Home page Psychology blog Bad Habits Non-Chemical Addictions Cybersex addiction: answering important questions without reservation

Cybersex addiction: answering important questions without reservation

24.10.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

“It’s embarrassing to talk about this, but I need advice.  The truth is, my husband is very into pornography. In the past he used to watch only occasionally, and I was more or less okay with it. But now it’s affecting our sex life. I suspect that he watches porn and masturbates 3-4 times a week – I know how he looks like and behaves after getting an orgasm. And that’s when we haven’t had sex in three months. It would have been understandable if I let myself go or was stiff as a board in bed, but I’m not. I have a nice figure, and I love sex. But he prefers virtual women for some reason.”

— Elena, 25

One of the possible reasons for this behaviour is cybersex addiction. This type of addiction is less often spoken about than the gaming addiction, for example, but it can significantly damage people’s lives. As a result bachelors experience more difficulties socializing with people in real life, and married people distance themselves from their partners, turning their relationship in that of roommates.  How does this addiction develops? How can we recognize it? What consequences can it have and, most importantly, how do we get rid of it? Let’s answer the most common questions.


  1. “What exactly is cybersex addiction?”
  2. “Why do people become addicted to cyber sex? What draws them in?”
  3. “What are the indicators that suggest a person has already become addicted?”
  4. “Who is more susceptible to cybersex addiction?  Are there risk groups?”
  5. “How should cybersex and watching pornography be handled in general? Is it cheating or not?”
  6. “Is there any real harm in this addiction? It’s just masturbating in front of the screen – it should be fine as long as no one gets hurt, shouldn’t it?”
  7. “What do I do if I find the signs of cybersex addiction?”
  8. “Can I handle the addiction to cybersex by myself?”

“What exactly is cybersex addiction?”

signs of cybersex addiction

Cybersex addiction is a form of Internet and sexual addiction. Before, in the era of VCRs and disc phones, people would buy tapes under the table or use Phone Sex service. Now they’re browsing the internet for porn movies and hanging out in online chats.

If we use a scientific definition, it is a compulsive urge to visit porn sites or have cybersex.  In other words, it is masturbation in front of a computer or smartphone screen with arousing stimulus being either erotic images and/or Internet communication about sex. Basically, it is a habit of getting sexual fulfilment through the means that are available on the Internet. They can be roughly divided into 3 large groups.

Ways to obtain sexual satisfaction
PornographyRegular viewing of photos or videos with pornographic content, spending money to access paysites, collecting pornographic movies or photos. Read more about this in a separate article.
Sex chats and dating sitesMain purposes are intimate correspondence and virtual sex. Visitors don’t look for arranging a meeting in real life, probably even avoiding it. May include the exchange of intimate photos or sending photos of own genitalia to random people.
Webcam modeling.Visitor pays money to have their video chatmates undress, say certain things, masturbate in front of a camera or watch other people masturbate, perform various intimate tasks.

Most people use the web for sexual gratification and do not become dependent. [1] Such behaviour can be a manifestation of curiosity, a desire to unwind, learn something new, or diversify their sexual experience. Sometimes it can even be beneficial. For example, video chats or virtual sex with your partner, who is on a long business trip, will help maintain a healthy love life.

At what point and why does ordinary recreation activity turn into pathological craving? Let’s consider main causes and signs of addiction to virtual sex.

We will correct the behavior of nymphomania

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“Why do people become addicted to cyber sex? What draws them in?”

why people become addicted to cybersex

As with other addictions, the main rationale behind it is an attempt to escape from real life into something simpler, clearer and more accessible. So what drives people to cybersex?

  1. Problems in their love life. It is difficult or impossible to make new acquaintances or build a relationship with the person of the opposite sex because of self-consciousness, insecurity and so on.
  2. Problems in their sex life. When a person easily strikes up new acquaintances, but has difficulties with sex. For example, problems with sexual vigour, a negative attitude towards their own body, feeling self-conscious because of lack of experience, uncertainty about the size of various body parts.
  3. Lack of time and energy to build relationships in real life. A person may already be in a relationship, but they know that interaction with a partner will require some effort, for example, they will need to take care not only of their own pleasure, but also of their partner’s.
  4. Stress or fatigue. In this case masturbation can be perceived as a way to escape from everyday life for a little while, relieve tension and relax. Of course, masturbation on its own is not harmful, but if it gradually replaces sex and is combined with Internet stimuli, it can lead to the development of a consistent habit and pathological pattern of behaviour.

“What are the indicators that suggest a person has already become addicted?”

what to do with cybersex addiction

Cybersex addiction is marked by the same signs as other types of addiction: [2]

  1. A person is unable to resist the draw to the subject of addiction.
  2. A person is stressed and frustrated without the subject of addiction.
  3. While interacting with the subject of addiction a person feels relief and pleasure.
  4. After receiving satisfaction, a person may feel guilty or ashamed.
  5. A person is willing to spend a lot of time and effort to get the subject of addiction.
  6. Interaction with the subject of addiction takes more time than originally planned..
  7. A person may abandon social life, work, and other hobbies to satisfy his or her craving.
  8. A person feels dissatisfied and irritated when he or she does not get what he or she wants.
  9. A person does not change his or her behaviour, even if the destructive consequences of a bad habit become evident.
  10. A person starts avoiding sex in the real life because it brings less satisfaction than cybersex (a specific sign for cybersex addiction). [3]

Some signs can only occur occasionally, such as shame or refusal to work. In general, these signs are a reason to start paying attention to the problem.

“Who is more susceptible to cybersex addiction? Are there risk groups?”

