Posted on November 12, 2014 in Addiction

Women as Susceptible to Porn Addiction as Men

Pornography is not always a bad thing. Many people are able to use it in a way that is normal and healthy. Some people even use it within relationships in a way that strengthens the bond and their sexual activities. For others who use porn, it can become problematic, even obsessive. While an image may be forming in your head of a man obsessed with pornography, research tells us that in our modern world, women are just as likely to have a problem with porn.

What Is Porn Addiction?

Pornography addiction is an example of a process, or behavioral, addiction. This is when you become obsessed with and compulsive about engaging in some kind of activity. There is some debate as to whether these are true addictions because they don’t involve a chemical substance as in drug addiction or alcoholism. Some of the most studied process addictions include compulsive gambling, overeating and sex addiction. Being addicted to porn falls under the heading of the latter.

If you have a porn addiction, your symptoms are similar to those of a drug addict. You constantly think about using porn. You use it frequently in spite of negative consequences. It may cause you to lose relationships or be unable to form them. You may even experience withdrawal when you can’t get your fix. Researchers have actually seen changes in the brains of self-described porn addicts that are similar to those seen in drug addicts.

Men, Women and Porn Addiction

Much research into pornography addiction has been focused on men. Historically, men have been the main demographic using this type of media. With the rise of ubiquitous Internet porn and erotica, however, women have jumped on the bandwagon. More women are using porn than ever before, and more are suffering from the negative consequences of becoming hooked on it. While some can use it in a healthy way, just as with men, others develop an addiction.

How men and women get hooked on porn is similar. They start using porn for pleasure, for escape, or to relax when feeling anxious or stressed. With time, they become desensitized to the images and need more and more pornography, often with more hardcore themes, in order to be satisfied. And then they are hooked. The pattern of addiction is the same for men and women, but experts who treat them report that women feel much guiltier about their porn use.

While professionals have been reporting that more and more women have asked for porn addiction treatment in recent years, researchers are proving that fact. In a recent study, more than 100 women, half of whom used Internet porn, were shown pornographic images and reported their reactions. Those women who used porn regularly showed more arousal and more sensitivity to the pictures. They also demonstrated symptoms of porn addiction, including promiscuity, excessive masturbation and a need for pornography in order to be satisfied. These are symptoms that have been seen in men in previous research.

What the research tells us is that women and men are equally likely to develop an addiction to porn and when they do, they exhibit similar patterns of behavior. Because it has long been considered a problem that affects only men, women are more likely to feel bad about porn use. This information about porn addiction will hopefully help professionals better treat their female patients.

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