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‘Porn addiction’ is a religious myth

‘Porn addiction’ is a religious myth

A US study disputes claims that porn triggers the same responses in the brain as do drugs and alcohol and says that ‘sex addiction’ is a myth perpetuated largely by people and organisations with a religious agenda.

A while back a study  – “The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the ‘Pornography Addiction’ Model” – was published in the US. It was co-authored by David Ley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The study claimed that there is no strong scientific research that shows pornography addictions exist. In fact viewing porn may have benefits.

But the key danger that DOES exist in relation to porn consumption is that people who are made to feel guilty about viewing pornography are in danger of falling into the hands of quack religious therapists.

In this article – under the heading “Porn Addiction in the Christian Community: Why Are Rates so High?” Ley accuses church-based therapists of promoting religious morality instead of mental health.

Religious groups are framing this as a medical disease and obscuring their religious agenda. (They) are using porn addiction pseudo-science labels to mask their moral attacks on porn and sexual behavior.

Catholic leaders in San Juan County, New Mexico installed this billboard as a shame-inducing admonition to porn store patrons.

Shaming erection: Catholic leaders in San Juan County, New Mexico, put up this billboard as a guilt-inducing admonition to porn store patrons.

In a more recent study, published in June, faith-based therapists stand accused of increasing the suicide rate of lesbians and gays.

The study, entitled “The Role of Help-Seeking in Preventing Suicide Attempts among Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals”, finds thomosexuals and bisexuals who sought mental health treatment from health care providers were no less likely to attempt suicide than LGB people who did not seek any treatment at all.

But seeking help from religious or spiritual sources was associated with higher rates of a suicide attempts.

The study showed that Black LGBs much more than White or Latino LGBs sought treatment in religious or spiritual settings prior to a suicide attempt.

Said co-author Ilan H Meyer, PhD, Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy.

The findings are troubling because seeking treatment is a recommended suicide prevention strategy and this study’s results show no more positive effect for people who sought treatment. More troubling is the finding that individuals who sought religious or spiritual treatment had higher odds of later attempting suicide than those who did not seek treatment at all.

Meyer added:

More studies are needed to assess the efficacy of treatment for LGB people with suicidal ideation in preventing future suicide attempts. But, even without further study, public health officials and health service providers ought to ensure that LGB individuals who seek mental health treatment, whether it is in medical or religious settings, receive competent mental health services that is relevant to their needs.

19 responses to “‘Porn addiction’ is a religious myth”

  1. Broga says:

    The solution seems to be to be free from guilt. The problem is that religions depend on causing guilt to enable them to have power over their followers.

  2. Brian Jordan says:

    A bit of an “own goal”, that poster: casting Jesus as a voyeur! 🙂

  3. Ivan says:

    “Jesus is Watching You…Catholic leaders in San Juan County, New Mexico, put up this billboard as a guilt-inducing admonition to porn store patrons…”

    Are they saying Jesus watches men wanking?

  4. Broga says:

    I think celibate priests will be heavy users of porn. And we know MPs computers in parliament were plugged in to it to a massive extent. And they are the people keeping moral watch on the rest of us.

  5. jay says:

    This is one part of a whole growing addiction industry.

    There’s internet addiction, gaming addiction, shopping addiction… all can be ‘treated’ at a price.

    In a way they are diminishing the significance of ACTUAL addiction, where the brain’s pleasure triggers are chemically modified and in turn categorize anything people might be obsessed with as an ‘addiction’.

    I even read a blog where a neuroscientist (who I believe has a monetary interest in ‘addiction treatment centers’) pointed to ‘permanent neurological changes’ associated with pleasure seeking as if that was evidence of ‘addiction’. EVERYTHING we do that leaves an impression on us obviously makes changes in our brains. That’s how it becomes part of our life experience. Sheesh. ‘Permanent changes’ do not addiction make.

  6. L.Long says:

    So gawd is not only an incompetent psychopathic sky-fairy but is also a psychotic peeping tom!!! I really think he is just trying to find out what we do the one piece of anatomy he aint got.
    And what is porn anyway??? To some of these delusional whack-jobs just having a girl raise her skirt high enough to see the ankles is porn or for whack-job islame it is as little as seeing eyes or any part other than the hands.
    So if seeing various body parts like ya know legs, arms, faces, eyes, hair, etc is porn??? Boy am I addicted.

