There, among the HTML tags, is Polly's name - hidden by the black background when the page is displayed - listed twice in a roster of 100 books available online from Project Gutenberg, alongside the complete works of Shakespeare, , the score of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and President Clinton's first inaugural address.None of these edifying texts are available on the strictly cheesecake Erotic Delirium site, of course, but the presence of these popular titles on the site's front door is a magnet for the Net-crawling spiders that index the Web for search engines like Inference Find, Lycos, Alta Vista, and Hot Bot."That made me a little cranky," says Polly, with characteristic understatement."You don't use a search service to get 4,000 hits of bad information, but seven good ones.""Shakespeare can't speak up for himself," says Polly.If you've got a computer and Internet access, sexually explicit material is never more than a few clicks away."We suspect that those numbers will only increase over time," adds Al Cooper Ph D, clinical director of the San Jose center and one of the study's authors.He calls the obsessive pursuit of cybersex ''a major, undiagnosed health risk.
One of the hits that came up, Erotic Delirium, didn't look like the kind of Web site that the champion of "family-friendly Internetting" would extol.
"This site contains ADULT material" visitors to the page are advised, before plunging into Erotic Delirium's "sex clinic" and "medical school," proffering online "degrees" in gynecology and proctology.
Other than the warning, the initial page is black, which made the self-proclaimed "Net-mom" wonder why Inference Find had returned the page as a search result on her name - until she viewed the HTML source.
Heavy users, defined as those who spent more than 11 hours a week in cybersexual pursuits, also tended to pass up noninteractive web sites in favor of the interactive chat rooms, where researchers say the most potentially problematic exchanges take place.
Experts speculate that chat room junkies find the combination of social support and sexual fulfillment in these interactive forums to be an irresistible cocktail.