She prefers online intimacy

Sunday May 21 2017


By Joe Musalo

My wife prefers online sex as opposed to the physical. Help. Umar G.

Dear Umar G, Discovering such a preference from your partner arouses powerful feelings of shock, fear, loss, worry in addition to posing a significant threat to your relationship. There are deeper causative factors which may provide the fertile soil of this kind of behavior. Sometimes it is a history of sexual abuse or premature entry into sexuality, compulsive masturbation, pornography, consistent affairs in which severe mood changes relate to sexual activity, mood disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, emotional disconnection between partners leading to a reduction in sexual contact and intimacy. Instead of honestly attending to the breach, there is escape into the easily available and non-demanding world of sex (online sex) and self-stimulation because it is easily gratifying and soothing of anxiety states.

Although online sex users do not face the same risks of disease, arrest or violence, infidelity, partners feeling competition from online parties, they often suffer mental anguish, profound worry and dismay, shame, anxiety, guilt and depression and this too can destroy relationships. People used to online sex are unable to achieve the same sort of sexual fulfillment through physical interactions as they can online, and most will avoid sexual contact with their partners. Online sex is addictive and progressive and users face negative consequences for their inability to control themselves for example; compulsive viewing of pornography, inability to have intimate and satisfying sexual relationships in real life, guilt and shame.

Sexual deviations are not easily broken, and she may require professional support to mend her sexual life. She needs to learn why she feels compelled to engage in an inappropriate sexual type, learn how to control her temptations, and work on fixing the problems in her life that cause her to seek escape or release through inappropriate sexual gratification. Umar, I would encourage you to get some counselling, to be able to find out what role you may be playing in enabling of the habit before it progresses into addiction.

It would be helpful for you to access the services of a sex addiction professional who will help rule out other factors that may be causing the preference like, drug abuse , different mental health conditions, sexual history, fixations, using sex as an escape behavior, disregarding the consequences of sexual activities and also help in identification of the behavioural triggers. This will help her learn how to break the habit.
Joseph Musaalo is a counselling psychologist