Sexual Compulsivity Scale

Sexual Compulsivity Scale

SETH C. KALICHMAN,University of Connecticut

The Sexual Compulsivity Scale was designed to serve as a brief psychometric instrument to assist in the assessment of insistent, intrusive, and uncontrolled sexual thoughts and behaviors. Sexual compulsivity is conceptually and clinically similar to sexual addiction. Clinically, sexually compulsive individuals may present with an array of social problems that stem from their sexual preoccupation and conduct, including disturbances in their interpersonal relationships, occupation, and other facets of daily living. Sexual compulsivity can lead to sexual assault and other criminal behavior, especially when the compulsivity occurs in the context of a paraphilia. However, the Sexual Compulsivity Scale is not intended to detect paraphilias. Most available research has examined sexual compulsivity as a correlate of risks for sexually trans- mitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The scale content concentrates on sexual preoccupations rather than acting as an indicator of overt sexual behaviors.

Description

The Sexual Compulsivity Scale was originally derived from self-descriptive statements contained in a brochure advertising a sexual addiction support group (CompCare, 1987). The brochure stated that a person should contact the group “if your sexual appetite has gotten in the way of your relationships . . . or if your sexual thoughts and behaviors are causing problems in your life . . . or if your desires to have sex have disrupted your daily life. ” We, there- fore, extracted self-identifying affirmations from the brochure and framed them as items written in the first person. The scale consists of 10 items that were pilot-tested with men and women in community samples (Kalichman et al., 1994). Items were refined following community feedback and were placed on 4-point scales, 1 = Not at all Like Me, 2= Slightly Like Me, 3 = Mainly Like Me, 4 = Very Much Like Me. The scale was developed for use with men and women and has shown utility with adults of all ages.

Response Mode, Timing, and Scoring

The 10-item Sexual Compulsivity Scale requires less than 5 minutes to self-administer or interview-admin- ister. The scale does not have formally developed sub- scales. However, factor analysis has shown two principal components to the scale: (a) uncontrolled thoughts and behaviors and (b) social and interpersonal problems and disruptions. The scale is scored by summing the items or by taking the mean response (sum of items/10). There are no reverse-scored items.

Reliability

The Sexual Compulsivity Scale has demonstrated excel- lent internal consistency across several diverse populations including male (α = .77) and female (α = .81) college students (Dodge, Reece, Cole, & Sandfort, 2004), com- munity samples of HIV-positive men and women (α = .89; Kalichman & Rompa, 1995), gay and bisexual men (α’s are in range .86–.90; Dodge et al., 2008; Kalichman et al., 1994; Parsons & Bimbi, 2007), young adults in Croatia (α = .87; Stulhofer, Buško, & Landripet, 2010), and patients seeking help for hypersexuality (α = .79; Reid, Carpenter, Spackman, & Willes, 2008). Item-total correlations range from .49 to .73, with no single item substan- tially reducing or improving the internal consistency when deleted from the total. The scale has also demonstrated acceptable time stability over 2 weeks (= .95; Kalichman & Rompa, 1995) and 3 months (= .64; Kalichman et al., 1994).

Validity

Studies have demonstrated evidence for the construct validity of the Sexual Compulsivity Scale. Kalichman and colleagues (Kalichman et al., 1994; Kalichman and Rompa, 1995) found the scale to correlate with numbers of sexual partners (= .21), lower intentions to reduce sexual risks (= −.35), lower self-esteem (= −.35), and lower sexual control (= −.61). Sexually transmitted infection clinic patients who score higher on the scale report greater numbers of sex partners, greater numbers of one-time sex partners, and greater rates of sexual acts (Kalichman & Cain, 2004). Other researchers have shown that Sexual Compulsivity Scale scores predict Internet use for sexual content. For example, people who score higher on the scale spend more time online pursuing sexual partners than individuals who score lower (Cooper, Sherer, Boies, & Gordon, 1999). Dodge et al. (2008) found that gay and bisexual men who score higher on the scale are more likely to seek sex partners on the Internet as well as in anonymous sexual exchange venues and clubs. Demonstrating discrim- inant validity, patients who seek help for hypersexuality score more than a standard deviation higher on the Sexual Compulsivity Scale than nonclinical samples (Reid et al.,2008). Discriminant validity is also supported by researchers who have demonstrated that gay and bisexual men who engage in high-risk sexual behavior fully understanding their risks for HIV/AIDS score higher on the scale (Halkitis et al., 2005; Parsons & Bimbi, 2007). For additional information, see Kalichman & Rompa (2001).

