Online Sex Addiction After 50: an Exploratory Study of Age-Related Vulnerability

AUTHOR(S)

Ševčíková, Anna; Blinka, Lukas; Škařupová, Kateřina; and Vašek, David

PUBLISHED

2020 in International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction

KEY FINDINGS
  • This study focused on men over 50, showing that older age does not necessarily protect against the development of sex addiction. Occupational status, boredom, and involvement in cybersex predicted online sex addiction, regardless of relationship status or the state of their offline sexual activities.
ABSTRACT
The population of Internet users is ageing, yet online sex addiction research remains limited to younger age groups. Our study aimed to explore the association between online sex addiction and vulnerabilities related to older age, such as the absence of a partner, changes in work career, and boredom. Out of 2518 respondents who participated in an online survey, 158 (6.3%) were aged 50–77 and constituted the primary focus of the study. Linear regression analyses showed that occupational status, boredom (reasons for Internet... READ FULL ABSTRACT
EXCERPTS
  • "First, Internet addiction may have developed after the discontinuation of occupational activities. The transition into work inactivity due to unemployment or retirement represents a stressful process that requires the reorganization of everyday life, which has the potential to trigger a problematic pattern of Internet use (Wong and Shobo 2017). Occupational changes, including chronic unemployment, may be demanding in various ways: individuals have to deal with limited financial resources, with a decline of social contact, and with other lifestyle changes, such as the newly emerged spare time, which may affect their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth (Reitzes and Mutran 2004). In this new situation, online sex may function as temporary relief or a coping strategy. Second, withdrawal from the labour market may be secondary to the time-consuming salience of online activities and to the impairments associated with online sex addiction. Prior research has shown that Internet addiction can negatively affect work performance and individuals who struggle with online sex addiction might be forced to withdraw from the labour market (Jäger et al. 2012). This effect may be more pronounced in older people for whom maintaining their job can already be challenging."
  • "Besides occupational status, our study identified Internet use because of boredom as one of the strongest predictors of online sex addiction. Previous research suggested that boredom is an important risk factor for a whole array of addictive behaviours, ranging from substance use to behavioural addictions, including sex addiction (Chaney and Blalock 2006). A proneness to boredom is often discussed as a psychological trait intertwined with increased impulsivity and mood dysregulation (Watt and Vodanovich 1992—both factors potentially contributing to the development of sex addiction (Goodman 2001)."
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