Sex and porn are not addictions because the treatment for “Sex Addiction” is not to quit sex.
There are two main reasons for people to call people’s sexual behavior an “addiction”. The first one is to excuse their own behavior. An example of this is this week’s Harvey Weinstein scandal. A man caught in predatory behavior declares that he is now seeking treatment for “sex addiction.”
But it is not just the predators of the world who are pushing this agenda. Most of it is by confused Christian leaders. I think that the reason they are pushing it is because they feel guilty about their erotic desire and are trying to subsume their desire in fighting against other people having sex. As I remember someone saying years ago (I don’t remember who) “Democrats view porn after they go to the store and buy it. Republican view it together in anti-porn group meetings.”
There are addictions in the world. Alcoholism, opoids, etc. I am a doctor and I drink alcohol. I have no problem with occasional moderate use. But when I have a patient who is an alcoholic I tell them that they have to quit drinking. I have occasionally, in order to get free parking downtown, gambled enough to get a card at the casino’s. But I tell gambling addicts that they must not go near the place on any condition.
But there are several behaviors that are often over indulged in that are not addictions. Overeating is not an addiction. Sleep is not an addiction. Running is not an addiction. Work is not an addiction. Vacation is not an addiction. The cure is not to stop eating, stop sleeping, stop exercising, stop working or never go on vacation.
But the hidden agenda of the anti-porn people is, let’s face it, to stop having sex. Do an image search on Google for “quit sex” and this is what you get.
And dozen’s more like it.
Oh yes, they tell you that sex is supposed to be holy in marriage, but if you read deeper, almost all of these people start making even more rules. You will find that they often end up in marriages with no sex at all. You will find that they are usually divorced.
Give up your own ways and start doing things God’s way. Rejoice in your sexuality. Watch some beautiful girls screw around, jack off with joy and let your spiritual energies be used in helping others.
There is a way to help men stop viewing porn – at least as much or as often. If a man must, by his convinced religious beliefs, forbid himself this behavior, then he ought to be helped to do so in the most healthy way possible.
As you know if you read this site, I don’t believe that Christians should be forced to quit viewing porn. I believe that the healthy male life includes erotica. However, there is a set of Christians who will never be able to believe this. These men will continue to suffer the guilt and self-destruction from indulging in this natural behavior. These men have been led astray into unhealthy ways of trying to quit. Firstly, the “Cognitive Behavior Therapy” method doesn’t work. That is like treating a stomach ulcer with NSAIDS for a headache. It just makes the situation worse.
So, for these men, I say this. Stop trying to treat a sex “addiction.” You are not addicted. There are many sinful or undesirable behaviors that are not addictions. These are behaviors that are normal, correct, and desirable but are often performed in ways or at times that are sinful or unhealthy.
A great example is food. if we desire food we are not necessarily a glutton. Yet we have all seen people whose eating is harmful to themselves and others. Eating, working, exercising, giving, praying/meditating, rejoicing, relaxing, and playing are all behaviors that are desirable and needful in moderation. If we find any person who doesn’t perform these behaviors at all, they are unhealthy. But a workaholic, anorexic, sloth, or excessive jokester also have a pathology in need of treatment.
Similarly, sex is not an addiction, but rather a desirable behavior that must be performed in moderation. An ascetic man who defrauds his wife is no more holy than a man who defrauds her by giving himself to porn rather than her.
Addiction is treated by cognitive behavior therapy and by 12 step programs – by sponsors and “accountability partners” – by helping the person to be mindful of their desires and redirecting himself to other desires – by getting them to avoid their triggers. But this doesn’t work in any normal behavior. We do not help dieters by cognitive behavior therapy or 12 step programs. We teach them to use behavioral conditioning.
