The role of disgust propensity and sensitivity on sexual excitation and inhibition in obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Andrea Pozza | andrea.pozza@unifi.it Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.
  • Nicole L. Angelo School of Psychology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.
  • Davide Prestia Section of Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, University of Genoa, IRCCS San Martino, Genoa, Italy.
  • Davide Dèttore Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.

Abstract

Sexuality is understudied in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). According to the Dual Control Model, low sexual excitation (SE) and high sexual inhibition (SI) are indicative of a higher probability of experiencing a sexual dysfunction. The present study investigated SE and SI in OCD patients compared with controls. It was hypothesized that OCD patients report lower SE and higher SI than controls. Given their potential role as inhibitors of sexual response, it was hypothesized that in the OCD group higher disgust propensity/sensitivity, contamination/washing symptoms, unacceptable thoughts, and obsessive beliefs predicted lower SE, higher SI due to Threat of Performance Failure, and higher SI due to Threat of Performance Consequences. Seventy-two OCD patients and 72 controls matched on gender/age completed the Disgust Propensity and Sensitivity Scale-Revised, Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire-46, Obsessive Compulsive Inventory-Revised, and Sexual Inhibition/Sexual Excitation Scales. OCD patients had higher SE, SI due to Threat of Performance Failure, and SI due to Threat of Performance Consequences than controls. In the OCD group, higher disgust sensitivity, SI due to Threat of Performance Consequences, and perfectionism predicted higher SI due to Threat of Performance Failure. Higher SI due to Threat of Performance Failure and contamination/washing symptoms predicted higher SI due to Threat of Performance Consequences. These findings highlight the presence of sexual difficulties in OCD patients, particularly a higher SE and SI. The latter is especially relevant in those patients with higher disgust sensitivity, contamination/washing symptoms and perfectionism. Psychotherapists should assess and target sexuality during clinicalpractice with OCD patients.

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Published
2019-12-20
Section
Articles
Keywords:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Obsessive beliefs; Disgust sensitivity; Sexual response; Perfectionism
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How to Cite
Pozza, A., Angelo, N., Prestia, D., & Dèttore, D. (2019). The role of disgust propensity and sensitivity on sexual excitation and inhibition in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 22(3). https://doi.org/10.4081/ripppo.2019.409