• Keith Fowler

Some thoughts on porn and sex addiction

When people worry that they might have a problem with their sexual behaviours, the first thing they do is look for information online, unfortunately, they are more likely to find misinformation and myths rather than proper facts.

Here are some important facts for you to think about before finding help:

  1. ‘Sex addiction’ and ‘porn addiction’ are popular terms but they are not clinically endorsed as there is not enough scientific evidence that sex and porn are addictive.

  2. The words we use to describe problems do matter because a ‘sex addiction’ therapist is likely to treat you with a primary addiction lens.

  3. However, the notion of ‘sex addiction’ and ‘porn addiction’ has been consistently rejected. ICD-11 (WHO) has endorsed the term ‘compulsive sexual behaviour disorder’ (CSBD) which they clearly state is completely different from ‘sex addiction’.

  4. The research methodology supporting ‘sex addiction’ and ‘porn addiction’ ideas was found to be weak, calling into question the validity of these research.

  5. If you seek a therapist that works with the scientific knowledge of compulsive sexual behaviours instead of ‘sex addiction’, who is evidence-based and sex-positive, you are more likely to get the right treatment for your problems.

  6. The underlying problems with compulsive sexual behaviours are: unresolved sexual problems, childhood trauma, erotic conflict in sexual desires between the couple and emotional regulation problems.

  7. According to science in sexology, pornography doesn’t cause sexual problems, relationship problems or mental health problems. It can make pre-existing problems worse though. It is a better idea to treat the pre-existing issues rather than focusing on stopping pornography if you want permanent change.

This is actually good news. The compulsive sexual behaviour approach to treat sexual compulsivity is effective. It means that you can heal the unresolved issues and make better decisions about your behaviours. It is not ‘once an addict, always an addict’. You can make positive changes permanently.

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