Pornography Addiction and the Internet

There are many Internet behaviors that are addicting and troublesome. This page provides information of some of those behaviors.

This following model known as the Triple-A Engine was developed by Stanford researcher Al Cooper (Cooper, et al. 1999) to explain how the Internet becomes so addicting. Cooper believed that availability and affordability, combined with anonymity, account for the Internet’s power to attract people into a cycle of addiction. The anonymity of the medium lures many unsuspecting people into secret virtual sexual encounters. In chat rooms, users communicate with “screen names” or “handles” and live out fantasies without leaving the privacy of their home or office. That anonymity encourages users to communicate in a more open and frank manner than would be their norm.

Behaviors That May Become Problematic with the Internet

  • Online Game Playing
  • Online Shopping
  • Online Auctions
  • Online Gambling
  • Chat Rooms, E-mail, IMs
  • Sexual Chat
  • Online Role Play Fantasy
  • Online Pornography

The Internet is to this generation what the World Book or Encyclopedia Britannica were to the generations that grew up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. With the Internet, however, there are so many more subjects to choose from.  The Internet provides a seemingly endless supply of material and no censorship.

The focus of this part of the website is on cybersex. According to Al Cooper and other researchers, cybersex addicts spend from 15 to 25 hours week or more pursuing sexual material on the internet (Cooper, Delmonico & Burg, 2002).

While many companies have been reluctant to deal with the problem of employees' compulsive use of the internet, there is growing evidence that sexually addicted employees spend inordinate amounts of their workday cruising adult websites, significantly reducing their productivity and their effectiveness as a team member. As more research sheds light on the negative effects of employee’s use of the Internet for sexual pursuits, companies will be more inclined to deal with the problem, if for no other reason than because it affects the company’s bottom line.

Who's at Risk?

Studies have indicated that males are much more likely to be involved in on-line sexual behavior. However, of the most extreme cybersex users, 40% are women. Specific groups at risk for developing online sexual addictions include homemakers, the unemployed, and students (Cooper, et al. 2000). Anyone with access to a computer or other electronic communication device should bear in mind Cooper’s Triple-A Engine as they log on to the Internet.

Currently the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) does not officially list many forms of sexual behaviors, including those that specifically use the Internet for sexual activity. There is a committee presently working that will make recommendations concerning adding numerous classifications of sexual behaviors, including those behaviors that involve the Internet. If their recommendations are adopted, the DSM-V, when published, will list various sexual addictions and compulsions and include the Internet as a component in those behaviors (Koehler, 2001).

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