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Can Pornography Be Addictive?

In 2004, the Senate was faced with a reality many never thought would be discussed on the government floor. Men and women all over the United States were facing addiction to something so strong that it was compared to cocaine. Was this addiction some drug or alcoholic beverage? No, the dangerously addictive activity was viewing pornography.

Since that report in 2004, porn has grown from a hidden secret to a mainstream internet business. Pornography is viewable online, for free, 24 hours a day from around the world. At last count, there were more than 420 million adult websites on the Internet.

Free online pornography has changed the scheme of addiction just a bit. In past years, pornography collections were limited to VHS tapes, DVDs or magazines. These were often hidden under the bed or in a secret place for occasional viewing. With nearly every home and business connected to the Internet, the freedom to view is there and many people, both men and women, are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Pornography addiction is thought of as an addiction of the very real effects it can have on life and daily function. Some of the worst cases leave the viewer glued to the television or computer screen for the majority of the day. Wtih pornography addiction, pornography is a constant thought and often replaces personal, intimate contact with other human beings.

Many men and women who face addiction to pornography report having difficulty making friends and finding intimate partners. The delusion that this is a good reason for viewing pornography often twists reality a bit in the mind of the addict. In most cases, addiction to pornography leads to limited personal interaction, not the opposite which addicts believe to be true.

In terms of addiction, some doctors believe pornography addiction effects a person in much the same way as drug addiction. The heroin addict, over time, will require more and more of the same drug in order to achieve a high. Pornography addicts are thought to react the same way in some cases. Addicts will start viewing porn with a careful list of off-limit topics. These can include fetish sex situations or sex involving animals. After viewing porn for an extended length of time, the high wears off and more extreme sex acts are needed to achieve the same turn-on. Some doctors believe addicts will eventually choose to view the once “off-limit” material.

On the other side of the debate, some doctors and therapists don't believe this to be true. Evidence of extreme pornography addiction is limited at best, and without structured programs to treat porn addiction, the facts have yet to be proven on one side of the debate or the other.

Addiction to pornography has been closely related to sex addiction. People who are unable or unwilling to act on their strong sex drives in real life, tend to turn to pornography as a means of sexual expression. Over time they grow more comfortable with virtual and self-satisfying sex which may then replace the need or desire for real life intimacy. It is very difficult for a partner to live up to the expectation of porn-style sex and limitless self-pleasuring.

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