Three Quarks for Hypersexuality Research

Piet Van Tuijl*, Peter Verboon, Jacques van Lankveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In some areas of sex research, we note room for methodological improvement of research practices. In particular, in the field of hypersexuality research, where societal norms have been influential, methodological improvement might advance goals of objectivity in research. We propose that hypersexuality research should: firstly, take into account relevant subpopulations; secondly, use Item Response Theory (IRT) to construct item banks for measurement instruments; and, thirdly, measure sexual desire and related important constructs where and how they play out—in daily life, changing from moment to moment. We show that comparing relevant subpopulations can lead to depathologizing normative, but highly frequent, sexual behavior. Using IRT can lead to more precise measurement instruments by assessment of characteristics of individual items. Measuring sexual desire as an inherently fluctuating process in everyday life, and as part of emotion regulation processes, can direct research towards relevant associations other research methods might miss. Bringing into practice our three proposals for improvement can procure a number of advantages. We illustrate these advantages mainly for the field of hypersexuality research, but our suggestions might also be beneficial for sex research in general.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-132
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


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