Pornography Addiction

Cybersex/pornography addiction has been referred to as the crack-cocaine of the intimacy disorder. The time lost spent viewing pornography and ignoring the rest of daily commitments can be astonishing. Because of pornography addiction, individuals have lost their jobs, self-esteem, and relationships. Both, men and women begin to experience sex and intimacy on the internet as more "real" than in their actual real lives. Partners of cybersex/pornography addicts have the experience of being cheated on (e.g. there is another woman). There is not a partner who could possibly compete with the dopamine hit/high the addict receives through pornography/webcam/romantic email viewing. In the mean time, the addict mistakenly believes that he/she is not hurting anyone, and is protected by the anonymity on the internet. In addiction, Internet pornography/webcam viewing may lead people to "access the unresolved" possibly leading to illegal activities of online users (e.g. illegal underage pornography). Pornography addiction/webcam use leads to objectification of others, and in turn to objectification of self and contribute to the feelings of not being "good enough." The individuals struggling with pornography addiction and cybersex continue to hurt themselves and others, undermining the possibility of true intimacy in a healthy sexual relationship.

Sex addiction research has demonstrated the following:

  • Sexual addiction using internet can escalate extremely fast
  • Sexual addiction on the internet often transform into real life experiences (fantasies turn into behaviors)
  • Individuals who already struggled with sexual compulsivity problem find that internet sex magnifies both sexual acting out and associated problems
  • Cybersex escalates to engaging in sexual behavior that the addict has never explored before and possibly never even knew existed
  • Sex addicts in recovery reported that internet sex is one of the significant risk factors in relapse

INTERNET SEX SCREENING TEST

Welcome to the Internet Sex Screening Test. The following inventory should be taken online athttp://www.SexHelp.com/. SexHelp.com is a Web resource for sex addiction and recovery sponsored by Dr. Patrick Carnes, a nationally known speaker and pioneer in the field of sexual addiction. The inventory asks questions about online and offline sexual behavior. Please respond “True” to the items that apply to your behavior and “False” to the items that do not apply. SexHelp.com is currently collecting data on this screening test and therefore do not have cut-off scores to indicate whether or not you have a problem with Internet sex. However, once you have completed the test online at http://www.SexHelp.com/ you will be shown the percentage that others have said “True” to the same items you indicated were “True” in your life. The following is a sample of that test, and the percentage scores will only be provided online. The missing and additional questions can be found on http://www.sexHelp.com/. If you are concerned about your Internet sexual behavior, please seek professional help.

  1. I spend more than 5 hours per week using my computer for sexual pursuits. I have joined sexual sites to gain access to online sexual material.
  2. I have spent more money for online sexual material than I planned. Internet sex has sometimes interfered with certain aspects of my life. I have participated in sexually related chats.
  3. I have masturbated while on the Internet.
  4. I have stayed up after midnight to access sexual material online. I use the Internet to experiment with different aspects of sexuality (e.g., bondage, homosexuality, etc.).
  5. I have made promises to myself to stop using the Internet for sexual purposes. I sometimes use cybersex as a reward for accomplishing something (e.g., finish a project, stressful day, etc.). When I am unable to access sexual information online, I feel anxious, angry, or disappointed.

GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT SEX ADDICTION

  1. I repeatedly attempt to stop certain sexual behaviors and fail. I have continued my sexual behavior despite it having caused me problems. Before my sexual behavior I want it but afterward I regret it.
  2. I worry about people finding out about my sexual activities.
  3. When I have sex, I feel depressed afterwards.

Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., c.a.s. © Copyright 1997–2005 http://www.SexHelp.com All rights reserved. Used by permission.