the offender had often been abused himself as a child before he got
access to pornography, so we don't know for sure what the primary
causes are. Keep in mind, too, that many writers of the material cited
in this section are therapists or evaluators working with addicts who
have gotten into deep psychological, interpersonal or legal trouble
because of sexual addiction. These writers have found and report that
people who cheat on their spouses, who abuse children, who rape do
not restrain themselves from looking at pornography. No surprise
there. What we don't know for sure, yet, is if there are avid viewers of
pornography who never mistreat or abuse anyone...and who have
good healthy sex lives and loving relationships. If such people exist,
we don't have professional experts writing about that group yet.
A psychiatrist, Dr. Kimberly Young (1998; 2001), has done a three
year study of Internet addiction, written two or more books, and
books and services but there is a test for Internet addiction there.
Her focus in her first book is on who gets hooked, why and how, and
what can be done about various kinds of addiction. She, like other
investigators, believes that persons with psychiatric histories seek out
newsgroups, forums, chat rooms, or interactive games hoping for
relief, but the old emotional problems lead to Internet addiction. Her
more recent book is about cybersex and provides more specific steps
to extricate oneself from porn and affairs. Another book (Gwinnell,
1999) focuses more specifically on the seductive falling-in-love
experience of some Net addicts. Both of the above authors and Dr.
addiction.com/) recommend keeping careful records of your time
online, setting time limits for the pornography or in chat groups,
cutting back on email lists, rewarding keeping to the schedule, and so
on. Success is reported in 6 to 8 therapy sessions, but some ex-
addicts state that total abstinence from their online temptations were
necessary for them; otherwise, like the ex-smoker, one brief
experience hooks them again. As one relapsing addict commented,
...I thought I had broken the compulsive habit, but once I returned to
my favorite sites, I immediately experienced the same buzz and
high that had lead me into difficulty... Some people will just have to
stay completely away from parts of the Internet.
I would caution you, however, that even some of the writers in this
area, including Young (1998), seem to feel negative about online
relationships, implying that trustworthy, intimate, devoted friends
must be face to face (what about letter writers and phone callers?).
Youngs book. To the contrary, one reason why people are attracted to
the Internet is so they can get and give support, empathy, and advice.
Sometimes it is easier to open up, perhaps anonymously, on the
Internet than in person. It is true that one has to guard against getting
excessively hooked, just as we need to keep under control watching
TV, talking on the phone, listening to music, socializing instead of
working/studying, etc. MentalHelp.net lists several web sites about this