Previous studies explain that the Internet makes it possible to explore various unusual desires with little embarrassment and often with the illusion of personal security. Despite the flourishing publications on the double link between sexuality and the Internet in the last decade, there are relatively few studies analyzing the contents of online erotic stimuli to specifically investigate unusual sexual interests.
Objective of the study
To examine cultural and gender differences in online sexual behaviors and unusual sexual interests in online pornography reported by young adults recruited in Italy and Sweden, aiming to offer clinical considerations that could be useful when facing this issue in clinical practice.
A survey was conducted with 847 Italian and Swedish heterosexual university students. They completed a set of measures including Internet Sex Screening Test, Sexual Addiction Screening Test – Abbreviated and Unusual Online Sexual Interests Questionnaire.
Men scored higher than women did on viewing and feeling excited by unusual sexual interests. Although the conditional effect of gender was statistically significant (P<0.05) in both national contexts for the same scenes, the differences between males and females were greater in Italy than in Sweden. Swedish women appeared more curious about sexual contents than Italian ones, with no differences regarding excitement level.
Discussion and conclusion
Our results could help clinicians by offering information about the diffusion of some unusual online sexual interests and the “normality” of the Internet use for sexual purposes. It is very important that the clinicians have a specific knowledge on online sexual matters; otherwise, they could be vulnerable to stereotyping and making judgments. The contents of the seen pornographic scenes and the felt excitement could be important topics to focus in the psychosexual counselling. They could be considered, in fact, as possible indicators of sexual compulsivity and/or cybersexual problematic behavior.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Sexual interests, Cybersexuality, Internet sexual behaviour, Online sexual activities (OSA), Sexual addiction, Sexual arousal