The Institute is joined by two new PhD students, Frauke Claes and Lore Remmerie. Frauke studies the impact of early-onset dementia on intimate relationships and Lore's research focuses on sexual well-being.



Jan Willem van den Berg defended his dissertation on the application of network modeling to the prediction of sexual reoffending in December 2023. You can find a summary of his PhD project here.



We are happy to announce that Prof. Dr. Kristien Michielsen has joined the IFSS as Associate Professor in the Promotion of Sexual Wellbeing and Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Welcome on board, Kristien!



Silke van Dijck received the 2023 Student Research Development Award from the International Academy of Sex Research (IASR). Congratulations, Silke!



Sofia Prekatsounaki successfully defended her dissertation on dyadic sexual desire. As part of her PhD, Sofia developed a new model on dyadic desire, the Dyadic Interactions Affecting Dyadic Sexual Desire (DIADICS) model. You can find a summary of her dissertation here.



To celebrate the many contributions our esteemed and recently retired colleague, Prof. Luk Gijs, has made to the Institute, its masters program, and to the field of sexology in general, we are organizing a symposium in his honor.  You can find the program here (in Dutch).



The Institute is looking for heterosexual men (age 18-30) who are willing to participate in a new study (in Dutch).



The Institute celebrated its 60th Anniversary with a special symposium on December 10, 2022. Here you can find the program and a brief report (in Dutch).



We celebrated the graduation of a whole new generation of masters in sex. Congratulations!!



PhD students Silke Van Dijck en Axelle Bavré joined the Institute in 2022. Silke's project focuses on sexting and Axelle studies sexual aggression.



Rick Roels successfully defended his dissertation on sexual behavior and sexual communication in the early stages of romantic relationships. You can find a summary of his dissertation here.



A new cohort of master students graduated in 2021. And we were able to celebrate it in a nonvirtual world. Congratulations!



We participated in a number of online conferences in 2021, including IASR and IARR. And we organized our own symposium, on sexuality and relationships, for the Dutch-Flemish IGO Congress.



We offer a new course, Capita Selecta Lectures in Sexuality (CSLIS). During its inaugural year (2020), we enjoyed listening to and interacting with Leonore Tiefer, Frederick Toates, Zoe Peterson, and Lori Brotto.



We are looking for couples to participate in our research. If you are both 18 years or older, you may be eligible to participate. You can select from daily questions, interviews, fMRI, and arousal studies. Click here for more information. Also in Dutch!



The International Academy of Sex Research (IASR) hosted its first-ever virtual meeting in 2020. Rick Roels shared findings from his dissertation project on relationships and sexuality. You can watch his presentation here.



A new cohort of 45 students has graduated this year in our master's program. Congratulations, class of 2019!



IFSS and Ghent U researcher Inge Blockmans defended her dissertation on sexual experiences and well-being in women with spinal cord injury. You can find a summary of her dissertation here.



Ola PawlowskaOla Pawlowska has joined the Institute. She is working towards a joint PhD (KU Leuven/University of Maastricht) and she will be conducting  psychophysiological studies on sexual arousal in couples. Welcome on board, Ola!



With EU (Erasmus+) support, Sophie van 't Hof (now a PhD student at Amsterdam UMC) spent several months at the IFSS. Her internship was part of the Research Master in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. She helped us set up a new fMRI study in couples.



Handboek Seksuologie 2018The 3rd edition of "Leerboek Seksuologie" is now available. With this completely revised edition, the most well-known Dutch human sexuality textbook maintains its reputation as a classic.



Once again, it's time for celebration. A new cohort of 42 students received a master's degree in human sexuality this year. Congratulations, class of 2018!



Summer SchoolAfter our first and highly successful Summer School, the Institute is intending to organize Sexuality in Perspective for a second time in the Summer of 2021. It will be open to master's and PhD students from any discipline and country. Stay tuned!



Well over 200 students took our university-wide introductory course in human sexuality in the Spring of 2018. Representing a wide range of disciplines, from medicine, psychology, to anthropology and criminology, we hope they enjoyed the course and will benefit from their newly gained knowledge and insights.



Sexuality after the death of a spouse is a sensitive but important topic. Stefan Rolf’s thesis explored the lived experience of people who have lost their spouse to cancer. The Dutch Society for Sexology (NVVS) awarded him for his research and he was interviewed by the "Flemish Thesis Awards."



Sofia Prekatsounaki has joined IFSS as a PhD student and educational assistant. Sofia has Master's degrees in Psychology and Sexology (Magna Cum Laude) and brings more than ten years of experience as a Human Resources Advisor and Manager to the Institute. Her research focuses on the topic of sexual desire. Welcome on board, Sofia!



Another cohort of hardworking and talented young scholars finished their studies and received a master's degree in human sexuality. Congratulations, class of 2017!



The KU Leuven sexology student organization, EROS, organized its first  sex conference. Topics included sexual offending, sex with robots, sexuality in care centers, sex work by students, and sexual motivation.


The Institute, together with student organization EROS, welcomed Jessica Lynn, transgender woman and activist, to KU Leuven. Jessica gave a public lecture on her transition and sex change, and talked about the legal and other challenges she has faced during her personal journey.



Daisy Mechelmans has been awarded a prestigious PhD Fellowship from the Research Council - Flanders (FWO). Using sexual psychophysiological and brain imaging (fMRI) methods, Daisy will study how men and women’s sexual propensities, as well as similarity in these, are associated with sexual and relationship satisfaction. Congratulations, Daisy!


The Institute for Family and Sexuality studies  offered its first Summer School, Sexuality in Perspective. The Summer School, which was open to master's and PhD students from any discipline and country, was a great success.



Monse Jerves successfully defended her dissertation, entitled: "Romantic views of adolescents from Cuenca (Ecuador), and their association with machismo/marianismo and migration." Her advisors were Prof. Dr. Paul Enzlin, Prof. Dr. Peter Rober, and Prof. Dr. Lucia De Haene.  ¡Felicitaciones!


Prof. Dr. Peter Rober presented a webinar, co-hosted by the Family Process Institute and the Ackerman Institute for the Family, on "The Complexity of the Alliance in Family Therapy Practice." He is the first European scholar to have been invited to contribute to this lecture series.


The IFSS welcomed Lucie Krejčová, a PhD student from the University of Prague who, as an Erasmus Exchange Student, spent a semester at with us. She analyzed the data from the very first psychophysiological sex study in women conducted in the Czech Republic.



Another 35 brave and talented young scholars finished their studies and received a Masters degree in human sexuality in September 2016.



Two new PhD researchers have joined IFSS: Daisy Mechelmans, who graduated magna cum laude with a research degree in Psychology at KU Leuven and who, after that, moved to Cambridge, UK, and completed an MPhil in Medical Science, and Rick Roels, who received his MD from KU Leuven, after a career in music production and photography. Welcome on board, Daisy and Rick!



Prof. Dr. Erick Janssen received funding from the Research Council - Flanders (FWO) and KU Leuven/University of Leuven (C1) for a new project on Sexuality, Relationships, and Health.

Also, Prof. Dr. Erick Janssen and Prof. Dr. Paul Enzlin are co-investigators on an international  project with colleagues in Norway, Denmark, UK, Belgium, Portugal, and Croatia. The project focuses on Sexuality and Aging and includes qualitative studies as well as representative surveys in several of the participating countries.



Dr. Els Pazmany accepted a position as lecturer at the Artesis Plantijn University College (AP Hogeschool) in 2016. She will continue her clinical activities and remain affiliated with the IFSS as a research fellow, participating in ongoing and, hopefully, future publication and research activities. We wish our dear colleague and friend all the best in her new job.



Dr. Els Pazmany received the Nature Reviews Urology Best Female Clinical Poster Award at the 2016 Congress of the European Society for Sexual Medicine (ESSM).


Music for Life Initiative – And that, too …?

As part of the "Warmest Week of Flanders" (Music for Life by StuBru) initiative, Institute staff members Prof. Dr. Paul Enzlin and Inge Blockmans, M.A. offered public lectures in support of the Center for Developmental Disorders (COS) under the title: "And that, too...? Sexual development and sexual education of young people with a chronic disease or disability...".


University-wide Sexuality Course

KU Leuven has approved its first-ever university-wide human sexuality course, to be offered, in 2016, by our very own IFSS faculty.

"Sexuality in Perspective," will be offered every other year in English, and can be taken by bachelor and master students from any department.