Conditioning is illustrated by the famous “Pavlov’s dog” example. Pavlov rang a bell and fed his dogs, eventually the dogs slobbered whenever they heard a bell. This is called classical conditioning. We later came up with the concept of “operant conditioning” in which a stimulus is associated with a behavior and a reward or punishment For example, to get people to put on a seat belt we supply a noxious stimulus – a beep – that will not stop until the behavior (seat belt clicked) is performed. This is “negative reinforcement” = the removal of a noxious stimulus.
The removal of the association of a stimulus with a behavior is called extinction. This is what some pastors want to accomplish in their porn-viewing men. The association of the normal stimulus (erotic desire) with the undesireable behavior (porn viewing) is extinguished.
There are many interesting methods to do this – google “operant conditioning” and “extinguish” and you will find many useful ideas. But one rule I want to specifically mention.
—— Associations are weakened when the stimulus occurs in the absence of the behavior —-
In other words, the more often a man has an orgasm in the absence of porn use the weaker his impulse to view porn will be. Similarly, the more often he wakes up in the morning with a nocturnal erection (morning wood) and does not have sex with his wife, the less often he will desire to have sex with his wife.
This fits with how Paul said to “avoid fornication” in I Corinthian’s 7. “every man have his own wife”, “better to marry than burn” and “defraud ye not one another.”
So, if a man is having a problem with porn, the answer is NOT accountability partners, but rather more sex. Instead of using porn till he doesn’t want his wife. His wife should rather keep his balls so drained that he doesn’t have anything left for porn.
Fox news has noted a phenomenon of liberals who have “Taken the Red Pill” and given up on the fantasy world of liberalism.
I propose that there is another group of people living in the Matrix. Evangelicals who pretend that the normal erotic desire than men have had since Adam first spotted Even without her fig leaf. By pretending that there is such a thing as a Christian man who does not “lust” they live in a world in which the Bible has no relevance to the lives of the saints.
This is why the church men’s groups are all about “overcoming porn addictions” and “controlling sexual desires.” They are living in a fantasy world where a normal red-blooded man can have the brain of a woman. By demanding this, they are creating a church of firstly, few men, and secondly, hypocritical men. Men who are pretending that they aren’t “addicted” to sex.
Every time I see a youtube video of some preacher proclaiming how wrong it is to look at naked women, I reply “You are lying, you know and I know and every man knows that you watched porn THIS WEEK. Stop trying to lie to youself, us, and God. None of us are fooled.”
If we would admit this simple fact to ourselves, then we could read the Bible for what it actually says instead of what our Mama’s interpreted it to mean. Men are supposed to be sexual creatures. Like David we are supposed to enjoy the sight Bathsheba’s bathing beauty. But we are supposed to be men enough to direct that desire into Godly channels.
If we would fight the battle at the fortress of God’s commands, instead of man’s traditions, we might find that we would
Ok, I will confess up front. I’m actually discussing whether porn is addictive, but I am coming about it the long way.
Dr. David Ley, a clinical psychologist, recently treated a young christian man of 18 who was “addicted to masturbation.” He masturbated once a week.
(I wonder if he ever splurged and did it twice?)
I had hoped that the Christian world has gotten past the churches trying to destroy their young men this way, but I’m afraid not. I know that in my day the church made us feel terrible. I know of one young man in the late ’70’s who would come home to his parents after making out with his girlfriend on her front porch (a girl he married the next year – the baby was born 8 months later). He would have them get up and pray with him to overcome temptation. He was being tempted to relieve his blue balls using “Mother Thumb and her 4 sisters.”
No one thought to complement this virtuous young man on his restraint. No one told him to possibly relieve some of his tension and maybe help him limit his explorations with his girl. No, his parents continued to instruct him to “overcome his flesh.” The resulting baby was very beautiful and has grown into a very wonderful and Godly young man.
Few churches teach against masturbation anymore. But I have a question. What is the upper limit for “holy” masturbation in a day? Is there a limit? Once a week? Twice a week? Once a day? Can he splurge and go twice Ok, you don’t want to put a number on it, but let’s see how many times you think is unreasonable. Three times a day? Four? Five?
