Cybersex Addiction: Answering Important Questions without Reservation

Oct 24, 2019

Author: 

Pavel Khoroschutin

 

“It’s embarrassing to talk about this, but I need advice.  The truth is, my husband is very into pornography. In the past he used to watch it only occasionally, and I was more or less okay with it. But now it’s affecting our sex life. I suspect that he watches porn and masturbates 3-4 times a week – I know how he looks and behaves after getting an orgasm. And that’s why we haven’t had sex in three months. It would have been understandable if I had let myself go or was as stiff as a board in bed, but I’m not. I have a nice figure, and I love sex. But he prefers virtual women for some reason.”

— Elena, 25

One of the possible reasons for this behaviour is cybersex addiction. This type of addiction is less often spoken about than gaming addiction, for example, but it can significantly damage people’s lives. As a result, single people experience more difficulties socializing with others in real life, and married people distance themselves from their partners, turning their relationships in that of roommates.  How does this addiction develop? How can we recognize it? What consequences can it have and, most importantly, how do we get rid of it? Let us answer the most common questions.

“What exactly is cybersex addiction?”

Cybersex addiction is a form of Internet and sexual addiction. Previously, during the era of VCRs and disc phones, people would buy tapes under the counter or use a Phone Sex service. Now they are browsing the internet for pornographic movies and hanging out in online chatrooms.

 

If we use a scientific definition, it is the compulsive urge to visit porn sites or have cybersex.  In other words, it is masturbation in front of a computer or smartphone screen with the arousing stimulus being erotic images and/or Internet communication about sex. Basically, it is a habit of getting sexual fulfilment through the means that are available on the Internet. They can be roughly divided into 3 large groups.

Ways to obtain sexual satisfaction
Pornography
Regular viewing of photos or videos with pornographic content, spending money to access paysites, collecting pornographic movies or photos. Read more about this in a separate article.
Sex chats and dating sites
Main purposes are intimate correspondence and virtual sex. Visitors don’t look for arranging a meeting in real life, probably even avoiding it. This may include the exchange of intimate photos or sending photos of own genitalia to random people.
Webcam modeling.
The visitor pays money to have their video chatmates undress, say certain things, masturbate in front of the camera or watch other people masturbate, and perform various intimate tasks.

Most people use the web for sexual gratification but do not become dependent. [1] Such behaviour can be a manifestation of curiosity, a desire to unwind, to learn something new, or diversify their sexual experience. Sometimes this can even be beneficial, for example video chats or virtual sex with your partner, who is on a long business trip, will help maintain a healthy love life.

 

At what point and why does an ordinary recreational activity turn into pathological craving? Let’s consider the main causes and signs of addiction to virtual sex.

“Why do people become addicted to cyber sex? What draws them in?”

As with other addictions, the main rationale behind this is an attempt to escape from real life into something simpler, clearer, and more accessible. So what drives people to cybersex?

1.   Problems in their love life. Perhaps it is difficult or impossible to make new acquaintances or build a relationship with a person of the opposite sex because of self-consciousness, insecurity and so on.

2.   Problems in their sex life. This is when a person easily strikes up new acquaintances but has difficulties with sex. For example, problems with sexual vigour, a negative attitude towards their own body, feelings of self-consciousness because of lack of experience, uncertainty about the size of various body parts.

3.   Lack of time and energy to build relationships in real life. A person may already be in a relationship, but they know that interaction with their partner will require some effort. They will, for example, need to take care not only of their own pleasure, but also of their partner’s.

 

4.   Stress or fatigue. In this case masturbation can be perceived as a way to escape from everyday life for a little while, to relieve tension and relax. Of course, masturbation on its own is not harmful, but if it gradually replaces sex and is combined with Internet stimuli, it can lead to the development of a consistent habit and pathological pattern of behaviour.

“What are the indicators that suggest a person has already become addicted?”

Cybersex addiction is marked by similar signs as other types of addiction: [2]

1.   A person is unable to resist the draw of the subject of addiction.

2.   A person is stressed and frustrated without the subject of addiction.

3.   While interacting with the subject of addiction a person feels relief and pleasure.

4.   After receiving satisfaction, a person may feel guilty or ashamed.

5.   A person is willing to spend a lot of time and effort to obtain the subject of addiction.

6.   Interaction with the subject of addiction takes more time than originally planned.

7.   A person may abandon social life, work, and hobbies to satisfy his or her craving.

8.   A person feels dissatisfied and irritated when he or she does not get what is wanted.

9.   A person does not change his/her behaviour, even if the destructive consequences of the bad habit become evident.

10.                A person starts avoiding sex in real life because it brings less satisfaction than cybersex (a specific sign for cybersex addiction). [3]

 

Some signs may only occur occasionally, such as shame or refusal to work. In general, these signs are indicative reasons to start paying attention to the problem.

Bright and emotive headline

“Who is more susceptible to cybersex addiction? Are there risk groups?”

This type of addiction can be experienced by different types of people: men and women, adolescents and adults, single people and those with a family. However, men are more likely to use the Internet to satisfy their sexual needs than women. [1]

“How should cybersex and watching pornography be handled in general? Is it cheating or not?”

