Rosabel Tavera | Castelló.- The Adisex project, from the Jaume I University of Castelló, offers free online group treatment to people with cybersex addiction, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world and whose usefulness has already been proven to overcome a problem that is going on the rise, especially since the pandemic.
This was explained to EFE by the coordinator of the Sexual Health Promotion Research Group (Salusex) and the research group “Health Psychology: Prevention and Treatment” and professor in the area of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatments of the Jaume I University of Castellón, Rafael Ballester, who co-directs this initiative together with Mª Dolores Gil Llario, Professor of Psychology at the University of Valencia and coordinator of the Valencian branch of Salusex.
Ballester explains that the germ of this initiative arises from a national study on cybersex carried out by his team, which reached close to 10,000 people and which was of special interest when evaluating people from 16 to 85 years of age, a much older age spectrum. broad than in previous studies.
The platform adiccionalsexo.uji.es was developed, the first in the Hispanic environment for the evaluation and treatment of addiction to cybersex. A website that, he explains, is already useful even to find out, through a questionnaire, if consumption of this type of sex is problematic or not.
Cybersex, a stigmatized problem
This platform proved to be very useful since addiction to cybersex is a stigmatized problem, “it’s ashamed” to admit something like this, and being online, that taboo is lost.
Following the results of the study, an individual addiction treatment program was developed online, which is pioneering because it is available to anyone in the Spanish-speaking world. “We achieved very high cure rates with him, which also continued a year later,” explains the professor.
This program was developed for several years and with the arrival of the pandemic, the increase in the consumption of sex online increased even more, due to the confinement restrictions, and “we then began to have greater pressure on care.”
As Salusex is the only group specializing in this problem, “we began to have so much demand that we couldn’t take it on.” That is why they considered one more innovation: give it a group format.
In this way, “we can care for more patients” and also “it has another positive impact, as it is that you find other people with a stigmatized problem like yours” and you understand that your addiction “is not worse than other addictions such as shopping, Internet or tobacco.
The group of patients is constituted as a support environment, something that has already been verified with the first group that has already received the treatment.
Based on Salusex’s public service vocation, this free experience has been proven to have higher levels of effectiveness.
People interested in receiving treatment contact experts who, after in-depth evaluation, form groups -of about 7 or 8 people- and then “we train the control of these sexual impulses, in addition to analyzing the problems that are at their origin” .
Cybersex Consumer Profile
As Ballester explains, “profiles are given from people with other addictions or addiction to sex in general, Internet addiction or having been a victim of sexual abuse.” The consequences range from suffering blackmail, being compulsively unfaithful to partners or legal problems.
The professor has pointed out that there has been an increase in the prevalence of addiction to cybersex, which usually already occurs in young people and has specified that adolescence is the age in which a more compulsive use of some online sexual activities usually begins.
A few years ago, he indicates in this regard, “25% of people had a risk profile, and now that figure is around 35%.”
In addition, the consumption of pornography “occurs earlier and earlier.”
Before it was from the age of 14 and now more and more children, even 8 years old, are already consuming” and this is a problem since “the very early consumption of pornography, without having sexual or maturational education is very worrying due to that these children think that what they see is normal and healthy”.
The origin of other problems
In this sense, Ballester has expressed the concern of his research group that this important change in the age at which pornography consumption begins “may be related to more crimes and sexual assaults perpetrated by minors.”
In addition to many other consequences, such as the non-seeking of the partner’s sexual consent, the increase in the prevalence of sexual dysfunctions, the performance of risky sexual practices or the spread of sexual complexes, myths and prejudices not based on reality.
For this reason, he urgently calls for “earlier sexual education” for minors, because “now it is no longer a question of whether to give it to them or not, it is that if we do not do it, they will look for it in pornography and they will have a sexual education that is not It is the most recommended.”
Anyone who thinks they may have a problem with cybersex can seek free assistance by writing to [email protected].