When most people admit that they are addicted to pornography, it would most probably be internet pornography, although all other types of pornography may be valid too. The progress of pornography addiction is extremely high with access to Internet. This is because Internet provides a huge amount of unlimited pornography, with varying levels of graphic content. Internet porn addiction reaches newer levels for an individual in a quick time. Before the individual could realize the changes on himself, he would be browsing at things he would have never expected.
Porn in every forms like movies, magazines and billboards produce negative effects on an individual. A sense of shock, shame and hopelessness develop within an individual which may require treatment or rehabilitation. The level of porn sought by an individual is always sequentially increased. As the addiction to porn is increased, higher level and more explicit levels of content are sought. As an individual views the porn content at a particular level for a certain amount of time, his body would gradually seek a higher and more extreme content.
The body wouldn’t be satisfied with the currently viewed content and demands more (NLH, 2007). Pornography viewing would always lead to sexually gratification acts like masturbation. Masturbation is only the start of self satisfaction, as a result of pornography viewing, from where it can get worse. Pornography is an addiction like drugs, however de-addiction from pornography is considered more difficult compared to drugs. Pornography addiction is closely associated with masturbation, which has its own physical and mental health effects.
The sexual organs are intended to bring pleasure when partners engage in acts of love making. However, when one is addicted to masturbation, there isn’t a bond of love with the partner, but only a bonding with ones own fantasies. Addiction to masturbation too generates sense of guilt and shame apart from making one feel unconfident in the presence of other people. Pornography and masturbation addictions only enhance and facilitate each other, and none can be stopped when the other is going steady. Even when porn is not viewed, masturbation would continue, by recollecting images stored in the head.
Even after a considerable amount time is spent without pornography, and with continued masturbation, one would feel a sense of reduced arousal. The individual then starts to seek porn again. The progressive nature of pornography was identified about 25 years back by Dr. Victor Cline who maintained that an addicted person’s needs are increased both in terms of frequency and in deviancy. It is estimated that about 3 to 6% of Americans are addicted to porn. Online pornography is a major cause of divorce, which was not associated with divorce until about seven to eight years back.
The justice department estimates that about 9 out of 10 children belonging to the age group of 8 to 16 have seen online pornography. Symantec, the software company has observed that about 47% of school children are recipients of daily pornographic spam (Weiss, 2005). The effects of pornography on children are evident from behavior scientist Ralph DiClemente’s observations that pornography develops to be a building block to a child’s emotional and mental development. The increasing influence of pornography on an individual is evident when an individual spends increasing amounts of time on porn content or seeks more extreme content material.
Such people would require associating pornography with their real sex life. They require pornography for stimulation when engaging in sexual acts. There are several signs associated with pornography addiction which indicate development of negative and problematic effects. Worrying that others would find out your pornographic interests, feeling a sense of guilt and shame after using pornography, thinking of pornography even when not using it, are among the negative effects of pornography.
With time, the use of pornography slips out of control and efforts to quit or limit pornography use would be unsuccessful (UTD, 2008). Addiction to pornography can result in neglect of responsibility or become less focused on your work or studies. Extreme use of pornography can also lead to emotional barriers with people you love and can also lead to loss of relationships. However, specialists involved in rehabilitation recommend changing routines and environments associated with pornography use and identifying the positive and negative consequences of using and avoiding pornography.
Successful rehabilitation also require spending lesser time being alone; and looking for newer ways of confronting feelings like anxiety, loneliness, anger, depression and boredom. Activities that facilitate relaxation, enjoyment and refreshment should be encouraged. Mary Anne Layden, the co-director of the Sexual Trauma and psychopathology program at the Cognitive Therapy Center of University of Pennsylvania says, “Porn is the most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today. The internet is a perfect drug delivery system because you are anonymous, aroused and have role models for these behaviors.
To have drug pumped into your house 24/7, free, and children know how to use it better than grown-ups know how to use it — it’s a perfect delivery system if we want to have a whole generation of young addicts who will never have the drug out of their mind. ” (Singel, 2004). Layden too feels that pornography addicts have a tougher time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts, as it is possible to get the drug out of the system for cocaine users, but it is impossible to remove pornographic images from the brain, where it would be embedded forever.
To highlight the dangers of porn addiction, researchers are asking the Congress to undertake studies on porn addiction and also initiate a public campaign on the issue. At a hearing organized by the Senator Sam Brownback, anti-porn activists emphasized that Internet pornography is enticing children and hooking adults, thereby ruining families and jobs (AP, 2004). A psychologist even claimed that continued and free acccess to pronography would induce an afinity for deviated acts like group sex, sadomasochistic practices and even beastality.
According to Virginia Tech professor, James Weaver, who is involved in studies on pornography impact, “We’re so afraid to talk about sex in our society that we really give carte blanche to the people who are producing this kind of material”. Weaver also pointed out that research on the impact of pornography on family and community life, is very limited. However, studies have shown that pornography addiction can lead to lowering of sexual satisfaction and loss of family values. Lost jobs, failed marriages and broken families are some of the effects attributed to Internet pornography.
