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Porn Addiction

The Effects of Porn Addiction

 


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The Effects of Porn Addiction

 

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Porn Addiction
by VICTOR B. CLINE, Ph.D.

STEP ONE: ADDICTION
The first change that happened was an addiction-effect. The porn-consumers got hooked. Once involved in pornographic materials, they kept coming back for more and still more. The material seemed to provide a very powerful sexual stimulant or aphrodisiac effect, followed by sexual release, most often through masturbation. The pornography provided very exciting and powerful imagery which they frequently recalled to mind and elaborated on in their fantasies.

Once addicted, they could not throw off their dependence on the material by themselves, despite many negative consequences such as divorce, loss of family, and problems with the law (such as sexual assault, harassment or abuse of fellow employees).

I also found, anecdotally, that many of my most intelligent male patients appeared to be most vulnerable .perhaps because they had a greater capacity to fantasize, which heightened the intensity of the experience and made them more susceptible to being conditioned into an addiction.

One of my patients was so deeply addicted that he could not stay away from pornography for 90 days, even for $1,000. It is difficult for non-addicts to comprehend the totally driven nature of a sex addict. When the "wave" hits them, nothing can stand in the way of getting what they want, whether that be pornography accompanied by masturbation, sex from a prostitute, molesting a child, or raping a woman. These men are consumed by their appetite, regardless of the cost or consequences. Their addiction virtually rules their lives.

SECOND STEP - ESCALATION
The second phase was an escalation-effect. With the passage of time, the addicted person required rougher, more explicit, more deviant, and "kinky" kinds of sexual material to get their "highs" and "sexual turn-ons." It was reminiscent of individuals afflicted with drug addictions. Over time there is nearly always an increasing need for more of the stimulant to get the same initial effect.

Being married or in a relationship with a willing sexual partner did not solve their problem. Their addiction and escalation were mainly due to the powerful sexual imagery in their minds, implanted there by the exposure to pornography.

I have had a number of couple-clients where the wife tearfully reported that her husband preferred to masturbate to pornography than to make love to her.


THIRD PHASE - DESENSITIZATION
The third phase was desensitization. Material (in books, magazines, or films/videos) which was originally perceived as shocking, taboo-breaking, illegal, repulsive, or immoral, in time came to be seen as acceptable and commonplace. The sexual activity depicted in the pornography (no matter how anti-social or deviant) became legitimized. There was an increasing sense that "everybody does it" and this gave them permission to also do it, even though the activity was possibly illegal and contrary to their previous moral beliefs and personal standards.


FOURTH PHASE - ACTING OUT SEXUALLY
The fourth phase was an increasing tendency to act out sexually the behaviors viewed in the pornography, including compulsive promiscuity, exhibitionism, group sex, voyeurism, frequenting massage parlors, having sex with minor children, rape, and inflicting pain on themselves or a partner during sex. This behavior frequently grew into a sexual addiction which they found themselves locked into and unable to change or reverse .no matter what the negative consequences were in their life.

Many examples of the negative effects of pornography-use come from the private or clinical practice of psychotherapists, physicians, counselors, attorneys, and ministers. Here we come face to face with real people who are in some kind of significant trouble or pain. One example from my practice might illustrate this.

I was asked to consult on a case where a Phoenix-Tucson area professional person, president of his firm and head of his church's committee on helping troubled children, was found to be a serial rapist who had violently raped a number of women at gun- or knife-point in the Arizona area. In doing the background study on him, I found him to come from an exemplary background and trouble-free childhood. He was an outstanding student in high school and college.

His wife, children, business and church associates had not the slightest inkling of his double life or dark side. The only significant negative factor in his life was an early adolescent addiction to pornography which, for the most part, was kept secret from others. This gradually escalated over a period of years, eventually leading to spending many hours and incurring great expense at "adult" bookstores, looking at violent video-porn movies and masturbating to these.

His first rape was triggered by seeing a close resemblance in the woman he assaulted to the leading character in a porn movie he had seen earlier in the day. Reality and fantasy had become extremely blurred for him as he acted out his pathological sexual fantasies.

In my clinical experience, however, the major consequence of being addicted to pornography is not the probability or possibility of committing a serious sex crime (though this can and does occur), but rather the disturbance of the fragile bonds of intimate family and marital relationships. This is where the most grievous pain, damage, and sorrow occur. There is repeatedly an interference with or even destruction of healthy love and sexual relationships with long-term bonded partners. If one asks if porn is responsible or causes any sex crimes, the answer is unequivocally, "Yes," but that is only the tip of the iceberg.


SEXUAL DEVIATIONS ARE LEARNED BEHAVIORS

The best evidence to date suggests that most or all sexual deviations are learned behaviors, usually through inadvertent or accidental conditioning. There is no convincing evidence to date, suggesting the hereditary transmission of any pathological sexual behavior pattern such as rape, incest, pedophilia, exhibitionism, or promiscuity.

As McGuire explains, as a man repeatedly masturbates to a vivid sexual fantasy as his exclusive outlet (introduced by a real life experience or possibly pornography), the pleasurable experiences endow the deviant fantasy (rape, molesting children, injuring one's partner while having sex, etc.) with increasing erotic value. The orgasm experienced then provides the critical reinforcing event for the conditioning of the fantasy preceding or accompanying the act. (McGuire, R.J., et al., "Sexual Deviation as Conditioned Behavior," Behavior Research and Therapy, 1965, vol 2, p. 185).

In my experience as a sexual therapist, any individual who regularly masturbates to pornography is at risk of becoming, in time, a sexual addict, as well as conditioning himself into having a sexual deviancy and/or disturbing a bonded relationship with a spouse or girlfriend. A frequent side effect is that it also dramatically reduces their capacity to love. Their sexual side becomes, in a sense, dehumanized. Many of them develop an "alien ego state" (or dark side), whose core is antisocial lust devoid of most values.

It makes no difference if one is an eminent physician, attorney, minister, athlete, corporate executive, college president, unskilled laborer, or an average 15-year-old boy. All can be conditioned into deviancy.

TREATMENT

The pornography trap is not an easy one from which to escape, but it is possible as those involved admit there is a problem, seek help, become informed, find support, and strive to improve the quality of their relationships and lives.

First the addict (and spouse, if they have one) should be treated together by a sexual addiction specialist.

Courtesy of: http://www.moralityinmedia.org


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Please note: The suggestions and advice offered on this web site are opinions only and are not to be used in the place of professional psychological counseling or medical advice. If you or someone close to you is currently in crisis or in an emergency situation, contact your local emergency 911 or a Counselor nearby
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