For example, they were more likely than NIPUs to agree, "My sexual thoughts and fantasies distract me from accomplishing important tasks," and "I feel like my sexual behavior is taking me in a direction I don’t want to go." They also agreed that they "do things sexually that are against my values and beliefs." Clearly, both men and women can become cybersex addicts.
In the case of women, at least, the ramifications can lead include a set of unwanted consequences, some that may even pose danger to physical and mental health.
If you or someone you know seems to be veering in this direction, it's important to recognize that cybersex addiction can create real, not just virtual, problems in living.
Technically, cybersex is defined as sexually motivated behavior involving the Internet.
Unlike other forms of addictive behavior, such as gambling disorder and substance disorders, cybersex addiction is not an officially recognized disorder and therefore mental health professionals would not give a diagnosis to people who show the signs of this kind of addiction.
The bottom line is that whether male or female, people who use the Internet for sex are doing so because they find online depictions to be reinforcing.
What’s not clear is why it is that Internet images are so rewarding for these individuals, and how the cue of seeing sexual behavior online leads to craving.
One might argue that, in contrast to risky sexual behavior, cybersex addiction isn’t particularly troublesome.
The individuals pursuing online sexual arousal aren’t hurting anyone, and the behavior is legal.
During the one-hour testing in the lab, participants filled out a questionnaire, indicating how addicted they were to cybersex, known as the Internet Addiction Test adapted for cybersex use (IATs).
There are two scales on the IATS—one reflecting loss of control and time management and the second tapping craving and social problems.
As they predicted, Laier and his colleagues found that the IPUs felt more sexually aroused and had higher cravings than the NIPUs.