There is still some debate in the scientific community about whether pornography can be considered an addiction. It’s hard to define exactly what an addiction is, and Internet porn is a very new issue. However, it is a widely-accepted fact that watching porn is a compulsive behavior that can have a similar effect on the brain as drugs.
Regardless of whether you consider porn to be an addiction, a habit, or a compulsive behavior, there are many popular myths about porn use. Here are three of the most common misconceptions about porn addiction:
1. Porn is only a problem for people with addictive personalities.
Many people reference a study from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development to argue that some people are more susceptible to pornography addiction than others. The researchers in the study found that men who watched porn frequently had less gray matter and less neural connectivity in the frontal lobes of their brains than men who watched less porn.
However, the researchers didn’t have any information about the subjects’ brains before their porn-watching habits developed. It’s possible that the decrease in gray matter was actually the effect of the porn addiction, not the cause.
More and more neuroscientists and psychologists are starting to agree that watching porn can have a similar effect on the brain asusing drugs or other addictive behaviors. The brain learns to be rewarded from using pornography, so it becomes a habit and eventually an addiction.
2. Only people with high sex drives get addicted to porn.
The cause of porn addiction is often a lack of healthy relationships or connections. Many people who become addicted to porn aren’t obsessed with sex, but sex is a way to connect with another person and feel wanted and important. Wanting to have this feeling is completely normal, but sometimes, our brains encourage us to take a “shortcut” to this feeling by watching pornography instead of actually forming relationships.
Eventually, your brain associates porn with these feelings of intimacy or importance and doesn’t know any other way to get these feelings. This can happen to anyone, regardless of how strong or weak their sex drive is.
3. Watching porn once in a while is okay.
It’s common to hear someone say, “I watch porn every day and it doesn’t affect me.” Many people don’t realize how much they rely on something until they try to go without it. When these people who frequently watch porn but don’t believe it’s a problem actually try to stop watching porn for a substantial amount of time, they almost always fail.
Watching porn even just once a month can be unhealthy. It has a long term effect on how you see others and how you interact in romantic relationships. After watching porn, people feel less attracted to their partners and less satisfied after sex.
Also, when occasionally “indulging” in porn, there’s always a risk of developing an addiction. Often times, porn use gradually becomes more frequent as your brain becomes more dependent on it for enjoyment. Once a month becomes once a week, and once a week becomes every day.
Watching porn, even just a few times, contributes to a potentially dangerous and exploitative industry. As free Internet porn becomes more and more popular, it becomes more difficult to regulate the industry. Anyone can upload videos online, so you can’t be sure about the ethics of any video.
There isn’t a “middle ground” when it comes to watching pornography. Watching once in a while can lead to addiction, it can affe