University Counseling Center (UCC)
Cyber Sex Addiction
Do you have a problem?
You may have a problem if you have:
- Kept sexual activity on the Internet a secret from family members
- Carried out sexual activities on the Net at work or school
- Frequently found yourself erasing computer history files in an effort to conceal activity on the Net
- Felt ashamed at the thought that someone you love might discover your Internet use
- Found that your time on the Net takes away from or prevents your from doing other tasks and activities
- Found yourself in a kind of online trance or time warp during which hours just slipped away
- Frequently visited chat rooms that are focused on sexual conversation
- Looked forward to your sexual activities on the Net and felt frustrated and anxious if you couldn't get on it when you planned
- Found yourself masturbating while on the Net
- Had sexual chat room friends who became more important than the family and friends in your life
- Regularly visited porn sites
- Downloaded pornography from a newsgroup
- Had favorite porn sites
- Visited fetish porn sites
- Taken part in the CuSeeMe sexual video games
- Viewed child pornography online
Ten Criteria for Cybersex Addiction
- Preoccupation with sex on the Internet.
This is more than just thinking about online sex; it's not being able to not think about it. At some level, these thoughts are always with you.
- Frequently engaging in sex on the Internet more often or for longer periods of time then intended.
When you look at the amount of time you're spending online, you see that it is increasing. In a sense, you are developing a "tolerance" to Internet usage.
- Repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back on, engaging in sex on the Internet
You decide to set some limits, but whatever promise you make to yourself, you can't keep it. No matter what you try you eventually return to the Internet for sexual activities.
- Restlessness or irritability when attempting to limit or stop engaging in sex on the Internet
When you attempt to stop or limit your online sexual activity, you find that you become nervous and irritable. Family and friends recognize changes in your behavior before you yourself can see them.
- Using sex on the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or relieving feelings such as helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression
When you are just feeling down and would like a little boost or pick-me-up, you turn to the Internet for a sexual release so you can feel better and function at home or at work.
- Returning to sex on the Internet day after day in search of a more intense or higher-risk sexual experience.
The excitement and hope you feel lead to more risky behavior both on and off the Internet. You move into areas you once told yourself you'd never explore.
- Lying to family members, therapists, or others to conceal involvement with sex on the Internet
You lie about your Internet usage when asked. You downplay your involvement or fail to be honest about your involvement to a spouse, partner, boss, or therapist.
- Committing illegal sexual acts online
You move closer and closer to engaging in illegal behaviors online. Soliciting acts with minors online is illegal, just as sending, exchanging, or downloading child pornography is illegal.
- Jeopardizing or losing a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of online sexual behavior.
Your online sex-related activities have serious consequences for your job, career, health and well-being.
- Incurring significant financial consequences as a result of engaging in online sexual behavior.
Basic Internet access can be fairly inexpensive, but cybersex sites charge a monthly fee. You begin to feel the financial consequences of your time online.
How to get help
- Reduce access - move computer to high traffic area; reduce access though software protection; avoid chat rooms; move monitor so other can see
- Reduce anonymity - insure your e-mail address identifies you; confide in at least 2 others
- Reduce objectification - remind yourself that people on the Net are real people, with real hopes, worries, families
- Increase accountability - allow trusted others to monitor your behavior and access
- Find a good therapist or support group
- Make social connections
- Develop a sexual health plan
Recovery Starts with Knowledge
Treatment for Internet Addiction
Compiled by Lisa K. Willis, Ph.D. for the University Counseling Center
Selections from a workshop presented by Dan Socall, Ph.D., University of Colorado