The Internet and Sex Addiction

Results from a Sex Addiction Report


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 one’s 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 pizza."[1]

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) get intimate."[2]

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 sex.

"Cyber-sex is the crack cocaine of sexual addiction,"
- Dr. Robert Weiss, director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles

While not everyone who views porn on the net will become a sexual addict (like everyone who drinks alchol doesn’t 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."[3]

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). [4] 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 material
  • 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. [5] 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 sexual addiction.

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]