Cybersex addiction is the compulsive use of internet pornography, sexually-oriented chat rooms, sexual- fantasy role-play sites, use of social media, smart phones and other handheld devices for sexual pleasure which in turn, negatively impact an individual’s functioning. As much as we would like to conclude that these issues only impact adults in our society, we must begin to accept the fact that children and teens develop cybersex addition as well—and more often than many realize. Unfortunately most don’t seek help until later in life after the addiction has resulted in significant disruption to their lives.
Experts are predicting that cybersex addiction is the next tsunami of mental health, and yes, this includes among teens. The impact is far-reaching and its effects are yet to be fully realized as cyber-sexual activities is such a new issue and we have yet to see the outcomes on the current generation.
Consider just a few of the statistics regarding teens and porn:
Internet porn and cyber-sexual activities supplies an immediate, private, and easily accessed “hit,” thus changing the erotic template of the brain. Its use has a drug-like effect on the body and mind. It stimulates reward and pleasure centers of the brain instantly and dramatically, increasing the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with both sexual arousal and drug highs. Pornography and cybersex can also lead to “process addiction” in which the person becomes addicted to a set of behaviors that in turn powerfully alter brain chemistry. In time, the user can’t control his or her use, is aroused only by images and interactions on the screen, and natural sexual responsiveness is reduced. Cyber-sexual addiction has the potential of harming the emotional, psychological neurological sexual, and relational well-being of an entire generation of youth.
Additionally, chronic exposure to cyber-sexual activities has led many teens to believe that being sexually active is normal. It is now common for oral sex to be seen as the new kissing and for girls to send nude/partially nude photos of themselves via smart phones to boys as a way to communicate their interest.