Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Porn addiction

One of the topics that comes up with incredible regularity in discussions of Christian marital sexual issues is "porn-addiction". You frequently hear people argue back and fourth whether various teaching lead to porn addiction or properly address porn addiction; which presents a problem since it is like asking whether certain teachings increase or decrease the likelihood of being attacked by leprechauns. Of course making a case that porn-addiction, or anything else doesn't exist is rather difficult. In this case it is really bad. People have heard a lot about it. They can point to dozens of websites which address porn-addiction, and while it is rarely mentioned there is a very official sounding "Society for the advancement of Sexual Health" which has conducted a study showing that 3-5% of the American population have a sex addiction. There are even books on treating porn addiction.

So am I some flat earther denying the obvious? With this crisis continues to spread why am I writing a blog post that there is no crisis? Well let me first point out I'm not alone in this opinion. There are some who agree like the: American Psychiatric Association (Diagnostic Service Manual), The National institute of Health, the World Health Organization (the International Classification of Diseases), National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In fact there are a total of exactly zero reputable health organizations that believe that pornography addiction exists.

OK but that is just an appeal to stodgy secular authority. Obviously they are behind the times and they never heard of this widespread disorder. Well actually no, its come up in the literature the best arguments were made and the mental health community found them lacking. In 1985 then Attorney General Meese held a commission on pornography and produced a report on the addictive effects. Not one reputable group would endorse the report or the existence of this addiction. The National Institute of Health wanted to distance itself from the "science" in this report and released an official report (Byrne and Kelley 1986, available online) which indicated that there was no evidence of any correlation between pornography usage and long term changes in sexual preferences of behavior ever documented in over 100 years of study. And not only that what evidence that did exist tended to show correlations the opposite of what the Attorney General had claimed.

At the same time Weston did a study of pornography users and found 3 reasons they used pornography:
  1. to aid masturbation,
  2. to see their fantasies acted out,
  3. to avoid intimacy in a relationship,
#2 is the reason people use most forms of video entertainment. There was evidence that people who had feelings of shame associated with masturbation associated this with pornography but the underlying desires were no more common in heavy pornography users than light or non users. In other words it tested out like a masturbatory aid not a cause of "sex addiction", people wanted to masturbate just as much and those who felt shame about masturbation blamed it on the porn. For most of the conservative this is likely to be where they are getting their view from. Ideologically they or their husbands may believe because of their saved condition their desire to masturbate would be lower than that of the unsaved, and statistically there is simply no difference. Since the reason they still have these urges couldn't be that their religious view of sexuality is wrong the obvious culprit is pornography even though has been demonstrated to have no effect.
#3 is interesting, essentially it involves people that have sexual desires they themselves disapprove of and/or don't want to share with their partner. From a Christian perspective these could be seen as a way of diminishing the potency of temptations. In general experiments show that this usage is pornography as a coping mechanism, the alternative to pornography for those sorts of desires is to stroke them in other ways. Examples of what this would look like would be a man who considers himself heterosexual, using gay porn; if he were liberal he's just consider himself bi-curious but since he is conservative he might associate the desire with porn since it couldn't be coming from inside him. Another example might be a woman attracted to sex scenes involving anonymous sex / blindfolded sex who morally strongly believes in monogamy.

At the core of the mental health community rejection has been the distinction between a compulsion and a desire, and an unwillingness to see pornograhy as a paraphilia. In particular for something to be a compulsion and not a desire fulfillment shouldn't bring pleasure, which is simply not the case with masturbation. A desire given into gives pleasure: for example eating chocolate on a diet is innately pleasurable or laying around in bed and not doing chores is innately pleasurable. In both cases the person doing these things may feel guilty, but the activities themselves are intrinsically pleasurable. A compulsion conversely the activity itself is not intrinsically pleasurable, but not doing it causes psychological distress. For example someone compelled to open and shut every door three times.
In terms of paraphilias the definition used is “recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors generally involving (1) nonhuman objects, (2) the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner, or (3) children or other nonconsenting persons. That is to say non-normative stimulation, since most pornography is stimulating to most people it is by definition normative.

