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May 2017
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For most people, sexuality is a part of life. Sex with regular partners, sex experienced as a way to discover new relationships and masturbation all represent a choice. For sex addicts, sexuality is experienced in a different way: it is not part of a relationship, rather it is a way to overcome boredom and anxiety and feel important and powerful.

For sex addicts, wasting time, money and energy on prostitutes or masturbating makes them feel ashamed and this feeling is internalised, causing a deterioration in self-esteem and their ability to relate to others.

The internet is profoundly transforming culture by giving people access to information and content that has been uploaded to the internet from all over the world, without any type of verification. Although the internet offers extraordinary advantages from an information point of view, it also allows for easy, and sometimes too easy, access to pornographic content, and it has been estimated that 60% of connections to the internet are related to sex. Internet users in search of cybersex, however, do not stop at just seeing or downloading pornographic images or films, actions which are probably accompanied by masturbation, rather they read and write messages and stories that they send via email and look for meetings. Sexual chats are also very popular.

Many individuals behave in a sexual way online (sadomasochism, homosexuality tendencies, paedophilia) that is very different from their real life behaviour. The majority of these people are curious about this experience but others, approximately 10%, are addicted to cybersex and this creates serious problems for them on the internet.

The consequences of internet sex addiction

Internet sex addiction increases solitude: the numerous hours spent alone in front of the computer and sexual fantasies that derive from the internet make friendship and contact with real life become more and more distant. If the individual is married or is in a stable relationship, this behaviour frustrates his/her partner and makes him/her feel alone and neglected.

When internet searches are aimed at meeting other people, there is a risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases or having a devastating experience.

Illegal online behaviour can also be very dangerous. There are often reports of arrests of people who ‘merely’ made use of paedophilic content downloaded from the internet who did not worry about the crimes committed in order to produce such content.

The diffusion of cybersex
It is said that cybersex lovers make up 6-8% of all internet users and they are mainly men (approximately 80% of them), more than 50% of which are married, and they undertake cybersex for about 11 hours a week.

Men are more interested in sexual images, whilst women prefer chat rooms and surfing the internet for these means is usually done at night.


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