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New Study Claims Pornography Addiction Not Real

After examining past studies, researchers have concluded that excessive porn use is not an addiction and can actually be beneficial to long-term relationships.

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By Shawn Dwyer

02/13/14

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Dr. David Ley, a clinical psychologist and executive director of New Mexico Solutions in Albuquerque, NM, recently published a study in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports where he suggested that there is no strong evidence that proves someone can become addicted to pornography.

Dr. Ley and his colleagues conducted a review of current studies into porn addiction and found that fewer than two in five research articles classified the high rate of pornography use – or what would be considered excessive use – as an addiction. Further, he found that only 27 percent of articles about porn addiction contained any actual data to back its claims.

“We need better methods to help people who struggle with the high frequency use of visual sexual stimuli, without pathologizing them or their use thereof,” Dr Ley wrote in his study. “Rather than helping patients who may struggle to control viewing images of a sexual nature, the ‘porn addiction’ concept instead seems to feed an industry with secondary gain from the acceptance of the idea.”

Dr. Ley went on to claim that there are no actual side effects for someone who excessively watches porn while stating further that porn can lead to improved attitudes toward sex, increased quality of life and long-term relationships, and decreased instances of sexual offenses due to porn providing an alternative outlet.

Of course, Dr. Ley’s conclusions were met with criticisms by those treating people unable to control their porn use. “The clients are very very real, and comments like this dismiss and belittle the very real pain that people suffer,” said Paula Hall, a sexual and relationship psychotherapist who disagreed with Dr. Ley’s findings. “We are inundated with requests for help from people who want to get back on with their lives.”

While Dr. Ley has postulated the idea that pornography can be beneficial to relationships, Ms. Hall has reached the opposite conclusion in her experience as a therapist. “It impacts relationships, social lives, work, studies, after a while it can escalate to the person paying for sites and so there’s also a financial implication,” she said. “When you work with these people it’s just ridiculous to say it doesn’t exist. People don’t drink because they’re thirsty, it’s because they have other psychological problems.”

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