Sometimes, people turn to pornography for a bit of excitement in their lives. At the time, it may seem like a casual, non-detrimental event in which to partake. But in truth, there is so much more to pornography than what appears on computer screens, in magazines, or on television.
The reality of porn subsists in the lives of those who rely on it for satisfaction, pleasure, and motivation. This dependence can have a crippling effect on some people, radically damaging their personal and professional lives; for some men, pornography addiction is a destructive reality.
There has been much debate among psychologists and experts about the classification of porn addiction, but no one can argue that it isn’t a true occurrence. Although porn addiction hasn’t been officially classified as a disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (i.e. the people who decide what can be called a disorder), there is evidence that pornography plays a massive role in the lives of young people, particularly men.
What is Porn Addiction?
The University of New Hampshire recently conducted a study where it asked nearly 600 students about exposure to online pornography. About 73% of participants had viewed online pornography before the age of 18, with males both more likely and more often viewing porn than females (93% of all males had viewed pornography).
A 2011 poll by Gallup showed that 42% of individuals between the ages of 18 to 34 believed porn is morally acceptable; the number was 19% for those 55 and older. Essentially, it seems that pornography and the subsequent addiction that sometimes results from viewing it are a problem of the younger generation.
One of the first things to understand is that it’s not the same as sex addiction, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t as serious as other addictions. Here, the addiction is a “recurring compulsion” to view pornography. Physical symptoms include dry and irritated eyes, back and neck aches, and trouble sleeping, all of which are primarily due to spending long lengths of time on the computer. In most cases, addicts are unable to function without getting their fix, with all other obligations taking a back seat.
This dependence on pornography can cause strain on relationships, both personal and professional, and cause stress for the addict, increasing the risk of an array of health problems.
Logically, seventy and eighty year-old grandpas are generally not the ones who experience porn addiction; instead, it’s younger people who are more in-tune with technology (computers, tablets, and mobile phones) who are most likely to develop dependence. Many addictions in young people begin between the ages of 14 and 17, with recent studies showing that 70% of men (30% of women) confess to viewing porn online.
Regardless of age, porn can distract men from their familial and professional duties if viewed recklessly. Relationships may collapse, quality of work at jobs and school may decrease, and overall physical and mental health can decline. Uncontrolled viewing can propagate issues that are already present in men’s lives, leaving them disheartened and lost.
Technology and Porn Addiction
Unmistakably, the most obvious reason for the recent increase in porn addiction is technology. Before the internet was born, pornography was only available in print form (magazines) and for television (VHS and DVDs). But the birth of the internet allowed for a completely new venue of expansion for the porn industry.
Eventually, pornography was no longer exclusively accessed by going to an adult film or book store; instead, it became widely accessible online, available to billions of people – often without payment – with just the click of a button. Young people have embraced technology, thus increasing the platforms by which porn can be accessed, and increasing the likelihood of porn dependence.
Today, technology plays a major role in our lives, supporting our service and information economy and boosting global economic stimulus. Of course, reliance on computers is partially to blame for pornography addiction; that is, if computers and other devices weren’t so pertinent to our society, then the pornography industry would be relegated to a smaller sector of media and, ultimately, a smaller component of our lives. However, our reliance on technology isn’t in-sync with this idea, so the rate of porn addiction has been amplified.
Fortunately, a few treatments for pornography dependence exist. The most traditional approach is a twelve step program, similar to those of alcohol or drug recovery programs, where addicts endure several steps toward porn sobriety. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and the emotional freedom technique (EFT) are two alternative treatments, both of which involve the interruption and dismissal of desires to view porn. Inevitably, the step toward recovery begins with the acceptance of addiction.
Ultimately, pornography is two-sided. Either it can be viewed with leisurely discretion, as millions of individuals already do, or it can manifest itself into a matter of dependence. The reliance on pornography for the explicit purpose of achieving satisfaction that cannot be reached by normal, non-detrimental means is parallel to traditional addictions such as those to drugs, alcohol, fast food, or gambling.
If pornography begins to harm one’s relationships with loved ones, as well as diminish the quality of one’s work, then it has become an issue that needs to be mitigated. In the end, if you find yourself spending hours-on-end typing and clicking away at a computer screen in order to satiate your thirst for pleasure, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your priorities. Instead, try reading a book or a magazine…preferably one that doesn’t have pictures of naked people.