The most definitive academic article on this topic is Martin Levine and Richard Troiden's The Myth of Sexual Compulsivity in the Journal of Sex Research (v25, n3, p347-63). They had 8 major findings:
  1. The original belief in sexual compulsions comes from the patient's belief that they should be able to stop masturbating or having a variety of sexual partners. That is the diagnosis arouse from patients not from the medical community. Essentially there is an assumption that frequent non relational sex is uniformly abnormal.
  2. They demonstrated that feelings of being out of control were generated by sexual behavior outside cultural norms, that is violators took cues from their culture as to what is normative sex. The prevalence of behaviors however is only loosely correlated with culture, however. They examined debates contrasting the 70s with its sex positive attitudes to the 80s and determined that even with very slight shifts in values certain types of diagnosis became much more common. Carnes (1983) one of the first researchers to use the term "sex addict" confirmed that his coining of the term was cultural.
  3. Typical withdrawal symptoms involving physiological distress (example: diarrhea, delirium, convulsion and death) are not present.
  4. Sex addict councilors do not recommend abstinence as the desired outcome, which is atypical for addictions counseling. The patient is "cured" when they only engage in relational sex, which in the authors opinion is essentially medicalizing morality.
  5. They cite the debate and research done into "hyperactive sexual desire disorder" (1980) and the complete lack of any evidence that this exists. "Sex addict" seemed to be coming from the A.A. culture and just a rephrase of a disease whose existence had already been refuted.
  6. Quadland did behavioral analysis of "sex addicts" vs. a control group and found that the only distinction they had was that the control group experienced sensations of relation and love/affinity when engaged in the same acts. In other words "sex addicts" are not acting differently than the normal population they just feel very guilty about doing the same things.
  7. The Carne model (common model from the 1980's of identifying sexual addiction, similar to models in use today) tests for sexual addiction label couples who see themselves as engaging fully consensually as sex addicts. In particular partners who engage in non-procreative sex practices they themselves don't enjoy but consider to be important to maintaining the relationship.
  8. They do acknowledge the existence of sex as an emotional coping mechanism. It seems to operate in a similar fashion to: excess work, prayer, parenting and intimate friendships.
What Levine and Troiden deomonstrated was the purpose of the campaign to create this diagnosis is not medical but rather to "use psychologists as a billy club for driving the erotically unconventionally into the traditional sexual fold".

In Flanigan's Enterprises, Inc. v. Fulton County, Georgia the evidence regarding pornography addiction was examined by a court. They examined ten studies which claimed to show a connection between pornography and criminal behavior. In nine of the ten studies which were presented to confirm secondary effects there was no statistical methodology at all, nothing but case studies and claims. In one of the ten studies the methodology was so flawed the court excluded the findings and concluded that there was not a single piece of evidence for the claimed secondary effects (see Kernes article below for details).

Hecker,L.L.; Wetchler,J.L.; & Fontaine,K.L. (1995) found that the religiosity of the therapist was the single biggest determining factor in whether a male patient was diagnosed as sexually addicted. That is to say religious therapists saw normal male behavior as outside the norm. The same year Sexual compulsivity among heterosexual college students examined the causes of risky sexual behavior (unprotected sex with multiple sexual partners). Of interest to this article is that frequency of masturbatory behavior correlated strongly with sexual desire and not with much else.

The next 13 years of research are the same. People cheat on their diets even though "they really don't want to". I waste far too much time on internet religion discussion, even though I really don't want to. And by exactly the same mechanism people use porn who wish they didn't. Food is not intrinsically addictive, nor is blogging nor is porn.

People respond to porn the same way they do to any other class of entertainment. Most people have seen kid style entertainment documentaries that like you would see on animal planet. Some people really like those and move onto the harder stuff on the history channel or discovery channel and if they get really out of hand they start reading books by the people in those documentaries intended for a general audience. At this point the kid level documentaries are completely unsatisfying. In children this cycle can lead to them becoming scientists or historians, and in adults can lead to adults taking community college courses or rigorous self education. If we had an ideology that Genesis 2:17 should be applied liberally then there would be Christian anti-documentary sites by those book buyers about having suffered the long term effects, how animal planet and PBS are gateways trapping hundreds of thousands each year into this cycle of destruction. And there would be debates about which preachers were addressing this in the most biblical way.

