Why Porn Addiction Is More Complicated Than You Think

From Don Jon to Terry Crews' recent viral video on the subject, porn addiction seems to be getting the celebrity treatment these days. After opening up about his battle with porn addiction in the past, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine star and former football player revealed more about his journey to recovery in a series of Facebook videos.

"For years my dirty little secret is that I was addicted to pornography...it really messed up my life in a lot of ways," Crews explained, which culminated in a visit to rehab and therapy to help change his perceptions about masculinity and sexuality. Although Crews mentions that some say porn addiction doesn't exist, his counter to that claim is, "if day turns into night and you're still watching, you've probably got a problem."

In addition to Crews, plenty of other celebs who have sought help for porn addiction, but the question remains: what constitutes an addiction, and what level of porn consumption is "OK"? And in the scientific community, the question is: what makes porn addiction similar or different to other addictions, and does it exist at all? Here are three scientifically-sourced facts about porn addiction that might clear up some of the confusion:

1. Porn Addiction Is Physiologically Different From Drug Addiction

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A study published in Biological Psychology found that a porn addict's response to porn is physiologically different than a drug addict's response to drugs. Instead of observing increased brain activity in response to images of porn (which is what happens when drug users are exposed to images of their drug of choice), the subjects showed decreased brain function, which suggests it's a different type of behavioral problem altogether.

2. Porn Addiction Was Rejected From The DSM-5

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For various reasons, porn addiction is not included in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that mental health professionals use to diagnose patients. According to an addiction expert, two reasons for this might be that, "'sex addiction' is little more than a label for sexual behavior that significantly deviates from society’s norms," and that "there has never been any nationally representative prevalence surveys of sex addiction using validated addiction criteria." However, this doesn't mean that porn addiction doesn't exist in the sense that the behaviors it entails can't negatively affect people and their families.

3. There Can Be Female Porn Addicts, Too

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A 2014 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women can rank high on the Hypersexual Behavior Inventory, and that "hypersexual women had high masturbation frequencies, more sexual partners, and higher pornography use—just like their male counterparts." Whatever porn addiction may be in the brain, the behavioral pattern is not limited to men.

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Images: Fotolia; Giphy (3)