COMMENTS: This new German study on female porn users shows that they are “learning” the same cue reactivity and cravings in developing addictions as are male users. (Addiction is pathological learning.)
Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2014 Aug;17(8):505-11. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2013.0396.
In the context of Internet addiction, cybersex is considered to be an Internet application in which users are at risk for developing addictive usage behavior. Regarding males, experimental research has shown that indicators of sexual arousal and craving in response to Internet pornographic cues are related to severity of cybersex addiction in Internet pornography users (IPU). Since comparable investigations on females do not exist, the aim of this study is to investigate predictors of cybersex addiction in heterosexual women.
We examined 51 female IPU and 51 female non-Internet pornography users (NIPU). Using questionnaires, we assessed the severity of cybersex addiction in general, as well as propensity for sexual excitation, general problematic sexual behavior, and severity of psychological symptoms. Additionally, an experimental paradigm, including a subjective arousal rating of 100 pornographic pictures, as well as indicators of craving, was conducted.
Results indicated that IPU rated pornographic pictures as more arousing and reported greater craving due to pornographic picture presentation compared with NIPU. Moreover, craving, sexual arousal rating of pictures, sensitivity to sexual excitation, problematic sexual behavior, and severity of psychological symptoms predicted tendencies toward cybersex addiction in IPU. Being in a relationship, number of sexual contacts, satisfaction with sexual contacts, and use of interactive cybersex were not associated with cybersex addiction. These results are in line with those reported for heterosexual males in previous studies.
Findings regarding the reinforcing nature of sexual arousal, the mechanisms of learning, and the role of cue reactivity and craving in the development of cybersex addiction in IPU need to be discussed.