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Is Porn An Addiction?

Addiction, fantasy, habitual masturbation ...
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MQ
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Re: Is Porn An Addiction?

Post by MQ »

Getting back to @PaulB's original question:
Is Porn An Addiction?

What is the value of finding an answer to this question?

People are unlikely to unanimously agree on either a definition of addiction, or whether porn usage is actually an addiction. There are differing opinions already in this thread, and that's ok.

The way I see it, the value of asking this question is in indentifying your view of, and response to, porn usage.

It doesn't really matter how you define addiction, and whether you think porn usage is an addiction or not. What is your response to porn usage? How do you view porn usage, and how does that shape your behaviour, and your view of other's behaviour?

Two people here might agree that porn usage is an addiction, but does that guarantee they will respond to porn usage in the same way? Probably not. So is there value in agreeing or disagreeing with the topic question itself? I think that value is probably limited.

I definitely believe there is value in this discussion here, but coming to an agreement on whether porn usage is an addiction is probably not going to be of great benefit. Hopefully those participating on this forum will agree that we don't want porn usage in marriage (or anywhere). I'm thinking the 'box' we label porn with (addiction or not) has various influences on our thinking and behaviour. I think it's wise to be aware of this in ourselves.

Discussion is good though, so I'm not against continuing the discussion, and in some ways I think maybe @PaulB was wanting to throw the question out there to just start a discussion and get us thinking through it all and expressing our thoughts (which is great now that we have this new format for TMB :)).

Edited to add: I should have quoted @David, because I think he's saying the same thing I'm trying to say (but he probably said it much better than me)...
Thinking about this discussion it seems to me that the question isn't so much one of definitions (i.e. is it valid to use the word addiction to describe habitual porn use), so much as one of pastoral care (i.e. do we downplay the sin by calling it addiction).
This is what I mean about how we label porn can influence our behaviour. Like @David said, do we downplay porn usage because we call it an addiction?
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Re: Is Porn An Addiction?

Post by LBD »

Like @David said, do we downplay porn usage because we call it an addiction?
Some may. Many "addictions" have been equivocated with 'disease", and thereby personal responsibility diminished. I do just the opposite.
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Re: Is Porn An Addiction?

Post by newwifenewlife »

Link+Zelda wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:08 pm
oneday wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:10 pm You know it is true. Be honest. :)
No, I do not know "it is true". For some people, that may be the case (see what @LBD said). For others, it may be as I suggested, with a site like this decreasing the giving in to a porn temptation. You and I have no idea what the relative proportions are, so please stop peddling this information as fact. That is my final input on this subtopic.

Also, I do not appreciate the implication that I or anyone else is lying with our responses on this thread. Repeating those kinds of insinuations is not in the spirit of TMB. I suggest you read the TMB Rules and try to find a better way to make your point.
Agreed. Thank you. I tried to ask nicely to explain...and it went nowhere except snarky.
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Re: Is Porn An Addiction?

Post by LBD »

I was thinking about this thread early this morning and a couple thoughts came to mind.

First, I sincerely believe that @PaulB ‘s intention is, at the foundational level, to expose and espouse the depth of the destruction that porn has on a person and a marriage. It seems, in his estimation, labeling it as an addiction, in the modern, academic understanding, does the opposite. In some circles that may be happening, in which case that approach is sad and destructive in itself. I don’t think that is the overarching approach and I haven’t seen that to be the approach in the church as I know it. I do know there is a significant push in some academic areas, and certainly in secular world, to yield it inconsequential up to beneficial. That’s not the debate here though. Nobody that has spoken here would take THAT position, and we should all take a deep breath and thank the Lord there is agreement there. Satan knows that to divide his enemies weakens their defenses. He’s used that tactic from the very beginning.

I think this is, at its core, an academic argument. But between us who are all in agreement that it is sin, it is semantics. Does it really matter if a physician calls it one thing or defines it as another? It is still sin. The great physician is absolute about that. That’s really all that should matter to a Christian. If it is a sin, then that means we have the opportunity and ability to stop, repent and live abundantly without it.

BUT... Even if we have the free will to change, that doesn’t mean it will be easy, nor does it mean we don’t suffer the real consequences of our past actions, and those must be overcome. Sometimes through pain and struggle. That’s hard, that’s unappealing. Staying where you are is much more appealing and easy. For some I’m sure saying to themselves “it’s an addiction I have no control over” gives them an out and thereby justification becomes easy. I think that is where @PaulB is concerned; if a church’s stance enables that thought process. In that case, I would agree, that is a faulty course.

Another thought crossed my mind. I wonder, of those that take a “anti-addiction” stance with porn, how many of them have actually been down in the muck with the beast for an extended, bloody battle? I know that battle has definitely affected my opinion on the matter. And I have experienced my own changing viewpoint as I have lived through the war, the perceived ceasefire, the post-war squabbles, the sneak attacks behind the lines, unprovoked attacks, the treasonous acts...and eventually the uneasy peace.

The truth about addictions is you don’t treat them all the same. But you must always get to the core of the reason for the self-medication. As has been said, that is almost always there underneath, in any addiction, compulsion or habit.


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Re: Is Porn An Addiction?

