Should sex addicts ever use pornography?

Sex addicts who have a variety of other sexually addictive behaviors,  often find excuses for thinking that their internet porn use is not really a problem and may even be a good thing.  Are they wrong?  Let’s look at some common lines of reasoning that addicts present and my validity score for each one.

Porn is OK because it keeps me out of trouble. 

Many sex addicts in treatment for a variety of addictive behaviors argue that their porn use is relatively harmless.  They look at the more risky behaviors that they have relinquished such as behaviors that could get them arrested or fired and they believe that porn use represents a harmless outlet.  The argument is that “it could be a lot worse; look at what I used to do!”

Percent valid: 5%. Some have argued that porn can displace sexual aggression or that making child porn legal would decrease crime.  Some sex offenders reportedly claim they can be helped to refrain from actual contact molestation of children by the use of porn which simulates the experience.  But to my knowledge, porn is not an accepted form of harm reduction treatment for sex offenders.

Percent invalid: 95%.  Most sex addiction therapists and many sex addicts know from experience that internet porn can be the trigger that leads right back to the other acting out sexual behaviors.

Porn allows me to open up in new and positive ways.

Some addicts and many other people believe that pornography is a way to get past sexual inhibitions and become more accepting of certain erotic fantasies.  In this way porn is seen as liberating and as increasing the enjoyment of sex.

Percent valid: 25%.  I am giving this a score of 25% because there are some sex therapists who swear by the use of pornography with their sex addict clients in cases where the recovering client needs a way to acquire healthier sexual fantasies and behaviors.

Percent invalid: 75%.  Like all addiction, sex addiction is a progressive disorder.  Sex addicts tend to move toward more extreme fantasies and behaviors over time.  The use of porn can lead the addict into new and more dangerous territory.

Porn is healthy when my partner and I use it to spice up our sex life

Many people, addicts and non-addicts alike use porn with their spouse or partner as a way to motivate or enliven their sexual relating.

Percent valid: 10%.  This rationale may be 100% OK for couples in which neither partner is a sex addict and as long as it is mutually desired by both.  But when one partner is a sex addict then the use of porn is much more likely to be problematic.

Percent invalid: 90%.  If one partner is a sex addict or a recovering sex addict then the use of porn can be a way to get the addictive fantasies in through the back door, as it were.  The addict may be using the porn to make couple sex into an experience which mirrors his or her acting out sexual behavior.  The partner may be an unwitting accomplice.

Porn represents a perfect, private, spiritual experience.

Sex addicts often see their ideal pornographic experience is a kind of pinnacle.  Addicts and others feel they have right to explore their sexual fantasies in their own private way apart from relational sex.

Percent valid: 15%.  I give this idea a bit of validity  because I believe that we sex addiction therapists tend to place such a high priority on openness and honesty that we forget that people have a deeply human need for a private inner life.  I think we all need to have our personal thoughts, feelings and fantasies that we don’t want to share with anyone.

Percent invalid: 85%.  Porn can be intense and consuming but it is not a religious experience.  In fact many churches have become extremely proactive in providing intervention and treatment protocols for members of their congregation who struggle with porn and sex addiction.   Sex addicts who get hooked on porn do not find in it any spiritual door, only a gradual deterioration resulting from chasing a “high.”

What other excuses have you heard for using porn?  And how valid are they, or not?

 


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    Last reviewed: 9 Jan 2013

APA Reference
Hatch, L. (2013). Top 4 Arguments for Porn Use: Are They Valid?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 1, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex-addiction/2013/01/top-4-arguments-for-porn-use-are-they-valid/

 




Check Out Linda Hatch's books,
Relationships in Recovery & Living with a Sex Addict.


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