Online Porn and Sex Addiction
Definition of sexual addiction
According to www.onlinesexaddict.com,
"sexual addiction" is having a sick or pathological (out of
balance) relationship with sex that is harmful to ones self or to
others. Sexual addicts form a compulsive and obsessive need to find sexual
gratification. They can form both a physical and psychological dependence
on sexual activity and like any addict, withdrawal syndromes can occur
with absence of the habit. In addition, sex addicts are unable to stop
despite negative consequences such as lost sleep, lost wages or damaged
relationships. Sex addicts are generally secret about their sexual activities
and deny their habit when confronted about it.
The Internet and Sex Addiction
With the explosion of the Internet, not only has the exchange of information
become easier and more convenient, but also has the access to pornographic
material. Prior to the Internet, the average Joe was not very vulnerable
to purchasing porn. In fact, the average person would probably be embarrased
to purchase porn from an adult book store. However, with the anonymity
and convenience provided by the Internet, porn is just a click away.
"Explicit X-rated porn that once was available
only in sleazy side street shops is as easy to get on a PC as ordering
In addition to making pornographic images widely available, Internet technology
also provides an interactive experience and a realm of virtual intimacy
for its users. On-line videos, chat rooms, games, photo-galleries, and
virtual reality provide users with several different mediums through which
they can obtain and experience porn. While in the privacy of their own
homes, users can safely and anonymously "fantasize, flirt, and (virtually)
This revolution of Internet pornography has its negative effects. In
particular it has contributed to an increasing number of sex addicts.
Unsuspecting Internet users fall victim to cybersex obsession. Users find
themselves devoting more and more time to cybersex instead of to their
families and relationships. According to an MSNBC report, cybersex is
a serious growing addiction. Mental health experts warn that this addiction
has hazardous side effects. Like any addiction, if excessively used, cybersex
can interfere with daily activities and can ruin relationships. People
have lost jobs, spouses and money because of their addiction to on-line
"Cyber-sex is the crack cocaine
of sexual addiction,"
- Dr. Robert Weiss, director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los
While not everyone who views porn on the net will become a sexual addict
(like everyone who drinks alchol doesnt become an alcoholic), cybersex
is dangerous because, "it reinforces and normalizes sexual disorders,"
says Dr. Weiss. "A man may have had a passing interest in teen-aged
girls, but he'd never go into a bookstore or try to buy child pornography.
Sitting in his living room he finds a ton of teen sites and thinks maybe
it's not such a big problem."
Results from an Sex Addiction Report
In 1998, The San Jose Marital and Sexuality Center and MSNBC.com conducted
a sexual addiction survey of Internet users. The researchers found that
of the 9,265 users surveyed, almost 80 percent used their home computers
for sexual purposes. In addition, one percent of respondents could be
classified as cybersex compulsives (used the Internet for sexual purposes
for 11 or more hours per week). 
The following are more results from the survey.
- 7 of 10 participants in survey keep online sexual activities a secret
- 1 in 5 men and 1 in 8 women use computers at work to access sexual
- 6 times as many men engage in online sexual pursuits as women
In addition, the study suggested that at many as 17 percent of respondents
that were not at risk before the Internet may now be vulnerable to sex
addiction that interferes with their daily lives. 
Sexual addiction is a growing problem in our society.
According to sex therapists and other health experts the best thing to
avoid becoming cybersex addicted is to abstain from surfing the net for
porn. However, if you or a friend/family member is a cybersex addict,
the best way is to discuss the problem. There are many sex therapists
that can offer advice, and even the Internet is an excellent resource
through which one can obtain help. Web sites like www.onlinesexaddict.com
and groups like Sex Addicts Anonymous help many people overcome their
1 .Kenneth Maxwell. A Sexual Odyssey:
From Forbidden Fruit to CyberSex. p. 252 [back]
2. Charlene Laino. Cybersex
addiction widespread. [back]
3. Dyar, Jim. The Washington Times, January 26, 2000. [back]
4. Charlene Laino. Cybersex
addiction widespread. [back]
5. Cyber-porn taking a toll: Study finds addiction to Internet
sex has spread even to the workplace. By Alison MacGregor. Montreal Gazette.
March 2, 2000. Page C3. Lexis-Nexis[back]