Have the Cybersex ‘Experts’ Ever Had Cybersex?

From Oprah to the hot seat, one addiction specialist's perspective on cybersex

Q: It’s great to hear such a sex-positive approach, but you’ve done a number of media appearances on cybersex, and I wonder if those don’t often give audiences the wrong impression: that there is something fundamentally bad about cybersex. Your colleague and co-author Dr. Weiss, for example, called online sex “the crack cocaine of sex addiction.” You very rarely hear an expert on television saying cybersex can be part of a healthy life.

A: Again, if you look at drinking, how many programs do you see on TV or in the newspaper about people whose life is enriched because they go out to dinner and have a drink? Not very many, as opposed to articles about drunk driving. Because what’s news? Something that’s positive is not news.

Q: It may be true that it’s not news, but—to keep up your analogy—it’s certainly true there’s a section of our culture that encourages the positive side of alcohol. You can drink wine in nice restaurants, go to wine tasting, read wine magazines… There’s a space for it in the media and the culture that doesn’t exist for sex on the internet.

Dr. Jennifer Schneider: An expert who thinks cybersex is the same as Spam.
Dr. Jennifer Schneider: An expert who thinks cybersex is the same as Spam.

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Bonnie Ruberg's blog about sex, tech, gender, and videogames

A: That may be.

Q: Have you ever done first-hand research into cybersex—as in, have you ever had cybersex yourself or observed anyone having it?

A: I’ve done surveys and talked to patients. It’s not like I’m just doing this because I’ve heard someone say whatever. As to whether I’ve gone online myself, I haven’t, specifically because these days even if you don’t go online you are totally deluged with email. For example, if somehow you get on this or that person’s list and then they sell the list to everybody else. Every day I probably get thirty emails about “enlarge your penis.” So even without getting on any porn websites, I know what they’re like. All you have to do is just go once on a porn site and immediately your address gets spread out. I just really don’t need that in my life. So the answer is, no I haven’t.

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