Pornography addiction doesn't exist, research says, but that's not the whole story | Deseret News National
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Pornography addiction doesn't exist, research says, but that's not the whole story

A new study suggests that pornography addiction isn’t actually a real thing. The study, published in Current Sex Health Reports, said that pornography doesn’t create an addiction and that those who try and cure an alleged addiction aren’t actually doing anything for you, The Wire said.

“So fear not — if you catch yourself watching porn more than once in your life, you don’t actually have an addiction,” The Wire said. “In fact, you might just be a normal human being.”

But that's not the entire story. Researchers, men, women and children have all shown pornography's addicting effects and the destruction it causes to lives and relationships.

A study by Cambridge University found that brain activities seen in alcoholics and drug abusers were similar to those found in compulsive pornography users, The Independent reported.

“When an alcoholic sees an ad for a drink, their brain will light up in a certain way and they will be stimulated in a certain way," said Dr. Valerie Voon, according to The Independent. "We are seeing this same kind of activity in users of pornography.”

And a 2013 study at the University of Sydney said pornography addiction was on the rise. About 47 percent of the surveyed people said they watched pornography from 30 minutes to three hours every day, and that they “had severe social and relationship problems and had often lost their jobs or been in trouble with the law as a result of their addiction. Some users escalated their viewing to more extreme and often illegal material,” according to the study.

Pornography's addicting effects can severely impact lives. Deseret News published an article last July that looked at a couple who was trying to recover from the pitfalls of pornography addiction. And last month, teens told Deseret News that they were struggling to find help with pornography addiction, and some teens can’t open up about it.

“Not every adolescent who struggles with pornography will need something as drastic as a stay in an inpatient treatment center, and even if they did, the huge price tag is prohibitive for many,” said the article. “For other teens, the struggle is still so private and hidden that the thought of opening up and asking for help is an impossible obstacle. Access to funding to begin an online treatment program is out of the question.”

At the University of North Carolina, a group, called “Porn Nation,” is looking to battle back against the pornography industry and its harmful effects, according to The Daily Tarheel. At an event last week, 41-year-old Michael Leahy revealed the troubles he had with pornography after first seeing an image of it when he was 11, the article said.

“For the next 30 years, he became more and more engrossed in the material, until his obsession destroyed his first marriage, finally giving him a much-needed wake-up call,” the article said.

His wife, Christine Leahy, said she found huge issues with pornography, too.

“While she never found herself attracted to porn, the men she engaged in relationships with did,” The Daily Tarheel said. “She said the dangerous effects of watching porn, like treating women as objects, came out of those relationships.”

Nationally recognized organizations have commented on the negative impact of pornography, too. Oprah.com unveiled the negative side effects of porn, calling it a “drug that leads to addiction.”

"It gives you a hit, it gives you a high that cannot be sustained unless you have massive exposure to it," Rabbi Shmuley said to oprah.com.

And the Christian Research Institute said that pornography is harmful to human beings in general.

“Pornography creates a world today where the consumer (usually men) has the ability to bring up at their whim graphic (and sometimes interactive) depictions of nudity and sexual encounters,” said CRI. “Women are perpetually available for their pleasure with minimal immediate consequences. People become disposable.”

And pornography, according to an article by National Review, is killing sex and making it less of a human and loving experience.

“As porn becomes less of a substitute for sexual relationships and more of an end unto itself, we are entering an era in which sex is, at least for some section of the population, post-human.”

Newsplex recently reported that a group, Fight the New Drug, is striking against porn addiction by compiling organizers to unveil the dark nature of pornography, which remains hidden behind the curtain.

“Porn is usually harder to get off of than crack or meth. Porn is an image that can stay in you,” said Elisha Rogers, a 12-year-old member of FTND, a group striking out against pornography.

“Once you see it once and you’re addicted," she told Newsplex. "You keep that seeing that image in your head."

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com Twitter: @hscribner