Individually:
You can not pray really hard to stop breathing
You can not pray really hard to stop urinating
You can not pray really hard to stop defecating
You can not pray really hard for your hair and nails to stop growing
You can not pray really hard to stop ejaculating

It is all the same.
The fact that you can hold your breath for a minute or two doesn't mean you can hold it for an hour
The fact that you can hold your pee in for a hour or two doesn't mean you can do it for a day
The fact that you can not defecate for several hours doesn't mean you can go a week without
The fact that you can be chaste for a few days or maybe a week doesn't mean you get to 25 as a virgin, or go a month without ejaculating.
__________

See Also:

22 comments:

Becky said...

Great article! My best friend recently found out that her husband is into pornography and is considered a sex addict. They are working through this issue and have sought counseling. Her counselor introduced them both to a great book titled, "Love and Pornography' written by a married couple, Victoria Prater and Garry Prater. She felt comfortable with how open and honest the author's were about their own struggles with this issues. It really helped her look at her husband in a new light. She is glad that she stayed in the relationship and day by day, she and her husband grow closer together.

CD-Host said...

Hi Becky, welcome to the blog. Who considers him a sex addict? What behaviors has your friend's husband exhibited that lead this person to conclude he was one? It is wonderful to hear that open and honest communication is leading them to build a closer and stronger relationship.

Becky said...

Their church leader + he also felt he had a problem since it was pointed out to him that he was into having sex all of the time and really couldn't get into the intimacy part of it. They have worked really hard to over come this problem as a couple and I am extremely proud of them.

Bryan L said...

CD-Host:

I was reading this and wondering if we need to also discontinue the use of terms like "internet addiction" or "food addiction" since they would seem to fall into the same category as "sex addiction".

Yoou seem to indicate this when you say "The next 13 years of research are the same. People cheat on their diets even though "they really don't want to". I waste far too much time on internet religion discussion, even though I really don't want to. And by exactly the same mechanism people use porn who wish they didn't. Food is not intrinsically addictive, nor is blogging nor is porn."

However I wonder if there is a difference in how addiction is being used: one is a more technical term used by psychologist and health professionals and the other use is a common way to describe a phenomenon where people feel out of control and unable to limit themselves when it comes to certain practices and therefor need some sort of help or intervention because the practices are potentially destructive to their lives.

Is there another term for this? Or can people just continue to use addiction in this 2nd way that is less exact and scientific but still describes the way they feel about their condition? Do we have to allow psychologists and medical professionals the sole right to determine the definition of "addiction" and what criteria must be present to fit that definition and then call any other use bogus?

Btw have you seen the movie "I'm a Sex Addict"? It's an interesting biographical account of the director's struggle with being "addicted" to prostitutes.

Bryan L

CD-Host said...

Hi Bryan --

I don't like the fact that the word is being socially. I think medical terms should stay medical but the medical community is switching over to "substance dependence" for what they mean by addiction because the term has a sort of generic adjective meaning.

The problem is that it also has a legal meaning which is tied to the old definition: For example there are legal criteria based on the "schedule" of a drug:

schedule 1: highly addictive no medical use
schedule 2: highly addictive with medical use
....
schedule 5: non addictive with medical use
...

The key thing about these substances are say on schedule 1 or 2 is that a person doesn't require any consent to experience the reaction. You don't even need to know that you are being injected with opiates for you to develop an addiction so severe you might die if they were withdrawn. Porn, internet, food require your active involvement.

With addictive drugs there is a tolerance pattern which doesn't occur with the internet, food or sex. Porn doesn't lead to strong stuff, but people on their way to strong stuff can pass through porn. And this is entirely unlike the way people move from snorting heroin to smoking heroin to shooting heroin.

Lets assume the word addiction became purely social. "drug addiction" in the medical sense disappeared and become "substance dependency" or "drug dependency". You would quickly hear about "internet dependency" or "sex dependency". The point aren't using the word addiction and doctors are using it in some other sense but choosing the word to create confusion.

