Believing You Have Porn Addiction Is the Cause of Your Porn Problem, Study Finds

Believing You Have Porn Addiction Is the Cause of Your Porn Problem, Study Finds

By May Wilkerson 09/22/15

Researchers found that belief in porn addiction is more harmful than porn itself.

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There has been a lot of controversy surrounding “porn addiction.” Is it a real addiction, like alcoholism or drug addiction, or just many celebrities’ favorite excuse for bad behavior?

Most recently, Josh Duggar blamed his infidelity on a “secret addiction” to porn after his name was leaked in the Ashley Madison hack. Whether Duggar’s addiction is legit or not, for many people, porn addiction is a real problem. But the feeling of being addicted to porn may be the cause of psychological distress, not the actual porn-watching, a new study finds.

Joshua B. Grubbs of Case Western Reserve University surveyed about 2,000 adults about how much porn they watch, their levels of anxiety and depression, and whether they believed they were addicted. His results, published last week in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, showed that people who believed they were addicted to porn experienced more depression, anxiety, and anger than those who didn’t feel they were addicted.

The psychological distress wasn’t linked to how much pornography the study participants actually watched, but instead to their feelings about how well they could control the amount they watched. “Collectively, these findings suggest that perceived addiction to Internet pornography, but not pornography use itself, is uniquely related to the experience of psychological distress,” the researchers wrote.

Grubbs published another study earlier this year that found people who believed they’d lost control over their porn-watching were more likely to hold anti-sex religious beliefs. The findings of both studies suggest that a person’s attitude towards porn is more of a problem than the content itself or the experience of watching too much of it.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/ @alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

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