An exploratory study about the impacts that Cybersex (the use of the Internet for sexual purposes)is having on families and the practices of marriage and family therapists

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Virginia Tech

The number of people who access the Internet has increased considerably over the past decade. The use of the Internet for sexual purposes (Cybersex) has begun to get the attention of clinicians as more and more families are affected. However, to date little research has been conducted to determine how much of a problem Cybersex is. The purpose of this study was to explore the degree to which marriage and family therapists are seeing clients who have had Cybersex related difficulties.

A questionnaire was mailed to 500 randomly selected clinical members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Thirty four percent of the sample responded. The results indicated that most of the respondents are seeing clients with Cybersex issues and the number of clients has been increasing over the past two years. The partners and children of Cybersex users were identified most often as the ones who came for therapy. Those who came with Cybersex as a secondary problem and individuals with Cybersex problems were identified less often. Although most respondents felt prepared to diagnose and treat adults with Cybersex problems, a half felt unprepared to diagnose and treat children. Most of the respondents reported that the required courses they took in College were not helpful in preparing them to diagnose and treat Cybersex related problems.

Cybersex, Internet, Addiction