The Effects of Pornography

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on March 7, 2013 4:23 pm

The effects of porn addiction are undeniable.  Those who suffer from such an addiction, frequently struggle with a desire to part from their addictive issue.  The nature of porn addiction infiltrates the mind by gradually permeating the very essence of the individual.  The individual becomes so entangled by the web of such an addiction, that every waking moment is about fulfilling the addiction.  In many cases porn addicts frequently feel that the pornography has so entrenched their mind, that they begin carrying on a surreptitious like affair with their pornographic habit.  


There is no absolute cause for porn addiction.  Porn addiction can occur because of a variety of issues.  A child who runs across his father’s collection of pornography, may develop a habitual need for pornography.  A man or woman whose partner denies them continuously, their sexual desires or advancements, may find pornography as a comfortable replacement.   

“A 50-year old married physician views internet pornography for hours at home, masturbating five to seven times a day, then begins surfing porn sites at the office… A woman spends four to six hours a day in internet chat rooms and having cybersex… A married couple view pornographic movies together as part of their loving relationship, but the husband starts spending more time watching…” (SFGate, 2011, Online) 

There is no one single causation for porn or sexual addictions, rather there a multiple number of causations that could be the catalyst for such sexual deviance.  Pornographic and sexual addictions frequently stem from childhood related abuses, sexual indiscretions, psychological and psychiatric disorders, familial violence and abuse, relationship violence and abuse, traumas incurred in childhood or as an adult, an opportunity for sexual or pornographic imagery, relationship problems with a spouse, or compulsive needs.  


Pornographic viewing starts out as a curiosity, an uncertainty, unsolved problem, enigma, or a need to fill a void.  It is the mystique within this desire that many search to unveil it’s mystical shroud.  

The Downside  

Pornography’s downside is it’s ability to overtake one’s mind, body, and spirit.  For so many, they become so enthralled with this alternative to sex, that it clouds their judgements leading to an acceptable denial.  The man who spends more time masturbating over images and videos, than seeking to have intimacy with his wife.  A woman who has been cybersexing discovers a pathway to turn her online romance into her own reality.  

In many cases, pornographic images allow our fantasies to be fulfilled.  We may have an incline to be with a certain genre, style, trait, or personality; the pornography slowly begins to fill that void or desire.  Sadly, the pornography gradually also replaces our virtual mate with a cybermate.  

“The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity estimates that 6 to 8 percent of Americans – or 18 million to 24 million people – are addicts.  And 70 percent of sex addicts report having a problem with online sexual behavior.” (SFgate, 2011, Online) In Canada, the statistics on pornographic viewing and addictions are paralleled.   

All too often, sexual addicts risk loosing important relationships, being plagued with diseases, and place their jobs and careers on the line.  For the addict, it is less about the desire and more about fulfilling a compulsive need. 


Sexual addictions can occur through many desires.   They maybe prompted through anonymous sexual encounters, an incline towards exhibitionism or sadomasochism, traditional or nontraditional fantasies, intrusive sexual thoughts, adultery and affairs, sexual misconduct, sexual exploitations, and the chance that the addict will choose other risk taking behaviors such as drugs and alcohol. 


Those who have an issue with pornography or any other sexual addiction are usually fulfilling an overwhelming need, desire, or compulsion.  The desire proves so uncontrollable and unmanageable that a person’s common sense or rationale person takes a backseat to the addictive need.  For many addicts of pornography and/or sexual issues; the addiction becomes a release valve allowing the pressures of life to be liberated.  When a person is feeling frustrated, anxious, or emotional distress; they begin to seek out a means to relieve their burdens.  It is through pornography and sexual actions that many addicts find comfort. 

Dr. Drew Pinksy, an addiction specialist and an addiction expert describes sex addiction as being the “…most shameful disease.” He discusses how “Sex addiction isn’t as simple as promiscuity. (He defines)… the disease as an intimacy disorder. People who are addicted to sex may be afraid or unfamiliar with intimacy, so they substitute sex for real human closeness.” (Oprah, 2009, Online)

The Ramifications of Sexual Addictions

Dr (s) Donald Hilton, Jr. and Clark Watts postulate that “Eating, of course, is essential to individual survival, necessary for survival of the species. Another activity necessary for survival of the species is sex, an observation which leads to a series of logical questions derived from the work on obesity.” (Hilton & Watts, 2011, Online)  Suggest that “if” sexual and pornographic behaviors are neurologically significant, then this would suggest a neurological change could occur to the brain. “If so, are there associated with the addiction anatomical changes in the brain seen with other addictions?  A recent study supports growing evidence that compulsive sexuality can indeed be addictive.” (Hilton & Watts, 2011, Online).  If this is so, then the ramifications of such sexual behavior could have a prolonged effect upon the human condition. 