Internet pornography is spreading at rapid pace and all are vulnerable to this addiction. People take to pornography for several reasons including an attempt to escape the realities of life by self medication or sexual appetite. By taking to such addictions, a sense of satisfaction is obtained through the production and release of chemical substances by the brain and the body. The chemicals released by the brain and body include epinephrine, adrenaline, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), noradrenaline, norepinephrine and testosterone.
Accessing pornography consistently would provide sexual arousal to the addict, such that when they are away from accessing porn for a considerable time, they suffer withdrawal symptoms (Tayder, 2006). These symptoms drive an addict desperately to seek porn, and the addict acts inappropriately to satisfy his needs. Sexual addiction or porn addiction may be defined as a condition in which any sexual behavior is associated with a recurring failure to control that behavior and its continued practice despite significant negative consequences (Goodman, 1998).
The hypersexual behaviors associated with porn addiction can occur due to organic pathology. With an estimated 420 million adult content adult web pages, gone are the days when store open hours and secure hiding spaces had limited an individual’s porn activity. People who like to be always hooked up, have more at the click of their mouse. However, some specialists do not agree with the use of the word ‘addiction’ with regard to porn, preferring to use the word ‘compulsion’ instead.
Although people would label themselves as porn addicts, based on outside inputs, the mental health professionals have no established standards to diagnose and calibrate porn addiction. Eric Janssen of the Kinsey Institute disapproves using the term ‘addiction’ for porn (Downs, 2005). He feels that treating them as addicts would not help them, in anyway. In this regard, Layden emphasizes that diagnosing problems like chronic gambling and substance abuse are similar to diagnoses of problematic porn use. Sex therapist Lounne Cole Weston attributes three main reasons as to why people take to pornography.
They would like to act on their fantasies, avoid intimacy or just to facilitate masturbation. Sometimes people take to porn to fill up the gaps in their own sex life. For instance a person who loves oral sex and has a partner who hates it, would like to look at pictures of oral sex. Weston adds, “Then there are the people who are too embarrassed to explain what it is that they really would like to participate in, so they go there secretively, never having revealed to their mate what they would like to try”. The probability of an individual getting hooked to pornography today is much more than at any point of time, earlier.
Both hard and soft pornography is much more graphic today. Adult films are easily accessible today like any other favorite film. Even music videos incorporate sex to increase their sales. TV programs now allow bikinis and semi nudes to appear freely. The sex scenes and chat shows which reveal all kinds of sexual perversions, only adds to the worsening climate on the status of porn. Just like the swim suits of today, which are more revealing, everything seems to be accepted without much complaining. During the 70s, the TV and films rarely showed people kissing.
It is sad that some parents too don’t seem to be bothered by the developments. They feel that as the kids are someday going to see this, sooner or later, why not allow them now. Pornography is an important factor associated with sexual violence. The FBI report identifies hard core pornography as a common interest among serial killers. About 87% of child molesters are hardcore pornography addicts. When eight year old Jessica DeLaTorre was abducted, raped and murdered, it was committed by a porn addict, who had viewed child pornography the previous night.
Many specialists agree that a very important ingredient in the development of a serial killer is fantasy. These gruesome killings are the results of such fantasies put into reality. This progress of fantasy into reality may be attributed to pornography. John Wayne Gacy had been a avid reader of homosexual magazines for which his second wife had divorced him. Pornography escalates the inner urge, which is present in all of us. This passion for sex is vastly accelerated by pornography, till the individual succumbs to satisfy that drive, without realizing what he is doing in the process.
The desire for sexual gratification is dominant in all males, however killers who have not experienced sufficient intimacy in their childhood, attempt to control rather than being intimate during their sexual acts, and they begin to physically harm. The serial killer from Florida, Ted Bunty, recalled just before his execution how early exposure to pornography led him along the murderous path. He said that although he was responsible for his actions, the messages in the pornography contributed to his killings. To overcome pornography addiction, one must have a strong desire to achieve.
A strong desire is important to prevent half hearted attempts producing little results. Along with a desire to change, one should also have a sense of commitment. The process of change requires commitment to the process, as the first step. There cannot be any program or instructions which can produce changes for you, when you are not committed to change. Avoid your low self-esteem from taking you back to addiction. Think positively and high of yourself, imagine yourself as a transformed new person. Understand the cause and effects phenomenon and realize that porn addiction is a syptom or effect and not the cause.
The cause are the reasons which urge one to indulge in pornography. It is important to identitfy the people and places associated with biggest temptations to view porn and be extra cautious when confronting these. Like any other personal developments, porn addiction change needs to be realized in small manageable goals. Therefore one should set targets like wont be viewing porn for a week, etc.. Realizing such small goals, would provide an early onfidence and momentum. It is also important and helps significantly if the environment is adjusted to suit the deaddiction like getting rid of internet if internet is the main cause of porn viewing.