Sex is a hot topic among teenage and adult users of the internet. A lot of internet traffic is directed towards sexually-oriented applications and online fora. The Internet is increasingly used by young people as an outlet for a lot of sexual activity because of its accessibility and affordability in most parts of Africa, making it easier for them to get into these acts. In addition, some of these platforms require only email addresses or phone numbers to register, giving each user a feeling of anonymity.
The affordability, accessibility, and anonymity afforded by the use of the internet by many young Africans may lead to cybersex addiction or compulsive cybersex behavior. There is no denial of the effect of cybersex addiction: a threat to relationships, work, and educational pursuits, but this addiction grows every day.
Why does a person get addicted to cybersex?
Well, it is difficult to say when having cybersex becomes an addiction. Engaging in this form of sex regularly doesn’t turn a person into an addict. It becomes a problem when
- It affects their sexual performance
- There is a compulsion to engage in sex even at inappropriate times and places
- A person cannot be sexually aroused except by cybersex
- A person cannot withdraw from this activity even when it affects their relationships adversely.
Signs of cybersex addiction
- loss of control,
- continuous engagement in online sexual activities despite negative consequences.
How cybersex affects a young person emotionally
- Cybersex damages normal relationships: cybersex addiction affects sexual performance and in the long run, affects the relationship too.
- Cybersex destroys normal pleasurable sexual experience with a partner
- It creates feelings of negative sexual tastes and behaviors: an addict may need higher sexual stimulation and begin to desire extreme sexual acts to get stimulated.
- Destructive sexist attitudes towards women: cybersex addicts may develop misogynistic feelings and attitudes toward women, looking upon them merely as sexual objects. Such attitudes continue to fuel the fires of gender-based violence, rape, and other atrocities against women.
- Depression and anxiety: as humans and social beings, we thrive when we are in contact with people and develop relationships. Addicts may not be able to develop and maintain a romantic relationship but prefer to seek sexual pleasure alone. Others may make no effort to be in a relationship since they can get sexual pleasure from cybersex. Due to a lack of genuine human relationships, addicts may suffer loneliness and depression.
- Erectile dysfunction: Men who view pornography may need to progressively increase sexual stimulation to feel and remain aroused. The use of pornography might change the way the brain reacts to arousal, making a man less likely to feel aroused by a real-life partner.
- Loss of memory and concentration
- Inability to enjoy normal everyday pleasures: an addiction to cybersex gives the false feeling that pleasure can only be gotten from having sex over the internet and no other place.
- Lose of friends, poor performance at work and at study
How cybersex affects a young person’s academic life
Cybersex addicts may experience decreased desire to do things like homework, increased risk-taking, and impulsive behavior, like skipping class or missing an assignment. The student would prefer to spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet.
In addition, since sexual activity is done over the internet, there is a need to have internet subscriptions to keep this habit. As a result, the addict spends an unnecessary amount of money that could have been used on projects and textbooks to buy data subscriptions.
Lastly, since the addict feels the compulsion to have cybersex, there is a general loss of concentration of his studies, even when they are in a lecture.
Cybersex is a sexual activity that can be pleasurable and fun but care must be taken so that it does not substitute regular human relationships. These regular human relationships are important for mental wellbeing.