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Sex-aware people already know that (a) “porn addiction” is not actually a thing; and (b) worrying about it has been proven to be harmful in a way that actually viewing porn (however much) is just not. This article in Psychology Today dates from 2015, so it genuinely isn’t news. But lately the volume of “porn addiction” hand-wringing seems to be going up in our popular culture, so I thought it was worth liking the article to remind everyone:

Your Belief in Porn Addiction Makes Things Worse

In a nutshell:

In January 2015, Joshua Grubbs of Case Western published powerful research showing that seeing oneself as a porn addict was predicted not by how much porn one views, but by the degree of religiosity and moral attitudes towards sex. Now, Grubbs has published explosive follow-up research, demonstrating that believing oneself is addicted to porn actually causes pain and psychological problems, in contrast to the idea that identifying as a porn addict is a part of a road to recovery.

In these data, daily porn use was weakly related to feelings of anger. But, seeing oneself as a porn addict was strongly correlated with depression, anxiety, anger and stress.

Analyses confirmed that the self-perception as a porn addict predicted distress one year later, where either porn use or personality characteristics did not. If someone believed they were a sex addict, this belief predicted downstream psychological suffering, no matter how much, or how little, porn they were actually using.

This means that the large-scale promotion of the concept of “porn addiction,” in the media, on the Internet, by self-proclaimed experts and by an industry that preys off of an unrecognized disorder, appear to actually be hurting people. By telling people that their use of porn constitutes a disease, they are promulgating suffering and anxiety, instilling into people that their use of pornography means there is something wrong with them, and that this use has potentially dire consequences.

Bottom line: don’t be tolerant of “porn addiction” talk. It hurts people. Challenge it and debunk it whenever and wherever you hear it.

Image at the top of the post is part of an illustration in The History Of Fortunatus, 1682.