It may seem naive to say, but not all addict’s spouses are aware of their addictive need. “Many people are completely in the dark that their partner likes porn, much less has a serious relationship with it. Ignorant as to any issue, they trust their lover unconditionally. They assume their partner understands that using porn, at least beyond a magazine like Playboy, is the equivalent of having an actual affair. This ignorance, combined with the great lengths to which a porn enthusiast will go to hide erotica, can leave a partner in the dark for months or even years.

On the flip side, some couples use, or have used, various forms of erotica to help spice up their sex life. After all, porn is often recommended as one way lovers can be more intimate with each other. But instead of peaking pleasure, porn has become far more than titillation: It’s taking over one’s life. Instead of enhancing sex, the porn itself has become the object of desire. Now, one partner may find themselves competing with porn for his or her partner’s attention.” (Fulbright, 2008, Online)


Not unlike many other addictive issues, pornographic images may be suitable for you, but in many cases pornography can prove the most egregious obstacle of your life.  For a variety of religious, spiritual, and mystical thinkers, pornography is never acceptable or permissible.  Yet, there are many who report that pornographic images have not become an essential need or something that they feel entrenched by. 

‘Not everyone who looks at a nude image is going to become a sex addict.  But the constant exposure is going to trigger people who are susceptible,’ says Dr. David Sack, chief executive of Los Angele’s Promises Treatment Centers.’” (Newsweek, 2011, Online)


Relationship intimacy occurs between two people who hunger for substance, physical contact, and an emotional connection.   While relationship intimacy may be desired; it often fades with scars, wounds, and relationship trials and tribulations.   It is through the life of the relationship that people become stagnate, stale, and disinterested.     Unfortunately, once a relationship has entered this phase, it is rare that the couple returns to more pleasant days. 

“We’ve all heard it over and over again:  Men and women communicate differently.  The king of communication between the sexes, John Gray, goes so far as saying that men access love through sex, while women access sex through love or feelings.”  (Paget, 2000, p. 12) For many, the expression of intimacy is directly correlated to their sexual experience.  However, one can be intimate without ever having physical contact or physically romantic relations.  

Interestingly enough, the more intimate we are through our verbal and nonverbal gestures, facial expressions, and words; the greater the probability that our physical intimacy will increase.  It is  the manner with which we behave and interact that can either ignite or deflate a relationship. 


Whether your are seeking intimacy through friendship, relationships, familial or other, it is important to recognize that a deeper level of intimacy will not occur overnight.  It is through life’s personal struggles and successes that we will reach deeper levels.  It is through our experiences that we will become closer and it is through our closeness that we will reach a deeper level of intimacy.  

Reaching a healthy level of intimacy in any relationship involves paying close attention to the person with whom you are communicating; offering verbal and nonverbal responses that acknowledge your recipient’s communication; choosing not to be offended by his or her communication, rather recognizing his or her right to individuality; and acknowledging the person as being important to you. 


Author:   Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., N.C.C.M.



Block, J. D. (2003) Naked intimacy, How to increase true openness in your relationship. New York, NY:  The McGraw-Hill
Fulbright, Y. K. (2008) FOXSexpert: 8 signs your partner is addicted to porn. Retrieved:  November 12, 2011 from,2933,364749,00.html
Hendrix, H. & Hunt, H. L. (2004) Receiving love, Transform your relationship by letting yourself be loved. New York, NY: Atria Books
Hilton, D. L. & Watts, C. (2011) Pornography addiction:  A neuroscience perspective. Journal of Surgical Neurology International 2:19
Newsweek (2011) The sex addiction epidemic. Retrieved:  November 12, 2011 from and
Oprah (2009) Struggling with sex addiction. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from
Paget, L. (2000) How to give her absolute pleasure, Totally explicit techniques every woman wants her man to know. New York, NY: Random House, Inc.
Wall, C. L. (2004) The courage to trust, A guide to building deep and lasting relationships. Oakland, CA:  New Harbinger Publications, Inc.


*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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