stress disorder develops after exposure to stressful events or trauma in life that has endangered life or survival. It leads to a series of neutralizing behaviors in the affected person to cope up with the fear and anxiety. These behaviors often include compulsive sexual behavior disorder. Thus, PTSD may cause compulsive sexual behavior.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 20, 2020

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