A qualitative exploration into addiction to internet pornography.

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    An exploration of characteristics of adult males seeking help for internet pornography addiction.



  • Contact name

    Colin Gorman

  • Contact email


  • Sponsor organisation

    Ulster University

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    1 years, 2 months, 1 days

  • Research summary

    Internet sex addiction essentially comprises two independent features; The first of which is a sexual addiction phenomena. This is defined as being unable to prevent sexual behaviours despite them causing problems in one’s family life, health and employment (Giugliano, 2012). The second, and relative modern facet is the cybersex element. This specifies that sexual arousal is promoted with the help of computers and the internet. Due to the pace of recent advances in technology, a clear and comprehensive clinical understanding of this addiction is lacking while referrals to services for help have dramatically increased. There is confusion surrounding whether problematic sexual behaviour should be classified as compulsive, impulsive or addictive as each label has its own set of conditions. It is also unclear what the overlap is between internet sexual addiction and sexual offending including contact sex offences. Certain features of the internet such as its availability, the ease at which one can access it and probably most importantly the anonymity that the internet offers, have been identified as playing a key role in the offence behaviours of contact child sexual offenders. However those who access illegal material are only one subset of this group. It is hoped that through this research project we will be able to further the knowledge on the relationship between addiction to internet pornography and other addictions (whether that is an addiction to substances, gambling or others). We will also be exploring links between internet pornography addiction and mental health problems or offending behaviour from the internet sex addicts perspective . This research is designed to developed a better understanding of those who identify themselves as being addicted to internet pornography, and to determine their position within the established literature on addictions, offending and mental health. This should provide further guidance for the assessment of risk in this population as well as having implications for the treatment of this difficulty.

  • REC name


  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    21 Jul 2015

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion