"New Research Gives Hope to Internet Porn Addicts"
"Lawyers reported that over half of the divorces they handled were due to one of the spouse's excessive viewing of online pornography."
Fueled by the rise of the Web, online sex addictions have exploded onto the scene. As the convenience of pornographic images increases a growing number of consumers are discovering a safe, concealed world where they can access explicit content any hour of the day. This pattern of behavior can quickly form into an addiction. Have you or has someone you love crossed the line from consumer to reeling out of control? What can you do about an Internet porn addiction and what are the treatment outcomes? Read on to discover current thought on pornography addiction and treatment.
What is an Internet pornography addiction? Can it be treated?
With an Internet pornography addiction, the addict finds himself compulsively drawn to his computer, seeking adult material online. This type of addiction can be seen as both a sexual addiction and a form of online addiction such as gambling or gaming.
Much debate exists currently over whether "addictive" behaviors such as gambling, gaming, or viewing online pornography should be labeled addictive since there are no physical withdrawal symptoms should the addict stop his or her behavior.
Most experts, however, decide to mark behavior as addictive when a person remains committed to these activities even when negative consequences ensue. The idea of negative consequences is what differentiates a compulsive behavior (such as compulsive hand washing) and an addictive behavior (such as viewing online pornography). Negative consequences for the single person include causing problems on the job to preventing him from enjoying real love relationships. For the married person or the person in a serious relationship, an addiction to viewing adult material online or offline can be disastrous to their relationship.
"Research has shown that unless the addict seeks help, they are unlikely to stop their addictive behavior on their own."
In May 2005, Daniel Weiss, from Focus on Family, testified on the impact that excessive pornography has on marriages at the Summit on Pornography: Obscenity Enforcement, Corporate Participation and Violence against Women and Children. Mr. Weiss reported that in the 2002 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, member lawyers reported that over half of the divorces they handled were due to one of the spouse's excessive viewing of online pornography.1
Despite it's power, an Internet pornography addiction can be treated; treatment philosophies focus on different aspects of the behavior. Of the various treatment options that exist most stem from older chemical dependency treatment models. When couples are involved, marriage counseling can play a pivotal role in recovery. But whether single or married, it is important that the addict not keep the problem to himself. Research has shown that unless the addict seeks help, they are unlikely to stop their addictive behavior on their own.
How pervasive is it?
While many studies have been conducted on the prevalence of Internet pornography addiction, because of the stigma associated with pornography the rate at which people report viewing adult material online or admit that they feel out of control is underreported.
According to Family Safe Media, pornographic websites make up 12% of what is available on the Web today. Not only that, but pornographic requests comprise 25% of Google searches conducted daily. Family Safe Media also reported that 10% of men surveyed felt that they were addicted to online adult material.2
Other results backup this claim. A study performed in 2000 reported that 25 million Americans spend up to ten hours a week viewing online pornography and that another 4.7 million spend more than eleven hours a week.3 In the same year, the Census Bureau estimated that the total population in the US was 281 million.4 These numbers corroborate the report by Family Safe Media, indicating that 9% of people spend a considerable amount of time on the Internet just looking at adult material.
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