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Pornography Use

Pornography Use

Hobby or Habit, Dependence or Addiction?

Clinical psychologist Dr. Gary Brooks has identified five principal symptoms of a "pervasive disorder" linked to consumption of even soft-core pornography like Playboy or Penthouse: (1)

  • Voyeurism - An obsession with visual stimulation trivializes all other mature features of a healthy psychological relationship.
  • Objectification - An attitude where women are rated by size, shape and harmony of body parts.
  • Validation - Men who never come close to sex with their dream woman feel cheated or unmanly.
  • Trophyism - Women become the property of the man as a symbol of accomplishment and worthiness.
  • Fear of true intimacy - Preoccupation with sexuality handicaps the capacity for emotional or non-sexual intimacy.

Not all men are equally vulnerable to habitual porn use. For some men, however, Dr. Victor Cline, a clinical psychologist at the University of Utah, identified four stages of viewing pornography following initial exposure. They are: (2)

  • Addiction - The desire and need to keep coming back for pornographic images.
  • Escalation - The need for more explicit, rougher, and more deviant images for the same sexual effect.
  • Desensitization - Material once viewed as shocking or taboo is seen as acceptable or commonplace.
  • Acting out - The tendency to perform the behaviors viewed, including exhibitionism, sadistic/masochistic sex, group sex, rape, or sex with minor children.

Dr. Cline said that pornography "is the gateway drug to sexual addiction." (3)

  • In a study of 932 sex addicts, by Dr. Patrick Carnes, 90% of the men and 77% of the women indicated that pornography played a significant role in their addiction. (4)

Sources:

1 Brooks, G. R. ( ). The Centerfold Syndrome.

2 Cline, V. (1988). Pornography effects: Empirical and clinical evidence. University of Utah Department of Psychology.

3 Ibid.

4 Carnes, P. (1991). Don't Call It Love: Recovery from Sexual Addictions. New York: Bantam.

APA Reference
Writer, H. (2009, January 7). Pornography Use, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/sex/sexual-addiction/pornography-use

Last Updated: June 29, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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