Perhaps it began with the global lockdown. Binge-watching movies seems like an innocent way to pass the time. After exhausting the family shows, you work your way through the ratings—from PG to PG-13 to R and unrated. The appetite for more explicit sexuality grows.
Sexual Cyber Threats
Satisfaction with pre-recorded actors dulls over time, requiring you to heighten the stimulus. This can devolve into visiting costly cybersex websites, strip clubs, or prostitutes. You might reach out to hook up with former or potential flings. The coronavirus pandemic adds a layer of risk for in-person encounters beyond venereal disease. Contracting COVID-19 plus a sexually transmitted infection can be painful and deadly.
Participating in mutual sexual stimulation via 2-way cameras can seem like a safe alternative. It is possible for one of the participants to record nude activities without the other party’s knowledge. This opens up several potential problems. Such videos often find their way online and become sources for blackmail or boasts of conquests. If one party is a minor and adults view the video, they can receive life-long child-abuse and pornography criminal records.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, cybersex offenders use computers to view, store, produce, send, receive and/or distribute child and other forms of pornography; to communicate, groom, and entice children and others for victimization; and to validate and communicate with other sex offenders.  Even in the absence of risqué videos, you are furthering your descent to sexual addiction with long-term consequences.
Pornographic imagery is on the level of opioid addiction. Hypersexual disorder or compulsive sex addiction is a condition marked by fantasies or urges that consume excessive amounts of time and resources. An individual with sex addiction typically spends hours planning for sex or engaging in sexual activity, at the expense of jobs, family activities, or social interactions. [2–4]
Eight paraphilias recognized in the DSM-IV include: exhibitionism, voyeurism, pedophilia, sexual masochism, sexual sadism, transvestic fetishism, fetishism, and frotterurism.  Expensive treatment combines abstinence with attempts of cognitive behavioral modification. Some programs last a couple of weeks; others are a year or longer. Regression or recidivism is common.
Internet Sex Statistics 
- 1/4 of all online search engine requests are pornographic.
- 1/3 of internet users report unwanted exposure to sexual content.
- 2/3 of junior high school students have viewed online pornography.
- 34% of those students are at risk for developing compulsive online sexual behavior.
- 8.9 million people in the U.S. need therapeutic intervention as a result of their addiction to cybersex.
- Most consumers of internet pornography are between ages 12 and 17.
Twice as many men as women frequently engage in cybersex. Both genders have the same difficulty in forming intimate relationships. The focus on sexual gratification undermines meaningful intimacy in marriage. 
Like alcoholism or drug abuse, sex addiction can lead to a life of ongoing sadness and psychiatric treatment. These addictions share the quest for escapism and pleasure. Don’t let pandemic boredom or any other condition draw you in. Avoid erotic literature, sexy videos, lingerie catalogs, etc. Also shun fantasies about pornographic exploits. Occupy your time with wholesome, educational, and relaxing activities. Exercise, read books, and nurture good family relationships.
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- An Introduction to the Supervision of the Cybersex Offender. uscourts.gov
- Love T, Laier C, Brand M, Hatch L, Hajela R. Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update. Behav Sci (Basel). 2015;5(3):388-433. Published 2015 Sep 18. doi:10.3390/bs5030388
- Sex Addiction Treatment. americanaddictioncenters.org
- Donald L. Hilton Jr. (2013) Pornography addiction – a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 3:1, doi:10.3402/snp.v3i0.20767
- Fong TW. Understanding and managing compulsive sexual behaviors. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2006;3(11):51-58.
- Cybersex by Numbers: Statistics about Online Sex Addiction. oxbowacademy.net
- Weinstein AM, Zolek R, Babkin A, Cohen K, Lejoyeux M. Factors Predicting Cybersex Use and Difficulties in Forming Intimate Relationships among Male and Female Users of Cybersex. Front Psychiatry. 2015;6:54. Published 2015 Apr 20. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00054
- Main photo by Engin Akyurt and inset photo by Barbara Ribeiro from Pexels.
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