I am a psychiatrist. I have treated manic people who were hypersexual. They masturbated until they raised blisters on their penis.
But my point still holds even for them. There is a biological limit on how much a person can masturbate. After a while it just ain’t no more fun. You can “edge” as long as you want but eventually you are going to bust a nut. And there is just so many times you can do that till it gets boring. Ok, so let’s admit that some men can spend a whole day thinking about sex and playing with themselves. Can they spend EVERY day this way?
No they can’t. This isn’t “Call of Duty” Eventually it just gets boring.
MASTURBATION IS NOT AND ADDICTION BECAUSE IT DOESN’T INCREASE
One of the most important parts of “Addiction” is tolerance. Yesterday 4 norcos made you feel good. Today you need 6. Tomorrow you want 8. Eventually you need so many to feel good that you take enough to stop your breathing and you die.
But masturbation isn’t like that. The first squirt of the young man’s week produces a quarter cup. The next a table spoon. After while a few drops come out and the resulting orgasm is merely “ok”. In order to get that first body-shaking seizure-inducing feeling again he is going to have to
So masturbation is not addictive. The sad young man above who believed he was “addicted” to masturbation had simply not choked the chicken to death.
Let’s talk about masturbation some more (please!)
Today, of course, most churches know that masturbation is a normal and healthy part of growing up. Even Focus on the Family has waved the white flag on this issue. But for some reason they still want their young men to carry a load of guilt. James Dobson instructs boys that they can jerk it as long as they don’t “lust” at the same time. In other words, it should be a purely physical act – kind of like scratching an itch. No imagination of females should play on the back of closed eyelids.
Amazingly, he is supposed to instantly change his attitude on the night of his marriage. Suddenly, sex must not be merely scratching an itch, but must be rather be a holy act that is almost entirely about the female.
But let’s be real. No boy jacks off without imagination. (If a female reading this thinks that this is not true, ask a man). So all boys imagine sex while doing “hand to gland combat.”
And – let’s be even more real – today those boys are not simply imagining it on the back of their eyelids. They are watching porn.
Now let me ask you. Do they watch porn and NOT jerkoff?
No they do not. Watching porn and jacking off for the male species is synonymous. Watching porn without jacking the beanstalk is boooooooring.
So, I ask you. How much porn can a young man watch?
Do I need to go through this again? Obviously porn – like masturbation – is self-limiting. The more you see the less you need to see. You need a “cooling off period” (or maybe that is a “storing some up” period) before you want to do it again.
Now, some of you may be saying – what about James Dobson’s interview with Ted Bundy the serial killer? Bundy told Dobson that regular porn got boring so he had to watch more perverted porn, then more perverted until eventually he had to sexually slaughter people in order to feel good.
Ted Bundy was a sociopath who was conning a gullible mark in order to possible get a pardon from President George HW Bush. This was nonsense. He was not led to mass murder by porn. Sociopaths are created at a very young age – usually by extreme neglect and abuse. Certainly this was true of Bundy’s childhood.
Ask yourself – those of you who have watched porn (that would be EVERY ONE OF YOU MEN) Did you really find it so boring that you had to watch bestiality in order to shoot your wad? When you did see the extreme stuff did it really turn you on or did it repel you. Come on, be honest.
The “escalating nature of porn” is a stupid myth. No one ever experienced it himself, he just projected his fears onto other men.
Let me (finally) make my point.
Porn is not an addiction because it does not meet the minimum requirement of addiction – an increasing need with decreasing reward.
Since the new legalists have switched from Biblical to Scientific arguments, I thought that I would begin to let everyone know what the science ACTUALLY says, instead of what the legalists try to tell you it says.
This article that I will explain today is so old that it doesn’t even show up on the academic online searches. The link will take you to a photocopy of a TYPEWRITTEN paper. It was published in 1970. It is so simple, clear, and common-sensical that I’m not surprised that the legalists don’t ever quote it.
