You might think that women hooked on Internet porn have poorer real-life relationships.
However, those with strong cybersex addiction were than their non-addicted counterparts to have sexual partners in large numbers, to feel less satisfied with their sexual contacts, or to use interactive cybersex sites.
Technically, cybersex is defined as sexually motivated behavior involving the Internet.
Unlike other forms of addictive behavior, such as gambling disorder and substance disorders, cybersex addiction is not an officially recognized disorder and therefore mental health professionals would not give a diagnosis to people who show the signs of this kind of addiction.
Most of the comparisons of interest involved the IPUs vs. Compared to the NIPUs, the IPUs were more likely to watch softcore photos and videos, but they were even more likely to visit hardcore photo and video websites.
There were no group differences in a host of other practices, such as having sex chats, having sex via Webcam, using dating sites, going to live sex shows, purchasing online sex toys, reading sexually arousing literature, searching information on STDs, or seeking advice on sexual practices.
The researchers told participants ahead of time that they would be viewing explicit pornographic material of legal sexual practices.
The young women were divided into groups based on their reported use of both Internet pornography and Internet sex chat rooms—Internet Pornography Users (IPUs); non-IPUs (NIPUs); interactive cybersex applications users only (ICUs); and noninteractive or no cybersex interactive applications users (NICUs).
The individuals pursuing online sexual arousal aren’t hurting anyone, and the behavior is legal.
During the one-hour testing in the lab, participants filled out a questionnaire, indicating how addicted they were to cybersex, known as the Internet Addiction Test adapted for cybersex use (IATs).
There are two scales on the IATS—one reflecting loss of control and time management and the second tapping craving and social problems.
Participants also answered a questionnaire measuring their propensity for sexual excitation and another, the Hypersexual Behavior Inventory (HBI), to assess problematic sexual behavior.
They also rated themselves on a set of physiological and psychological symptoms within the past week, and provided information on the number of sexual partners they had both within the previous week and the previous 6 months.