Pornography Addiction

porn addiction

Currently, there is no clear medical definition or diagnosis for pornography addiction. It straddles the line between full blown addictive behavior and a ‘bad habit’. Certainly, there are addiction-like symptoms:

  • An inability to lessen use despite a desire to do so.
  • A great deal of time is spent in viewing pornography.
  • It substitutes for other activities that are important.
  • Use is continued despite the knowledge that it is sociologically harmful.

Learn More About Pornography Addiction Symptoms and Treatment Options

The lack of proven physical withdrawal symptoms separates pornography away from a clear-cut addiction and puts it more in realm of an obsession. Tolerance, another characteristic of addiction, is controversial; some argue that frequent use of pornography does not lead to greater tolerance, while some argue that it does.

For people who self-diagnose as “porn addicts” the matter is clear. They spend more time than they would like on this activity – enough so that viewing pornography becomes a large part of their day. They also find that more is needed to obtain the same arousal; either more of a type or a more “depraved” type. For these people, pornography addiction is real. It can affect their relationships adversely and trap them in a cycle of pursuing a pointless, life-wasting activity.

Part of the confusion comes from use patterns. Just as not all consumers of alcohol are alcoholics, the majority of people who view pornography are not addicted to it. For most, it is a form of entertainment that includes masturbation. It is then used to fill time that would otherwise be free, instead of demanding time like a classic addiction.

Online Porn

Pornography addiction is a consequence of the rise of the Internet. The availability of powerful images in a never-ending variety with little cost gives the means. The motivation is biological – tapping into one of our most powerful drives. The harm is most often seen when “normal” relationships are affected. In this, pornography addiction mirrors sex addiction in general. It is still disputed that one leads to the other. It may be they are two sides of the same coin.

It has never been shown conclusively that pornography leads to criminal sexual behavior or perversion. There is evidence on both sides of the question. It appears that those who seek sexual images that depict illegal acts are either exploring fantasies (and wish them to remain so) or already have an inclination to commit a crime. Some argue that viewing the activity in a harmless and private way lessens their need to act in the real world; others argue it is simply one step on a progression toward overt criminal behavior.

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