Conference Paper

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ADULT AND ADOLESCENT CYBERSEX CONSUMPTION: MOTIVATIONS AND CONTENTS

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Abstract

In most cases cybersex consumption is related both in adults and adolescents to positive outcomes such as satisfaction of sexual needs (through the masturbation), the possibility of meet people with similar sexual interest in a secure environment (in particular among stigmatized groups), or “learn” sexual skills by the viewing of pornography. However, cybersex can become excessive and led to social and personal problems. This negative end of the continuum between healthy and pathological cybersex use is known as cybersex addiction. In adults, recent studies have found that specific motives (in particular, mood regulation and anonymous fantasizing) and some types of sexual contents (especially those with a paraphilic nature) are strongly associated with the development of cybersex addiction. In adolescents, there is little information on the role of specific motives and contents in the development of cybersex addiction, but some preliminary results suggest the importance of these factors in the development of this pathology. In order to improve our understanding of the underlying mechanism that explains the continuum between healthy and pathological cybersex use, we have done an exhaustive revision of the link between cybersex use motives, type of sexual contents searched online, and the risk of development a cybersex addiction. In this sense, those adolescents who use the internet to improve their knowledge about sex and to get sexual education usually had a less risky profile than those adolescents who use the Internet to obtain sexual gratification (viewing or downloading sexual material and sexual chatting) or to get distracted from negative emotional states. Similarly, those adolescents who prefer less explicit sexual contents (e.g., erotic pics instead of pornographic videos or photos) had a less risky profile than those who search more explicit sexual contents. These results should be considered in the design of effective prevention and support strategies.

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