First Australian study to look at Internet porn addiction launched

9 February 2010

In the first study of its kind, University of Sydney researchers are investigating how addiction to Internet porn affects people's work, finances and relationships.

Studies show that some 70 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women access internet porn, according to Dr Gomathi Sitharthan, the researcher behind this study and Deputy Coordinator of the University of Sydney's Graduate Program in Sexual Health.

"Viewing internet porn is not a sign of a major problem - but onlywhen people become so preoccupied that they spend 16 to 18 hours a day doing nothing else but watch porn. It thenbecomes a problemas this preoccupation seriously impacts onpeople's relationships, work, studies, and finances, etc." Dr Sitharthan said.

"In recent years we have seen increasing numbers of clients coming to counselling practices with internet porn addictions. They come from all walks of life:students, teachers,lawyers,health practitioners,and priests.

"Often they will come to counselling with another problem, and the underlying problem of addiction to internet porn may come out after two or three sessions. Because of the sensitive nature of this issue, many people find it very hard to talk about."

Internet porn addiction is becoming a growing problem partly due to the ease of access to it in the comfort of people's home, according to Dr Sitharthan. But currently treatment is limited.

The survey is looking to further our understanding of Internet pornography addictionand how best to offer assistance to overcome this addiction.

Dr Sitharthan hopes there will be broader public discussion of the issue, particularly given the recent spotlights on the issues of sex addiction, in cases like that of Tiger Woods.and the ready availability of explicit images online.

The survey, which takes about 30 minutes to complete, is currently avaliable online.

For more information on this and other sexual health research project visit the Graduate Program in Sexual Health website.

Contact: Kath Kenny (for media enquiries)

Phone: (02) 9351 2261, 0434 606 100