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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Cybersex is increasingly associated with concerns about compulsive use. The aim of this study was to assess the roles of motives and sexual desire in the compulsive use of cybersex. The sample consisted of cybersex users men and women. For both genders, coping motive was associated with CIUS score. For women, an additional association with social motives was found whereas an association with sexual desire was found for men. The study showed gender differences in the contributors to sex-related CIUS scores.
In addition to virtual encounters, cybersex can facilitate meeting real romantic and sexual partners. Compulsive cybersex use seems to affect a small proportion of cybersex consumers Dufour et al. In several studies involving males and females, compulsive cybersex users, compared to controls, showed greater arousal and cue reactivity from watching porn Brand et al.
However, despite the importance of the topic, it has been little studied Brand et al. In particular, little is known about the possible psychological determinants of compulsive cybersex use Franc et al. Motives, especially those related to coping i.
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Enhancement and social motives Franc et al. Sexual desire is a driving component of sexual fantasy life and activity Levine, ; Pfaus, Moderate associations have been found between sexual desire and cybersex enhancement motives Commission of the European Communities, ; Franc et al. A recent study found weaker correlations between cybersex coping motives and sexual desire, and no association between solitary sexual desire and cybersex social motives Franc et al.
The aim of this study was therefore to assess the influence of cybersex-related motives and sexual desire on compulsive cybersex use in men and women. The study was conducted online by posting on sexually related sites and forums with the agreement of the webmasters. It was aimed at anyone aged 18 years or over participating in online sexual activity. No payment was made for participation in the study. Following the recruitment procedure, people clicked on the link and agreed to participate in the study.
The completion rate progressively decreased, and of the subjects who began the questionnaire continued past the demographic data section. After missing values were removed, the final sample consisted of subjects, i. The age range was 18—69 years, average The average age of males was It consists of 14 items with a 5-point Likert scale from 0 never to 56 very often. The CIUS has constantly been found to have a unified structure in various studies and samples Khazaal et al.
As reported in other studies assessing Internet-related addictive behaviors Khazaal et al. The CIUS and other instruments deed to assess Internet addiction have been successfully adapted to study gaming and gambling Khazaal et al. The CIUS items target the typical symptoms of compulsive Internet use mentioned in the literature, such as loss of control, preoccupation, withdrawal symptoms, coping, and mood changes. The CMQ identifies the motives associated with the use of sexual sites Franc et al.
It comprises 14 items rated on a 5-point Likert scale from never to always or almost alwaysstructured around three factors: Enhancement, Social, and Coping. The enhancement motive corresponds to the excitement and enjoyment of sexual activity online i. The third motive refers to coping strategies that reflect the use of cybersex as a way of escaping from reality and disengaging from real-life concerns i. The CMQ has satisfactory psychometric qualities.
The SDI-2 is used to assess sexual desire, defined as interest in sexual behavior Spector et al.
It is one of the most frequently used instruments for the assessment of sexual desire Mark et al. It consists of 14 items measuring the intensity and importance of desire on a 9-point Likert scale ranging from no desire to strong desire or from not at all important to extremely important.
Items measuring the frequency of sexual activities are rated on an 8-point Likert scale ranging from never to more than once a day. The items can be summed to produce an overall score or to produce scores for its two component dimensions: a dyadic sexual desire desire to engage in sexual activity with a partner and b solitary sexual desire desire to engage in solo sexual activity. Dyadic sexual desire corresponds to Items 1—9, with a total score ranging from 0 to 62, and solitary sexual desire to the sum of Items 10—13, with a total score ranging from 0 to Item 14 assesses to what extent participants can do without sexual activity and does not belong to either the solitary or the dyadic desire dimension.
Solitary desire concerns the rate of solitary sexual behavior and dyadic desire concerns the frequency of sexual behaviors with a companion Spector et al. The SDI-2 has good psychometric qualities with good internal consistency of the two factors. Where data were missing, scores were replaced by the average of the scores obtained by the individual for the items of the subscale, or for the total score if the questionnaire had no subscale person-mean imputation. Structural equation modeling SEM was performed using the maximum likelihood estimation.
