Pornography Addiction

Background

Prior to the mid-1990’s pornography was largely available only through magazines or porn videos from adult book stores.  The advent of the internet and smart phones has introduced a virtual adult bookstore in nearly every home and every pocket. 

 

With the advent of internet pornography, pornography addiction has skyrocketed.  It is estimated that nearly every man will at some point come across pornography and that even in religious circles where pornography is shunned, many struggle with pornography addiction.  In nearly 100% of cases, masturbation will accompany pornography viewing and thus the two go hand in hand in this newly intensified form of sexual addiction. 

Pornography is any material that portrays sexual activity or another person’s body sexually.  Before the advent of the internet, pornography was largely unavailable to teenagers – and then it was often still images or photographs.  However, with the increase in availability and ease of access to internet pornography – young men are now being exposed to hard core videos of sex and sexual acts at younger and younger ages.  In fact, the majority of young men are first exposed to internet pornography between the ages of 8 and 11.  This often leads to curiosity which leads to repeated views.  As the young man begins passing through puberty and testosterone levels rise, libido or desire for sex often gets replaced with desire for pornography.  Pornography is perhaps one of the strongest stimulators of the addictive centers in the brain.  Viewing pornography, even a handful of times, can create addiction. 

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One study[i] found that the use of pornography is widespread.  It’s estimated that two-thirds (67%) of young men and young adult men view pornography at least monthly.  This is twice the rate of young women of the same age (33%).  In addition, nearly half of men (47%) age of 25 and older viewed pornography at least monthly – this is four times the rate as adult women (12%).  

This same study looked at frequency of seeking out pornography in people overall (higher numbers are mostly likely closer to rates in males on average).  The following rates of how often individuals sought out pornography:

[i] https://www.barna.com/research/porn-in-the-digital-age-new-research-reveals-10-trends/ (2/22/19)

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Religiousness (defined in this same study as practicing Christian men) did have an impact on the rates of pornography use with one-third of religious men and over half of non-religious men viewing porn once or more per month.

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Even though there are high rates of pornography viewing, there are also high rates of individuals who view porn that would like to stop.  Again, religiousness did have a large impact in these results:

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This same study found that only half of adults and one-third of teens and young adults feel that pornography is “bad”.  Furthermore, only one in ten teens and one in twenty young adults report that their peers think that viewing porn is bad.  So there is an overall acceptance of pornography viewing in society.

In the early stages, viewing pornography typically involves swimsuits or suggestive clothing rather than nudity.  In some cases, the pornography involves cartoons or sketches.  Video/internet pornography isn’t just visual – it often contains sound.  In addition, the porn “stars” typically act out a story line or sequence of sexual events that draws the viewer in to see what will happen next.  As pornography viewing progresses, the porn typically becomes more intense in order to provide the same psychological “high”.  Intensity is also increased through photo-shopping and creating expectations that are often unrealistic in healthy sexual relationships.  Furthermore, sexual behavior often deviates from heterosexual intercourse to homosexual encounters, sexual activity involving multiple individuals, and even violence/sexual abuse – all unconducive to a healthy sexual relationship in marriage.  In the end, what began as viewing swimsuits turns into nudity, then to viewing sexual actions, and beyond. 

 

[i] Peoples LL, Will, Anterior Cinculate Cortex, and Addiction, Science, 31May2002.  296(5573); 1623-4.

Images on this page from top to bottom include:

  1. GaudiLab/Shutterstock.com

  2. Original table

  3. Original table

  4. Original table