The Clickable Clit: "Is There a Link Between Cybersex and Depression?"

By Bonnie Ruberg

The Clickable Clit continues this week with more adventures from the personal diary of an SF-based cybersex expert.

An email to the doctor
Saturday, November 8th
Filed under: Boy/girl toy follow-ups, Fantasies, No time for fun

I mentioned last week that I just couldn’t stay away from my professor friend, Dr. S. So after canceling our weekly “office hours” for an actual doctor’s appointment, I ended up rescheduling for the same afternoon. Once our appointment rolled around though, I was swamped, so Dr. S. suggested I write him an email at my convenience that detailed just what had been on my mind. Here’s what I sent over:

Dear Dr. S.,

I’m sorry to have cut our conversation short yesterday. A number of factors have converged recently to make my life hectic at the moment.

When I asked to talk to you, I just wanted to convey that you’d been in my thoughts — during more intimate moments, shall we say — over the week. It’s unusual for me to enjoy the time I spend with an online partner, let alone find myself fantasizing about him when I'm away from the computer. Specifically, I’ve been thinking of a particular scenario. I don’t mean to overstep my internet bounds and say I hope it will happen in real life. I only want to say that it’s something I’ve enjoyed imagining.

In this scenario, you come to San Francisco, possibly for a conference. We talk about it before you arrive, and we agree I’ll come to see you. You stay downtown in a large hotel. I have the place in mind, with a fancy interior atrium and a bar. We meet in the bar, which is sprawling and private at the same time: tall tables far apart from one another.

At first it’s awkward. We don’t quite know what to say to each other. Looking around, though, I work up the nerve to lean in closer, to put my hand on your leg. Within minutes we slip away from our table, leaving before our drinks even arrive, heading into a crowded elevator up to your room: a generic hotel setup with tan walls, a white queen size bed, and lots of light coming in through the windows. I push you playfully so you’re sitting on the edge of the bed, barely saying a word. Then I kneel down in front of you, unzip your pants, and wrap my lips around your cock.

From there, of course, things get a lot less awkward and a lot more comfy. Maybe we could think about the details together the next time we talk…


Is there a link between cybersex and depression?
Monday, November 10th
Filed under: Gripes, In the news, Professional concerns

This past week a number of sites have been buzzing with a report that having sex on the internet is directly linked to depression. Melbourne researchers have apparently found that, “People who visit online sex sites have ‘alarmingly high’ rates of depression, anxiety and stress,” reports an Australian website. The article, which has been bizarrely reprinted with only slight changes on a number of sites, starts off on a bad foot and goes downhill from there. As an explanation for why its subjects were male, the researchers claim:

This is because the people searching for online sexual thrills are overwhelmingly male and the quest for a female who will engage in the practice is a bit like searching for the holy grail.

Real nice. The article goes on to state that of the thousands of men included in the survey

Most spend more than 12 hours on the sites each week mostly chatting, participating in cyber sex with webcams, downloading video and images, or sending erotic emails.

Okay, so right off the bat we’re talking about a very specific subset of people who engage with sexual material online — specifically those who do it for more than 12 hours a week. What did the study find?

More than 27 percent of them were moderate to severely depressed on the standard scales. Another 30 percent had high levels of anxiety and 35 per cent were moderately to severely stressed. Apparently the more they engaged in online sexual activity, the higher their level of depression and anxiety was.

A number of issues here: as Boinkology points out, what are we counting as “cybersex”? As Ars Technica points out, what are we calling cause and effect? And as I’d like to point out, where exactly did these subjects come from?

It seems clear to me that if you specifically select men who are online looking for some manner of sex for that many hours a week, it’s very possible you’ve left the realm of “normal” internet use. Now you’re talking about a connection between depression and internet porn addiction. I know that sounds a lot more obvious and a lot less controversial, news outlets, but cybersex enthusiasts such as myself would appreciate if you didn’t trample our good name. Fine, we don’t really have a good name, but that makes it all the more important not to slander what tiny credibility we have.

My professor is only six years older than me?!
Tuesday, November 11th
Filed under: Boy/girl toy follow-ups, Observations, Real world wake-ups

I was talking to Dr. S. yesterday — do I talk to any other cybersex partners these day? Jeezie, Bonnie, how much more obvious could it be that you have a crush? — when I got the urge for some mild stalking, i.e. seeing if he had any new photos up on Facebook. It hadn’t even occurred to me to look up his birthday before. I knew he had recently finished his degree and started teaching, so I figured he was in his early thirties, putting a decade between us at least. How old is he actually? 29. 29? I’ve dated guys who are 29. That’s not old. That’s just… normal.

Finding out Dr. S.’s age has had two interesting effects on me: 1) I’m now a lot more aware that the scenes we act out — in which he has the clear authority and I’m the young upstart student — are hot, but contrived. He may really be sitting in his office and I may really have only graduated last year, but if we met in real life we’d look more like a normal, twenty-something couple than a professor and student.

2) I actually feel a sense of rivalry with Dr. S. now. Over the last few months, I’ve been applying to grad school with the hope of getting a PhD and becoming a professor myself. It’s a competitive market — not just for getting into school, but also for getting a professorship. Instead of seeing Dr. S. as a sexy representation of life in academia, these days I’m seeing him as someone to compete with: someone who received a PhD almost exactly like the one I want, someone who took one more job off the market. Yes, it’s a strange reaction, but yes, it’s a stressful time.

When I mentioned to my professor how surprised I was at his age, he turned into that vulnerable, post-coital partner that’s been melting my squishy internet heart. “I hope you’re not too disappointed,” he said. “And I hope we can keep seeing each other. Already I’ve grown really attached to you.” No worries, Dr. S., I’m rather fond of you, too.

To reach The Clickable Clit, write to bonnie [at] heroine-sheik [dot] com—or follow her exploits in detail throughout the week at her cybersex blog, Cybersexy, where you'll also find full versions of all the cybersex transcripts you read here.

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