DEMYSTIFYING PORN ADDICTION: WHAT IS CLAIMING IT “MISFIT” FOR ADDICTION AND HIGH SEXUAL DESIRE?

Addictive behavior has characteristics of being compulsive, chronic, relapsing, and repetitive or continuous, irrespective of its adverse effects on daily living with long-term alterations in the brain. Addiction is a complex brain disorder and a mental illness. Medically, addiction resonates with pathological drugs and alcohol use. There are scientific classifications (DSM-V and ICD-11) as guides to diagnose and treat addiction disorders. A retired science teacher, Gary Wilson, strongly emphasized that internet porn has become “one of the fastest-moving, most global experiments ever unconsciously conducted” in his 2012 TED Talk on the Great Porn Experiment.


What is Known to Make Porn Addictive?

The addictive nature of porn can be understood from the explanations of the “vicious cycle of pornography” by Wilson. The life-long habitual porn-viewing creates high levels of stimulation resulting in brain rewiring, weakening day-to-day pleasures, and strengthening stimulations to porn. This behavioral pattern of excessive reward reinforcementreduces willpower, ascribing the quality of addiction to porn. Also, the perceived or experienced dependency” on pornography impairing normal daily functioning is commonly understood as “porn addiction.”

Why High-Frequency Porn Use May Be Not an Addiction?

Scientifically called Visual Sexual Stimuli (VSS), porn has been labeled “addictive” due to itshigh-frequency use”. But its media and clinical conceptual framework lacks a reliable and valid scientific research foundation with the rarity of the use of the addiction model. In other words, the limited research is flawed by poor experimental designs, limited methodological rigor, and lack of model specification.

Ley, a clinical psychologist in Albuquerque (a city in Mexico), found that the limited research on porn addiction has been documented by people representing a “lucrative industry” using their personal clinical experiences and anecdotes. He has identified many of the clinicians as self-identified porn addicts” providing porn-addiction treatment to those identifying themselves as porn addicts. In this regard, Self-Perceived Pornography Addiction (SPPA)” lends an individualistic rather than a scientific base to porn addiction with no clarity on its context.


Can Porn Addiction have Alternative Foundations?

Experts are shedding light on cultural factors (like gender, sexual orientation, libido, and desire for sensation associated with internal and external conflicts created by religiosity and desire discrepancy) providing a better conceptual background to supposed or self-identified porn addiction. Further weakening theclaimed endorsement of addiction” behind porn is the absence of its formal recognition as an addiction disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

How Porn Addiction is unrelated to the “Typical” High Sexual Desire?

Further demystifying porn addiction are research studies fabricating claims that sex and porn addicts have high sexual desire. These studies have raised concerns over normal sexual desire, erectile function, and sexual satisfaction in response to a partner. A 2007 study found that 50% of young men with an average age of 29 years couldn’t achieve arousal or erection with porn. Researchers found erectile dysfunction related to high levels of exposure to and experience with sexually explicit materials. A 2014 Cambridge University fMRI study discovered that porn addicts had a lower sexual desire and greater difficulty achieving erections. They were found to have greater cue-reactivity to porn. A 2015 Italian study on adolescents made an intriguing discovery that 16% of those who consume porn more than once a week reported abnormally low sexual desire relative to 0% in non-consumers.


Ethical and  transparent clinical practice is our utmost priority. Porn addiction is not yet recognized as an addiction disorder. In case of any “distress” or “disturbance” associated with porn or pornography, you may reach out to our addiction experts. 

https://www.manoshala.com/service-page/talk-to-us.


By

Stuti Jain, Psychologist/ Writer Manoshala

Reviewed by

Bhavya P, Counselling Psychologist Manoshala

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