The Emperor Has No Clothes…A Review of the Pornography Addiction Model. Researchers are not impressed by claims of porn ‘addiction’

Posted: 15 February, 2014 in US News
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Read more Sex Aware at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from link.springer.com by David Ley, Nicole Prause, Peter Finn
See article from nerve.com

current sexual health reports Abstract

The addiction model is rarely used to describe high-frequency use of visual sexual stimuli (VSS) in research, yet common in media and clinical practice.

The theory and research behind pornography addiction is hindered by poor experimental designs, limited methodological rigor, and lack of model specification.

The history and limitations of addiction models are reviewed, including how VSS fails to meet standards of addiction. These include how VSS use can reduce health-risk behaviors. Proposed negative effects, including erectile problems, difficulty regulating sexual feelings, and neuroadaptations are discussed as non-pathological evidence of learning.

Individuals reporting addictive use of VSS could be better conceptualized by considering issues such as gender, sexual orientation, libido, desire for sensation, with internal and external conflicts influenced by religiosity and desire discrepancy.

Since a large, lucrative industry has promised treatments for pornography addiction despite this poor evidence, scientific psychologists are called to declare the emperor (treatment industry) has no clothes (supporting evidence). When faced with such complaints, clinicians are encouraged to address behaviors without conjuring addiction labels.

Nerve reports further

Dr. David Ley, author of a new study in the Current Sexual Health Reports, says that slapping the label of porn addict on net smut enthusiasts is not only missing the point, but ignoring the benefits of watching porn. Ley contends that fewer than two in every five research articles about high frequency sexual behavior describe it as being an addiction, and furthermore, a limiting 27 percent of articles on porn addiction actually contain any empirical data. In fact, in studies, there’s been no evidence of any of the commonly hyped life-crushing negative effects of porn addiction, like erectile dysfunction and brain rewiring.

When we pathologize common sexual behaviors, even if they seem compulsive, we’re also stigmatizing them. Frequently watching porn, even up to five hours a week, maybe could cause a mean case of carpal tunnel and near-sightedness, but it also increases positive attitudes towards sex, increases frequency of sex, decreases rates of sex crimes, and fosters open dialogues of sexuality between couples.

Statistically, people most likely to hop on the porn addict train are usually male, have a non-heterosexual orientation, have high libidos, and have religious values that conflict with their compulsions. Meaning: we like to diagnose things that run counter to our carefully constructed social and family values, when maybe, masturbating frequently is perfectly normal. Watching porn isn’t accepted in every circle, so it became quite easy to call the behaviors of everyone — from the helpless, to the hyper horny, to the completely ordinary — an illness.

Porn addiction is also a business. The highly profitable conversation surrounding porn addiction is worrisome to Dr. Ley, who claims, we need better methods to help people who struggle with the high frequency use of visual sexual stimuli, without pathologizing them or their use thereof…Rather than helping patients who may struggle to control viewing images of a sexual nature, the ‘porn addiction’ concept instead seems to feed an industry with secondary gain from the acceptance of the idea.

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