The world famous Kinsey Institute at Indiana University conducted an interesting poll earlier this year, aimed at learning more about the type of American who uses sex tech. Questioning over 8,000 adults, the survey found that the lonely are not more likely to use sex tech, but that the anxious or depressed are. This contradicts the assumptions of many that sex tech users, including ‘digisexuals’, are not using sex tech as a ‘last resort’ substitute for ‘real partners’, but instead are using it to bolster their mental health. They use sex tech, not because they are lonely, but it makes them feel good about themselves. One other sex tech stereotype is somewhat confirmed, however. Gay and bisexual participants were found to be more likely to use sex tech than straight heterosexuals – 83% compared to 61%.
The study found that overall, 79 per cent of men and 51 per cent of women polled had used some form of sex tech. The most common ‘sex techss’ used were, as would be expected, what the coiners of the term ‘digisexual’ McArthur and Markie referred to as the first wave of digisexual technologies. These included sexting (30% of respondents claimed to have engaged in this) and watching webcam streams (18%). Perhaps surprisingly is the high number of people who claimed to have experienced second wave technologies, such as VR Porn at 11%, and teledildonics at 9% of those polled.
According to the UK tabloid the Daily Mail :
The team found that participants who reported greater levels of anxiety or depression tended to report using sextech more.
While this trend held true for men of all sexual orientations, the team noted that depression was not significantly associated with sextech use in bisexual and lesbian women, while anxiety was not linked to sextech use among heterosexual women.
In contrast, the researchers found that people who felt lonely were less likely, not more, to engage with sextech.
How should we interepret these results? I would assume that the link between ‘depressed’ and ‘anxious’ people getting a boost from sex tech, is most likely explained by their mental health being affected by unhappy or unsatisfying relationships. In combination with the finding that lonely heterosexual men are LESS likely to use sex tech, it does seem to suggest that ‘digisexuality’ is indeed a choice, a preference for sex tech that provides a satisfaction they find lacking in face to face human relationships. The lonely are lonely because they can’t find a ‘real’ partner. Digisexuals are digisexuals because that is who they are.
The study was published in August of this year in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.