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Use of Internet Pornography and Men's Well-Being

; Harriman Vol. 4, Iss. 2,  (Jun 30, 2005): 149. DOI:10.3149/jmh.0402.149
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The widespread and relatively inexpensive influx of high speed Internet technology has rendered the Cybersex pornographic industry a considerably profitable e-commerce business. This exploratory investigation attempts to delineate the intricacies and effects of such technology on individual well-being using ethnographic field research methodology. Although most individuals utilize the Internet for occupational, educational, recreational, and shopping purposes, a sizable male minority exists, known as Cybersex compulsives and at-risk users, who invest an inordinate amount of their time, money, and energy in the pursuit of Cybersex experiences with negative intrapersonal ramifications in terms of depression, anxiety, and problems with felt intimacy with their real-life partners. Such individuals find themselves in a compulsive Cybersex quest for the "perfect" sexual visualization that will match their "lovemap," only to get disappointed at its fleeting nature.

Keywords: Cybersex, sexual compulsion, obsession, flow, interactivity, love map

From Internet shopping to electronic bill pay to booking travel and lodging all the way to Cybersex, we, as individuals living in the 21st century, are becoming increasingly identified by online, virtual, and Cyber usernames, passwords, and code names (Lohse, 1998). Even though there does exist a lag between technology and culture, the sudden availability of inexpensive personal computer and Internet technology to mainstream consumers has changed our lives drastically and possibly irreversibly (Chen, Wigand, & Nilan, 1999). From the occasional to the everyday online user lies a spectrum along which we all find ourselves.

Psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, family therapists, social workers, and school counselors report a considerable number of complaints related to computer use. College and university authorities report that inappropriate and excessive computer use is increasingly associated with student rule breaking and academic failure. In addition, divorce attorneys find that compulsive computer use tends to be a leading factor in divorce (Orzack, 2004).

Social scientists at the University of...