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Sex & Technology

Recovery from Cybersex Addiction: Part Three – Tips on Using Cybersex Boundary Plans


As discussed in my previous posting to this site and in my recently published book, Always Turned On: Sex Addiction in the Digital Age, coauthored with Dr. Jennifer Schneider, the definition of cybersex sobriety and the content of cybersex boundary plans both vary according to the needs and life circumstances of the addict in question. That said, whatever the definition of sobriety and whatever the boundaries in a particular addict’s plan, the purpose is to hold the addict accountable to his or her commitments – particularly when faced with challenging life circumstances, emotional pain and other powerful triggers.

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Addictions

Recovery from Cybersex Addiction: Part One – Initial Action Steps

For the last five years (at least), Jerry, a handsome 36-year-old office manager, has put the search for sex ahead of all else – even though he’s not having any in-person sexual encounters. Instead, he looks at and masturbates to hardcore pornography for several hours each weeknight and all day on the weekends, and occasionally he engages in mutual masturbation with strangers via webcam. Until a few years ago he tried to also date in real life, usually going out with nice women who were interested in a long-term relationship. He says that he really liked one of them, but that he was never really present with her and she eventually broke things off. He admits that on their dates he was usually more focused on going home and going online than on her. As it turns out, she broke up with him because she thought he was cheating on her (and in a way he was). That was three years ago, and Jerry has not been on a date since. He has tried several times to quit using porn, and sometimes he manages to do so for a day or two. But before long he feels depressed and lonely and he goes back online as a way to escape the pain. Recently, he’s started using his office computer to access porn during work hours – a situation that he knows will not end well. And yet he continues.

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Sex & Technology

Does Your Client Have a Cybersex Problem?

Levels of Cybersex Use

In today’s digitally driven world it can be difficult to distinguish between those whose involvement with online sexual behavior is recreational, those whose involvement is “at-risk,” and those who are cybersex addicted (those whose lives and functionality are negatively affected by repetitive online sexual activity). This is compounded by the fact that most of the people who are struggling with cybersexual activity who enter psychotherapy choose to talk about their symptoms (depression, anxiety, issues with sleep, inability to form lasting relationships, and the like) rather than their problematic patterns of cybersexual activity. Making matters worse, current therapeutic evaluation tools (standard bio-psycho-social assessments) typically do not ask clients much about their sexual lives or sexual histories, meaning these issues can easily go undiscovered and unaddressed (to the client’s detriment). This non-discovery is aided and abetted by the very nature of the Internet, which, in addition to being highly affordable and continually accessible, allows for relatively anonymous use, making it easy for cybersex abusers to keep their behaviors private and to psychologically compartmentalize what they are doing.

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Sex & Technology

Can Protective Software Help Addicts Maintain Sobriety?

Battling Tech with Tech

It’s no secret that access to 24/7 digital technology can facilitate addiction. The Internet and related technologies have greatly increased the average person’s ability to affordably and anonymously access an almost endless array of addictive substances (illicit drugs, prescription medications, and the like) and activities (spending, gambling, video gaming, pornography, non-intimate sexual encounters, and the like). The simple truth is that if you know where to look,
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Sex & Technology

A Sexicon? What Therapists Need to Know About the Evolving Language of Dating and Mating

Speaking Your Client’s Language

As a therapist specializing in the treatment of sexual disorders, I find that it’s important to keep abreast of new sexnologies and the ever-expanding digital sex lexicon. (In fact, let’s call it a sexicon.) Simply put, if I am to be effective as a therapist it is an absolute necessity that I fully understand what my clients are telling me. I need to “get it” when one of my clients looks at me and says: “Well, I was doing the J-Date thing and my wife didn’t know because I kept it totally virtual with sexts and iCU2. But then I scoped the Ashley Madison app and suddenly it was IRL all over the place. Now I’m a walking STD and I’ve got this cyberstalker chopping bunnies in my kitchen. Seriously, she’s posting and tweeting my sexts all over town and I am not ROTFL because my wife is catching on. She even wants to put a Net Nanny on my Droid.”
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Sex & Technology

Kids and Tech: Understanding the Risks

It’s a Big, Bad, Digital Universe...

In today’s digital world, one of the greatest concerns for most parents is their children’s online safety - and, by extension, their children’s real-world safety. These fears are sometimes overblown, though they are hardly ungrounded. Let’s face it, with the increasing sophistication of search engines and GPS apps it’s becoming more difficult by the day to maintain one’s personal privacy, especially for kids, who often don’t understand the need to withhold information. Children who share personal data via texts, emails, or in chats - even by simply naming their school, giving their full name, or mentioning a parent’s employer - can unwittingly and unknowingly create real-life risks.
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Sex & Technology

Our Transitional Relationship with Reality: Is It Live or Is It…?

Fantasy vs. Reality

On January 21, at Barack Obama's second presidential inauguration, millions watched as pop music star Beyoncé belted out our national anthem, accompanied by a live orchestra. But what we saw and what we heard were not the same thing. As it turns out, the pop star's voice and the orchestra were mostly muted, with a studio version of the anthem pumped out to cover any potential imperfections in the live performance. A few days later, at a press conference for the Super Bowl - at which Beyoncé was the halftime entertainment - she said, when asked about her "performance" at the inauguration, that she is a perfectionist and she wanted to sound her best, especially at an event as important as that one. She'd not had time to fully rehearse with the orchestra, she'd not had time for a proper sound check, and the weather (30 degrees) was not great for her voice. Thus, she opted to "sing along" with her prerecorded track.
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