What are Pornography and Sex Addictions?

Current research indicates that pornography and other non-violent sexual addictions are characterized by brain chemistry, behaviors, and treatment needs similar to any other addiction. Pornography addiction is a subset of sex addiction with distinctive features.

What is Porn Addiction?

  • It is solitary.
  • It is looking at pictures, reading stories, or watching movies with nakedness, a specific body part, a specific article of clothing, or a specific sexual activity as the focus.
  • It may have the goal of having an orgasm or ejaculation.
  • It is done in isolation, even when in a crowd, to create a feeling of sexual excitement.
  • It involves specific rituals, which vary with the individual.
  • It involves shame, guilt, and secrecy.
  • It is not about sex. It is not about love.
  • It is about lust. It is about control. It is about self-gratification.
  • Porn creates the vicarious sense of being able to control situations and relationships without having to deal with such messy reality as others’ feelings or desires.
  • It is a subset of sex addiction, but it will rarely escalate into other stages of sex addiction.

What is Sex Addiction?

  • It requires a partner—willing or unwilling.
  • It is using another individual or group of individuals to perform some sexual activity.
  • It may involve pornography to “get in the mood.”
  • It has the goal of having an orgasm or ejaculation.
  • It is interacting with others to create a feeling of sexual excitement.
  • It involves specific rituals, which vary with the individual.
  • It involves shame, guilt, and secrecy and is heightened by the feeling of the danger of exposure.
  • It is not about sex. It is not about love.
  • It is about lust. It is about control. It is about self-gratification.
  • It may involve a spouse. Marriage does NOT prevent sex addiction.
  • It is divided into three stages:
    • Stage 1: Masturbation, pornography, prostitution, consensual relations
    • Stage 2: Exhibitionism, voyeurism, BDSM (a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission)
    • Stage 3: Non-consensual relations such as rape, incest, molestation
  • It will often escalate through the stages.
  • It is usually about the fantasy of what will happen rather than the experience of what happens.

If you are struggling with pornography or sex addictions, contact us, get help now, and you can also learn more about this issue with these resources.

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