Second, participants who had low scores of sex addiction had lower social anxiety scores than the participants with high scores of sexual addiction. There was no difference in sensation-seeking scores between participants with low and high scores of sexual addiction. The results of this study indicate that social anxiety rather than sensation seeking or gender is a major factor affecting the use of Internet-dating applications for obtaining sexual partners.
Sex addiction or hypersexual disorder is characterized by a compulsive need for instant gratification of sexual urges Carnes, Several diagnostic criteria have been proposed for sexual addiction but have not been validated scientifically. Empirical research on hypersexual behavior has increased in recent years and this has led to considerable interest in classifying it as a behavioral addiction Karila et al.
Sexual addiction encompasses a range of activities including excessive masturbation, online pornography, use of the Internet for cybersex resulting in widespread negative health, and psychological and economic consequences Karila et al. Although there is growing interest in sexual addiction in research and clinical practice, it is not recognized as a psychiatric disorder by the fifth edition of DSM DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, There are few epidemiological studies and several proposals for diagnostic criteria and it is therefore difficult to estimate the prevalence of this phenomenon.
The authors specified that when they conducted their first study of online dating, the release of the iPhone was still 2 years in the future. Today more than half of all American adults are smartphone owners, and dating is conducted on the smartphone. Recently, there is an increasing use of Internet-dating applications on smartphones for sexual purpose, namely as a platform for getting sexual partners.
We investigated the relationships between online dating and sexual addiction. Therefore, the study investigated the role of sensation seeking among individuals who use online-dating applications. We therefore investigated whether social anxiety contributes to sexual addiction among individuals who use online-dating applications.
It was hypothesized that sensation seeking, social anxiety, and sex would contribute to the variance of sexual addiction scores among individuals who use dating applications on the Internet with smartphones. A total of participants were recruited to the study, but five participants did not fulfill inclusion criteria and were excluded. Participants were excluded for psychiatric disorders including a history of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD that was treated with methylphenidate, neurological damage, taking medications that affect the CNS, neurological damage, infection that might the affect CNS HIV, syphilis, and herpes , pregnancy, or age under 18 years.
Inclusion criteria were age of 18—45 males and females who regularly use the Internet. The final sample included participants, of which were men The mean age of men was Among men, Among women, Most of the participants defined themselves as heterosexuals A major part of the current sample had academic or equivalent educational background In addition, a minor part of the participants were unemployed Demographic questionnaire included items on sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, type of living, religion, education, employment, and use of dating application.
Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale Liebowitz, is a self-reporting questionnaire that measures fear and avoidance of social situations. It includes 24 items, of which 13 describe social situations e. For each item, subjects were requested to fill in two scales: a scale of anxiety or fear from 1 not at all to 4 very much and b ratings of avoidance of the situation ranged from 1 never to 4 often.
There are four categories, namely Affect Disturbance e. The SAST is not validated to present any categorical data, and it has been used as a continuous variable but not for categorization of sexually addicted individuals. The questionnaires were advertised online in social networks and forums that were dedicated for dating and sex.
Participants answered questionnaires on the Internet. They were informed that the study investigates sex addiction and that the questionnaires will remain anonymous for research purpose. Prior analysis of Kolmogorov—Smirnov test of normality was conducted for social anxiety, sensation seeking, and sexual addiction scores.
Since sensation seeking and sex addiction scores were not normal distributed, these variables were root transformed. The relationship between social anxiety and sex addiction was investigated using an analysis of variance with scores of social anxiety that were divided into four categories of scores, such as no sex addiction, minor sex addiction, medium sex addiction, and major sex addiction.
Following post-hoc comparison, t -tests were used to compare social anxiety scores and sensation-seeking scores between all groups of participants. All participants signed an informed consent form. In terms of sex addiction dimensions, 24 participants exhibited preoccupations, 9 participants showed loss of control and relationships disturbance, and 50 participants reported affect disturbances.
Ninety percent of participants reported no sexual abuse in their past. Among females, Table 1 shows scores of social anxiety and sensation seeking in relation to sex addiction. Scores of social anxiety [mean SD ] and sensation seeking [mean SD ] in relation to sex addiction.
