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Porn Addiction Can Take You Over

But even an extreme habit can be "unlearned," say Australian researchers.

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By Valerie Tejeda

05/11/12

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Addiction to pornography damages lives and relationships, but can be unlearned, according to new research from Australia. Researchers from the University of Sydney conducted an online survey with 800 participants, and found that 20% "preferred the excitement of watching porn to being sexually intimate with their partner.” They also found that porn addiction starts young—very young. As many as 43% of respondents began viewing porn between the ages of 11 and 13. The time spent viewing pornography each day ranged from 30 minutes to three hours for 47% of respondents. Porn addicts reported some extreme relationship and social problems; some had lost their jobs or gotten into legal trouble. "Sooner or later, this takes over their lives and it becomes the only thing that can give them satisfaction," says lead study author Professor Raj Sitharthan. Although he believes the wide availability of porn is here to stay, he says the habit can be unlearned. "Some people view it as a moral disease. We are taking the view that it's not a disease, and certainly not a moral disease. It's a normal part of the growing," he argues. "If you take a very moralistic stance, then I think you are basically turning people away from seeking treatment." Sitharthan emphasizes that recovery is possible: “Some people overdo it and they can learn to cut down if they want and reduce it to a level that does not impact on their relationships, finances or studies."

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