Pornography Addiction: Can It Happen?
By: Beth McHugh 2007
The simple answer? Yes. Humans can become addicted to any substance or activity that causes pleasure as a result of the release of hormones that provide that sensation of pleasure. Whether it be gambling, smoking, eating, drug-taking or just plain old chocolate, addition is a real possibility when associated brain chemicals reliably change a mood or enhance an experience.
Addiction to pornography does exist and, like any addiction, comes to rule the life of the sufferer. What starts out as a pleasurable habit ends up as a pit of pain and desperation. The official prerequisites for an addition to any activity or substance comprise the same criteria: there is an inability to perform everyday activities in the usual manner without the substance or activity occurring, there is a preoccupation with seeking out the substance or activity which provides the required feeling or mood change, an increasing amount of time is spent in pursuing and indulging in the activity, and work and social obligations are compromised.
Let’s look at the case of Miah. Miah was a recent immigrant from a country where pornography was largely unavailable to the masses. On coming to a Western country, he was somewhat overwhelmed by the difference in sexual mores but his real pornographic epiphany came when he was taking trash to the local dumping ground in the small town he lived in and found a pornographic magazine amongst the rubbish.
Fascinated, he brought it home and spent hours pouring over its contents. He returned again and again to the rubbish dump looking for further copies of this magazine. Within a couple of years, he had acquired an enormous array of soft and hard core DVDs and magazines.
While Miah found all this activity pleasurable for many years, he found to his horror that in order to achieve the desired results from viewing this material, he needed not only more and more publications, but more and more hard core material. He was finding it harder and harder to get his “hit.” Miah was now essentially addicted.
Worse, he found that he was increasingly unable to enjoy a sexual relationship with a woman. No one woman can be all that appears in the vast assortment of pornography that is available from any number of sources. Hence no one woman could satisfy Miah. He became a victim of his own addiction. He felt increasingly depressed because, although he yearned for a close loving relationship with a woman, he needed more and more stimulation in order to achieve sexual happiness. Like any drug addict, he needed more and more.
As with most things in life, a little of something can bring an enhanced experience. Too much brings untold happiness. Miah suffered tremendously from his pornography addiction and ultimately required months of therapy to undo the damage that had been done. He had to slowly and painstakingly relearn sensations within his own body and relearn to have sex without the help of his addictive aids.
Advocates of porn usually state that all partners are willing, and protestors against porn suggest that it degrades women. Both are correct. But what is often ignored is that the individual viewer is also being subtly manipulated, often to his own detriment.