The results of this study indicate high ratings of sex addiction among those who used dating applications for sex purpose on the Internet. There was no interaction between ratings of sensation seeking and sexual addiction. Finally, we did not find sex differences in sex addiction among our sample, unlike our previous study on cybersex and pornography Weinstein, Zolek, et al. It is unclear whether behavioral addictions are a maladaptive way of coping with depression or anxiety or that depressive and anxiety disorders occur as a consequence of behavioral addictions.
On the contrary, depression, hostility, and social anxiety decreased in the process of remission. We did not find sex differences in sex addiction among our sample, unlike our previous study on cybersex and pornography Weinstein, Zolek, et al. It is plausible that among the dating population on the Internet, there is more equality between men and women. It is also plausible that the sex stereotype, which men are more assertive and sexually compulsive, is not representative of the young generation that is more equal and liberal.
The virtual dating scene is easier and more accessible than the real world and it is full of new opportunities for a variety of people who are interested in relations for sexual purpose including those with sexual addiction.
For example, one of the dating applications enables the user to find users of the application within a certain distance and that can be useful if you are traveling on a train looking for a sexual partner. The Internet is a safe venue for sexual explorations and sexual activity that are physically safer than sexual activity in real life Griffiths, Sex-addicted individuals have difficulties in controlling their urges and they have often history of drug, alcohol, and nicotine addiction Karila et al.
Carnes argued that the Internet for sex addicts is like crack cocaine for psychostimulant abusers. Cooper et al. Others have not found an association between daily life problems and time spent online in pornographic sites. Finally, taking sexual risks Bancroft et al.
The results of the study indicate no interaction between sensation seeking and measures of sex addiction in those using dating applications. It is possible that the major drive in our participants was to reduce social anxiety rather than increase excitement or sensation seeking. Sexual addiction on the dating scene may be an attempt to get intimacy by people who have intimacy problems rather than get excited.
It seems that users of online-dating applications are more socially inhibited and less impulsive risk-takers than the typical sex addict who operates in the pornography and real-life sex scene. This study used an Internet-based survey that has high anonymity but has control over reliability of the questionnaires. It is plausible that due to social pressure and fear, the participants were not completely honest or open about their answers.
Second, we have not assessed the frequent use of the dating application and that may be a confounding variable. This study attempted to add to our existing knowledge on sexual addiction, information about a modern mean of the modern age that is dating applications on the Internet using smartphones.
It was found that social anxiety rather than sensation seeking is a major factor that contributes to sexual addiction among this population. There are still issues that should be clarified such as online dating among those having many sexual partners or lovers, populations, such as homosexual, lesbians and transgender individuals, and individuals in treatment for sex addiction such as sex anonymous.
Other issues arising from the study are comorbidity with other psychiatric conditions, such as personality disorders borderline, antisocial narcissistic, and others. Unlike drug and alcohol addiction, it seems difficult to avoid sexual activity as a model of treatment by abstinence; hence, treatment for sex addiction needs to consider the complexity and importance of the need to fulfill the sex drive in modern society.
Funding sources: The study was conducted as part of an academic course in behavioral addiction at the Ariel University, Ariel, Israel. All individuals including the authors of the study have contributed substantially to the scientific process leading up to the writing of the paper. The authors have contributed to the conception and design of the project, performance of the experiments, analysis and interpretation of the results, and preparation of the manuscript for publication.
The authors have no interests or activities that might be seen as influencing the research e. They report no conflict of interest regarding this study. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.
Journal List J Behav Addict v. J Behav Addict. Published online Aug Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Background and aims There is an increasing use of the Internet for dating and sexual purpose.
Discussion and conclusions The results of this study indicate that social anxiety rather than sensation seeking or gender is a major factor affecting the use of Internet-dating applications for obtaining sexual partners. Keywords: dating applications, sex addiction, sensation seeking, social anxiety. Introduction Sex addiction or hypersexual disorder is characterized by a compulsive need for instant gratification of sexual urges Carnes, Methods Participants A total of participants were recruited to the study, but five participants did not fulfill inclusion criteria and were excluded.
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