This type of addiction can be experienced by many different people: men and women, adolescents and adults, single and ones with a family. However, men are more likely to use the Internet to satisfy their sexual needs than women. [1]

“How should cybersex and watching pornography be handled in general? Is it cheating or not?”

“Hear me out and decide for yourself who is right and who isn’t. Here’s the thing. I know my husband sometimes masturbates in the shower, if he’s tired and wants to have sex, but doesn’t want to go through the effort in bed.  I’m okay with this kind of stuff, because he is not the only one to do it from time to time. And then he found the movie on my computer. Erotica.  I wasn’t hiding it, it’s not a big deal, right? But he started grousing that it’s the same as if I was cheating on him. So, to recap, when he looks at other women, it’s okay, and when I look at men, it’s cheating. We’re still fighting about it. Do you believe that watching porn is cheating or not?”

— Arina, 32

There can be no unequivocal answer, because different people perceive the concept of cheating differently. It can depend on the cultural peculiarities as well as on personal worldview. For example, for some people even thinking about another person would mean a breach of trust. And for others, flirting and hugging is a matter. Moreover there are types of marriage when sex with multiple partners is not considered cheating: polygyny and polyandry. So the question of whether cybersex or watching porn is considered cheating must be decided by each couple separately. It is best if the husband and wife have the same opinion on this issue, otherwise they may experience conflicts and misunderstandings.

“Is there any real harm in this addiction? It’s just masturbating in front of the screen – it should be fine as long as no one gets hurt, shouldn’t it?”

Of course, there’s no harm or it’s minimal, if we’re talking about cybersex as a recreational activity, one of many. But if a person is already addicted, it can have a negative impact on all areas of his life.

  1. Decrease in quantity and quality of social contacts. This can be particularly evident in people who already have problems with socializing in reality. If the communication skill is underdeveloped, the lack of practice may further diminish it. As a result, a person could simply forget how to communicate with actual people.  And he won’t even feel the loss. After all, it’s so much easier and safer to do it through the Internet.
  2. Worsening of family relationships. There can be many reasons, such as jealousy, lack of attention paid to the partner, lack of romance in the relationship and so on. Like any other addiction, cybersex will demand all of the attention an addict can spare, leaving nothing for family. As a result, husband and wife may distance themselves from each other or even divorce. [4]
  3. Decrease in the quality of sexual life. Addiction to sex and video chats can affect the quality and quantity of sex in a relationship. It becomes easier for a person to have cybersex than to think about how to talk and negotiate with a partner in reality. More than half of the people who use the internet for sex indicated that this does not have a positive impact on their relationships. [1]
  4. Misconceptions about sex. More often than not sex in porn looks different than it does in reality. Actresses and actors often do things that don’t enjoy because they are paid for it. Webcam models also could agree to things they don’t like because the client asks them to. As a result, a person may develop misguided expectations towards their partner. For example, a husband will expect his wife to love anal sex (actresses in pornography certainly love it), and will accuse her of being frigid if she refuses.
  5. Problems with being attracted to real people. The tendency to get aroused by certain virtual stimuli can transfer into real life. Often people look on the Internet for something they would never do in real life – as 21.1% of 7,000 participants in one major study admitted. [1] For example, it can be the arousal from spying on someone changing their clothes. And this means that sex with ordinary people may seem bland and boring to them, because it’s not always safe or even possible to translate virtual stimuli into real world.

“What do I do if I find the signs of cybersex addiction?”

cybersex addiction and its manifestations

Since cybersex addiction has all the indicators of a common addiction, the ways to fight against it are the same too. Medical treatment is possible in particularly difficult cases. [5] But usually behavioural therapy is enough to get rid of a bad habit and replace it with something more useful.

Note that it’s not enough just to drop the habit. If addiction is rooted in some serious underlying problems, even with the craving gone those problems will not disappear. For example, a person has become accustomed to relieving stress through cyber sex. He understands that this habit is a hindrance to his life, because he is also tempted to relieve stress in this way at work, for example, which is not always appropriate or possible. He could make an arbitrary decision to simply stop masturbating – but the need to relieve stress will remain. Therefore, it is important not to simply break old habits, but to form new, useful and adaptive ones in their stead.

That’s why 7Spsy behaviour modification technique  not only quickly and painlessly breaks the addiction, but also helps you develop new habits. After 2-6 weeks you’ll notice how your craving for cybersex or pornography has decreased and stopped controlling you. You will have more control over your pursuits and start getting more pleasure from real sex. And new habits will help you better cope with the challenges in your life.

We will correct the behavior of nymphomania

Make for consultation WATCH VIDEO

The sessions are remote and completely confidential: you will not have to personally discuss topics that are considered uncomfortable by many people. You choose when and where to conduct these sessions, and our psychologists will be ready to support you by phone, online chat or e-mail.

“Can I handle the addiction to cybersex by myself?”

This option is possible, especially if you already have experience fighting other addictions. But if you feel you’re not doing well, feel free to seek the help of professionals – it’s their purpose. But if discussing the the topic is still difficult to you and it prevents you from solving the problem, you can always choose a remote expert with whom you will not have to talk face to face.


  1. Issledovanie 7 tysyach chelovek, zanimayushchihsya seksualnoj aktivnostyu v internete (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00926230252851861).
  2. Priznaki zavisimosti (http://www.jenniferschneider.com/articles/diagnos.html).
  3. Zavisimost ot pornografii (https://www.webmd.com/sex/porn-addiction-possible).
  4. Zavisimost ot pornografii mozhet usilivat chuvstvo socialnoj izolyacii i privodit k razryvu otnoshenij (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27114191).
  5. Medikamentoznoe lechenie kiberseksualnoj zavisimosti (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18241634).