So the researcher asked a simple question – How does initiation of porn watching affect stable middle-class, moderately conservative, religious married couples. So he ran some ads in Palo Alto, CA asking for married couples who wished to fill out some questionaires for money. He ended up with 83 couples. No one knew that this was a study about pornography.
So this was a group of people to whom no pornographic videos were available (this is 1970) only magazines such as Playboy were available. Few men would sneak into the sleazy adult theatres, so the skin magazines were effectively the only erotica available to conservative men.
So these people were randomly sorted in to groups 15 couples watched nothing but just filled out surveys about their marriage. 68 couples were divided into 2 groups that watched either erotic or non-erotic films.
The couples who watched films were in four groups. In some only the men watched erotica while their wives watched documentaries, in others the couple watched together without comments from the researchers. In the third, the couple watched the film after being told that it was likely to improve their relationship. Finally, the fourth group watched general-interest documentaries.
There were 7 films shown, Themes covered by these films included heterosexual activity, female masturbation, Lesbian activity, male homosexual activity, group sexual activity, and sadomasochism.
The results are so predictable as to be boring.
Couples who were introduced to pornographic films started having more sex
After 8 weeks the frequency of the porno-viewing couples sex decreased to baseline levels – they got bored with the porn.
The couples who were divided into porn-viewing and non-porn viewing had some trouble with the wives getting upset that their husband’s were getting turned on by the films
People who watched the porn became more tolerant of porn watching
People who didn’t watch porn became less tolerant toward porn watching
This was especially pronounced among the women
The non-heterosexual porn turned everyone off.
At the end of the experiment. Everyone had the same amount and the same kind of sex that they had before the experiment.
Now – is any of this surprising?
Wives think that porn-watching (of heterosexual sex) is terrible, terrible until they actually see it with their husband. Then it turns them on and causes them to have more marital sex. Afterwards, they – and their husbands – get bored with seeing it all the time and return to their baseline behavior. However, they decide that they may want to see some in the future if they want to get especially turned on.
Couples who have been taught to have legalistic scruples again porn get very upset if they find out that others are getting to watch. They want to stop anyone else from having fun either. These censorship desires disappear as soon as they see porn themselves.
Normal heterosexual couples do not become swingers because they see swinger films. They do not turn into bi-sexuals because they see lesbian or homosexual films. They turn out to like the romantic sex films (films of couples like themselves) the most.
What does this tell us 50 years later?
Firstly, PORN IS NOT ADDICTIVE. People who watch porn without feeling guilty about it get bored with it shortly.
Secondly, all of the preaching against porn -all of the men’s retreats – all of the promise-keepers seminars – all of the “your brain on porn” pseudo-science articles – were wasted effort. That same effort could have gone into producing beautiful and holy erotica that couples could watch whenever they wished in order to revive flagging sex lives.
Finally, we already knew this 50 years ago. Why did they churches determinedly continue to destroy the christian faith of their men?
I think it is because Mommy made them feel bad about playing with themselves at age 12 and they are still projecting their guilt onto others the rest of their lives.
Preachers do their people no favors by preaching against pornography. A new peer reviewed study published in “Addiction” magazine shows that men who have been taught that pornography perceive themselves to be addicted even when they are not. This perception continues to dog them and cause problems in their lives. So their lives are made worse – not by their viewing pornography – but rather because they have been taught that what they are doing is wrong.
Not surprisingly, this terrible feeling of guilt that the church has imposed on these men does not help them “overcome” their addiction. Nor does 12-step programs or any of the other “addiction” treatments. The reason that none of these programs or treatments work is because THEY ARE NOT ADDICTED. Treating men’s fullfillment of their normal erotic desires as an addiction is like treating an overweight person for diabetes. He doesn’t lose any weight, but he can die from your treatment.
