Sexually Oriented Internet Sites Are Popular And Non-Problematic For Most People, But Pose Risks For Some

emale respondents (14%) by a ratio of 6:1. Women, however, favor the use of chat rooms, which offer more interaction and the development of relationships (49% females to 23% males) to visual erotica (50% males to 23% females). Most individuals reported that they go on line for sexual pursuits from home (78.8%); 5.8 percent admitted using an office computer; and 12.7 percent said they do both. In addition, most individuals (64%) were either married (47%) or in a committed relationship (17%), and, of the single individuals (36%), half were dating and half were not.

Time spent on line for sexual pursuits was a strong predictor of both sexual compulsivity and distress. Although, on-line sexual compulsivity is a relatively rare condition, eight percent of the survey respondents were found to be most at risk to develop serious problems from their heavy Internet use. This estimates compares to the estimated five percent of the general population who deal with issues of sexual compulsivity. The majority surveyed (92%) spend under 11 hours a week in on-line sexual pursuits, and half spend less than 1 hour a week for on-line sexually related activities. Most people appear to use sexual material on the Internet as a source of entertainment more than for sexual release and reported that on-line experiences were satisfying but not particularly arousing.

Honesty on the Net and regarding Internet sex activities does seem to suffer. Most respondents, 61 percent, reported occasional "pretending" about their age while on the net. Thirty-eight percent admitted presenting themselves as a race different than their own. Additionally, three out of four respondents indicated keeping secret from others how much time they spend on line for sexual pursuits, although most (87%) reported that they did not feel guilty or ashamed about the time they spent on line.

"This study provides the first step in understanding the common use of the Internet and can help m

Contact: Rhea Farberman
American Psychological Association

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