Sex and the Internet

Last fall, Adweek magazine (Adweek IQ, October 30) reported that the “one segment of online entertainment that has flourished where others have failed” was pornography. Now a new survey has shed some light on this finding–namely that people who use the Web–surprise!–like the combination of sex and the Internet.

In fact, according to the survey, which was conducted by Redmond, Wash.-based, while only one in ten users admitted to an “addiction” to sexually oriented sites, a “substantial” amount of people who go online for sexual activities are doing so mostly as a means of distraction, education and fantasy.

Seventy-one percent of the respondents in the June 2000 survey maintained they were not addicted to sex or the Internet (or, presumably, sex on the Internet). Half of the respondents said they were using Web sexual activities as a means of getting away from their daily routines. More studious users (13 percent) said they were looking for information on new sexual positions and transmittable diseases. Eleven percent maintained they liked acting out fantasies in chat rooms.

And the addicts? The study found that 9.9 percent of men participating in the survey reported an addiction to sex and the Internet, compared to only six percent of the women. And about 25 percent of all respondents admitted that at least once, their online sexual activities had felt “out of control.”

–Sixty-three percent of the respondents in the poll said that online sexual activity did not have a positive effect on their offline relationships. Nineteen percent said that it had a positive effect on at least one relationship, and 17 percent said it had a generally positive effect.

–Men liked to answer the sex poll questions far more than women did. Eighty-two percent of the people who completed the survey were men; only 18 percent were women. The average age of men taking the survey was 36; women: 32.

–Men proved more cyber-honorable in the survey than women: two-thirds of the men said online sex violates a person’s marital vows. Fewer than half of the women surveyed felt that marriage vows were compromised during online sexual activity.

Source: describes its poll of more than 38,000 respondents as “self-selected and unscientific,” but also noted that it’s believed to be the largest Web survey yet of online sexuality.