There is a word that means what people mean by addiction. Habit. "I have a bad internet habit" is true and that is all that's true. To change a habit what I need is a desire to change it and a course of action. And that is what is true of a bad internet habit, breaking a chocolate habit or breaking a porn habit. It is not true of breaking a methamphetamine habit.

In other words the problem with using the word "addiction" in a non technical sense is that it being used to be deliberately inaccurate and imply things are true that are not.

Bryan L said...

Good points. I agree. Habit is a better and more accurate word. However in regular usage I will probably still use addiction while realizing it's nowhere near as bad as narcotics (not that I ever thought it was).

It's obvious that certain habits can become destructive to people's lives. What is it then when people know they're destroying their lives with their habit but they just don't feel like they have the power to stop even if they want nothing more than to? Is it still merely a habit? I think we need a way to distinguish a food habit that is making someone obese and killing them, with a someone who has a habit of biting their nails.

Thanks,
Bryan L

CD-Host said...

Bryan --

OK great well if you agree with what I'm writing then we can stick the older language. Lets move onto an extreme habit people with obsessive compulsive disorder. Here the destructive habits may involve locks, soap, newspapers... A person who washes their hands 50x in a row, every time their hands get dirty can find their lives ruined but the important thing is we don't talk about the dangers of soap. We realize soap isn't the problem and isn't the agent.

"compulsions" things people feel they must do even though they rationally don't want to.
"obsessions" reoccurring thoughts about doing the thing.

Now most people can't develop a compulsion in the OCD sense. They don't have the right brain chemistry, But they aren't so far away. Generally a habit is a compulsion. You engaged in a behavior enough to program yourself. To break a habit often requires cultivating an mini-obsession.

It is interesting you picked nail biting because that can be a very difficult habit to break. It just isn't terrible harmful. To stop it the person might have to be constantly painting their nails with hot sauce and and that involves thinking about nail biting 15x a day for a 3 weeks. And the first couple days they might find themselves almost unable to think of anything else.

Finally while I don't think food can be addictive, it can be deadly. Certainly things like bulimia are horribly destructive, likely more-so than narcotics.

So to use your food analogy.
"I have a deadly overeating habit, I feel compelled to eat too much"
"Since I started dieting I constantly obsess about food"

That sort of language is fine.

And once we start separating off habit from addiction again, it becomes easier to talk about addictions that are not necessarily life changing. Nose drops are very addictive, tolerance builds quickly and there are noticeable withdrawal symptoms. But they lack any habit forming properties, that is while they change the behavior the sinuses in the nose, they aren't doing anything effecting brain chemistry. People address nose drop addiction in a completely rational way, they pick a time it is going to be OK to be really stuffy for several days and stop using nose drops.

So I think you would find the nail biter can understand the dieter's problem.

Bill K said...

I think Bryan L got at most of what I wanted to say - that there is a social usage of terms that differs from the medical. We may not like it, but the stricter we go trying to make people use words a certain way, the more like "1984" we will become.

CD-Host - was your concern about this mostly in the area of:
1) The wrong usage of a term
2) The legal implications of the medicalization of a non-medical condition
3) The suggestion that there is moral wrong with pornography whatsoever?

CD-Host said...

Bill --

All 3. Most importantly is the psychological effect of people thinking they have a disease that they don't have. Like the damage that belief in humors caused medicine. It is terrible damaging to psychology and to Christian marriages. The discussion here has convinced me I was absolutely correct that there is a systematic problem in the Christian community of simply ignoring human biology and sociology to make claims based on behavior they would like to expect. An interesting reverse sexism that considers female sexuality to be holy and male sexuality to be defective.

Luke said...

Thanks so much for these resources!

CD-Host said...

Hi Luke welcome to the blog! For Lurkers Luke seems to be associated with an anti-porn site Breaking Free. I'm glad you found those resources helpful. I'd assume you disagree with the conclusions did you have any further comment?

Luke said...

I am always collecting sources about over-use of porn and compulsive behaviors. It is helpful to read any research on the matter because it expands my understanding of the psychological and social dynamics around people's concerns.

