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Cybersex is a category of on-line sexual activities where the internet is used for sexual gratification. Pornography is one area of on-line sexual activities that usually includes hardcore, softcore and illegal pornography. Softcore porn does not show actual penetration, ejaculation, oral sex and close ups on genitals and is usually more related to an erotic setup. Hardcore, depicts sexual intercourse in all detail and is usually very explicit. Child pornography is one form of illegal pornography. In Malta it is a crime for anyone to record, possess, distribute or show child pornography.

Why is pornography used?

Pornography is used by an individual, couple or group of friends to satisfy curiosity and enhance sexual stimulation. Last year, in Malta, on Pornhub alone, we had 30,000 visitors a day amounting to 6 million visits. Interestingly there was a drop in traffic on Valentine’s Day, Eurovision night and major football leagues.

When can pornography become problematic?

Neurological research in the area of pornography addiction recent. However, ‘behaviors affecting the reward circuitry in human brains can lead to a loss of control and other symptoms of addiction in at least some individuals’ (Love et al. 2015). Moreover, pornographic addictive behavior can lead to significant personal distress, loss/problems in significant relationships, legal and job related problems.

– Anna Catania is a counsellor with Willingness. She has had a special interest in working with clients facing intimacy and sexual difficulties and runs a service for families going through cancer and chronic illness. She can be contacted on anna@willingness.com.mt