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Bad News for Cyberporn: Internet Sex Linked to Depression, Anxiety

DiscoblogBy Nina BaiNovember 5, 2008 2:34 AM


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Think your real-life relationships are unsatisfying?Well, consider this before you look for love and companionship in the extra-human realm. A study last month by Australian researchers found that men who have cyber sex had “alarmingly high” rates of depression, stress and anxiety.

The study surveyed 1,325 men from the U.S. and Australia who spent an average of 12 hours a week engaged in Internet sex activities, including porn, online chats, and Web cams.The men were then evaluated for mental health. More than a quarter (27 percent) were moderately to severely depressed, 30 percent had high levels of anxiety, and 35 percent were moderately to severely stressed.The most avid cybersex users were also the most severely depressed.

The researchers caution, to the relief of many, that the correlation doesn’t mean porn causes depression, or that sad people flock to porn.Although, for those in the latter group, previous research has indicated that simulated sex doesn’t cause the same release of stress-relieving, love-inducing brain chemicals as the real thing.

Still, try telling that to Tacihi Takashita, a Japanese man who’s fallen in love with a cartoon character.Now he’s campaigning for the legal right to marry the fictional character

.“I am no longer interested in three dimensions. I would even like to become a resident of the two-dimensional world," he wrote in an online (of course) petition that has already gathered more than 1,000 signatures. Related Content: DISCOVER: When Robots Live Among Us

DISCOVER: Emotions and the Brain: Love

Image: flickr / [rom]

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