Disgust and sexual problems: Theoretical conceptualization and case illustrations

PJ de Jong, JJDM van Lankveld, HJ Elgersma, C. Borg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


There is increasing consensus that the present DSM IV-TR (2000) sexual disorders classification, of desire, arousal, orgasm, and pain is unsatisfactory. This differentiation seems neither adequate as a lead for understanding the mechanisms involved in these sexual problems nor appropriate as a guide for selecting the best available treatment options. In this article, we therefore argue that it is important to reconsider the current conceptualization of sexual dysfunction and to focus on underlying mechanisms when considering the various treatment options. Disrupted (or low) sexual arousal appears to be an active candidate underlying many of the sexual dysfunctions. Various mechanisms may eventually result in disruptions of sexual arousal. Although disgust seems an obvious candidate for being involved in disrupting arousal, it has been largely overlooked as a potentially relevant factor in the etiology and maintenance of sexual dysfunction. In this contribution, we argue that disgust has nevertheless a great promise for improving our understanding of sexual complaints and, as demonstrated by means of three case illustrations, it may potentially provide interesting clues also for treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Cognitive Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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