Research Proposal: Internet Sex Addiction

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Internet Sex Addiction: Have We Focused Only on the Negative?

Research on Internet Sexuality has focused predominantly on the use and misuse of online pornography, followed by online sex-seeking behaviors, and the Internet as a source of sexual health information. Within these domains, especially the first two, researchers have often framed their approach as one of elucidating the inherent risks associated with Internet sexuality. In her 2009 review of the past 2 decades of research on Internet Sexuality, Doring noted "virtually no publications describe this type of behavior as largely ordinary or harmless" (p.1097). Study after study recites the often presumed and sometimes substantiated risks of Internet Sexuality, including sexual addiction and compulsive behavior, infidelity, unwanted or unsolicited contact in the form of sexual harassment, abuse or coercion, reduced work productivity, financial burdens, the presumed risk of spreading STI's and diseases, as well as the potential for an increase in unwanted pregnancies. Very few studies have created avenues for understanding the potential positive consequences of Internet sexuality, and where the literature does make reference to such possibilities it is often supported anecdotally or simply presumed. Doring again, notes that while there is a definite possibility for positive consequenes, the majority of research on Internet Sexuality to date has ignored this avenue and focused on the negative.

Doring suggests that if "used competently, the Internet [can provide] users with an opportunity to satisfy their sexual needs in constructive ways" and lists the potential for the improvement of sexual communication in a relationship as an example of such potential constructive uses of Internet Sexuality. Despite Doring's ability to conceive of such a possibility, her thorough review of the literature fails to find any empirical studies directly testing the impact of Internet Sexuality on positive relational outcomes. The studies that do mention positive aspects of Internet Sexuality do so mostly through conjecture, assuming that Internet Sexuality can provide participants with new sexual experiences in a relatively safe setting that can lead to sexual knowledge, sexual empowerment and sexual freedom. Doring continues on to state "cybersex should not be classified as a deficient substitute for 'real sex,' but should instead be understood as a specific form of sexual expression that can play a legitimate role in the sexual and relational life of its participants" (p.1096). Despite this potential for Internet Sexuality, and cybersex specifically, to play a "legitimate role in the sexual and relational" lives of its participants, no studies to date have been designed in such a way to examine the potential for such outcomes. By examining the varying contexts and frequencies with which individuals participate in Online Sexual Activities (OSAs), the proposed study seeks to examine the associations between Internet Sexuality and real life sexual and relational outcomes. As such, the study seeks to fill the literature gap identified by Doring, in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Internet Sex Addiction.  (2010, November 11).  Retrieved November 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/internet-sex-addiction/552

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"Internet Sex Addiction."  Essaytown.com.  November 11, 2010.  Accessed November 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/internet-sex-addiction/552.