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ADISEX is the first digital platform for the online assessment and treatment of addiction to cybersex (2017-04-21)

The Sexuality and AIDS Research Unit (Salusex-Unisexsida) from the Universitat de València and the Jaume I de Castelló (UJI) has created Adisex, the first digital platform in the Spanish-speaking area and pioneer worldwide for online assessment and treatment of addiction to cybersex.

The Salusex-Unisexsida research unit has detected that 10% of adolescents who use the Internet for sexual purposes have risk profiles.

“Adisex will make it easier for anyone from anywhere in the world to carry out a first self-assessment to know if he or she presents a clinical risk profile or merely a recreational use,” says Rafael Ballester, lecturer and coordinator of Salusex-Unisexsida and the research group “Health Psychology: Prevention and Treatment” at the UJI.

Ballester, who is also dean of the UJI Faculty of Health Sciences, emphasizes that pathologies related to sex "usually have associated social stigmas". For this reason, Adisex allows a completely anonymous diagnosis so that people can know if their use of cybersex is healthy, similar to the consumption of traditional pornography, or it can generate problems of dependence or interference in daily life, and even if it requires intervention for their treatment.

"This self-assessment is then contrasted with a clinical interview conducted from our unit, authorized as a health centre by the Valencial regional government, which can also be carried out at a distance through our digital platform," explains the lecturer, who emphasizes that therapy can be done both online and in person.

On her behalf, María Dolores Gil, lecturer from the Department of Evolutionary Psychology and Education at the Universitat de València and Salusex-Unisexsida coordinator in València, points out "the need to educatel through affective-sexual education programmes addressed to our adolescents, in a healthy use of cybersex avoiding the risks that can derive from it."

Cybersex is a growing phenomenon in today's society with a significant impact on young people, both men and women. In fact, researchers from Salusex-Unisexsida at the UJI and the UV have detected that 10% of adolescents who use the Internet for sexual purposes have levels of risk of addiction.

The results of this study, entitled “Cybersex in the Net Generation. Online sexual activities among Spanish adolescents,” have been published in the scientific journal Computers in Human Behavior and show the impact of the Internet and social networks on the development of sexual behaviors of young women and men. Cristina Giménez-García, Salusex-Unisexsida researcher and UJI lecturer, says that there is a greater percentage of young people who use the Internet to develop their sexuality than one might imagine. The percentage is higher in the case of boys, with a use close to 60%, while in the case of girls it is 13%.

Online sex can generate benefits for sexual health, but it can also favour dependencies or danger behaviors in the offline environment. Researchers at the UJI have found that Spanish adolescents "are easily able to break the digital barrier to establish physical links and to have sex with people they do not know by engaging in unsafe behaviors for HIV transmission," says Cristina Giménez-García.

The Research Unit on Sexuality and AIDS (Salusex-Unisexsida) from the Universitat Jaume I (UJI) and the Universitat de València is coordinated by the lecturers Rafael Ballester and María Dolores Gil and is focused on three fundamental lines of work. Firstly, the study of sexuality in both the general population and specific groups (gay, lesbian and bisexual population, transsexuals, and male sex workers), as well as the development and evaluation of prevention programmes and psychological intervention in sexual health: HIV infection, unwanted pregnancies, homophobia, paraphilia, sexual dysfunction, sex addiction and cybersex. Finally, they also address the preparation and validation of assessment tools on different aspects of human sexuality and other health behaviours.

See also
Smartphones: are you a nomophobe? (2015-09-04)

For more information
Adicciones Sexuales

Universitat do València

UJI - Universitat Jaume I

Computers in Human Behavior
Cybersex in the “Net generation”: Online sexual activities among Spanish adolescents