Research Shows Connection

Research Shows Connection Between Excessive Internet Use — Pornography — CyberSexual Addiction

By Carol Wiley, Director
A Way Out Victim Assistance Program
A Ministry of Citizens for Community Values of Memphis

Cybersexual addiction is a sub-type of Pathological Internet Use (PIU), a term coined by Dr. Kimberly Young, Psy.D, who is considered to be an authority in the field of internet addiction. In 1997, Dr. Young, presented a paper to the American Psychological Association (APA) reporting the results of her study of 396 people who where PIU affected. With the presentation of her paper the APA classified excessive Internet use as addictive, in the same way that drugs (including alcohol), gambling, video games, and some types of eating disorders are considered addictive.

Dr. Young found that 90% who became addicted to the Internet became addicted to the two-way communication functions: chat rooms, Multi-User Dungeons, newsgroups, and email. She reported that one surprise result was the addicted population were not computer savvy individuals but actually held low-tech jobs. Only 8% of the participants in this study came from high-tech jobs while 42 % indicated they had no permanent job and 39% held low-tech jobs.

A major finding was that the attraction of the Internet revolved around its perceived anonymity, which provides a comfort zone for people to act out in ways they would never consider in real life. Dr. Young is quoted in an article by Evan Schuman in TechWire, “One can easily become involved in the lives of others almost like watching a soap opera and thinking of the characters as real people.”

The ability to remain anonymous, the freedom to invent your own reality, and the chemical changes that take place in one’s body when viewing pornography makes one vulnerable to turning to the Internet to fulfill his or her sexual desires and fantasies, and it has the potential of turning curious seekers into on-line pornography and/or cybersex addicts. It is easy to enter cyberspace porn sites as your imaginary self and live out your fantasies to the fullest, but it is impossible to keep the body’s biological responses to pornography from occurring. Research shows biochemical and neurological responses in individuals who are emotionally aroused, regardless of the stimuli. The adrenal hormone epinephrine is released into the brain, explaining why one can remember pornographic images seen years before. Chemicals called opioids are released by nerve endings in response to pleasure, and then reinforce the body’s own desire to repeat the process (J. L. McGaugh, “Preserving the Presence of the Past” American Psychologist, p. 161).

The reason cybersex is so addictive boils down to accessibility, control, and excitement. Sex on line is available in more than 70,000 sex-related Internet sites. This makes it easy to fall into an obsessive pattern of Internet use for sexual gratification. One can develop a sense of being in complete control of their world with no checks and balances as to what they say or do. With no one to see them a curious person can enter any of thousands of dominance and submission rooms, fetish rooms or bisexual rooms. This uncensored buffet allows one to pick and choose anything they feel they want. The emotional rush supports the illusion that others appreciate the addict’s sexuality. Research supports the assumption that sex is a function of the mind, not just the body.

The reason cybersex is so addictive boils down to accessibility, control, and excitement. Sex on line is available in more than 70,000 sex-related Internet sites. This makes it easy to fall into an obsessive pattern of Internet use for sexual gratification. One can develop a sense of being in complete control of their world with no checks and balances as to what they say or do. With no one to see them a curious person can enter any of thousands of dominance and submission rooms, fetish rooms or bisexual rooms. This uncensored buffet allows one to pick and choose anything they feel they want. The emotional rush supports the illusion that others appreciate the addict’s sexuality. Research supports the assumption that sex is a function of the mind, not just the body.

Indulging one’s self with cybersex is not a harmless pastime as the “Adult Entertainment Business” would like one to believe. M. Douglas Reed, author of Pornography Addiction in Media, Children, and the Family writes, “The use of sexual media is clearly associated with sexually aggressive behavior…Some believe that it facilitates, maintains, or reinforces it… Mr. Reed cites pornography that is arousing coupled with physical sexual activity and fantasies and pornographic stimuli as catalysts for promoting sexually aggressive behavior, especially if exposure occurs during puberty and the 10 to 24 months afterwards because this is an important time period in the formation of one’s sexuality. Also, statistics show that hard-core pornography is directly related to the skyrocketing rape rate. In the United States rape has increased 500% since 1960.

According to calls being received at Citizens for Community Values, the problem of Internet porn and cybersex is growing in families across the board, churched and unchurched. Marriages are being destroyed and incest and abuse rates are growing. It is imperative that we become informed of this growing social problem that has the potential to affect each and every one of us to varying degrees. There are warning signs that signal the need for help everyone should know and take seriously.

The Warning Signs of Cybersexual Addiction

  1. Regularly spending long periods of time in chat rooms and private messaging with the sole purpose of finding Cybersex.
  2. Preoccupation with using the net to find on-line sexual partners.
  3. Frequently using anonymous communication to act our sexual fantasies that are not typically carried out in real life.
  4. Anticipation of the next on-line session with the expectation of finding sexual arousal or gratification.
  5. Frequently moving from Cybersex to phone sex, or even meetings in person.
  6. Hiding on-line activities and interactions from a significant other, including sneaking on-line when spouse or family members are not a home, with a sense of relief.
  7. Feeling guilt or shame from these interactions.
  8. After accidentally being aroused by Cybersex at first, now actively seeking it out after logging on line.
  9. Masturbation while engage in erotic chat on-line.
  10. Preferring Cybersex as a primary form of sexual gratification (investing less time with a real-life sexual partner).
Citizens for Community Values of Memphis was born out of a mandate to help educate the public about the harms of all avenues used by the adult entertainment industry which cause harm to children and families. In keeping with that mission CCV is one of the sponsors of the seminar “The Wolf at Your Door (Internet Pornography Stalks the Family) to be held on February 26, 2006, at Second Presbyterian Church. If you would like more information call our office at 685-1493.
Comments
See Older Posts...