The Institute of Forensic Psychiatry and Sex Research strives for a better understanding of human sexuality and the care of people suffering from sexual and mental health problems. In particular, we are interested in groups that are systematically marginalized and stigmatized by society. These include sexual and gender minorities or victims of sexual violence, but also people who have committed crimes and are imprisoned or being treated in a secured psychiatric clinic ("Maßregelvollzug").

Our research approach is interdisciplinary and draws on innovative methods from neuroscience, social psychology, medicine and behavioral biology. We try to apply our methods in the field and dispose of mobile laboratories, e.g., to conduct behavioral testing in correctional settings. Based on a participatory approach, we also involve our study participants in the research questions, in order to include content that is relevant to those affected.

We always welcome applications from enthusiastic colleagues with fresh ideas, exciting questions and a passion for research.

Current research focus

Behavioral research using the simulation of realistic situations

We simulate real-world scenarios for improved understanding and prediction of human behavior in a DFG-funded project, among others. We use different methods from case vignettes to virtual reality.

Examplary article in BMC Biology

Human Behavior Laboratory

The intersection of new technologies and sexualities

We are investigating, both in the laboratory and with the help of surveys, the influence of new technologies on human sexuality, such as the use of robots, the internet or virtual reality.

Examplary article in the Journal of Sex Research

Technologies and sexualities

The situation of mentally ill people in accommodation and detention

We study the effects of various environmental conditions on mental health, behaviour, brain function and structure of incarcerated people. Among other things, this research ties in with our evaluation of the treatment of offenders with addiction problems in the "Entziehungsanstalt" (§ 64 StGB).

Current article about the "Essener Evaluationsstudie"

Consequences of accommodation and detention

Sexual Medicine and Sexlab

In our sex lab and in the context of clinical studies, we address various clinically relevant questions, such as sexuality of people with borderline personality disorder, the effects of opposite-sex hormone therapy in trans people, the role of endocannabinoids in reward behaviours such as masturbation, and the new diagnosis of Compulsive Sexual Behaviour Disorder (CSBD) in ICD-11.

Current article in Psychoneuroendocrinology