  7. L.Long says:

    Correct Ivan, Jesus is a gay peeping tom!!!!

  8. L.Long says:

    Sorry correction, Ivan, he watches girls whack off (is whack correct???) too so Jesus is bisexual.

  9. chrsbol says:

    he watches girls whack off (is whack correct???)
    Maybe but?
    I was always led to believe it’s the kit kat shuffle.

  10. Matt Westwood says:

    And even if porn *is* addictive, so what. You can get it online for free. Where’s the problem? What business of yours is it if I get wrist-cramp and blisters on my penis?

  11. Paul Cook says:

    Interesting but I have read (i think the BBC) that the biggest % increase in porn use on the web, is actually for women. Tasteful and well made. It caters to a new woman who wants to watch welled porn in the comfort of their own homes.

  12. Matt Westwood says:

    Interesting that “women’s porn” has to be described as “tasteful and well made”. I wonder what that says about a) the porn industry, b) the gender difference, and c) our societal norms.

    Is this insistence on “tasteful and well made” similar to the obsession with decking out the toilet with little pink soap-doilies and a fluffy lid cover?

  13. jay says:

    If you want to understand porn styles you need to consider evolution. Each gender is more or less programmed by natural selection to optimize their genetic success (i.e. our ancestors were the successful ones).

    For males, the optimal genetic strategy is to mate frequently with as many partners as possible. Genetic success increases almost linearly with the number of partners/matings.

    For females, excess matings contribute nothing. However selective mating, particularly with males with status/resources or known long term reliability in care for the young does increase success.

    Hence the classic difference: Male fantasy includes lots of readily available females ready for impromptu sex. Female fantasy tends to include males who become obsessively devoted to the female protagonist (classic sexy romance novel).

    No surprise here. We are products of our evolution.

  14. jay says:

    One additional comment:

    Interesting that as a society, we’ve taken to accept female oriented porn as somehow more tasteful, or sensitive. Male porn gets a sleazy reputation. In actual fact, both forms are fully outworkings of natural processes.

  15. zombiehunter says:

    the whole sex addiction thing is a total myth, remember when tiger woods was caught cheating on his wife and he played the “I’m a sex addict” card well he only said that because there is more sympathy for an addict than there is for a cheat.

    But I also think that this isn’t just about religion, in America due to the lack of free healthcare there is a situation were doctors and therapists need to create problems for people to have so they can sell the cure and make a profit so they can live on it which in my opinion is the real motive behind such nonsense as sex addiction and porn addiction and video game addiction.

  16. jay says:

    ” in America due to the lack of free healthcare there is a situation were doctors and therapists need to create problems for people to have so they can sell the cure ”

    True,but nothing to do with lack of free healthcare (actually there is no free healthcare). These doctors and clinics do, however manufacture the addiction scheme and get paid well by insurance and sometimes government (if the patient is on a government program.) People rarely pay for those scams out of their own pocket.

  17. Robster says:

    Jesus of the sign is missing the sunglasses and trench coat generally required of professional perverts. If he’s going to perve on the parishioners he’ll need to be more discrete, a voyeur deity is going to attract attention, if only there was some evidence, instead of a racially incorrect image of an extremely invisible and silent deity, he’s dead anyway, can’t be watching much.

  18. A Confused Atheist says:

    Whilst I highly detest the cover picture for this article (not knowing the age of the girl next to the nude man), I think that ‘Porn addiction’ is a myth. Some say that it is natural to enjoy the art of Sex, and some people just tend to enjoy it more than others; nothing to worry about, and hardly worth writing an article about. These religious fools have to bring subjects like this up just to keep their followers in check, and to miff those who do not believe in them.

  19. DC says:

    I am a porn addict. I am trying to quit and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve relapsed and looked at porn 6 times this year despite my efforts.
    I am hurting my wife and myself with my porn watching and I want to quit. I am quitting, but it’s taking me months and years.
    It **feels** like an addiction and the urge mentally pulls me towards the relief and thrills of looking at porn. Whatever I have is real.