Director Melanie Wood called “o.com: Cybersex Addiction” a cautionary tale of the Internet’s profound affect on human sexuality.
“Cybersex addicts are messengers with a message for all of us about technology’s ability to accelerate our alienation from each other,” Wood said in a voice over.
The documentary tells the story of four “online porn addicts” who say endless hours spent masturbating in front of their computers ruined their lives.
“It’s called the crack cocaine of sex addiction, and my story illustrates why,” said Allan, one of the film’s subjects. “It’s a tremendously isolated, lonely existence.” A former lawyer, Allan blames a compulsive need to surf adult sites for destroying his career and marriage.
The National Council of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, a nonprofit group made up mostly of psychologists and therapists, puts the number of sexually addicted Internet users in the United States at two million.
One Internet study found that more than eight million North Americans spend at least 11 hours each week surfing adult websites, and the U.S. Senate’s subcommittee on science, technology and space recently held a hearing titled, “The Science Behind Porn Addiction,” in which experts testified that looking at explicit images alters brain chemistry.
“A lot of times, men don’t know they’re so addicted until they stop,” said Fred Stroaker, author of the book “Every Man’s Challenge.” “Then they realize, ‘Wow, there’s a lot more chemically going on than I thought.’ And we do know that these chemicals medicate pain in a dramatic way, and that’s the hook.”
However, the theory of porn addiction remains controversial; The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which chronicles every other known and accepted addiction, makes no mention of any such condition.