I found the Martin Levine and Richard Troiden's findings to be most interesting, and I enjoyed your links to other sources.

I would agree there are plenty of disagreements in the medical community about how to classify the behavioral concerns, although I disagree that the APA, the WHO, and other organizations would discount the likelihood of a brewing problem.

Furthermore, Martin Levine and Richard Troiden's article reveals yet another systemic issue beyond that of compulsive behavior: that being guilt associated with behavior. "Essentially there is an assumption that frequent non relational sex is uniformly abnormal." Qualify the word "abnormal" as "immoral" and I think you've got a description of much of the Christian community who are troubled by their use of porn and their inabilities to stop. The question we should ask of these Christians is whether their moral views of sexuality are correct. By in large, I would say they are. This means by in large people are engaging in "frequent non relational sex" and have no nagging guilt about it. Who has the greater problem: the Christian troubled with his occasional yet seemingly uncontrollable use of porn, or the person whose sexual ethics are being shaped by pornography and feel no problem with it?

CD-Host said...

Luke --

I'm glad you replied. I looked at covenant eyes after you posted. Interestingly enough I was discussing it about 4 hours ago with the operator of an adult site, who was aware of (and registers with netnanny...) had never heard of your product but really liked the consensual model as being fair for everyone involved. Anyway on to your response.

"Essentially there is an assumption that frequent non relational sex is uniformly abnormal." Qualify the word "abnormal" as "immoral" and I think you've got a description of much of the Christian community who are troubled by their use of porn and their inabilities to stop.

Actually it is both. The Christian community has trouble accepting that immoral actions can be perfectly normal. Another example would be fornication. We have thousands of years of human history:

have a marriage age in the early teens and there almost no premarital sex

have a marriage age in the mid-late teens and there is some premarital sex

have a marriage age in the mid 20s or later and essentially the entire population are non virgins when they marry

Starting a sex life in your mid-late teens is normal however in a society with later marriage it is immoral.

I think the porn situation is similar. Societies have to decide what to do with male excess sex drive: high levels of prostitution, pornography, pederasty , .... ours choose pornography at the lesser of evils.

The question we should ask of these Christians is whether their moral views of sexuality are correct. By in large, I would say they are. This means by in large people are engaging in "frequent non relational sex" and have no nagging guilt about it. Who has the greater problem: the Christian troubled with his occasional yet seemingly uncontrollable use of porn, or the person whose sexual ethics are being shaped by pornography and feel no problem with it?

Well I'd start off by commenting if a person considers a behavior desirable and there isn't strong societal sanction psychology wouldn't consider it an addiction. That's one of the key reasons I was disagreeing with "porn addiction" orgasm is pleasurable even for "addicts", and denial of orgasm is frustrating for "non-addicts". Reacting rationally to pleasure/pain stimulus is generally considered not addictive at all.

But again the analogy to food is a reasonable one. Certainly porn can be addictive in the same way overeating is addictive; tabling bulimia.., just considering typical diet slips.

Basically I see the last question as not being a question of psychology but rather theology. What do you when the moral code is drastically at odds with both your instinct and your socialization? It isn't easy.

As far as attitudes shaped by porn what did you mean?

1) Engaging in any behavior changes your attitude towards that behavior. The more you sail the more you consider sailing to be objectively a good use of time and money....

2) Pornography has some ability to alter sexual ethics above and beyond its behavioral effects.

It seems to me your product is based on #1 and #2 being true. If #2 were true people who were exposed to pornography would no longer see it as a problem....

Anyway thanks again for responding.

CD-Host said...

Starting a sex life in your mid-late teens is normal however in a society with later marriage it is immoral.

That sentence should read:

Starting a sex life in your mid-late teens is normal in a society with later marriage however it is immoral.

Juhani said...

Pornography, which is especially the problem of men, is the second main factor in the life of a sex addict. This can mean porn magazines, films or material on the Internet that is used to seek for satisfaction. For example on the Internet general headwords concerning this issue are … By them people seek for satisfaction.

