It’s nearly as popular with women (24 per cent) as with men (30 per cent).
Of those who have had internet sex , most have done so with a partner (63 per cent); however one in five said they had masturbated via webcam with a stranger.
The involvement of older people also struck Trish Murphy, a psychotherapist and “People are using websites and apps much more now [and] I suspect the trend will increase,” comments Teresa Bergin, a psychosexual therapist.
“In a way, there is nothing radically different from using an app to meet up with someone or have a one-night stand than encountering them in a pub or nightclub.
“This is an extension of fantasy that the internet allows, as long as it does not create an alternative intimacy to the primary relationship or to having no relationship at all,” says Murphy.
Lesbians (33 per cent) and bisexual women (47 per cent) are far more likely than heterosexual women to have had cybersex, while gay men are the most likely to have done it at 61 per cent .
But there’s still the old-fashioned one-night stand, whether it’s an app that makes the introduction or not.
Attraction occurs initially by seeing the person and develops (or not) later through getting to know them.” It may not be the best approach to seeking a relationship, so you should be cautious, she adds, but the likelihood that people in “committed” relationships are using apps is probably the same as in real life too.“Sex” that occurs over the internet is also extremely popular, with 3,268 respondents (27 per cent) having engaged in sexual activity online (such as sex chat leading to masturbation).Dating in Ireland these days is about “hooking up” online; more often for men and bisexual women than for heterosexual women.Nearly one in four men who participated in The Irish Times sex survey, which was conducted on this month and received over 12,000 responses, are using dating apps to find casual sex, compared to just 8 per cent of women.
And older men (16 per cent of 50-64 year olds) are more likely to use them than older women (3 per cent.) “I think it’s great that 3 per cent of older women are using these sites for sexual hook-ups,” says Emily Power Smith, a sexologist.“That is definitely a sign that older people in general, and particularly women, are enjoying their sexuality in a more expressive way.” More sex/health education should be targeted at older people if they are to remain safe with casual sex, she adds.