Online Magazine: Article Archives: Article #3007

ANNALS Jan/Feb 2003

Sex & the Internet: A Guidebook for Clinicians

Edited By Al Cooper
Reviewed by Sarah Erickson

Sex & the Internet: A Guidebook for Clinicians is one of the first publications to cover Internet sexuality in a detailed and clinical way. In his book, Al Cooper examines the growing influence of the Internet on sex, relationships and family. Dr. Cooper is an expert in the field of sex therapy and counseling and is the director of the San Jose Marital and Sexuality Centre.

In this authoritative volume, Dr. Cooper has compiled articles written by a variety of multidisciplinary scholars, clinicians and academicians (including Albert Ellis, a pioneer in the field of sexuality and John Bancroft, the head of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction) on the topic of sexuality and the Internet. Each of the articles addresses a different cultural, behavioral or psychological aspect of the effects of Internet sexuality, and many of the articles address the possible advantages and dangers of accessing sexual material online.

Not only is information provided in each article about the effects of online sexuality, but also ways in which these effects can be treated by clinicians. The facts presented are easy to understand, making the book accessible to everyone, including the clinician, the client and the general public.

The book addresses some of the better-known issues related to Internet sexuality. For example, Robert E. Longo, Steven M. Brown and Deborah Price Orcutt explain the effects of Internet sexuality on children and adolescents. In their article, they provide a description of the natural progression of child and adolescent sexuality, and they compare those changes to the accelerated progression that occurs when children and adolescents are exposed, purposefully or accidentally, to sexuality on the Internet.

Michael W. Ross and Michael R. Kauth state in their article “Men Who Have Sex With Men, and the Internet: Emerging Clinical Issues and Their Management” that men who are questioning their sexual orientation often use the Internet to explore their sexuality or to satisfy needs that they feel are otherwise socially unacceptable. Gay and bisexual men often use the Internet to initiate relationships, both online and in person. The use of the Internet for this purpose also brings up the indirect connection of the Internet to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS. Ross and Kauth also highlight the effects the Internet has on the social, economic and behavioral status of gay and bisexual individuals, some of whom spend 40 hours or more per week in online sexual activities. Their activities include visiting chat rooms, viewing pornographic images and participating in cybersex.

Dr. Albert Ellis states in the forward of the book that Sex & the Internet: A Guidebook for Clinicians includes “a surprising amount of enlightening material that has not previously been available in book form.” These topics include Internet sexuality at work, Internet sexuality and its effects on partners and family members of those addicted to it, Internet sexuality and the disabled, Internet pedophilia and Internet sexuality as the “drug of choice.”

Sex & the Internet provides not only a description of psychological, economic and social problems that can result from Internet sexuality, but also useful information on how these problems can be remedied. For example, in the article “Virtual Sexuality in the Workplace,” authors Al Cooper, Irene McLoughlin, Pauline Reich and Jay Kent-Ferraro discuss the intervention, prevention and treatment methods that employers can use when Internet sexuality becomes a problem in the work environment. These methods include the incorporation of and emphasis upon corporate policies regarding online sexual activity, and the creation of appropriate disciplinary methods for those who deviate from such policies.

Also included are discussions on the ethical regulation of sex on the Internet, as well as discussions about how the Internet can be used as an educational tool for those researching sexuality. As Dr. Ellis states, “readers will gain unusual knowledge of the Internet itself and how it can beneficially be adapted to dealing with significant and sexual relationship issues.”

This is a book that may prove invaluable to anyone interested in the growing use of the Internet for sexual activities. It covers a wide range of topics that could influence how we view sexuality on the Internet.

Sex & the Internet: A Guidebook for Clinicians can be ordered on the San Jose Marital and Sexuality Centre website ( and at U.S. customers can order the book through Brunner-Routledge by calling 1-800-634-7064.

Review a recent article by Al Cooper, Ph.D. & Eric Griffin – Shelley, Ph.D. 𠇊 Quick Tour of Online Sexuality Part 1”


Contact Us

Members Only

Copyright 2002-2005, American Psychotherapy Association