The complexity of internet sexuality

Adv Psychosom Med. 2011;31:121-34. doi: 10.1159/000328920. Epub 2011 Oct 10.


Research has shown men and women of all ages and sexual orientations to use the Internet for sexual purposes. For example, the Internet is used to access pornography, to find sex-related information, to purchase sexual merchandise, and to find partners for romance and sex. The specific characteristics of the medium have made it attractive for engaging in sexual behaviors that are regulated by societal and cultural norms offline. Thus, the Internet has made it easier to explore and express one's sexuality at less risk of negative personal sanctions. In this regard, the technological innovation has meant a sexual revolution, particularly for disenfranchised groups. While generally being perceived as positive, concerns have been raised about potential risks associated with the Internet. The purpose of this chapter is to provide the reader with an empirical and theoretical overview of the first 15 years of research in the field of Internet sexuality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Erotica
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Social Values