Cybersex addiction: prevalence of dysfunctional usage of cybersex offers (2012)

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European Psychiatry

Volume 27, Supplement 1, 2012, Pages 1

Abstracts of the 20th European Congress of Psychiatry

S. Giralt 1, K. Wölfling 1, L. Spangenberg 2, E. Brähler 2, H. Glaesmer 2, M.E. Beutel 1

Link to study


Behavioral addictions are probably as old as humanity itself and sexual addiction might be the oldest. Access to huge databases and fast communication via internet has facilitated virtual sexual behavior, since watching movies, going shopping or talking to another person without leaving the house is now the rule rather than the exception. According to Cooper (1998) accessibility, affordability and anonymity (Triple A engine) are the three main factors for the development of dysfunctional usage of cybersex. Thus behavioral addictions such as cybersex addiction have emerged on the basis of new technology.

In this representative study, 2.500 Germans between 14 and 97 have been orally interviewed about their sexual online behavior. The aim was to identify the prevalence of cybersex addiction with the aid of the short version of the Internet Sex Screening Test (ISST; Delmonico, 1997; translated German version Giralt, Wölfling & Beutel, in press).

First results indicate that a significant number of people are at risk to be addicted to cybersex, since they consider themselves as addicted to cybersex and have tried to abandon sexual activities online. Other results point to link between socio-demographic data e.g. age and marital status and the appearance of cybersex addiction.

Cybersex addiction is a disorder which should be further explored since it can lead to serious negative impact in the psycho-social life of the person concerned. Offers for therapy and counseling are sparse, yet a qualified treatment could significantly increase affected people's quality of life.