With an estimated half-million New Yorkers allegedly suffering from the "disease" of sexual addiction, Dr. Sharon O'Hara of the National Council on Sex Addiction and Compulsivity has issued some grim warnings about the pitfalls of surfing the web.
According to O'Hara, there is a considerably higher concentration of sex addicts in New York than in other parts of the country. In O'Hara's estimation, eight percent of Manhattan's city dwellers are sex addicts, and that number is growing, compared to between three and eight percent of all Americans.
And more are being diagnosed on a daily basis, says O'Hara, who blames the Internet and the availability of porn for turning "ordinary people" into sex junkies.
"Addicts seek sex as an instant distraction from life's worries; it's a way for people that don't go through the usual channels, like talking to friends or loved ones, to manage stress," O'Hara told the New York Post.
"Once sex addicts have 'acted out,' they suffer severe guilt and regret," O'Hara continued. "Their actions not only impact them, they hurt loved ones such as their spouse and children. Their depression leads to further pursuit of anything sexual ... It's a vicious cycle."
O'Hara's sentiments are mirrored by Robert Weiss, director of the Sexual Recovery Institute, who believes that the Internet is to blame for converting normal sexual behavior into a state of addiction, largely because of the web's "accessibility, anonymity and affordability," he claims.
Likening the penchant for online porn to gambling and alcohol addictions, both doctors claim to have seen a huge rise in the number of attendees at Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings, which are held in New York City every week and throughout the state of New York.
Celebrities famous for admitting to sexual addiction include singers R. Kelly and Eric Benet, former Yankee and Red Sox star Wade Boggs, and "Hogan's Heroes" star Bob Crane.