The online pornography industry is quickly growing and was worth approximately $1 bil­lion in 2003 (Griffiths, 2003). Many of the online buying features available through web­sites today (such as real-time credit card processing) were developed by the pornography industry (Griffiths, 2003). This is not surprising, because research has found that 69% of U. S. Internet spending is for sex-related products (Griffiths, 2003). The accessibility, anonymity, and ease of use have all contributed to the growing popularity of the Internet. Some view pornographic images online, visit sexually oriented chat rooms, or may engage in sexual activities with an anonymous person online (Schneider, 2000a).

Many men and women visit online sexual websites, although typical users are male (Cooper et al., 1999; Paul, 2005). Females do visit sexual websites; however, they are more likely to visit sexually oriented chat rooms, whereas male users more likely to view online porn (Schneider, 2000a).

Online sex users can be either recreational users (those who enter sites out of curios­ity or for entertainment), at-risk users (those who are increasingly drawn to usage of on­line sexually oriented materials), or compulsive users (those who spend over 11 hours per week engaging in online sexual activities; Cooper et al., 1999). Research has found that approximately 83% of online sex users are recreational users; 11% are at-risk users, and 6% are compulsive users (Cooper et al., 1999). Individuals who engage in compulsive online sex often experience changes in their intimate relationships. In fact, one study found 68% of users lost interest in sex with their partner (Schneider, 2000b). Partners

and children of users also experience psychological side effects as well, including de­pression and loneliness (Paul, 2005).

Подпись: SneakPeekПодпись:Online PornographyПодпись:Подпись: ReviewQuestion Discuss public attitudes toward pornography. Users of online pornography also report a desensitization to pornography over time. One 30-year-old user explains:

In the last couple of years, the more porn I’ve viewed, the less sensitive I am to certain porn that I used to find offensive. The sheer quantity of porn on the ‘net has done this. It’s so easy to click on certain things out of curiosity in the privacy of your own home and the more you see them, the less sensitized you are. I used to only be into softcore porn showing the beauty of the female body. Now I’m into explicit hardcore. (Schneider, 2000)

It will be interesting to see what happens to online pornography over the next few years. There is a tremendous draw to online porn because it reduces embarrassment and allows individuals to watch and buy pornography in the privacy of their own home. But we know that accessing online pornography, visiting sexually oriented chat rooms, and engaging in sexual activity can potentially escalate into more intense usage and have se­rious consequences, including potential job and partner loss (Paul, 2005; Schneider, 2000a).