Online erotica usage as a mediator between internet addiction and engagement in risky online sexual behaviors (2016)

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Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace 10, no. 3 (2016).

Michelle Drouin, Daniel A. Miller

Abstract

In this study, we examined the links between Internet addiction, engagement in online erotica (including pornography usage and usage of sex-based Internet chat sites), and engagement in risky online sexual behaviors, in this case, sending sexually-explicit pictures to those known only online (i.e., sexting) and expecting to engage in offline sex with those known only online. In our sample of 276 U.S. adults, men engaged in most of these online sexual activities significantly more than women, but women were just as likely as men to send sexually-explicit pictures to online chat partners, and they were also just as likely as men to demonstrate signs of internet addiction. More importantly, using pornography and sex site usage were sequential mediators in the relationship between Internet addiction and engagement in risky online sexual activities. Moreover, whereas pornography viewing alone was not a predictor of risky online sexual activities, when the behavior escalated to engaging in Internet sex chat sites it did predict engagement in sexting or expectations of offline sex with those known only online. Based on these findings, we suggest that although these behaviors might be considered under one umbrella of online sexual activity, it might be useful from an intervention and treatment standpoint to target specific online sexual activities (e.g., sex site usage).

Bibliographic citation

Drouin, M., & Miller, D. (2016). Online erotica usage as a mediator between internet addiction and engagement in risky online sexual behaviors. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 10(3), article 2. http://dx.doi.org/10.5817/CP2016-3-2

Keywords

internet addiction; online erotica; sexting; risky sexual behavior; online sexual behaviors