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More Women Are Watching Porn

A propensity for interest in pornography among men is well known and documented. When most people think of the people who view porn, they think of men flipping through issues of Penthouse or clicking through online pornographic websites. But women and porn? Aren’t men thought to be the more visual creatures and the ones who are also more likely to be stimulated by pornographic images?

Whether that fact is true or not, porn addiction is not simply a men’s issue. The addiction affects both men and women in drastic and damaging ways. And the silence and stigma around women’s porn addiction means their condition is not getting the treatment, sensitivity or attention it deserves and requires. While women everywhere are battling the pull of porn, very few people are actually talking about it.

The commonly held beliefs that only men find porn alluring and that only men are at risk for porn addiction are fallacies. As Internet porn becomes increasingly novel, available, high-speed and hardcore, women are drawn to it in dangerous ways. And they don’t necessarily expect it. A few clicks through an adult website, perhaps on a whim or out of curiosity, excites them in a way they hadn’t anticipated. But suddenly, and without warning, the images are imbedded in the brain, along with the sense of comfort and calm that came as a result of the viewing and possibly subsequent masturbation.

Whether the viewer is male or female, pornography immediately exerts its drug-like power, flooding the brain’s reward center with dopamine. And though they viewer may experience guilt about her activity, the recent, overwhelming rush has her craving more … just a little more, just one more time, she reasons. And the guilt may actually add to the allure and excitement viewers associate with porn. They know it is wrong and that they don’t want to keep doing it, but they also find they cannot stop. In the midst of a stressful situation, in boredom, in loneliness, at work, wherever, the porn calls to them and they succumb.

As the addiction progresses, viewing porn is more than a novelty or an occasional activity, it is a habitual, daily need, sometimes even several times a day. Life and work responsibilities may be starting to slip due to the time spent not only watching porn, but the time spent thinking about it, regretting it and planning to get more of it. Stress mounts, isolation becomes more acute and, not surprisingly, more porn is needed to achieve the sense of warm, fuzzy comfort it provided in the first place. Current statistics suggest that one in three people viewing online pornography is a woman, though those numbers are higher if other forms of pornography are included, such as DVDs.

But is viewing porn really a problem? When porn is considered in the same light as other media, it appears deceptively innocuous. However, porn isn’t akin to simply reading a smuttier or sexier version of a book. High-speed Internet porn and pornographic videos produce significant chemical reactions in the brain. Rather than compare porn to other media, it should be classed other addictive and dangerous substances such as cocaine or heroin. In this light, even dabbling in porn presents a threat and a risk. Many people, though perhaps curious about illicit drugs, stay away because of the potential consequences. Porn must be viewed in a similar light and with similar caution.

Porn also exerts a damaging impact on women’s sex lives and personal sexuality. The common sexual objectification of women in pornographic videos can cause female viewers to question their own personal worth and sexual performance, lowering self-esteem and sexual confidence. Women also begin to objectify men as sex objects rather than seeing them as normal people with whom to have relationships and share intimacy.

Understanding that women are as susceptible as men to develop a porn addiction helps to increase awareness of the problem and diminish some of the stigma and silence that surrounds women and porn use. Their addiction to porn can be as damaging, demeaning and life controlling as it can be for men. Resources that help women recover and break their cycle of porn obsession are needed in order to help them gain freedom from the bondage of pornography addiction.

There is still hope.

Our licensed addiction experts can help. Call us today for a confidential assessment.

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