In this study, they studied people who had viewed porn in the past six months. They asked the subjects how much porn they viewed, about their religious views, whether they felt like porn was a sin, and whether they felt like they were addicted to porn. Not surprisingly, the religious people who believed that porn was sinful also believed that they were addicted. The subjects who didn’t think it was sinful didn’t believe that they were addicted. By the normal standards of “addiction” (significantly negatively influenced their lives) the unreligious people didn’t display any problems in their lives.
Then six months later they asked the same people about their porn habits and about their feelings of addiction. The religious people were WORSE not better. They perceived themselves to be addicted at a far higher level than the non-religious ones.
In short, preaching against men looking at erotic images does not help them. It makes them feel worse about their lives while not giving them any help to “overcome” The reason it doesn’t help them overcome is because it is
Looked in the church bulletin this morning and saw the same thing that was in every bulletin. Events this week for the high school teens, the college youth, and the women’s weekly fellowship.
Hmm, do you notice who was left out? The men, of course. There was no place for the men to socialize. There were no hunting, fishing, or four-wheeler/camping trips. There were no trips to see sports games or monster trucks.
Do you think that men stay home all week and don’t go out with their friends? Of course not. The young men are hitting the single’s scenes (They are certainly not showing up to the “college youth” meetings. Who wants to be sneered at as a sex-addict and probable future “emotional abuser”)
Their are lots of social events that men go to, but none of them are sponsored by the church. There are soccer groups, bowling leagues, amateur baseball teams. There are hunting groups, fishing friends, and bars where men can just hang out, drink beer, play cards, and talk about women. Men get together to go to the rodeo or see wrestling or monster trucks. None of these are approved by our new female-led churches. We are more likely to be told that we have to go on “Daniel Fasts” that don’t include meat. Certainly we can’t drink beer or talk about sports and boobies.
But the fact is that men have always done these things and always will. The masculine pursuits are as Godly as weight-watchers and diabetes education workshops. Jesus and his 12 disciples, along with the many other disciples including wives and single women, spent time in the wilderness, resting just before the crucifixion week. I guarantee you that during that time there was some wine drinking, some wrestling, some races, and I think that the married couples did a lot of humping and the singles flirted.
This is not how the modern church treats its men. It sneers at sweat, hunting, and bloody sports. It treats their God-given sex-drive as an addiction.
Oh, by the way, there was one event scheduled that the men were encouraged to go to – Celebrate Recovery. The church wants them to deal with their “addictions.”
Firstly, Christian men aren’t getting married because there are so few single Christian men.
When is the last time you saw a Christian single man at church? Was he available? Of course not. He was grabbed up. There are few single men at the church because the church makes no attempt to reach them. Oh yes, the women are trying to reach them and bring them to church with them. But the men don’t show up, and are not being sought, by the church. When the grace of God reaches down and touches a young man, and he shows up to church, then the feminized church will drive him away. Masculinity, sweat, hunting, fishing, competing, are all treated as a vaguely distasteful necessity of having men at the church. But the “real” Christian men will be feminized. They will have great “listening” skills and their gestures will be comfortably familiar to females. When the church later discovers that they are homosexual, they will be shocked.
The only “men’s” program at the church is the program for families. The singles groups are full of women and the lessons are all about dieting, diabetes education, communication, and recovery from “emotional abuse” of their ex-boyfriends and husbands.
If a man is a real man, if he likes beer and naked women. If he has a beard and a likes to look at women’s boobs, then he will be shunted to a Promise Keeper’s group to be properly educated out of his gender.
And, God help us, if these men like sex, if they like to look at naked women, if they go online to look at pornography and erotica, then they must be disciplined, they must be discipled, the must be cured of their “Porn Addiction”
Are you surprised that masculine men don’t want anything to do with Christ?
And it is a shame, because Jesus and his disciples were men’s men. They could stand up in front of the Sanhedrin and tell them that they would obey God rather than men. They could work all night, naked, on a boat in the middle of the sea of Galilee, even if they caught nothing.
