The unlimited access to sexual features in the World Wide Web has raised concerns about excessive and problematic online-sex use. However, little is known about antecedents of internet-sex use of different intensity. Based on a representative German sample of 2,522 participants between the ages of 14 and 97 years, the aims of the present study were (1) to determine the prevalence rates of online-sex users with the short version (ISST GSV) of the Internet Sex Screening Test and (2) to associate online-sex use with anxious vs. avoidant partner attachment patterns and “Big Five” personality traits as potential antecedents.
The ISST is a brief, one-dimensional and reliable measure of online-sex activities (r tt = .69). Overall, 14.7% of respondents reported occasional and 4.2% intensive online-sex use. In multivariate analysis, online-sex use was significantly positively associated with male sex, younger age, unemployment and an anxious partner attachment pattern and negatively with conscientiousness and agreeableness.
Arousal and satisfaction by virtual enactment of sexual phantasies may be attractive for anxiously attached persons who find it difficult to commit to a real life relationship due to fear of rejection or low self-esteem. More knowledge about the individual antecedents of intensive online-sex use may also be helpful for the development of consultation and treatment strategies for excessive and addictive online-sex use.