Are You a Porn Addict? Or Do You Just Hate Yourself For Beating Off So Much?

Addiction 2, Computer
A new study recently came out that supposedly sheds some light on the issue of porn addiction. Unless you have been living in complete isolation, porn addiction is rather a hot topic right now. With Josh Duggar copping to being a porn addict in the wake of the Ashley Madison scandal, debate on whether or not porn addiction is real has been more prevalent than usual.

Of course, a lot of the problem is the word “addict” in the first place in this context. As a sex addict, who has been to rehab, I have heard many times how sex addiction doesn’t exist. To a degree, I understand that. It certainly is hard to wrap one’s head around the idea that one could be addicted to beating off while staring at a screen, or in my case, to manipulating women and having sex with multiple partners.

According to the study, while one may feel he or she has an addiction to porn, that isn’t the issue at all. What is really happening is that the so-called porn addict just feels like he is addicted to porn, which then causes him to be anxious and distressed psychologically. So, in essence, it isn’t the porn itself, it is that the person feels so badly about himself because he watches porn that is the problem.

The study was published in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Roughly 2,000 adults were surveyed about their pornography use. They were also surveyed about whether they felt that their use constituted addictive behavior, as well as their anxiety and mental distress about their use. The researchers stated, “Collectively, these findings suggest that perceived addiction to Internet pornography, but not pornography use itself, is uniquely related to the experience of psychological distress.”

Of course, this has far reaching implications, not just for porn addiction, but for all types of addiction. “Hey man, the problem isn’t all that boozing you are doing, it’s just that you worry about it so damn much.”

But all addictions are not created equal and in some ways this makes sense. I was deeply ashamed of the way I was acting out sexually. I was doing some really bizarre things, and I was hurting a lot of people. If you used to do the types of things I did and you weren’t a sociopath, you would feel an enormous of amount of anxiety and psychological distress. I was running and hiding all the time. My entire life was built around either acting out in my addiction or hiding it.

Of course, there are social differences between sex addicts and porn addicts and how the different groups perceive themselves. There were the guys, like myself, that had sex a lot. We were liars and master manipulators. Most of us had an odd fetish or two, and some of us cared about the control we had over others more than the sex, but, overtly, sex was the main thing. So, of course, we felt horrible about ourselves, but we had all been told before by people, hundreds of times, that we didn’t have a problem. We had all broken women’s hearts, we’d all had friends that told us things like, “What are you complaining about man? You have sex all the time and you think it is a problem?” Most of our girlfriends and wives would have been thrilled if all we were doing was watching porn, and as pathetic as it seems to me now, we thought we were cooler than the porn addicts.

Read the rest at The Fix.

Brian Whitney wrote Raping the Gods.