Fits were considered to be good if the values of the comparative fit index CFI were close to. The study was carried out in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. The ethical committee of the Geneva University Hospitals approved the study protocol. Participants were given a full description of the study aims and methods online. They were then asked to give their informed consent online, which allowed them to answer the questionnaires anonymously via SurveyMonkey.
Descriptive are presented in Table 1. All distributions can be considered normal.
Table 2 shows the differences in means by gender. Men scored higher than women for cybersex enhancement motives, and also for dyadic and solitary sexual desire with large effect sizes.
When single participants were compared with those living with a partner, there was a ificant difference for dyadic sexual desire The comparison by sexual orientation did not reveal any ificant differences, although there was a tendency for bisexual participants to report more sexual desire and to have higher CIUS scores.
Because we found no difference in CIUS scores between men and women, we explored how they were distributed according to the intensity of cybersex use low, moderate, and high.
The ranking of all participants in the three groups by tertiles showed that women were mostly in the low and the high compulsive use groups, whereas men were mainly in the moderate-use group Table 3. Characteristics of the three groups of cybersex users with low, moderate, and high CIUS scores. The highlight ificant and positive correlations with all of the subscales. Table 5 presents the correlations by gender.
Notably, no statistically ificant correlations were found between the CIUS score and the sexual desire subscales. The lower part of the diagonal refers to correlations for men and the upper part for women. The CFI value for men was low 0. Relationships between the compulsive use of cybersex Compulsive Internet Use Scale scorecybersex motives Cybersex Motives Questionnaire subscalesand sexual desire Sexual Desire Inventory-2 subscales for the whole sample men and women.
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For readability, only latent variables are presented. Relationships between compulsive use of cybersex Compulsive Internet Use Scale scorecybersex motives Cybersex Motives Questionnaire subscalesand sexual desire Sexual Desire Inventory-2 subscales for men.
Relationships between compulsive use of cybersex Compulsive Internet Use Scale scorecybersex motives Cybersex Motives Questionnaire subscalesand sexual desire Sexual Desire Inventory-2 subscales for women. The of the study did not reveal ificant differences between men and women in the CIUS scores, but they did show that the women participants were mostly in either the low-use or the high-use group. The lack of gender difference is not consistent with work e.
The presence of subgroups of women in the high-risk group is, however, consistent with other studies on behavioral addictions Khazaal et al. Because we recruited participants through sex-related websites and forums, the study was possibly subject to a self-selection bias Khazaal et al. Overinclusion of people with a high level of cybersex use cannot be excluded.
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Epidemiological conclusions thus cannot be drawn from the study. Nevertheless, the highlight an association between a of variables and the CIUS scores of men and women in this sample. The suggest the role of CMQ coping, in both genders, and to some extent social motives, especially for women, in compulsive cybersex. Coping motives refer to escape strategies that the individual sets up in the face of aversive situations e.
The study suggest that such motives are associated with compulsive cybersex in both men and women.
At a clinical level, these suggest the importance of interventions that focus on emotional regulation to help people with compulsive cybersex. Further studies may benefit from including coping skills and cognitive expectancies as possible mediators between the compulsive use of cybersex and coping motives Brand et al.
More specifically, social motives were more strongly associated with CIUS scores for women than for men. This is consistent with other studies showing the higher involvement of women in social networks Dufour et al. In addition, sexual desire was not found to be associated with CIUS scores in women, whereas an association, albeit small, was found for men. Although the strongest association between the CIUS score and the other variables was most importantly shown in both genders for the CMQ coping motives, a smaller association was observed for sexual desire among men and for social motives among women.
In addition to such gender differences, our suggest that sexual desire plays only a small role in menor even no role in women in compulsive cybersex use.
This suggests that cybersex addiction is not driven by sex or only to a small extent in men. This finding is consistent with other studies showing that liking sexually explicit videos Voon et al. At first glance, the small role of sexual desire and enhancement motives in compulsive cybersex seems counterintuitive.