A controversy erupted in 2014 regarding the notion of pornography addiction. Here is the chronology and source material.
|Scooped by Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT|
The "Emperor Has No Clothes" Controversy
In February 2014 an artice appeared in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports titled "The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the Pornography Addiction Model". The authors, David Ley, Nicole Prause and Peter Finn, were extremely critical of the concept of porn addiction, stating in part:
"The theory and research behind ‘pornography addiction’ is hindered by poor experimental designs, limited methodological rigor, and lack of model specification.......Individuals reporting ‘addictive’ use of visual sexual stimuli could be better conceptualized by considering issues such as gender, sexual orientation, libido, desire for sensation, with internal and external conflicts influenced by religiosity and desire discrepancy.......When faced with such complaints, clinicians are encouraged to address behaviors without conjuring addiction labels."
Note that this was a 'review' article, not a research article, which makes it more susceptible to the bias of its authors. Their condemnation was sweeping, criticizing the use of any compoent of addiction theory to help people with out-of-control use of online pornography. The authors challenged almost every notion that viewing online pornography can reach unhealthy levels for some people who find it difficult to stop or control despite their use negative consequences and a sincere desire. to do so. However, the authors raised some arguments deserving of thoughtful discussion.
The publishing company of the journal that printed this article released an accompanying press release about this review, in which it appears that the authors enthusiastically praise the positive benefits of pornography. They seemed to only grudgingly admit that some people "struggle" regulating their online porn use. The relative reluctance to acknowledge problematic use of pornography, especially by David Ley, and the contention that unrestricted access to porn actually reduces rates of child molestation seems tenuous and counterintuitive. Prause seems more willing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the phenomena of dysregulated sexual behavior, a concept Ley rejects out of hand. Prause co-wrote an article in Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology in the summer of 2013 (curated elsewhere on this site) that garnered a lot of attention among people interested in this topic.