porn, the phantom menace, part two

Is there really such a thing as porn addiction or are we just being fed bad data from an extremely biased group of subject?

come hither stare

In the past, I’ve tackled a number of topics about sex and sexuality from abstinence-only sex education, to the use of adult entertainment as a handy villain for aspiring conservative politicians. However, one point that I’ve yet to address is a very common and misleading term in the arsenal of morality crusaders. Porn addiction. It’s a real problem being misused by opponents of the adult film industry to cast their products in the same light as drugs and legal vices that usually exist in a judicial gray zone, legal only under very restrictive conditions or only in certain places due to pressure from highly opinionated interest groups. But how bad is it? Is it true that pornography is more addictive than crack cocaine and can drive people crazy?

Short answer? There’s absolutely no factual basis behind these ideas and those espousing them usually base their statements on personal opinions or cherry-picked anecdotal examples, not on an actual body of peer-reviewed work. To be fair, we do have to note that few studies dealing with human sexuality get funded unless they have some direct relationship with HIV or AIDS. Figuring out how adult films can trigger some sort of addiction or if the addiction is a sign of the person’s existing predisposition to go overboard with anything pleasurable, just isn’t a high priority for agencies that give out research grants. And that alone might give us a hint that the problem isn’t nearly as bad as we’re told.

Unfortunately for us, almost anything we enjoy could become addictive. From alcohol, to tanning, to shopping, whatever stimulates our pleasure centers can be done in excess and eventually become an addiction in the clinical sense of the word. When someone is truly addicted, it means that the compulsion to do something is so strong, there is no choice but to do it, even if he needs to work, sleep or return an urgent phone call. Classifying addiction isn’t an easy task which is why it’s done by experts who monitor patients over a long period of time. This is why we have to take to take the claims of surging addiction rates presented by squads of moral crusaders with a heavy pinch of salt. Rather than refer to professionals with PhDs in psychology, they tend to self-diagnose suspected addicts and parade them as casualties of the embodiment of carnal evil that is adult entertainment.

Let’s keep in mind that morality groups view the act of watching porn itself as a terribly, horribly wrong. So for them, anyone who watches porn on a regular basis, even casually and only when it doesn’t interfere with the demands of the outside world, is a strong candidate for addiction. Coupled with the accusations that porn is the main culprit of rape, homosexuality, divorce, sexism, pedophilia, teen pregnancy, STDs as well as snow storms, hurricanes and type Ia supernovae frequently recited at events that present all human sexuality as filthy and immoral while denigrating contraception, the morality crusaders’ wildly unreasonable and ill-informed standards are designed to create a sense of crushing guilt and encourage false confessions of porn and sexual addiction. For groups that don’t understand moderation and are vehemently hostile to any expression of sexuality with which they don’t personally agree, it’s impossible to accurately diagnose porn addiction and all their claims have to be held as highly suspect and overstated.

# sex // adult entertainment / adult films / porn addiction / pornography


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