“Hear me out and decide for yourself who is right and who isn’t. Here’s the thing. I know my husband sometimes masturbates in the shower if he’s tired and wants to have sex but doesn’t want to go through the effort in bed.  I’m okay with this kind of stuff, because he is not the only one to do it from time to time. And then he found the movie on my computer. Erotica.  I wasn’t hiding it, it’s not a big deal, right? But then he started grousing that it’s the same as if I was cheating on him. So, to recap, when he looks at other women, it’s okay, and when I look at men, it’s cheating. We’re still fighting about it. Do you believe that watching porn is cheating or not?”

— Arina, 32

 

There can be no unequivocal answer, because different people perceive the concept of cheating differently. It can depend on the cultural peculiarities as well as on one’s personal worldview. For example, for some people even thinking about another person would mean a breach of trust. And for others, flirting and hugging is of no matter. Moreover there are types of marriage when sex with multiple partners is not considered cheating, such as polygyny and polyandry. So the question of whether cybersex or watching porn is considered cheating must be decided by each couple separately. It is better, of course, if the husband and wife have the same opinion on this issue, otherwise they may experience conflicts and misunderstandings.

“Is there any real harm in this addiction? It’s just masturbating in front of the screen - it should be fine as long as no one gets hurt, shouldn’t it?”

Of course there is no harm, or it’s minimal if we’re talking about cybersex as a recreational activity, one of many. But if a person is already addicted, it can have a negative impact on all areas of life such as:

1.   A decrease in the quantity and quality of social contacts. This can be particularly evident in people who already have problems with socializing. If the communication skill is underdeveloped, the lack of practice may further diminish it. As a result, a person could simply forget how to communicate with real people, and won’t even feel the loss. After all, it’s so much easier and safer go through the Internet.

2.   The worsening of family relationships. There can be many reasons, such as jealousy, lack of attention paid to one’s partner, lack of romance in the relationship and so on. Like any other addiction, cybersex will demand all of the attention an addict can spare, leaving nothing for the family. As a result, the husband and wife may distance themselves from each other or even divorce. [4]

3.   A decrease in the quality of the sexual life. Addiction to sex and video chats can affect the quality and quantity of sex within a relationship. It becomes easier for a person to have cybersex than to think about how to talk and negotiate with their partner in reality. More than half of the people who use the internet for sex indicated that this does not have a positive impact on their relationships. [1]

4.   Misconceptions about sex. More often than not sex in porn looks different from reality. Actresses and actors often do things they don’t enjoy because they are paid to do so. Webcam models are also likely to agree to things they don’t like because the client asks them. As a result, a person may develop misguided expectations towards their partner. For example, a husband may expect his wife to love anal sex (actresses in pornography certainly love it) and will accuse her of being frigid if she refuses.

 

5.   Problems with being attracted to real people. The tendency to get aroused by certain virtual stimuli can transfer into real life. Often people look to the Internet for something they would never do in real life – as 21.1% of 7,000 participants in one major study admitted. [1]  It can also be the arousal from spying on someone changing their clothes. This may mean that sex with ordinary people may seem bland and boring to them in comparison. It is not always safe or even possible to translate virtual stimuli into the real world.

“What do I do if I find the signs of cybersex addiction?”

Since cybersex addiction has all the indicators of a common addiction, the ways to fight against it are similar. Medical treatment is possible in particularly difficult cases. [5] Usually behavioural therapy is enough to get rid of the bad habit and replace it with something more useful.

Note that it’s not enough just to suddenly drop the habit. If addiction is rooted in some serious underlying problems, then, even with the craving gone, those problems will not disappear. For example, a man may have become accustomed to relieving stress through cyber sex. He understands that this habit is a hindrance to his life, because, for example, he is also tempted to relieve stress in this way at work, which is not always appropriate or possible. He could make an arbitrary decision to simply stop masturbating – but the need to relieve stress will remain. Therefore, it is important not to simply break old habits, but to form new, useful and adaptive ones in their stead.

That’s why 7Spsy behaviour modification technique not only quickly and painlessly breaks the addiction, but also helps you develop new habits. After 2-6 weeks you’ll notice how your craving for cybersex or pornography will have decreased and stopped controlling you. You will have more control over your pursuits and start getting more pleasure from real sex. The new habits will help you better cope with facing the challenges in your life.

 

The sessions are remote and completely confidential: you will not have to personally discuss topics that are considered uncomfortable by many people. You choose when and where to conduct these sessions, and our psychologists will be ready to support you by phone, online chat or e-mail.

“Can I handle the addiction to cybersex by myself?”

This option is possible, especially if you already have experience fighting other addictions. If you feel, however, that you are not doing well, feel free to seek the help of professionals – it’s their purpose. But if discussing the topic is  difficult for you and it prevents you from solving the problem, you can always choose a remote expert with whom you will not need to talk face to face.

Information from this website cannot be used for self-therapy and self-diagnostics. 

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