People with anxiety and depression can use sextech to relieve their distress
People who report higher rates of anxiety and depression, but not loneliness, are more likely to use emerging digital sex technologies, or “sextech,” according to a new study.
Sextech includes sending sexually explicit images or videos and visiting erotic webcam sites. The results suggest that people with altered mental health may use sex technologies to experience temporary relief from their psychological distress, the researchers say.
New technologies, including virtual reality, artificial intelligence and shared online environments, already offer opportunities to explore new forms of social interaction and sexual fulfillment, explains Alexandra Marcotte, senior researcher at the study and postdoctoral researcher at the Kinsey Institute, Indiana University. .
“As the global need for innovative mental health resources and interventions grows, these emerging sex technologies may bring relief to people with mental health issues. This research provides an important avenue for expanding the reach of mental health interventions, especially as technology becomes more prevalent and accessible in everyday life.
For the study, published in the International Journal of Environmental and Public Health Research, the researchers interviewed more than 8,000 American adults to examine associations between mental health issues and online sexual behavior, particularly engagement with new forms of sex technology.
Most of the study participants who reported greater depression reported using sextech more. This included men of all sexual orientations, as well as heterosexual women. However, in lesbian and bisexual women, depression was not significantly related to their use of sextech.
Likewise, increased anxiety was associated with greater use of various types of sextech for the overall sample and for men of all sexual orientations. Lesbian and bisexual women who reported higher anxiety used more forms of sextech, but heterosexual women’s anxiety was not related to their use of sextech.
The researchers also sought to examine the common belief that online sexual experiences can be an alternative to social engagement and can be a behavioral response to feelings of psychological loneliness.
Contrary to that expectation, the study found that participants who reported high levels of loneliness were less likely to engage in sextech, unlike the model for participants reporting high levels of anxiety and / or depression.
A common misconception is that people turn to the Internet for romantic or sexual relationships because they are unable to form a face-to-face relationship, says Amanda Gesselman, associate director of research at the Kinsey Institute.
“Our results prove the opposite, suggesting that online sex spaces do not work as a ‘last resort’ for people who have not been able to engage in real-life sex,” says Gesselman, who has also participated in the research. .
“Instead, it is likely that many users of these spaces have adequate social support and social networks, but they are turning to online sex technologies for a unique boost to their mindset. psychological.”
The most commonly used form of sextech was sending sexually explicit images or videos – that is, sexting – reported by 30% of study participants. Almost one in five respondents (18%) had visited a cam website. Other forms of sextech that participants engaged with included: playing sexually explicit online RPGs or video games (14%), participating in a camera feed (12%), accessing real-life pornography virtual (11%), using a teledildonic accessory (9%), and exchanging sexually explicit messages with a chatbot (9%). Within the sample, 79% of men and 51% of women reported using some form of sextech. Additionally, 61% of heterosexual participants and 83% of gay / bisexual participants had used sextech.
Docler Holdings LLC independently funded the study, which was conducted online with data collected by Prodege, a third-party data collection company. The recruitment of participants reflects the demographics of the US population as estimated by the US Census Bureau.
Additional researchers come from the University of New Mexico, Bloomington College of Arts and Science at Indiana University, and the Kinsey Institute.
Source: Indiana University