Masters in Sex

We celebrated the graduation of a 48 new sexologists in September 2015. Kudos and congratulations to all of you, Masters in Sex!


Research in Ecuador

The Spring and Summer of 2015, we were joined by Monse Jerves and Silvia López from the Universidad de Cuenca in Ecuador.

They are working on their dissertation projects under guidance of Dr. Paul Enzlin and supported by a collaborative program between universities in Flanders and Ecuador.


The Joy of Collaboration

Several esteemed colleagues and collaborators honored us with a visit in 2015.

Among them were Dr. Sophie Bergeron from Canada, Dr. Aleksandar Stulhofer from Croatia, and Dr. Eshkol Rafaeli from Israel.


Dissertation on Dyspareunia

IFSS researcher Els Pazmany successfully defended her dissertation on dyspareunia.

Dr. Pazmany studied the role of cognitive-affective and interpersonal factors in the experience of dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse) in premenopausal women. She also explored underlying brain mechanisms using fMRI methods.You can find a summary of her findings here.


Spring 2015 in Full Swing

The Spring 2015 semester kept the students in our IFSS Master Program busy.

Classes offered included clinical sexology; sexual pedagogy; laws on sex/gender, sexuality, and reproduction; methods in sex research; gynecological aspects of sexuality and reproduction; relationship and family therapy; diagnosis and treatment of sexual problems and disorders, and bioethics.


Dissertation on Sexual Distress

IFSS researcher Lies Hendrickx successfully defended her dissertation on sexual distress.

Dr. Hendrickx studied, in a representative  sample of Flemish men and women, the prevalence rates of sexual difficulties, sexual dysfunctions, and the experience of sexual distress. In addition, she examined the importance of intra- and interpersonal factors in the prediction of sexual distress in women. A summary can be found here.



IFSS and the Department of Neurosciences welcome Erick Janssen to its faculty.

Prof. Dr. Janssen, who received his Ph.D. at the University of Amsterdam, brings many years of teaching and research experience to the Institute. He comes to Leuven from the USA, where he lived and worked for almost two decades and was Senior Scientist and Director of Education and Research Training at the famous Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.

Selected Publications

Hentges M., Kågesten, A., Brandén, G., Kosidou, K., Michielsen, K., Ekström, A., & Larsson, E. (2024). Effects of COVID-19 measures on access to HIV/STI testing and condoms among adults in Sweden: a cross-sectional online survey. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.

Kockelkoren, A., Rahmah, A., Pangestu, M., Sawitri, E., Widyastuti, E., Astiti, N., Michielsen, K., & Van Reeuwijk, M. (2024). How can civil society organizations contribute to the scale-up of comprehensive sexuality education? Presentation of a scaling framework illustrated with examples from Indonesia. Reproductive Health.

Claes, F., & Enzlin, P. (2023). Dementia and sexuality: A story of continued renegotiation. The Gerontologist.

Hagerlid, M., Štulhofer, A., Redert, A., Jakić, I., Schoon, W., Westermann, M., Deverchin, C., de Graaf, H., Janssen, E., & Löfgren, C. (2023). Obstacles in identifying sexual harassment in academia: Insights from five European countries. Sexuality Research and Social Policy.

Janssen, E., & Bancroft, J. (2023). The Dual Control Model of Sexual Response: A scoping review, 2009-2022. The Journal of Sex Research.

Pawłowska, A., Loeys, T., Janssen, E., & Dewitte, M. (2023). The role of dyadic sexual desire similarity in predicting sexual behaviors in cohabitating couples: An ecological momentary assessment study. Journal of Sex Research. Advance online publication. doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2023.2170965

Van den Berg, J.W., van Beek, D., Bouman, Y., Janssen, E., Smid, W., Gijs, L. (2023). Understanding the risk of sexual reoffending in adult men: A network-based model. Sexual Abuse. Advance online publication. Advance online publication. doi.org/10.1177/10790632231153633

Prekatsounaki, S., & Enzlin, P. (2022). Luring the elusive: Narratives about sexual desire for one's partner by women and men in heterosexual romantic relationships. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, ahead-of-print, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2022.2158975

Roels, R., Rehman, U., Goodnight, J., & Janssen, E. (2022). Couple communication behaviors during sexual and nonsexual discussions and their association with relationship satisfaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 51, 1541-1557.

