Addiction

“I admire addicts. In a world where everybody is waiting for some blind, random disaster, or some sudden disease, the addict has the comfort of knowing what will most likely wait for him down the road. He’s taken some control over his ultimate fate, and his addiction keeps the cause of death from being a total surprise.” -Chuck Palahniuk

This is an interesting article about porn addiction. The article is not a serious one, nor is the study they complete a scientific one. The author notes that he isn’t attempting a scientific study,

“which is why you’re seeing these results on an internet comedian’s website rather than the New England Journal of Medicine. Yes, these were faceless people with fake names (a porn study where the subjects went by names like Johnny Hard On and James Bondage probably will give the Nobel committee pause).”

He gathers 100 volunteers and requests they attempt to abstain from porn viewing for two weeks. According to his results, 24 didn’t last three days and 52 didn’t last two weeks. 28 seemed to have no problem giving it up.

He goes on to discuss what would qualify as “addiction.” He (jokingly) contends that you are addicted to porn if,

8. You find yourself reading porn at a funeral;
9. You read porn at the funeral of a man whom you killed for his porn;
10. You have paid for internet porn.

Joking aside, I don’t really see his “results” as all that troublesome. For starters, this wasn’t a truly scientific survey. I’m not criticizing for the lack of random sampling, lack of definition of what constitutes porn, etc. Since the participants knew it was a joke, they didn’t take giving it up seriously. I would think a more serious survey (say, one actually conducted by the some researchers who want published in the New England Journal of Medicine).

Secondly, according to the article, a lot of people got bored and watched porn. It became a habit. Habits are quite different from addiction. The author discusses this. Being addicted (along the lines of coke or cigarettes or compulsive gambling) must be differentiated from having habits. Selling your body for drug money or selling your kid to the Thai sex trade to pay off your gambling debts should not be lumped into the same category as eating lunch at a certain time or nail biting.

Thirdly, an addiction should have some sorta negative consequence to be considered a bad thing. I could be accused of being “addicted” to running four days a week (because I really enjoy it, I don’t want to stop, and I’m less happy when I don’t). However, running four days a week is extraordinarily beneficial. I’m not contending that porn is as beneficial as running, but it also lacks the extreme negative consequences of drug or gambling addiction.

Fourthly, yes, some people do get addicted to porn. But people have addictions to a lot of crazy things. That doesn’t mean porn is addictive. That means some people can get addicted to anything.

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