Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Is porn addiction real?

Sometimes you never know what topic will explode on a talk radio show. No doubt, you’ve heard of the travails of Josh Duggar, one of the 19 “kids” on the now-defunct reality TV show, 19 Kids and Counting. The show was cancelled after it was revealed that he’d molested several girls when he was about 15, including his own sisters. After the cheater’s website, Ashley Madison, was hacked, we learned he was one of the cheaters exposed. He claims he’s a porn addict. But is there really such a thing?

The Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Psychatric Disorders (DSM-V) does not recognize sexual addiction and porn addiction as clinical diagnoses. That may come as a shock to some, especially some of my listeners who argued pornography was as addictive as heroine.

One listener went so far as to claim he has PTSD and porn addiction was a by-product of that. I don’t mean to be unsympathetic but come on. In my rant about Josh Duggar I said something to the effect of “who doesn’t like to look at naked pictures.” My PTSD listener said that was an indication that I, too, may have a porn addiction. Let me be clear. I don’t.

These advocates of porn addiction tell me that one’s brain is stimulated by pornography much like a drug addict’s brain is stimulated by drugs. I would submit to you that anything you find exciting will stimulate your brain in a similar manner. I get excited looking at boats. Maybe that’s boat porn. I joke that I have to keep naked pictures at the ready on my computer just in case my wife walks in the room and I’m looking at boats.

From where I’m sitting, it’s simply a matter of willpower. If you can’t turn on the computer without going directly to a porno site, turn the computer off. Self-described addicts tell me it’s not that easy. My PTSD listener tells me he was “blessed with a spiritual awakening” that allowed him to “see God’s plan where sexual purity is concerned.” He made my point for me.

He didn’t have to go to porn detox. He didn’t have to be iced down in the bathtub or go the Betty Ford Clinic. What he had to do was come to the realization that sitting around looking at dirty pictures is destructive and a waste of time and let his conscience be his guide.

I fear that too many people make addiction excuses in order to justify their aberrant behavior. We’re in short supply of personal responsibility these days and adding another “addiction” to our lexicon is not going to help matters. What we need is a frank discussion about what is appropriate behavior and what is not. If you want to sit around and look at dirty pictures, more power to you. This is America. But don’t complain that you can’t help it.

I’m sure the sex addiction defense is going to be widely used by those caught in the hackers’ web of the Ashley Madison cheater’s site scandal. Maybe Jared from Subway can claim he’s addicted to teenage girls. I hope we’re smart enough to see through all of this. People make choices in life and some of those choices are bad ones. Let’s focus on that and encourage us all to make better choices instead of making better excuses. We build a stronger society by taking the high road on this.


But, just in case the “addiction” claim is embraced, can I get the government to pay for my boat?




Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.




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