Hooked on a feeling… –  

August 9, 2020 – Ms. McConkey said the prevalence of people going out and having sex with strangers had decreased during the pandemic because of fear of the coronavirus, though it still happened.

Mark Cross, a psychiatrist who works in private practice in Cremorne and Campbelltown, said it made sense that more people would present for help.

“The overarching need to survive COVID and not put themselves at risk would be a strong reinforcement,” Dr Cross said. “There would also be the issue of there being less opportunity for meeting or hook-ups.”

Dr Cross said he had some patients with high sex drives who usually met sexual partners through apps but they had turned to porn instead. He treated a number of gay patients who had lived through the HIV epidemic and altered their behaviour significantly as a result.

Alyssa Lalor, the program director at South Pacific Private on the northern beaches, said there had been a “significant increase” in referrals for sex addiction since the start of the pandemic.

“It may be because everything’s online now – everything is via Zoom and everything is computer based and one of those common ways with sex addiction that someone would act out would be using pornography or using apps or using a computer,” she said.

Ms Lalor said compulsive pornography consumption was one of the main problems people with sex addiction wanted help to manage, followed by using prostitutes.

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