Online Porn

Pornography was covered briefly in Chapter 12, but there is a specific kind of pornography that has increased in popularity in the past few years: online pornography. As the name implies, this is pornographic material that you view on the computer or another electronic device, like a cell phone that has web access. You can find online porn very easily, simply by doing an online search using whatever specific keywords relate to your particular sexual preferences or tastes. And you can be sure that no matter how unusual or strange your tastes and fetishes may be, you can find plenty of adult online material that will fit the bill.

According to statistics compiled by TopTenReviews.com in 2006, more than 42 percent of Internet users visit porn sites, more than 25 percent of all online searches are porn-related and around 10 percent of adults admit to having an online porn addiction. Their statistics also show that 70 percent of women keep their online porn activities secret.

Advantages of Online Porn

Online pornography offers many benefits over traditional print pornography. For one thing, online porn is easily accessible. You can get it simply by sitting at your computer. There's no need to leave your house. An added bonus: You don't have to summon up the courage to venture into the adult section of your local newsstand or bookstore. And you don't need to endure your mailman's smirks when you receive a package in that telltale brown wrapper.

Since you view online porn in the privacy of your own home, it's more discreet than other forms of pornography. There is also an incredible amount of variety when it comes to online porn. No matter what your particular preference or fetish, you are sure to find plenty of online porn that turns you on.

In addition, you can access quite a bit of online porn for free. However, watch out for unexpected charges.

Resist the temptation to check out online porn at work. Even just a quick peek can land you in a lot of hot water. Many companies now routinely monitor employees' online activities. Even if you use a company laptop at home, there's a good chance that your IT department knows exactly what you are doing. And eventually your bosses probably will, too.

Disadvantages of Online Porn

There are some pitfalls related to online porn that you need to keep in mind. A few areas of concern include the following.

Charges and Fees

Just as people who called 900 numbers would often get shockingly high phone bills, people who view online porn can also run into unexpected charges. Watch out for sites that lure you in with limited free offerings but then require you to pay a fee for the full inventory. Many sites also give you a brief trial period but then automatically charge your credit card if you don't cancel. Your best bet is to never enter your credit card information on any online adult site. If you really feel the need to access paid material, limit yourself to one reputable site — and be sure to keep a close watch on your credit card statements. Sites affiliated with well-known adult magazines, X-rated movie companies, or adult toy shops are usually among the safest and most reputable choices.

Viruses and Other Computer Problems

Porn sites are notorious for being loaded with viruses, spyware, and other stuff that can really mess up your computer. Make sure you have a good anti-virus program installed and steer clear of any sites that look the least bit suspicious.

Accidental Discoveries

Unethical websites will often arrange it so their sites show up on Internet searches for relatively benign search words. For example, if you search for “French kissing,” some of the search results may actually be for sites involving group sex or bondage. (As any web-savvy parent can attest after her child made a shocking discovery, even a search for something totally unrelated to sex can sometimes lead to porn. For example, a search for Santa Claus could turn up X-rated pictures of a naked guy in a Santa hat getting it on with a group of female elves.)

No matter how careful you are, it's possible that you will view something way more graphic than you had intended. Be prepared for that possibility, and be ready to close your browser window quickly if you get an unpleasant surprise.

Risk of Addiction

Because online porn is so plentiful and easily accessible, many people find it very addictive. It's becoming increasingly common for people to spend hours looking at online porn, often hiding the activity from their spouses or partners. The risk of addiction can be very harmful to a relationship because a compulsion to constantly view online porn affects not only the addicted person, but also her partner. The addicted person may spend an excessive amount of time online, neglecting her relationship with her partner (and other important things in her life). She also may become so infatuated with online sexual material that her real-life sex life suffers, possibly even ceasing altogether.

Porn addiction can be a serious problem. Treatment can help, so look into programs like those offered through the Sexual Recovery Institute (www.sexualrecovery.com) or find a treatment center at a clearinghouse like Recovery Connection (www.recoveryconnection.org).

You should also get into the habit of clearing your computer's cookies and history after each online porn viewing session, especially if other people ever use your computer. Otherwise, an unsuspecting friend or family member may get a shocking surprise the next time they log on.

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