Porn Addiction vs. Porn Consumption
I want to talk about porn addiction vs. porn consumption. In my experience, porn addiction is a highly complex and massively misunderstood behavioral addiction that can affect even the most unsuspecting individuals. Some might say that looking at pornography even one time will make you an addict, while others insinuate that watching porn is perfectly normal and socially acceptable. So which one is it? If you ask me, both of these answers contain some aspect of truth. Porn addiction can easily start after just one encounter, however, for a lot of people, porn consumption (maybe even porn addiction) is completely normal depending on your gender, social circle, religion, and more.
My Experience with Pornography Addiction and Consumption
My unhealthy use of sex started when I was in high school, however, I didn't consume pornography in a compulsive manner until my early 20s. Even in my active addiction, I was completely confused by the concept of sex and pornography addiction because there are so many mixed messages out there. My blatant ignorance led to even more foolish choices in my addiction journey and definitely held me back from seeking out help or support.
I heard the paraphrased quote in a recovery meeting one time and it's stuck with me for years now. A man in long-term recovery stated that he wasn't sure if he was born an addict but he knew with certainty that an addict was born the first day he took a sip of alcohol. I feel very similar regarding my experience with pornography.
I can't say for sure if I was biologically wired to become an addict, but it honestly felt like something in my brain shifted the first time I consumed pornography. My unhealthy dependence on sex was always present, but it didn't feel nearly as amplified until I fell headfirst into the world of pornography.
Is Porn Addiction Inevitable?
Even though my addiction felt completely out of control right from the start, I can also recognize that not everyone has the same experience. Some people can actually consume pornography without letting it control their life.
As I've said before, addiction can be just about anything that provides relief or pleasure, specifically things that are craved despite negative life consequences. So I would venture to say that pornography can be addicting in the same way alcohol can be. For some individuals, alcohol is like poison to their lives and even one taste can make them rethink everything. However, there are others who can drink a glass of wine every night at dinner for 20 years and never once fall into addictive patterns or behaviors
Every single person is different. From our genetic background to our personal childhood traumas and general life experiences, there isn't one set pathway or single predictor of addiction.
Ultimately, I don't believe that every individual who consumes pornography is a porn addict, however, I do believe that the potential is always there. Nearly any behavior or activity can become addicting if we aren't continually monitoring our motives and intentions.
Final Thoughts on Pornography Addiction
I have identified as a porn addict for many years now and even with my growing knowledge of this disease, I still feel continually perplexed by the concept of pornography addiction and the stigma that follows it. Most people would likely be surprised (or possibly uncomfortable) that a happily married woman could speak so freely on a topic that often contains so much shame and disgust.
A lot of people have opinions on both pornography and pornography addiction, but unless you've experienced this addictive monster firsthand it's rather difficult for me to take your opinion too seriously. I've encountered nearly every reaction from friends, family, and strangers alike and, sadly, the general consensus is that people wish to shame and belittle those who suffer from this specific behavioral addiction.
So no matter how you feel about pornography (or the addiction to it) I strongly encourage you to seek scientific truth and complete compassion if someone discloses his or her addiction to you. This addiction is real and it is so powerful. Nobody wants to fight through this alone. Be kind always and remember that addiction can happen to anyone.
Are you a porn addict or porn consumer? In your opinion, what were (or would be) the red flags that lead to addiction? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Richardson, A. (2020, January 9). Porn Addiction vs. Porn Consumption, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/debunkingaddiction/2020/1/porn-addiction-vs-porn-consumption
Author: Amanda Richardson
As extremists usually do, they cherry-pick extreme examples. One of the least honest examples I heard was from a happy clapper who showed Ted Bundy's last interview, suggesting that porn addiction to lead to violent sex crime as sure as Wednesday follows Tuesday. Absent from this sermon was a reference that the "good Christian home," Ted Bundy came from occurred later in life. He never knew who his real father was and there has been conjecture that his maternal grandfather, a violent man with a voracious appetite for pornography, was also his father.
Bundy said he found a pornographic magazine in a dumpster in his youth and that set him off. The difference is, Ted Bundy had no filter and lacked empathy.
One thing that I suspect can cause people to look at pornography and not become addicted and something that needs to be distinguished from addiction is, if a person has been in a sexual relationship, and it breaks down, it is not uncommon, nor is it something that should be pathologised, that the desire for sex remains. The culture of entitlement along with sexual sadism, can cause people to progress to rape. People must not, however, equate looking at some pornography for arousal while masturbating with addiction. If a person masturbates once or twice a week, or even once a day, while looking at pornography for ten minutes or half an hour, that should not be a problem. If, however, a person cannot carry out their daily activities, such as having a shower or completing tasks, as they need to go and masturbate, that is when it's a problem.
Thank you so much for your comment and insight! I definitely agree extremists will always find a way to make their argument valid. It's so interesting to me that porn addiction and consumption have been present in society for so many decades now, and yet, there still seems to be a severe lack of scientific research on this specific type of addiction. I hope in the coming years we can learn more about this complex problem and how it impacts people long-term. We still have a long way to go and much to learn!