Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 459–466 | Cite as

Prevalence, Severity, and Correlates of Problematic Sexual Internet Use in Swedish Men and Women

  • Michael W. RossEmail author
  • Sven-Axel Månsson
  • Kristian Daneback
Original Paper


The content and prevalence of problematic Internet sexual use was investigated in a sample of 1,913 Internet-recruited younger Swedish men and women. Five items as part of a larger Internet sexual use study addressed problems associated with it, control, dysphoria, feeling “addicted,” and feeling the need for treatment. The resulting scale of Internet sexual problems indicated that 5% of women and 13% of men reported some problems, with 2% of women and 5% of men indicating serious problems across the five items. Of five predictors of problematic use, three were significant: religiosity, having negative experiences with Internet sexual use, and frequency of pornography viewing. The viewing and sharing of pornography was most closely associated with reported problems. Data also suggested that having some very specific pornographic content interests were associated with an increase in reported problems. While these data were limited by the non-random nature of the sample, they suggest that Internet sexual problems are measurable, are a subset of Internet addiction with sexual content, and affect a small but significant proportion of the Internet-using population.


Internet Addiction Sexual addiction Pornography Prevalence 


  1. Aboujaoude, E., Koran, L. M., Gamel, N., Large, M. D., & Serpe, R. T. (2006). Potential markers for problematic Internet use: A telephone survey of 2,513 adults. CNS Spectrums, 11, 750–755.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Block, J. J. (2008). Issues for DSM-V: Internet addiction. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 306–307.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carnes, P. J. (1991). Don’t call it love: Recovery from sexual addiction. New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  4. Carnes, P. J. (1999). Editorial: Cybersex, sexual health, and the transformation of culture. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 6, 77–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cooper, A., Månsson, S.-A., Daneback, K., Tikkanen, R., & Ross, M. W. (2003). Predicting the future of Internet sex: Online sexual activities in Sweden. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 18, 277–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Demetrovics, Z., Szeredi, B., & Rozsa, S. (2008). The three-factor model of Internet addiction: The development of the Problematic Internet Use Questionnaire. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 563–574.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Griffith, M. (2004). Sex addiction on the Internet. Janus Head, 7, 188–217.Google Scholar
  8. Internet World Stats. (2009). Top 58 countries with the highest Internet penetration rate. Retrieved from
  9. Kafka, M. P. (2010). Hypersexual disorder: A proposed diagnosis for DSM-V. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 377–400.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Morahan-Martin, J., & Schumacher, P. (2000). Incidence and correlates of pathological Internet use among college students. Computers and Human Behavior, 16, 13–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Pratarelli, M. E., & Browne, B. L. (2002). Confirmatory factor analysis of Internet use and addiction. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 2, 53–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ross, M. W., Månsson, S.-A., Daneback, K., Cooper, A., & Tikkanen, R. (2005). Biases in Internet sexual health samples: Comparison of an Internet sexuality survey and a national sexual health survey in Sweden. Social Science and Medicine, 61, 245–252.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Shaw, M., & Black, D. W. (2008). Internet addiction: Definition, assessment, epidemiology and clinical management. CNS Drugs, 22, 353–365.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Yellowlees, P. M., & Marks, S. (2007). Problematic Internet use or Internet addiction? Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 1447–1453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Young, K. (1998). Internet addiction: The emergence of a new clinical disorder. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 3, 237–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Young, K. (1999). Internet addictions: Evaluation and treatment. Student Medical Journal, 7, 351–352.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael W. Ross
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sven-Axel Månsson
    • 2
  • Kristian Daneback
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, School of Public HealthUniversity of TexasHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of Health and SocietyMalmö UniversityMalmöSweden
  3. 3.Department of Social WorkGöteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden

Personalised recommendations