Prekatsounaki, S., Gijs, L., & Enzlin, P. (2022). Dyadic sexual desire in romantic relationships: The Dyadic Interactions Affecting Dyadic Sexual Desire Model. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 51, 417-440.

Craig, A., Peterson, Z., Janssen, E., Goodrich, D., & Heiman, J. (2022). The impact of emotion regulation and sexual arousal on men’s sexual coercion likelihood. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 37, 264-280.

Laan, E., Klein, V., Werner, M., van Lunsen, R., & Janssen, E. (2021). In pursuit of pleasure: A biopsychosocial perspective on sexual pleasure and gender. International Journal of Sexual Health, 33, 516-536.

Roels, R., Rehman, U., Carter, S., Nazarloo, H., & Janssen, E. (2021). Oxytocin plasma levels and observed communication behaviors during sexual and nonsexual couple discussions: An exploratory study. Psychoneuroendocrinology. doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2021.105265

Habets, P., Jeandarme, I., Gijs, L., Dombert, B., Mokros, A. & FIF group (2021). Measuring sexual interest in persons who have sexually offended against children: Investigating the Choice Reaction Time task using the Virtual People Set. Journal of Sexual Aggression. doi.org/10.1080/13552600.2021.1896808

Roels, R. & Janssen, E. (2020). Sexual and relationship satisfaction in young, heterosexual couples: The role of sexual frequency and sexual communication. Journal of Sexual Medicine. doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.06.013

López-Alvarado, S., Van Parys, H., Cevallos-Neira, A., & Enzlin, P. (2020). Latin American Women´s Beliefs, Views and Ideas About Sexual Assertiveness: A Focus Group Study in Cuenca (Ecuador). Journal of Sex Research, 57, 307-321.

Janssen, E., Prause, N., Swinburne Romine, R., Raymond, N., MacDonald III, A., Coleman, E., & Miner, M. (2020). Sexual responsivity and the effects of negative mood on sexual arousal in hypersexual men who have sex with men. Journal of Sexual Medicine. doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.05.005

Graham, C.A., Stulhofer, A., Lange, T., Hald, G., Carvalheira, A., Enzlin, P., & Traeen, B. (2020). Prevalence and Predictors of Sexual Difficulties and Associated Distress Among Partnered, Sexually Active Older Women in Norway, Denmark, Belgium, and Portugal. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi: 10.1007/s10508-020-01742-7

Mechelmans, D. J., Sachtler, W. L., von Wiegand, T. E., Goodrich, D., Heiman, J.R., & Janssen, E. (2020). The successful measurement of clitoral pulse amplitude using a new clitoral plethysmograph: A pilot study. Journal of Sexual Medicine. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.02.017

Hinchliff, S., Carvalheira, A.A., Štulhofer, A., Janssen. E., Hald, G.M, & Træen, B. (2019). Seeking help for sexual difficulties: Findings from a study with older adults in four European countries. European Journal of Aging. doi:10.1007/s10433-019-00536-8

Enzlin, P., Bollen, K., Prekatsounaki, S., Hidalgo, L., Aerts, L., & Deprest, J. (2019). To shave or not to shave: Pubic hair removal and its association with relational and sexual satisfaction in women and men. Journal of Sexual Medicine. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.04.005

Jodouin, J.F., Bergeron, S., Desjardins, F., & Janssen, E. (2019). Sexual behavior mediates the relationship between sexual approach motives and sexual outcomes: A dyadic daily diary study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 48, 831-842.

Prekatsounaki, S., Janssen, E., & Enzlin, P. (2019). In search of desire: The role of intimacy, celebrated otherness, and object of desire affirmation in sexual desire in women. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2018.1549633

Hendrickx, Gijs, L., & Enzlin, P. (2018). Who's distressed by sexual difficulties? Exploring associations between personal, perceived partner, and relational distress and sexual difficulties in heterosexual men and women. Journal of Sex Research, doi: 10.1080/00224499.2018.1493570.

Træen, B., Štulhofer, A., Janssen, E., Carvalheira, A., Hald, G. M., Lange, T., & Graham, C. (2018). Sexual activity and sexual satisfaction among older adults in four European countries. Archives of Sexual Behavior, doi: 10.1007/s10508-018-1256-x

Blockmans, I. G. E. (2018). Encounters with the white coat: Confessions of a sexuality and disability researcher in a wheelchair in becoming. Qualitative Inquiry, doi: 10.1177/1077800417750181.

