Female Porn Addicts Are a Lot Like Male Porn Addicts - Pacific Standard

Female Porn Addicts Are a Lot Like Male Porn Addicts

Female porn addicts deserve some research, too. If porn addiction exists, that is.
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"I know it when I see it" may have been an adequate descriptor for pornography from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, but when it comes to addiction to pornography, researchers don't merely stop there.

There has been a good deal of research on porn addiction, but researchers led by Christian Laier at University of Duisberg-Essen, Germany, point out that women are often left out. Can't females love porn to the point that it impairs their life functions, too? We know that women's "cybersex" use (using the Internet to watch porn, read erotica, peruse sex shops, etc.) differs from that of men: They do it less frequently, and they prefer a social component—online sex chatrooms, for instance.

The new study, on the other hand, shows how male and female porn addicts are similar:

  • Like men, women who find pornographic pictures more arousing and report greater craving to masturbate are more likely to have porn addiction.
  • Women who are more sexually excitable and who display more "problematic" (PDF) sexual behavior also had tendencies to porn addiction. This wasn't explicitly found in men, but male sexual excitability is linked to risky sexual behaviors, which could be another link to porn addiction, the researchers write.
  • Partners of people suffering from porn addiction can rest assured on at least one point: Both male and female tendencies toward addiction have nothing to do with their real-life sexual encounters. Contrary to popular belief, people aren't addicted to porn because they're dissatisfied with their quality or quantity of sexual experiences.

Some of these findings may seem obvious, but they lend credence to the idea that porn addiction (like other addiction) is a "learned" behavior gone haywire. And all this needs to be taken with a grain of salt, by the way—not all researchers are convinced that porn addiction is actually an addiction, in the strictest sense. The "know it when I see it" test fails again. —Bettina Chang

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