One problem with pornography is that it does not bring long-lasting satisfaction to us. These magazines or films kind of promise that you will find the erotic picture you have always been looking and longing for, but the satisfaction does not last for long. As time goes by, many may experience the same as alcoholics and drug addicts: they need more and more powerful stimulus to experience the same stimulation as before, because the amount of pleasure diminishes.

More info: http://koti.phnet.fi/elohim/sexaddiction

CD-Host said...

Hi Juhani --

they need more and more powerful stimulus

Men in general have the response to even live woman. They sexually respond to different women more powerfully than women who are regular sexual partners, new types of sex... This is called the Coolidge effect. Females have a similar reaction called the Bruce effect where they have far more miscarriages and implementation failures if sexually desirable males are introduced into the home.

In other words pornography is acting just like any other part of human sexuality. Variety breeds desire.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I stumbled upon your site for an unrelated topic, and I saw this post. As someone who considers themselves a sex addict, I found myself interested. I happen to use porn to get my jollies, and while I would not say porn is the focus of my addiction, I would say that I do have an addiction. When I do not masturbate, I go through withdrawal. I exhibit physical and psychological dependence. My behavior has escalated in the 8+ years I have been able to remember masturbation being an issue. I go to a 12 step group. I do agree that there are some underlying factors. As a savin-it-for-marriage Christian, I probably have repressed sexual desire that needs to express itself in some way. I would argue, however, that this is because I have been oversexed by culture. As you said, "Variety breeds desire". This is a cause of my addiction to sex, but it does not make it any less of an addiction. Right now, I am fully confident that even if I got married this instant and made up for lost time, I would probably still feel compelled to masturbate. I would probably even feel compelled to look at porn to do it. Who knows? Maybe I'll end up in an affair. I know I am an addict; this is not the question. The question is, what am i addicted to?

CD-Host said...

Hi Anonymous --

I hope you subscribed to email comments. Based on that hope I'll respond. For future threads could you at least sign with some sort of ending name to differentiate you from other Anonymous posters?

Anyway I agree with you completely. You aren't really talking about "porn addiction" but instead "masturbation addiction". And that is my point, human men have a strong natural desire to orgasm frequently that induces psychological pressure, what you are calling "withdrawal". The "withdrawal" is not from porn it is from masturbation, which is to say from achieving orgasm. You even yourself agree that actual sex: an affair or a spouse would offer the same type of relief.

What you are addicted to is orgasm. Right now you are achieving it utilizing the means at your disposal. That's not an addiction it is a human behavior. Your problem is your religion is telling you that because you are dead to sin and reborn to Christ you should be able to avoid this specific human behavior. My point is you are not any more likely to avoid orgasm to relieve the excess buildup of sperm than:

To stop breathing to avoid the excess buildup of carbon dioxide.
To stop urinating to avoid the excess buildup of uric acid.
To stop defecating to avoid the buildup of waste digestive materials.

In other words you aren't addicted, you simply have a religious belief which is completely at odds with human behavior. The fact that you are able to keep your outlets as limited as you do through you teens most likely means your level of desire (on a relative scale) isn't even all that high. The behavior isn't something you are likely to be able to exercise much control over. The attitude towards the behavior on the other hand, you are in the driver seat.

CD-Host said...

I just added a new link to the Salon article on whether sex addiction is real. The article doesn't take a position but quotes a few people and contains some links. It is the last link in the post.

One things I was surprised to see was that Penny Flame (Becoming Jennie. You can see her old blog (R rated). There are a lot of reasons this is interesting. Most importantly her feeling that her career in porn did not lead to her addiction. I should point out to those readers who don't know her she is very well known, this isn't a woman who has done two minor films but rather has had an extensive career with 2 dozen different studios. There are probably 300 films containing her work

This blog isn’t about quitting porn and renouncing it, or condemning it. Its a great industry and makes many many people happy, pays many folks bills, and makes tons of lonely people feel not so alone.

