The Role Of Technology In Sexual Addiction

Technology has truly changed our lives in many ways. From communications and entertainment to science, education, medicine, and more, it’s difficult to think of an area that technology hasn’t touched in some way. 

Unfortunately, not all the changes have been positive. Although technology has undoubtedly benefited us in many ways, it has also made it easier to engage in destructive and unhealthy behaviors and patterns. Specifically, technology has played a significant role in fostering and encouraging sexual addiction.  

Sexualized Technology Everywhere 

Nowadays, it is easier than ever to access pornographic materials from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The widespread availability of internet access has also removed most of the obstacles to using adult dating services. 

The use of technology for sexual activities has become so prevalent that it has given rise to ‘sexnology’, a portmanteau of ‘sex’ and ‘technology’. Together, they can be just as harmful as other addictive behaviors such as narcotics or alcohol abuse and gambling.

One of the most alarming aspects of sexnology is how it makes pornography and sexual meetups so accessible, even to minors. With a mobile phone or computer, anyone could theoretically get online and view porn or set up a ‘date’ within minutes. This easy access increases the risk of falling into addictive patterns of behavior and for recovering addicts to fall back into past harmful habits. 

Tinder is only one example of a dating app that makes it extremely easy for anyone to hook up with a willing partner. There are many other similar sites, but the most worrying ones are those referred to as ‘teledildonic’. These services essentially allow users to engage in long-distance sexual encounters anonymously and at minimal or no cost. 

The Rise of Technology-Driven Sexual Activity  

In the e-book Sex Addiction 101, author Robert Weiss reported noticing technology-driven sexual content in the early 1990s, when pornographic websites first appeared on the web. It was just before that time when online bulletin boards (BBS) first became public. 

According to Weiss, most of his clients were involved in real-world sexual activity, including soliciting prostitutes, having affairs, frequenting adult movie theaters and sex clubs, and engaging in phone sex. But with the widespread availability of computers and home internet connections, most transitioned to technology-driven sexual activities almost exclusively. 

Nowadays, the trend continues with even more extreme and readily available forms of digital pornography, along with webcam exhibitions, virtual sex games, and adult dating apps. Weiss expects to see the introduction of even more forms of sexnology in the coming years, depending on what “R&D departments (…) dream up.”

What The Future Holds For Sex And Technology 

The unfortunate reality is that as digital technology progresses, it will continue to play a significant role in worsening sexual addiction. One only has to look at how the internet has changed the nature of sex addiction to realize the risks that it brings and will continue to bring. 

Studies conducted in the 1980s showed that only 3% to 5% of adult males interviewed were addicted to sex. By the late 1990s, the figure doubled to 8.5%, despite the internet still being in its relative infancy. 

There are no figures to indicate how many people are addicted to sex at present. But anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of sex addicts is increasing among adult females as well. Furthermore, there are many indications that the percentage of sex addicts is still rising across all genders. 

Technology and Porn 

Nowadays, sexual addiction is almost always directly associated with the internet. Among people addicted to sex, nearly everyone would have engaged in sexual activity, solicited sex, or accessed pornography online. 

Unsurprisingly, accessing digital pornography is the most popular activity among those who routinely utilize sexnology. Consider that in the early 1990s, there were less than 90 adult magazines in print. In 1997, there were just a little over 900 pornographic websites online. Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million porn websites, and possibly even more. 

Regardless of how sexnology is used, it can be just as damaging as other types of addiction. Like alcohol, narcotics, and gambling addiction, it has the potential to disrupt work or school, ruin relationships, and adversely affect the lives of the people who suffer from it, including their loved ones. And as with all other addictions, therapy-based treatment is the most effective path to full sex addiction recovery.