IFSS, IFSW, Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies, Sexuality, Relationships, Sex Research, Europe



The Institute is recruiting couples for a new study. If you are between ages 18-30, speak Dutch, are in a heterosexual relationship for no longer than 3 years and live together, you may be eligible to participate. Visit this page to learn more about this study. And do feel free to share the news!

PHD Fellowship

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  is offering a Summer School, Sexuality in Perspective, this coming August. The Summer School is open to Master's and PhD students from any discipline and country.

NEW Dissertation

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!

Family Therapy Webinar

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 the 2017 Spring semester at KU Leuven. She analyzed the data from the very first sexual psychophysiological study in women conducted in the Czech Republic.

Graduation DAY

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

New PHD researchers

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!

New Research Projects

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.

Poster Award

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 New Publications

Van Den Berg, J.W., Smid, W., Schepers, K., Wever, E., Van Beek, D., Janssen, E., Gijs, L. (2017). The predictive properties of dynamic sex offender risk assessment instruments: A meta-analysis. Psychological Assessment, doi: 10.1037/pas0000454.

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.

Sanders, S., Hill, B., Janssen, E., Graham, C., Crosby, R., Milhausen, R., Yarber, W. (2015). General erectile functioning among young, heterosexual men who do and do not report condom-associated erection problems (CAEP). Journal of Sexual Medicine, Ahead of print, art.nr. 10.1111/jsm.12964.

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: Wiley.

Hill, B., Sanders, S., Crosby, R., Ingelhart, K., Janssen, E. (2015). Condom-associated erection problems: behavioural responses and attributions in young, heterosexual men. Sexual Health, Ahead of print, art.nr. 10.1071/SH14051.

Aerts, L., Enzlin, P., Verhaeghe, J., Poppe, W., Vergote, I., Amant, F. (2015). Sexual Functioning in Women after Surgical Treatment for Endometrial Cancer: A Prospective Controlled Study. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12, 198-209.

Van Houdenhove, E., Gijs, L., T’Sjoen, G., & Enzlin, P. (2015). Stories about asexuality: qualitative study asexual women. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 41, 262-281.

Van der Sluis, W.B., Bouman, M-B, Gijs, L., & van Bodegraven, A.A. (2015). Gonorrhoea of the  Sigmoid Neovagina in a male-to-female transgender. International Journal of STD & AIDS, 26, 595-598.

Van Houdenhove, E., Gijs, L., T’Sjoen, G.T., & Enzlin, P. (2015). Asexuality: a multidimensional  approach. Journal of Sex Research, 52, 669-678.