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Just as porn-addicted males do some really stupid things, women under the influence of Internet porn and cybersex chatrooms are engaging in some stupid behaviors of their own. In her book Caught in the Net, Dr. Kimberly Young cites the following examples:
From an e-mail: Read your article on Internet addiction . . . took the quiz . . . got the worst possible score . . . but know what? Don't really care. . . .Yes, I am TOTALLY addicted but having the best time of my life. . . . I'm mother of two kids, 13 and 11 . . . used to be very devoted, but now I live for the Internet. . . . I hide a lot of dirty laundry, make quickest meals possible . . . could go on and on. Online lovers? Met a few . . . even planning a vacation with one. . . . Everyone in my family is worried sick. . . . My husband is ready to throw the computer out the window. . . . Poor guy, he's suffering . . . gotta go . . . Bye, Paula.
Another e-mail: My name is Dennis. I have been married for eleven years, and my wife, Melinda, and I have three children. We bought a new computer a few months ago, and Melinda got very interested in chatrooms. Soon the friendly chat turned to cybersex, and from there it escalated into phone sex. Finally, she started driving to meet a couple of these guys hundreds of miles away, taking the children with her! When I found out about this and confronted her, she refused to admit she had a problem.
And finally, Dr. Young offers this description of a woman addicted to cybersex on the Internet: It's almost midnight and the lobby of People Connection [an Internet chatroom] is bursting with people, excitement, and anticipation. Leah has just clicked on and already is engaging in a little harmless flirting. Then she sends a bolder message: "Any guys out there looking for a foxy babe tonight?" Instantly, her screen fills with invitations from eager men from all over the world who urge this "foxy babe" to come to a Private Room for a more intimate conversation. The erotic dialogue that ensues resembles what's found on 900 phone sex lines, except that no one is paying for this service and both parties enter the exchange as equals.Dr. Young continues her description of Leah: A 32-year-old single librarian from upstate New York, Leah is shy and overweight. In real life, she feels intimidated by men and hasn't had much success attracting them. Now when Leah enters the People Connection seeking quick sexual encounters, she finds herself desired by dozens of men. She's amazed at how brazen she's become, hopping among several "partners" in one night and indulging in virtual sex acts she had never previously imagined.
"For Leah," Dr. Young goes on, "the best part is the morning after. She had no fears of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases; she hadn't spent any money beyond her basic Internet access cost; she wasn't concerned about one of the men knocking on her door someday or sending unwanted love letters or flowers, because she never shared her phone number or any specifics about where she lived. Her reputation in her real-life community remained intact. No one knew where she had gone, what she had done, or the language she had used the night before. She was still the same shy, quiet, responsible librarian. And after work she could go home and play the vixen again, engaging in dominance and submission under handles like 'Super Vixen' or 'Madam X.'"
Cathy's Story-The Future of Women and Internet Pornography
While writing my book The Drug of the New Millennium, I took the opportunity to conduct a telephone interview with a woman whom we will call Cathy. Before this interview, I had all but completed my book and had titled it How Internet Pornography Makes Men Stupid. As a direct result of this interview with Cathy, together with my interaction with Willie Draughon, retired Assistant Chief of Criminal Investigations with the State Attorney General's Office, I returned to the drawing board, and revised my book to include the rising and devastating problem of female Internet porn and cybersex addiction.
The following is a brief overview Cathy provided me prior to our telephone interview:
My first contact with the Internet is an experience that I will never forget. I was curious about how far a person would go to expose their body for all the world to see so I got on a pornography site. . . . The more I saw the more I wanted to see. I found myself looking for time when no one was around so I could get on the Internet. I began having sexual fantasies about what I saw there (sometimes involving masturbation). Before long I realized that I didn't want to just imagine sex with a partner, I wanted to physically have sex with someone.
One day I got bold enough to find a person online and we arranged to meet for the sole purpose of having sex. I didn't know this person. I had never met him before in my life and that is the way I wanted it. For six months I forgot what life was. All I wanted to do was live for myself and fulfill my selfish physical desires. My circle of friends changed. I now wanted to hang around the people who wanted a life such as mine.
I began going to bars. I didn't drink or smoke but I went there to socialize with the kind of people that I could take home and have a one-night stand with. . . . My life was one of sex and gratification, and all because of curiosity about porn sites.
I know of many women who have fallen into the same trap that I did for one reason or another. It's a slow, subtle process that takes you on a trip to hell. I was addicted to sex, fantasies, physical desire, and I didn't even know it until it was too late.
The detrimental effects that those six months had on me are too great to mention in detail, but I can tell you the worst of them. My family was nearly destroyed. My children have lost respect for their mother. Somewhere along the way I contracted Chlamydia, a serious sexually transmitted disease. But worst of all, I lost respect for myself and it took a lot of time to get my life back.
Internet pornography is a world of subtlety. It is the first lurid step in a long staircase that leads both men and women into a life of misery.
Cathy stated very clearly in our telephone interview that she was "heavily involved with cybersex chatrooms." My initial curiosity with Internet porn led me to the chatrooms, which in turn led me to actual face-to-face sexual encounters. Chatrooms had a much more powerful attraction to me than the pornography itself. I spent many hundreds of hours in sexually graphic conversations with men in cybersex chatrooms. The Internet porn was simply a convenient tool that aided in my romantic/sexual fantasizing.
There are those reading this who might assume that Cathy was simply a loose woman, slutty, not unlike a prostitute in her mind-set. Actually, prior to her introduction to Internet pornography and her subsequent addiction to cybersex chatrooms and illicit sex, she was an exemplary wife and mother, a model citizen in her community, and an active participant in her church. Now she lives alone, divorced, virtually ignored and despised by her children.
Like it has done to so many men, Internet pornography/cybersex chat takes decent, intelligent, respected and successful women and makes them stupid! Just as it does for men, Internet porn/cybersex becomes a "drug of choice" where women find pleasure, relief and escape (self-medication) from the pain, stress and realities of everyday life.
In fact, retired sexual crimes investigator Willie Draughon asserts that "females are more inclined to pursue the communication aspect of the subculture after their initial intro through visual porn. The argument can be made that females may spend even more time in the porn underworld-i.e., chatrooms, phone sex, and eventually personal encounters-than males since their world of intimacy involves the need to have more stimulation than just the visual alone to reach the fantasy of fulfillment. The Internet provides this type of environment for women more than any other vehicle in history." In next month's article I will discuss the myriad of pornography's victims-those who lie in the wake of porn wreckage. The list of victims is far more expansive that you might ever imagine. I will blow away the argument that says pornography is a harmless outlet-what someone does in the privacy of their own home or office is their business and doesn't hurt anyone else. When it comes to pornography, especially Internet porn, nothing could be further from the truth.
Mark B. Kastleman is the author of the revolutionary new book titled The Drug of the New Millennium-the Science of How Internet Pornography Radically Alters the Human Brain and Body-A Guide for Parents, Spouses, Clergy and Counselors. Many leading scientists, psychologists, therapists and religious leaders consider this book to be one of the most important works ever written on this subject, and a must-read for parents, spouses, clergy and counselors.