Internet Sex Addiction: Risk Factors, Stages of Development, and Treatment (2008)

American Behavioral Scientist, September 2008 vol. 52 no. 1 21-37

doi: 10.1177/0002764208321339

Kimberly S. Young

The Center for Internet Addiction Recovery


Internet sex addiction typically involves viewing, downloading, and trading online pornography or engagement in adult fantasy role-play rooms. Adult Web sites comprise the largest segment of electronic commerce catering to a wide variety of sexual interests. Given the widespread availability of sexually explicit material online, Internet sex addiction is the most common form of problem online behavior among users. Using research and illustrative case studies, this chapter explores how sexually explicit material enters our homes, schools, and business, and examines the risk factors that lead to addiction. As new users are more at risk to become hooked on online porn or adult sex chat rooms, this chapter presents a model that shows the progressive stages of development underlying Internet sex addiction and how the Internet enables sexually explicit behavior to develop. Finally, this chapter reviews current treatment practices associated with the disorder and the implications of new mobile technologies.