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Pornography a hot favourite of British!

Spending millions on sexual imagery and voyeurism has become a favourite pastime for men and women in UK.

india Updated: May 30, 2006 15:02 IST

Britain is increasingly witnessing record numbers of people - men and women - downloading pornographic material from the internet, spending millions on sexual imagery and voyeurism.

As many as 9 million men, almost 40 per cent of Britain's male population, used pornographic sites last year, compared with 2 million in 2000, according to Nielsen NetRatings, a leader in internet analysis.

Calling it Britain's first definitive portrait of the nation's consumption of pornography, The Independent reported that as per the research, women were among the fastest growing users of pornography on the internet, with a 30 per cent rise from just over 1 million to 1.4 million in the past 12 months.

"Until now, the extent of the use by Britons of internet pornography had not been accurately measured. But the new figures show that one in four men aged 25 to 49 have visited an adult website in the past month - a total of 2.5 million", the report said.

In 2005, Britain's censors reportedly cleared more hard-core sex films than movies rated 18, while relationship agencies reported that as many as 40 per cent of couples with problems believe pornography contributed to their difficulties.

Christine Lacey, a senior counsellor, said: "For many women, the reaction is exactly the same as if they discovered their partner is having an affair. They may not be having sex with someone else but the effect is the same if it is detrimental to their marriage."

According to the report, some specialists welcomed the figures on the ground that they showed Britons had a more liberated attitude towards sex.

However, others warned the search for graphic images of sex acts was contributing to relationship break-ups.

Phillip Hodson of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy warned that this new generation of "voyeurs" risk problems in their love lives.

"The internet has made sex-lazy men even sex-lazier where they get lost in their own world. It used to be said that men neglected foreplay, but now they are neglecting sex," he said.

The newspaper reported that the British porn industry is estimated to be worth about 1 billion pounds, compared with£20 billion worldwide and that British Internet surfers look up the word "porn" more than anyone in the English-speaking world.