Are Sex and Porn Addictive?

Nov 29, 2013
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The cry “save kids from addictive porn” has resounded through Britain of late, part of the argument for restricting pornography access. The idea sounds sensible, at least at first. Like drugs or alcohol, porn (and sex in general) can feel really good. So, it seems to make intuitive sense that sex could be addictive in similar ways. Unfortunately, the idea of sex and porn addiction is merely an expression of human fears of sexuality, and is a concept which reflects the manipulative power of pop psychology and moral panics.

FireShot Screen Capture #420 - 'Are Sex and Porn Addictive_ I Sex & Censorship' - sexandcensorship_org_2013_11_sex-porn-addictive-david-ley

The idea of sex addiction first sprang into the American consciousness in the early 1980’s, when Patrick Carnes, a prison psychologist, first published a book where he related sexual behavior problems to the problems of alcoholics. He advocated for the use of 12-step treatments, like what is used in Alcoholics Anonymous. Carnes’ ideas caught fire and spawned an enormous industry in the United States, tapping into tremendous fears of sexuality, particularly aspects of male sexuality.

The idea of sex addiction took root in fertile soil, which had been fertilized by centuries of fear and sexual suppression. The ideas that masturbation itself could be unhealthy can be traced back centuries to European physicians, who argued that masturbation depleted men of crucial energy. We now understand that many of the problems blamed on masturbation and excessive sexuality, from mental health problems or blindness, were actually the result of untreated sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis or gonorrhea.

But, for hundreds of years, physicians advocated against the dangers of too much sex or too much masturbation. Kellog’s cornflakes and Graham crackers were originally invented to be bland foods that wouldn’t “stimulate” physical passions or lead to sexual arousal. Throughout history, societies go through periods of changing attitudes towards sex, from more liberal “free love” attitudes towards conservative times when sexual expression is restricted. Fear-based ideas such as sex addiction or nymphomania arise in times and societies that are attempting to suppress or control sexuality. Sadly, the medical field has often been an instrument of this control.

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Dakine
Dakine
6 years ago

If someone thinks they can sell you a pill to “cure it” it’ll be called addictive. Is porn addictive? No. I watch a lot of it and am only mildly insane.

ernestgreene
ernestgreene
6 years ago

I hate the abuse of the word “addictive” which has a specific medical meaning and shouldn’t be randomly applied to any compulsive behavior someone else doesn’t approve of. Addiction is physical dependency. Look it up at the CDC website if you don’t happen to already know this fact. Show me someone sweating, shitting and puking on the floor because they can’t get their porn fix and maybe I’ll cut some slack here, but the cheapening of that word to cover everything that might be considered objectionable debases the suffering of real addicts and lends undue credibility to hacks and quacks… Read more »

Michael Whiteacre
Michael Whiteacre
6 years ago
Reply to  ernestgreene

The word “addictive” is being thrown just like the word “trafficking.”

crunkleschwitz
crunkleschwitz
6 years ago

I have to disagree a little, Mr. Ernest. I tried to save up for a BJ owed to me by a former lover, bitch was holding out. I didn’t cum for about 10 days and I was having all sorts of issues. Short temper, clouded thoughts, thoughts of violence, sensitive testicles, possibly prostate issues if frequent urination is involved, as the commercials say. After I blew a huge load into her throat (she semi gagged and blew jizz out of her nose, I think that is called an Angry Dragon) I have been back to cleaning the pipes a minimum… Read more »

Dakine
Dakine
6 years ago

I tried that shit. I didn’t cum for a month and then when I was banging this hot chick I fucking covered her. It was fucking awesome. Self discipline has its benefits.

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