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Pornography Use

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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.
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Not all men are equally vulnerable to habitual porn use. For some men, however, Dr. Victor Cline, 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.

next: Diagnosing and Treating Pornography Addiction