No such thing as “porn addiction”?

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Religion Dispatches links a new report that seems to indicate the syndrome called “addiction to pornography” has been invented by religious groups:

“Transgression as Addiction: Religiosity and Moral Disapproval as Predictors of Perceived Addiction to Pornography,” published February 12, 2014 by Archives of Sexual Behavior, concludes essentially that people diagnose themselves as addicted to porn and suffer from the belief that they are addicted, even when they are not, because their churches so pathologize porn consumption.

As the report puts it:

“religiosity and moral disapproval of pornography use were robust predictors of perceived addiction to Internet pornography while being unrelated to actual levels of use among pornography consumers.”

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Marshall Scott
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Part of the sad irony of this is that development of the disease model for alcoholism (and subsequently for other addictions) has been intended to reduce shame and so encourage people to seek help rather than simply hide away. It also made addictive behavior something to be actually studied instead of being dismissed solely as moral lapse. The context of this is precisely the opposite: a social and moral context that functions by continuing to associate shame with addiction.

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Paul Woodrum
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Paul Woodrum

And the good news is one is less likely to get a computer virus from a porn site than a church site.

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