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Porn isn't addictive, and it's probably good for you

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Hey, Don Jon wannabes: It looks like you’re gonna have to find another excuse for surfing Redtube instead of seeing Labor Day with your girlfriend. A new paper says that contrary to popular belief, there is no reliable scientific evidence to support the theory of pornography addiction, due to numerous flaws in studies of the phenomenon. Translation: porn addiction probably isn’t a real thing.

Published in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports, the paper takes a look at the theory and research behind pornography addiction. What researchers David Ley, Nicole Prause, and Peter Finn found was that current research on porn addiction is hindered by “poor experimental design, limited methodological rigor, and lack of model specification.” In other words, most other research has made a mess of studying porn addiction, so others have no basis for asserting its legitimacy as a real issue.

Ley, Prause, and Finn found that there appears to be no connection between high rates of pornography viewing and erectile dysfunction, nor are there any changes in viewers’ brains. Additionally, few researchers actually consider frequent pornography viewing as an “addiction." Fewer than 40 percent of research articles about the topic refer to it as such, and only 27 percent of scientific article on porn addiction contained any actual hard data.

Contrary to the media perception that pornography addiction is an insidious and destructive force in innocent young men’s lives, Ley and his team actually found that pornography enhances, rather than detracts from, men’s sex lives. Rather than acting as a substitute for real-life sexual encounters, watching pornography might improve attitudes toward sexuality and increase quality of life in long-term relationships. It could also provide an outlet for potentially harmful sexual impulses, the paper reports.

Of course, to those who already have a healthy relationship to masturbation and pornography (and have already discovered that kitten won’t die if they partake in a little she-bop or he-bop now and then), the results of the review don’t come as much of a surprise. But for those who blame porn for all society’s evils, or use their “addiction” as a way to avoid confronting very real social and emotional problems, this review might be the very thing to shut them all up.

H/T UPI | Photo by andronicusmax/Flickr (CC-BY 2.0)