This issue at hand for me has never been porn. It hasn’t even been sex. The issue at hand, and with sex addiction, is intimacy. Sex Addiction is an Intimacy Disorder, a disorder I’ve suffered from since a young age. Sex is simply a means of acting out. I can’t connect with people on an intimate level, regardless of whether or not I am fucking them, and this is a problem. Every single person in my life knows only the surface, the small amount of emotion that I allow to push through, and most the time I only allow it to show because I have to act human in order to be accepted. I’ve confused intimacy with intensity, and therein lies the problem. Porn didn’t make me like this. It made sense for me to do porn because the way I AM, it made showing up on set and fucking someone who’s real name never crossed my lips easy as pie, but I cared less about guys before I started fucking them on film. I am tired of being that way, of being emotionally bankrupt because of me, and that is why I am making these changes.
(porn made me do it).


Additionally she was active in the BDSM community, so I'd be curious how this plays out. She's not married and didn't save any money. She decided to become an artist (art sale site), AFAICT.

Jessica said...

Addiction treatment centers have different treatment programs for various specific addictions such as alcoholism and substance abuse.

Chrysostom said...

By the way, it's the "Diagnostic [and] Statistical Manual", not the "Service Manual".

And I believe they're adding porn addiction and internet addiction in to the new one, the DSM-V.

Of course, I believe it to be illegitimate, but for different reasons: as a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict, "sex addiction" and "shopping addiction", etc. aren't actually addictions: they are compulsions, or obsessions (not to be confused with OCD, although sharing some characteristics).

The very definition of "addiction", used since the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914 and a series of USSC decisions illegalising treatment of addiction by medical doctors (which were only partially overturned in the 1970s and more partially overturned in 2000, still not fully overturned), is being redefined, in order to fit and recast non-drug, non-tolerance-forming, non-habit-forming, non-withdrawal-engendering compulsions or obsessions as addictions.

At the same time, the traditional definition of addiction is being reformulated as "dependency", with "addiction" taking a secondary role related solely to the compulsion, and not to what is commonly referred to as addiction (tolerance and withdrawals).

It's more of a medical establishment using different definitions/common man out of tune with the way words are used in academia problem, than an actual issue as you put it.

If you put "porn obsession", which is how the word "addiction" is used in psychiatric circles (as the obsessive or psychological component of a disease, sometimes but not always coincidental with a dependency, i.e. physical withdrawals), would you have such a problem with the phrasing?

I for one, and I am by no means a fundamentalist of any stripe (...but I am a Roman Catholic), do believe there is a major problem with sexual obsession in this country, or over-sexualisation, which are part of the same vicious circle.

CD-Host said...

Chrysostom --

Hi glad we can agree there is no such thing as porn addiction.

If you put "porn obsession", which is how the word "addiction" is used in psychiatric circles (as the obsessive or psychological component of a disease, sometimes but not always coincidental with a dependency, i.e. physical withdrawals), would you have such a problem with the phrasing?

I'm fairly confident anything in the DSM-V is going to be sane in terms of distinguishing normal usage from an obsession. Its looking like they are using this?

Hypersexual Disorder

Hypersexual Disorder [14]

A. Over a period of at least six months, recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behavior in association with four or more of the following five criteria:

(1) Excessive time is consumed by sexual fantasies and urges, and by planning for and engaging in sexual behavior. [15]

(2) Repetitively engaging in these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to dysphoric mood states (e.g., anxiety, depression, boredom, irritability). [16]

(3) Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to stressful life events. [17]

(4) Repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control or significantly reduce these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior. [18]

(5) Repetitively engaging in sexual behavior while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others. [19]

B. There is clinically significant personal distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning associated with the frequency and intensity of these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior. [20]

C. These sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior are not due to direct physiological effects of exogenous substances (e.g., drugs of abuse or medications) or to Manic Episodes. [21]

D. The person is at least 18 years of age.


I don't have a problem with that definition: dysphoric mood , excessive time, esponse to stress, Repetitive but unsuccessful attempts to control. I'm not a psychiatrist but at the very least that strikes me as within the realm of the possible.

My main argument was with Christian usage not psychiatric usage. Which basically saw standard orgasm as addiction.

do believe there is a major problem with sexual obsession in this country, or over-sexualisation, which are part of the same vicious circle.

Being Catholic you tend to actually know something about history so... what culture wouldn't you consider sexually obsessed? Give me a time and place.