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Sex Shops

I am lonely.
I am bored.
It’s harmless.
It’s my escape.
I am in charge of this world.
I’m uninhibited.
It relaxes me.

Sex shops, phone sex, cybersex and x-rated websites; People go in, but they never come out. A famous quote, fitting for most in the cybersex world. Why? Let’s talk.

Elizabeth Hartney states in her article, Internet Sex Addiction Compulsive Use of the Internet For Sexual Gratification, ‘The internet has provided a new way for people to access pornographic images and potential sexual partners in ways that would be difficult and labor-intensive, otherwise.’

The accessibility and anonymity of the internet has contributed to the growing rate of addiction among those who may never have otherwise become addicted to either the internet or sex related mediums. Sex addiction differs from other addictions, such as alcohol or drugs, because it is readily available, mostly free and easier to hide. Though costly on many levels, pornography and sex addiction often initially feels like a ‘no risk’, fantasy fulfillment stress reliever.

Hartney compiled a list of questions and answers as follows:

What Is Cybersex?

There are many different forms of internet-based sex. All can cause problems and pose risks to internet users. There are three main categories of cybersex:

Why Do People Get Addicted to Cybersex?

Five central factors make cybersex particularly appealing:

  1. Accessibility
  2. The internet provides easy access to many forms of sexual material and potential sexual partners, 24 hours a day. Cybersex can be accessed anywhere, from home, school, cyber cafes, even from work. Unlike other access points to the sex trade, such as prostitution, sex shops and strip clubs, users are not limited by location or time.

  3. Isolation
  4. Cybersex provides an opportunity for the user to separate himself from other people, and to become lost in a fantasy world of his choosing. Unlike many other forms of sex addiction, there is no risk of sexually transmitted infections or the distraction of reality. This allows the user to believe his behavior is harmless.

  5. Anonymity
  6. The apparent privacy of the internet allows people to think it is an anonymous way of obtaining and using porn or having sexual interactions with other people. Unlike going into a sex shop or strip club, users feel they cannot be recognized or identified. Users can present a completely fabricated image of themselves, easily lying about their age, gender, address and appearance in a way that would be impossible using other forms of interaction.

  7. Affordability
  8. Once the cost of accessing a computer and internet has been taken care of, cybersex can be a low-cost means of accessing porn and other sexual material. The user also avoids unwanted material, such as the advertising and articles which fill up magazines.

  9. Fantasy
  10. Cybersex allows people to develop sexual fantasies and objectify others without the risk of ridicule or rejection. Some cybersex products allow users to define exactly the partner they desire, choosing their gender, age, hair, skin, body type, eye color, and so on. They can even choose the sexual scenarios they wish to engage in. For people with unusual sexual preferences, the internet provides access to material that would be difficult and embarrassing to obtain in other ways.

Why Is Cybersex a Problem?

As with all addictions, a number of problems can arise from becoming overly attached to one way of coping with the stress of life. However, particular problems relate to cybersex addiction specifically. These are related to sexuality and the online experience.

When people use the internet, they become detached from the world around them, and from other people. Taken to the extreme, this detachment can cut you off from developing relationships with others, and from living in the present, both of which can cause difficulties in relationships, especially intimate relationships. Using the internet also allows you to remain detached from the people on the screen (who are, in fact, only images to you). This detachment also prevents you from exposing your own vulnerability to another person, something which is essential to forming genuine connections in the real world.

While the detachment of online sexual experiences may feel safer than real relationships, it also diminishes the user's abilities to relate to real people. Real people are also vulnerable, messy and unpredictable, but none of these human characteristics affect the online sexual experience. People who lack competencies in relationship building before engaging in cybersex are more at risk of isolating themselves further, making it less and less likely that they will risk a real relationship.

Are sex shops, websites and chat lines connected to trafficking?

‘Many sex buyers may be unaware, ill-informed, or in direct denial of the abusive realities of sex trafficking situations as they exist within the broader sex trade. When sex trafficking is present, victims are often subjected to violence, threats, controlling behaviors, false promises, lies, and manipulation perpetrated by the traffickers/pimps. Popular media, including certain books, movies, television shows, and music, sometimes glamorize and romanticize the commercial sex industry without properly acknowledging the presence of sex trafficking. This glamorization then fuels the demand for paying someone else to have sex with them. Additionally, it is common that victims of trafficking will not discuss their situation with customers or ask for help because they are trained by their traffickers to lie and keep up the act. As a result, "johns" may not fully realize the truth behind the facade, or the pain behind the smile. In places and communities where there is a demand to buy sex, sex traffickers directly respond to the demand by seeking to offer a "product" to be sold for profit. To sex traffickers, the "product" they sell are the women, men and children they control (polarisproject.org).’

Once hardcore pornography is participated in, bought, sold or viewed, the connection between sex shops, websites and chat lines and trafficking have been made. Many of the women, men and children sold for sexual purposes are exposed to pornography in the name of ‘teaching’ them how to perform, from there, many of the sexual acts they perform are filmed and distributed against their consent. Where there is demand, there is supply. Often, the back story is hidden and it will appear that all persons are consenting to this act, ZARZAND wants you to think beyond the initial fantasy to the possibility of what may be happening behind close doors.

For further thoughts on Trafficking and Pornography, check out our PORNOGRAPHY (make a link) page.

Why stay in the cybersex world?

“….my three-hour masturbation sessions seemed completely normal, because they were the times I was most happy — or, really, the times I was able to block out my stress .” -Michael Reed, How I'm Coming To Terms With A Sex Addiction

Sound familiar?
ZARZAND understands.