Internet sex addiction

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Addiction glossary[1][2][3]
addiction – a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences
reinforcing stimuli – stimuli that increase the probability of repeating behaviors paired with them
rewarding stimuli – stimuli that the brain interprets as intrinsically positive or as something to be approached
addictive drug – a drug that is both rewarding and reinforcing
addictive behavior – a behavior that is both rewarding and reinforcing
sensitization – an amplified response to a stimulus resulting from repeated exposure to it
drug tolerance – the diminishing effect of a drug resulting from repeated administration at a given dose
drug sensitization or reverse tolerance – the escalating effect of a drug resulting from repeated administration at a given dose
dependence – an adaptive state associated with a withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of repeated exposure to a stimulus (e.g., drug intake)
physical dependence – dependence that involves persistent physical–somatic withdrawal symptoms (e.g., fatigue and delirium tremens)
psychological dependence – dependence that involves emotional–motivational withdrawal symptoms (e.g., dysphoria and anhedonia)
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Internet sex addiction, also known as cybersex addiction, has been proposed as a sexual addiction characterized by virtual Internet sexual activity that causes serious negative consequences to one's physical, mental, social, and/or financial well-being.[4][5] It may also be considered a subset of the theorized Internet addiction disorder.[6] Internet sex addiction manifests various behaviours: reading erotic stories;viewing, downloading or trading online pornography; online activity in adult fantasy chat rooms; cybersex relationships; masturbation while engaged in online activity that contributes to one's sexual arousal; the search for offline sexual partners and information about sexual activity.[6][7][8][9]


Cybersex addiction is a form of sexual addiction and Internet addiction disorder.[6] As a form of a compulsive behavior, it can be identified by three criteria: the failure of making a decision about engagement in the behavior, obsession with the behavior, and the inability to stop the behavior despite negative consequences.[8]

Adults with this type of addiction, engage in at least one of the relevant behaviors. The majority of reasons why individuals experiment with such forms of sexual expression are diverse, and can be associated with an individual's psychological disorders or issues. Individuals who suffer from low self-esteem, severely distorted body image, untreated sexual dysfunction, social isolation, depression, or are in recovery from a prior sexual addiction are more vulnerable to cybersexual addictions .[6][7][10] Other psychological issues that may arise with this addiction include struggles for intimacy, self-worth, self-identity, self-understanding.[8]

DSM classification[edit]

Internet sex addiction is not listed in the DSM-5,[11] which is commonly used by psychiatrists in the United States.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Delmonico, David L.; Griffin, Elizabeth J. (2010). "Cybersex Addiction and Compulsivity". In Young, Kimberly S.; de Abreu, Cristiano Nabuco. Internet Addiction: A Handbook and Guide to Evaluation and Treatment. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 113–134. ISBN 978-0-470-55116-5. 
  • Delmonico, David L. (2002). "Sex on the superhighway: Understanding and treating cybersex addiction". In Carnes, P. J.; Adams, K. M. Clinical Management of Sex Addiction. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis. pp. 239–254. 
  • Delmonico, David L.; Griffin, Elizabeth J.; Carnes, P. J. (2002). "Treating online compulsive sexual behavior: When cybersex becomes the drug of choice.". In Cooper, A. Sex and the Internet: A Guidebook for Clinicians. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis. pp. 147–167. 
  • Schwartz, Mark F.; Southern, Stephen (2000). "Compulsive Cybersex: The New Tea Room". Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention 7 (1–2): 127–144. doi:10.1080/10720160008400211. 
  • Schneider, Jennifer P. (2000). "Effects of cybersex addiction on the family: Results of a survey". Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention 7 (1–2): 31–58. doi:10.1080/10720160008400206. 
  • Orzack, Maressa Hecht; Rossb, Carol J. (2000). "Should Virtual Sex Be Treated Like Other Sex Addictions?". Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention 7 (1–2): 113–125. doi:10.1080/10720160008400210. 
  • Delmonico, David L. (1997). "Cybersex: High tech sex addiction". Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention 4 (2): 159–167. doi:10.1080/10720169708400139. 


  1. ^ Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 15: Reinforcement and Addictive Disorders". In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. pp. 364–375. ISBN 9780071481274. 
  2. ^ Nestler EJ (December 2013). "Cellular basis of memory for addiction". Dialogues Clin. Neurosci. 15 (4): 431–443. PMC 3898681. PMID 24459410. 
  3. ^ "Glossary of Terms". Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Department of Neuroscience. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Stein, Dan J.; Hollander, Eric; Rothbaum, Barbara Olasov (31 August 2009). Textbook of Anxiety Disorders. American Psychiatric Pub. pp. 359–. ISBN 978-1-58562-254-2. Retrieved 24 April 2010. 
  5. ^ Parashar A, Varma A (April 2007). "Behavior and substance addictions: is the world ready for a new category in the DSM-V?". CNS Spectr 12 (4): 257; author reply 258–9. PMID 17503551. 
  6. ^ a b c d Griffiths, Mark (November 2001). "Sex on the internet: Observations and implications for internet sex addiction.". The Journal of Sex Research 38 (4): 333–342. doi:10.1080/00224490109552104. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Young, Kimberly S. (September 2008). "Internet sex addiction: Risk factors, stages of development, and treatment.". American Behavioral Scientist 52 (1): 21–37. doi:10.1177/0002764208321339. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Daneback, Kristian; Michael W. Ross, Sven-Axel Månsson (2006). "Characteristics and behaviors of sexual compulsives who use the internet for sexual purposes". Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 13 (1): 53–67. doi:10.1080/10720160500529276. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Laier, C.; Pawlikowski, M.; Pekal, J.; Schulte, F. P.; Brand, M. (2013). "Cybersex addiction: Experienced sexual arousal when watching pornography and not real-life sexual contacts makes the difference" (PDF). Journal of Behavioral Addictions 2 (2): 100. doi:10.1556/JBA.2.2013.002.  edit
  10. ^ Cooper, Alvin; Coralie R. Scherer; Sylvain C. Boies; Barry L. Gordon (April 1999). "Sexuality on the Internet: From Sexual Exploration to Pathological Expression.". Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 30 (1): 154–164. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.30.2.154. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  11. ^ American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. pp. 797–798. ISBN 978-0-89042-555-8. 

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