Prevalence, severity, and correlates of problematic sexual Internet use in Swedish men and women

Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Apr;41(2):459-66. doi: 10.1007/s10508-011-9762-0. Epub 2011 May 12.


The content and prevalence of problematic Internet sexual use was investigated in a sample of 1,913 Internet-recruited younger Swedish men and women. Five items as part of a larger Internet sexual use study addressed problems associated with it, control, dysphoria, feeling "addicted," and feeling the need for treatment. The resulting scale of Internet sexual problems indicated that 5% of women and 13% of men reported some problems, with 2% of women and 5% of men indicating serious problems across the five items. Of five predictors of problematic use, three were significant: religiosity, having negative experiences with Internet sexual use, and frequency of pornography viewing. The viewing and sharing of pornography was most closely associated with reported problems. Data also suggested that having some very specific pornographic content interests were associated with an increase in reported problems. While these data were limited by the non-random nature of the sample, they suggest that Internet sexual problems are measurable, are a subset of Internet addiction with sexual content, and affect a small but significant proportion of the Internet-using population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / epidemiology*
  • Erotica*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology