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And some people, including two physicians, have landed in federal prison for two years because they downloaded child pornography when authorities were watching, Dr. Still, most who pursue cybersex consider it harmless and safe to do so. In her survey, 91 women and three men in committed relationships said they had experienced serious adverse consequences, including broken relationships, from their partners' cybersex addictions.
While social and safety concerns and fear of discovery may prevent someone from visiting an adult bookstore or prostitute, there are no such constraints when pornography and sexual partners can be called up at any time of the day or night on a computer screen in one's home or office, Dr. Partners commonly reported feeling betrayed, devalued, deceived, ignored and abandoned and unable to compete with a fantasy.
Researchers writing in the current issue of the journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity report that many of the men and women who now spend dozens of hours each week seeking sexual stimulation from their computers deny that they have a problem and refuse to seek help until their marriages and/or their jobs are in serious jeopardy. The survey found that as many as a third of Internet users visited some type of sexual site. Young of the Center for Online Addiction in Bradford, Pa., wrote that "partially as a result of the general population and health care professionals not being attuned to the risks, seemingly harmless cyberromps can result in serious difficulties way beyond what was expected or intended." According to Dr.
For some people, the route to compulsive use of the Internet for sexual satisfaction is fast and short, said Dr. Projected to the country as a whole, this would mean that a minimum of 200,000 men and women have become cybersex addicts in the last few years, Dr. And, he added, because the respondents were self-selected and because denial of the symptoms of sexual compulsivity is commonplace, there are likely to be many more cybersex addicts than the survey indicated. Jennifer Schneider, a physician in Tucson, Ariz., who is associate editor of the journal, said in an interview that even when cybersex addicts and their partners sought treatment, they often concealed their real problem, and therapists often failed to ask questions that would disclose it. Cooper, who works at the San Jose Marital and Sexuality Center in Santa Clara, Calif., cybersex compulsives are just like drug addicts; they "use the Internet as an important part of their sexual acting out, much like a drug addict who has a 'drug of choice,' " and often with serious harm to their home lives and livelihood.
So when a spouse begins to invest more time and energy online and fails to keep up his or her end of the household bargain, it could signal a lesser commitment to the relationship itself – because another relationship has come between your marriage. Evidence of lying – Like in a real-life affair, the cheating spouse may hide credit-card bills for adult sites, dating sites, or have secret Facebook or Twitter accounts, or lie about the reason for such extensive online use. Personality changes – A spouse is often surprised and confused to see how much their partner’s moods and behaviors changed since the Internet engulfed them.
A once warm and sensitive wife becomes cold and withdrawn. If questioned about these changes in connection with their Internet habit, the spouse having an online affair responds with heated denials, blaming, and rationalization.
They shun those familiar rituals like talking over the dishes after dinner or renting a video on Saturday night.
"This is a hidden public health hazard exploding, in part, because very few are recognizing it as such or taking it seriously," Dr. As a result, the diagnosis of cybersex addiction is often missed, Dr. Especially vulnerable to becoming hooked on Internet sex, he wrote, are "those users whose sexuality may have been suppressed and limited all their lives [who] suddenly find an infinite supply of sexual opportunities" on the Internet. Dana Putnam, a psychologist in San Luis Obispo, Calif., said other factors that could increase a person's vulnerability to cybersex compulsion were depression and other forms of emotional distress, relationship problems and a failure to get one's sexual needs met. Schneider among 94 family members affected by cybersex addiction revealed that the problem could arise even among those in loving marriages with ample sexual opportunities.
"Sex on the Net is just so seductive and it's so easy to stumble upon it," she said.
For a partner once willing to communicate about contentious matters, this could be a smokescreen for an online affair. Loss of interest in sex – Some online affairs evolve into sexting, phone sex, or an actual rendezvous, but cybersex alone often includes mutual masturbation from the confines of each person’s computer room.
When a spouse suddenly shows a lesser interest in sex, it may be an indicator that he or she has found another sexual outlet.
Of course, it depends on so many things – the relationship you are in, how long you have been together, how open your relationship is, how often your partner was ‘sexting’ behind your back, and to whom, and so on. Often, the partner suddenly begins coming to bed in the early-morning hours, may leap out of bed earlier and bolt to his smartphone for a pre-work text or email. A demand for privacy – If someone begins cheating on their spouse, whether online or in real life, they will often go to great lengths to hide the truth from their wife or husband.