No Such Thing as 'Porn Addiction,' Researchers Say

Feb 13, 2014 4:00 PM PST

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There is very little evidence, if any at all, to support purported negative side effects of "porn addiction," according to a new article published in Springer's "Current Sexual Health Reports."

The article — titled "The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the ‘Pornography Addiction’ Model," written by Drs. David Ley, Nicole Prause and Peter Finn and published by Springer Science+Business Media — further says that there is no sign that use of pornography is connected to erectile dysfunction, or that it causes any changes to the brains of users.

Also, according to the article, despite great furor over the effects of childhood exposure to pornography, the use of sexually explicit materials explains very little of the variance in adolescents' behaviors.

"Visual sexual stimuli may have a number of links to positive health outcomes, especially through its connection to orgasm," the researchers said in the report. "For example, visual sexual stimuli  could reduce sexual risk behaviors. In a longitudinal study, those who reported higher sexual sensation seeking engage in more risky sexual behaviors, and sexual sensation seeking is inversely related to visual sexual stimuli viewing.

"One possibility is that those with higher sexual sensation seeking use visual sexual stimuli at younger ages and broaden the content of their visual sexual stimuli when sexual partners are not available to them to engage in actual sexual risk behaviors.

"This is consistent with suggestions that masturbation, which almost always accompanies visual sexual stimuli viewing, could reduce risky partnered sexual behaviors. The potential risk in labeling visual sexual stimuli as only addictive, and the role of visual sexual stimuli in regulating emotions as inherently problematic, misses opportunities to take advantage of the positive features of visual sexual stimuli."

Critical about the lucrative practices surrounding the treatment of so-called porn addiction, the report further said that 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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