New sexualities - the internet and sex

Johannes Bitzer (CH)

[Bitzer ] Uni of Basel

Introduction: The Internet provides new opportunities and ways to express and live one´s sexuality. From unlimited access to unlimited sexual stimuli without major cost and without any personal encounter or movement away from the computer to different forms of indirect interaction via cybersex, self exposure, dating etc. There is controversy about the role of the Internet regarding possible benefits and risks for sexual health of individuals and populations Objective: Analize the possible advantages and risks of these Internet based sexual behaviors. Review of the literature. Results: The positive effects include access to information especially also for sexual minorities, a huge variety of stimulation which allows to find out about one´s preferences without exposure to STIs, humiliation, violence, personal conflicts etc; Exchange and possible contact and exchange with partners without obligations, being anonymous and avoiding risks of personal encounters. Playfields to develop erotic skills etc. The negative effects described are Internet Sex Addicition, distraction from personal encounters, reduction of sexuality to porn, stimulation to violence and high risk behavior, blackmailing etc. Conclusion: Taking into account the pros and cons we need self competency in dealing with chances and risks and we need urgently educational programs to provide especially children and adolescents with tools to become Internet competent.