Do we “believe in” porn addiction?

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An anonymous author on the (very good) Mothers Against Pornography Addiction blog recently posted a bit of a rant about her frustration with the ongoing question of whether porn addiction is “real.” In the past 10 years, she points out, awareness has grown about this issue, but there still is an undercurrent of resistance to “believing in” porn addiction.

The awareness has expanded and information is more readily available. There are entire online programs geared toward the recovery of addicts, websites dedicated to information about the addiction, postings online by well educated psychologists that validate the reality of pornography addiction, counselors now specialize in sex and porn addiction recovery.

And yet still most information is written from the point of view to convince readers that this is real. I have to wonder if while porn addiction is obviously exploding all over our world why it is that convincing people it exists is still necessary.”

You have to read the post … she has great insights and a genuine passion that doesn’t come through in the brief excerpts I have included here. Of special interest is what she has to say about how this doubt about porn addiction affects the families of addicts.

A factor that wives of porn addicts often deal with is lack of belief in it themselves, a feeling that they have caused or contributed to the addiction, or that they are capable of supporting an addict enough that the addict will quit. A simplified belief of “if he loves me he will quit,” “he must not love me enough because he won’t quit,” permeates new member discussion on porn addiction message boards. These false beliefs find beginnings in our own homes and from the mouths of our own addicts through gas lighting and common addict blame shifting.

Perhaps because of the highly personal nature of this addiction, while our esteem plummets, so does our belief that we have the right, or even the responsibility to set a zero tolerance policy for ourselves, our kids, and to expect that this addiction be outwardly named for what it is, that information and resources to cope with it be readily available. Significant others of porn addicts upon first learning of a partner’s addiction, are still often caught asking the questions of nearly a decade ago even while they live with the fallout in their own house: “Is this real?”

I intend to keep posting on this topic, and include links to places that help people diagnose their condition. A great place to start is Pat Carnes’ Sex Addiction Screening Test, which has variations for men, women, Internet (or “cybersex” addiction), and even a test for someone who wonders if their partner might be an addict. But no matter how a person scores on self-tests like these, the most important question is this: are you finding it hard keep away from certain destructive sexual behaviors? If so, then it’s time to get help, whether you agree that you’re an addict or not. Because sex should enhance your life, not destroy your life.

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