Peterson, Z.D., Janssen, E., Goodrich, D., Fortenberry, J.D., Hensel, D.J., Heiman, J.R. (2018). Child Sexual Abuse and Negative Affect as Shared Risk Factors for Sexual Aggression and Sexual HIV Risk Behavior in Heterosexual Men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-1079-1.

Van Den Berg, J.W., Smid, W., Schepers, K., Wever, E., Van Beek, D., Janssen, E., Gijs, L. (2018). The predictive properties of dynamic sex offender risk assessment instruments: A meta-analysis. Psychological Assessment, 30, 179-191.

Prause, N., Janssen, E., Georgiadis, J., Finn, P., & Pfaus, J. (2017). Data do not support sex as addictive. Lancet Psychiatry, 4(12), 899.

Træen B., Carvalheira A., Lundin Kvalem I., Štulhofer A., Janssen E., Graham C., Hald G., Enzlin P. (2017). Sexuality in Older Adults (65+)—An Overview of The Recent Literature, Part 2: Body Image and Sexual Satisfaction. International Journal of Sexual Health, 29 (1), art.nr. doi: 10.1080/19317611.2016.1227012, 11-21.

Træen B., Hald G., Graham C., Enzlin P., Janssen E., Lundin Kvalem I., Carvalheira A., Štulhofer A. (2017). Sexuality in Older Adults (65+)—An Overview of the Literature, Part 1: Sexual Function and its Difficulties. International Journal of Sexual Health, 29 (1), art.nr. doi: 10.1080/19317611.2016.1224286, 1-10.

Macapagal, K., Janssen, E., Matson, M., Finn, P., & Heiman, J.R. (2017). The impact of gain- and loss-framed messages on young adults’ sexual decision making: An experimental study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, 385-394.

Hendrickx, Gijs, L., Janssen, E., & Enzlin, P. (2016). Predictors of sexual distress in women with desire and arousal difficulties: Distinguishing between personal, partner, and interpersonal distress. Journal of Sexual Medicine,13, 1662-1675.

Driemeyer, W., Janssen, E., Elmerstig, E. (2016). Masturbation experiences of Swedish senior high school students: Gender differences and similarities. Journal of Sex Research, DOI:10.1080/00224499.2016.1167814.

Hendrickx, L., Gijs, L., & Enzlin, P. (2016). Sexual difficulties and associated sexual distress in Flanders (Belgium): A representative population-based survey study. Journal of Sexual Medicine, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.01.014.

Janssen, E., Hoffmann, H., Wilson, M., & Goodrich, D. (2016). The effects of alcohol on self-regulation of sexual arousal in sexually compulsive men who have sex with men. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, DOI: 10.1080/10720162.2016.1140602.

Gadassi, R., Bar-Nahum, L.E., Newhouse, S., Anderson, R., Heiman, J.R., Rafaeli, E., Janssen, E. (2016). Perceived partner responsiveness mediates the association between sexual and marital satisfaction: A daily diary study in newlywed couples. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45, 109-120.

Macapagal, K.R., Janssen, E., Finn, P.R., & Heiman, J.R. (2015). The effect of gain-and loss-framed messages on young adults’ sexual decision making. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Epub ahead of print (PMID:26696408).

Blanken, I., Leusink, P., van Diest, S., Gijs, L., & Van Lankveld, J.J.D.M. (2015). Outcome predictors of Internet-based brief sex therapy for sexual dysfunctions in heterosexual men. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 41, 531-543.

Hendrickx, L., Gijs, L., & Enzlin, P. (2015). Age‐related prevalence rates of sexual difficulties, sexual dysfunctions, and sexual distress in heterosexual women: Results from an online survey in Flanders. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12(2), 424-435.

Pazmany, E., Bergeron, S., Verhaeghe, J., Van Oudenhove, L. and Enzlin, P. (2015). Dyadic sexual communication in pre-menopausal women with self-reported dyspareunia and their partners: Associations with sexual function, sexual distress and dyadic adjustment. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12, 516-528.

Gooren, L. & Gijs, L. (2015). Medicalization of Homosexuality. In P. Whelehan, & A. Bolin (Eds.), Encyclopedia of human sexuality. London: Wil