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Is sex addiction a demon in the making, fueled by technological advancements? Our article will try to sketch a contemporary history of the concept, while also pitching the hidden potential of new technologies to address this often overlooked social issue. With this series of incredible advancements in technology, the line between fantasy and reality has become somewhat blurred. And in this humongous sea of foggy visions, two broader spectrums – “sex” and “technology” – have merged and effectively formed a new paradigm: “sexnology”. The idea of experiencing sex in virtual form has been present in since quite a long time – be it in books, comics or television. Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973) exhibits one such futuristic invention with the “Orgasmatron”, a device meant to induce sexual satisfaction by altering brain signals through electromagnetic waves. While electrodes could achieve the same feat in real life, it would be through a complex and invasive surgical procedure. Keeping fantasies aside, we will focus on one of the prevailing problems often falling under the radar: sex addiction and its relationship with new technology. Robert Weiss, Senior VP of Clinical development and certified sex addiction therapist, once stated that ever-evolving technology begets ever-increasing access to sexual content on the web. People addicted to porn have unfettered access to it, while people addicted to sex can reach potential partners in just a few clicks. When you think about smartphones – which have made this process even easier, one might joke that every road leads to sex. However, no matter how great technology may be, pondering on what it has done to people who developed sexual addiction, one might be inclined to feel it plays the role of the villain. As another research showed, before the 1990s, sexually addicted people mostly let off steam by getting busy in real life. Adult movies, yes, but also prostitutes, and serial affairs. The research’s findings showed that, gradually, the tech had become a substitute outlet for sexually-addicted individuals. The trend’s evolution continues unabated: today’s sex addicts are just hooked to lewd videogames, digital pornography, and cyber-sex, instead. Other studies elaborate on this by suggesting that not only did the mode of addiction change; the sheer numbers increased exponentially as well. In the 1980s, roughly 3% of the adult male population was addicted to sex. By 1999, it became 8%. The exact percentage in the present day is difficult to deduce, but the growth of the addictions is an undeniable trend. It should, in other words, substantiate the claim that technology advancements are likely accelerators for sexual addiction. In another measurement, there were just 25 clinics for sexual addiction therapy in 2000. Today the situation is different. There are more than 2000 clinics for the purpose of curing sexual addiction. Either society has started identifying and addressing the problem, or the number of addicts has grown exponentially. The tip of the scale weighs on either side. It is paramount to note that although sexnology drives and eventually facilitates sexual addiction, it does not create sexual addiction per se. Many healthy people are using porn, hook-up apps in a life-affirming way. But individuals predisposed to addiction might struggle with addiction to sexnology, just like with drugs or gambling. The simple fact is: sexnology is neither inherently good or bad. If anything, it’s just evolution in action, pretty much like any other technological advancement. Those who learn to use this effectively will flourish, and others who struggle might have a difficult time coupling up. At this point, we could safely conclude that sexnology creates no new sex additions. Sexnology is merely a tool to speed up certain processes: being a tool, with a minimum of creativity we might as well hypothesize solutions to overcome sex addiction using sexnology itself. Pornhub is one of the most widely used porn sites in the world. And Pornhub’s perk is that it tracks everything. It tracks how much a user spends on the website each day along with the type of porn, the amount of consumption in a number of hours and location of the individual. An average person who is spending significant time over a threshold amount watching porn, over a threshold number of days, could reasonably be assumed as an addict to porn. With the right incentives, the individual could be identified, contacted and offered professional help. As radical as this sounds, desperate times call for desperate measures. With the rate at which sex addiction is growing, by 2025, every household in the United States will have one porn addict. What we know for sure is that curbing this rise might involve strategies relying on the effective usage of big data. At a bare minimum, the idea appears quite feasible. Will sexnology save us from sexnology, then? References: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindful-sex/200808/internet-sex-addiction-case-studies-and-treatment Damania D. Internet pornography statistics. Retrieved May 28, 2014. http://thedinfographics.com/2011/12/23/internet-pornography-statistics/Liew J. All men watch porn, scientists find. Retrieved Sept. 25, 2014, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/6709646/All-men-watch-porn-scientists-find.html. Ropelato J. Internet pornography statistics. Retrieved Jan. 16, 2015 from www.ministryoftruth.me.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2014/03/IFR2013.pdf. https://www.pornhub.com/insights/2018-year-in-review



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