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Cult Health Sex. 2008 Feb;10(2):107-25. doi: 10.1080/13691050701564678.

Exploring the internet's role in sexual compulsivity and out of control sexual thoughts/behaviour: a qualitative study of gay and bisexual men in New York City.

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  • 1Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training, New York, USA.


Sexual compulsivity and the internet have been investigated separately among gay and bisexual men for their connection to sexual risk behaviour, yet little research has addressed the intersection. This analysis explored qualitative interview data from 111 gay and bisexual men experiencing out of control sexual thoughts and/or behaviours, about the role of the internet in their lives. For some it facilitated their problematic sexual thoughts and behaviours and, to some extent, was a distraction from important facets of their lives. Equally, men identified strategies to limit their internet use and reduce these negative consequences. For some, the internet was attributed to being less discriminating about partners. In contrast, other men compared the internet to other venues for meeting sex partners (e.g. bars) and described the internet as a medium for reducing physical (cruising online versus cruising a dark alley) and sexual (multiple partners at bathhouses versus cyber-sex only) risk. Clinically, service providers should conduct more thorough assessments regarding the role of the internet in the lives of patients who experience sexual compulsivity, as many individual differences exist, and there may be positive benefits that stem from internet use.

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