Other Information

The Sexual Compulsivity Scale is in the public domain and available for open use. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant R01-MH71164 supported preparation of the chapter.

Address correspondence to Seth C. Kalichman, Department of Psychology, 406 Babbidge Road, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269; e-mail: [email protected]

Sexual Compulsivity Scale

A number of statements that some people have used to describe themselves are given below. Read each statement and then circle the number to show how well you believe the statement describes you.

Not at all Like Me

Slightly Like Me

Mainly Like Me

Very Much Like Me

1. My sexual appetite has gotten in the way of my relationships.

1

2

3

4

2. My sexual thoughts and behaviors are causing problems in my life.

1

2

3

4

3. My desires to have sex have disrupted my daily life.

1

2

3

4

4. I sometimes fail to meet my commitments and responsibilities because of my sexual behaviors

1

2

3

4

5. I sometimes get so horny I could lose control.

1

2

3

4

6. I find myself thinking about sex while at work.

1

2

3

4

7. I feel that my sexual thoughts and feelings are stronger than I am.

1

2

3

4

8. I have to struggle to control my sexual thoughts and behavior.

1

2

3

4

9. I think about sex more than I would like to.

1

2

3

4

10. It has been difficult for me to find sex partners who desire having sex as much as I want to.

1

2

3

4

References

CompCare. (1987). Hope and recovery: A twelve-step guide for healing from compulsive sexual behavior [Brochure]. Minneapolis, MN.

Cooper, A., Sherer, C., Boies, S., & Gordon, B. (1999). Sexuality on the Internet: From sexual exploration to pathological expression. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 30, 154–164.

Dodge, B., Reece, M., Cole, S. L., & Sandfort, T. G. (2004). Sexual com- pulsivity among heterosexual college students. The Journal of Sex Research, 41, 343–350.

Dodge, B., Reece, M., Herbenick, D., Fisher, C., Satinsky, S., & Stupiansky, N. (2008). Relations between sexually transmitted infection diagnosis and sexual compulsivity in a community-based sample of men who have sex with men. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 84, 324–327.

Halkitis, P. N., Wilton, L., Wolitski, R. J., Parsons, J. T., Hoff, C. C., & Bimbi, D. S. (2005). Barebacking identity among HIV-positive gay and bisexual men: Demographic, psychological, and behavioral cor- relates. AIDS, 19(Suppl. 1), S27–35.

Kalichman, S. C., Adair, V., Rompa, D., Multhauf, K., Johnson, J., & Kelly, J. (1994). Sexual sensation-seeking: Scale development and predict- ing AIDS-risk behavior among homosexually active men. Journal of Personality Assessment, 62, 385–397.

Kalichman, S. C., & Cain, D. (2004). The relationship between indicators of sexual compulsivity and high risk sexual practices among men and women receiving services from a sexually transmitted infection clinic. The Journal of Sex Research, 41, 235–241.

Kalichman, S. C., & Rompa, D. (1995). Sexual sensation seeking and sexual compulsivity scales: Reliability, validity, and predict- ing HIV risk behaviors. Journal of Personality Assessment, 65, 586–602.

Kalichman, S. C., & Rompa, D. (2001). The Sexual Compulsivity Scale: Further development and use with HIV positive persons. Journal of Personality Assessment, 76, 379–395.

Parsons, J. T., & Bimbi, D. S. (2007). Intentional unprotected anal inter- course among men who have sex with men: Barebacking—from behavior to identity. AIDS and Behavior, 11, 277–287.

Reid, R. C., Carpenter, B. N., Spackman, M., & Willes, D. L. (2008). Alexithymia, emotional instability, and vulnerability to stress prone- ness in patients seeking help for hypersexual behavior. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 34, 133–149.

Stulhofer, A., Buško, V., & Landripet, I. (2010). Pornography, sexual socialization, and satisfaction among young men. Archives of Sexual Behavior39, 168–178.