Christian men aren’t getting married because the church has decided it doesn’t want Christian single men, it just wants properly schooled girly-men.
And yet, when you peer closer at the data, it turns out that extramarital sex is changing before our very eyes. While the overall rate of people reporting extramarital flings is the same, the demographics of the people who report the adultery are changing dramatically. And not necessarily in the direction you might think.
The millennials, with their Tinder and their sexting and their God-knows-what-they-get-up-to-on-those-interwebs, are not driving this trend. It’s the baby boomers, with their Jimi Hendrix box sets and their Viagra prescriptions and their dog-eared copy of “The Joy of Sex” that they thought they’d lost four moves ago. People under the age of 55 are actually having markedly less extramarital sex than people in that age group did in the 1990s. But people over the age of 55 are busy making up for their missed action.
Think about what this means. The same generation X that has decided that porn is not a problem has decided that adultery is. It is not that porn has not changed their behavior – of course what you watch changes your behavior. More women engaged in lesbian sex before marriage, more anal sex, and more genital grooming, but when this generation of men and women got married, they decided to stay faithful.
Why, I am sure that the “your brain on porn” advocates told us that they would all become sex-addicts, that watching porn would cause them to become more and more addicted, that their brains would shrink, that they would lose the ability to control their sexual desires….
It seems that the opposite has happened – as real scientists told us that it would – that these people would become more discriminating about sex, that they would be able to enter marriage without the passion of unresolved sexual tension, that they could therefore stay married longer and be more faithful during their marriage.
But I didn’t have to wait for science to tell me this (though I am a psychiatrist and I make sure that my opinions are always informed by science). The Bible told me this a long time ago. God told me that erotica was part of normal and holy life, he inspired Solomon to write it for me to enjoy. He also told me that erotica ought to point toward and idealize marital love. That is why I created the Holy Erotica site, so that Christians could take back erotica from the sinners.
If more people would make sites like this, more Christian couples would make erotica for others to enjoy, then we would not find lesbianism and anal sex increasing, instead you would find Christian marriages lasting longer and being stronger.
1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
One of the most frustrating things to watch is the Christian PseudoScientists pretend that science backs their anti-porn crusade. You can see this in the fake scientist Gary Wilson‘s “Your Brain On Porn” nonsense. The studies directly contradict him. But he doesn’t care, because the people who are listening to him don’t care. He is making money off of their gullibility. They have a religious tradition opinion and they will jump on any “science” that supports their tradition. They don’t actually read the details because it doesn’t matter. Instead they will jump up in church and proclaim – “Even Science will tell you that porn changes your brain.”
There have been many pseudoscience advocates in our lifetime. We have the anti-vaccination people, the laetrile advocates, the “pure” high pH water people, the “paleo-diet” people, etc. All of these people have one thing in common, THEY DON’T ACTUALLY DO RESEARCH.
Research is very hard. It is very strict. As a psychiatrist, I am required to produce one research project in the next 3 years. This is very difficult to do. I have to become a true expert on the question that I am asking. I have to then formulate the question correctly. Then I have to decide what data that I need to answer the question. Then I have to discover the source of the data. I have to then gather the data and compile it into understandable form. I have to find the answer to the question that I asked – which may not be the answer I expected. I have to find the weaknesses of methodology. Finally I have to write and publish the paper resulting from all of this.
This is all hard work. It would be a lot easier to simply do a google search and then selectively quote from studies that OTHER people have done. I can misquote them, take their work out of context, apply it incorrectly, and then proclaim my pre-determined opinion. This is what all of these “Your Brain On Porn” people have done. If you don’t believe me, do this experiment. Go to “PubMed.Com” where all of the medical studies are published and look for an author “Gary Wilson” It isn’t there. Look for anyone else in the Porn Addiction advocate crowd. None of them are there either.