The Internet: purveyor of endless information and entertainment. Seamlessly meshed with our televisions, phones, even our cars. A nearly constant presence in our lives.
Great for finding porn, too. But you knew that.
Of course, finding erotica is front and center of the digital revolution. Online offerings cover the gamut: hardcore porn sites, underwear models, sites that cater to specific fetishes, romance novels and role plays. The variety on the electronic buffet takes us a long way from the days of thumbing through the underwear section of department store catalogs.
In their book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, which among other things looks at the ways male and female sexuality differ, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam estimate that 13% of Internet searches are for erotic/sexual content. (They also say that approximately 4% of all websites are dedicated to porn).
While we think of those seeking online sexual gratification as most often being male, women point and click their way to steamy sites, too. Ogas and Gaddam say women tend to look for different online sexual content, though: “On the web, men prefer images. Women prefer stories. Men prefer graphic sex. Women prefer relationships and romance.” This is demonstrated by their survey data on the preferred online sexual activity by gender, which finds that 37% of men prefer looking at erotic pictures and movies, compared to 6% of women.
What about the notion that some people become ensnared in an out of control online porn spiral? A Swedish study (Ross et al, 2012) found that 5% of women and 13% of men report some type of sexual problems related to online use, including the frequency and amount of time spent looking at pornographic imagery.
But does that mean most of these folks are truly addicted to porn? In the Swedish research only 2% of women and 5% of men reported having “serious” problems. Further, a number of experts don’t believe that sex or porn addiction actually exist, and say such behaviors are perhaps better described as compulsions rather than true addictions.
Finally we offer this, a delightful video from a rapping physician with a great sense of humor (“Internet porn addiction? That’s not a problem, that’s a solution!”)
If you have thoughts (or questions) about this topic, we want to hear from you. Leave your comments below.
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