Post by newwifenewlife »

LBD wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:02 am I think this is, at its core, an academic argument. But between us who are all in agreement that it is sin, it is semantics. Does it really matter if a physician calls it one thing or defines it as another? It is still sin. The great physician is absolute about that. That’s really all that should matter to a Christian. If it is a sin, then that means we have the opportunity and ability to stop, repent and live abundantly without it....

The truth about addictions is you don’t treat them all the same. But you must always get to the core of the reason for the self-medication. As has been said, that is almost always there underneath, in any addiction, compulsion or habit.
TRUTH LBD!!!

I'd also submit that the truth in your last sentence is also the way to discover a spouse's marriage problems, marriage bed issues and gatekeeping. What is the reason driving the action or belief? Get to that and you'll unlock all sorts of doors of emotions and communication.
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Re: Is Porn An Addiction?

Post by oneday »

Link+Zelda wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:08 pm
oneday wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:10 pm You know it is true. Be honest. :)
No, I do not know "it is true". For some people, that may be the case (see what @LBD said). For others, it may be as I suggested, with a site like this decreasing the giving in to a porn temptation. You and I have no idea what the relative proportions are, so please stop peddling this information as fact. That is my final input on this subtopic.

Also, I do not appreciate the implication that I or anyone else is lying with our responses on this thread. Repeating those kinds of insinuations is not in the spirit of TMB. I suggest you read the TMB Rules and try to find a better way to make your point.
Lets agree to disagree. Have a great day.
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Re: Is Porn An Addiction?

Post by PaulB »

LBD wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:02 amFirst, I sincerely believe that @PaulB ‘s intention is, at the foundational level, to expose and espouse the depth of the destruction that porn has on a person and a marriage. It seems, in his estimation, labeling it as an addiction, in the modern, academic understanding, does the opposite.
That's the gist of it. that, and the fact it's not an addiction by any scientifically valid definition of the word. But that's just me. :lol:
LBD wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:02 am I haven’t seen that to be the approach in the church as I know it.
I've seen it from Christians porn users, and from some spouses of same.
LBD wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:02 am
I think this is, at its core, an academic argument. But between us who are all in agreement that it is sin, it is semantics. Does it really matter if a physician calls it one thing or defines it as another? It is still sin.
Agreed. But some see that as an excuse for taking years to deal with the sin.
LBD wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:02 am
BUT... Even if we have the free will to change, that doesn’t mean it will be easy, nor does it mean we don’t suffer the real consequences of our past actions, and those must be overcome.
I agree 100%.
LBD wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:02 am Another thought crossed my mind. I wonder, of those that take a “anti-addiction” stance with porn, how many of them have actually been down in the muck with the beast for an extended, bloody battle?
My situation certainly makes me aware it can be done easily. Looking back I realise that this was just one of many changes going on in my life at that time, and because of some of the others, my need to self-medicate was shrinking.
I don't expect it to be as "easy" for everyone as it was for me. But I have a hard time with someone who literally thinks they can not.
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Re: Is Porn An Addiction?

Post by PaulB »

Duchess wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:58 pm
PaulB wrote: Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:35 am Okay, I'm probably picking a fight here. ...It seems to me porn use is a form of idolatry.

Thoughts?
Is it just me or does it seem that perhaps PaulB intentionally made this question a little on the thorny side to get a lot of people engaged in thinking about all the myriad ways porn is dangerous and evil?
No, it's how I feel about it. But I realise some will have a problem with that, which is why I said what I did.
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Is Porn An Addiction?

Post by LBD »

PaulB wrote: I don't expect it to be as "easy" for everyone as it was for me. But I have a hard time with someone who literally thinks they can not.

I have been at the place where I thought I had no power over it. I would humbly suggest when you encounter someone who feels that way, to issue as much grace as you can and help them find a way to see things differently. I would also suggest that to try to convince them it is not an addiction, at that time at least, will be counterproductive. My years have taught me that “perception is reality” and if you want to change someone’s mind, you have to approach them with that understanding or you will only hit a brick wall.


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Last edited by PaulB on Thu Jan 28, 2021 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Cleaned up formatting
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Re: Is Porn An Addiction?

Post by Doug »

I still don't understand why you believe it has to be an "either/or" scenario. Taking the word addiction out of the equation really doesn't change anything. Anyone who will use that to excuse their bad behavior is not going to be swayed. People really don't need an excuse to do wrong. It is as natural as breathing. Removing a word doesn't change that. I was loath to describe myself as an addict when I was using. Nobody could have convinced me that I was one, and it would be a pretty unpleasant conversation for all involved if you tried to tell me I was an addict.

I had tried to quit in the past for reasons that had nothing to do with morality, and I usually couldn't make it more than a day or so. Often I wouldn't make it an hour. It was only thru the Grace of Jesus Christ and Conviction of the Holy Spirit that I quit, and I firmly believe that time was ordained according to his plan. There was no other influence. I was already hiding it from my wife, not because I thought it was wrong, or because it was hurtful to her. I hid it because on the few occasions she caught me, she was angry, and her anger never once swayed me from anything I wanted to do.

Do you honestly believe that changing what word we use to describe it is able to add to or subtract from the conviction. Do you believe you can convict yourself to change? Can one spouse convict another to change.

I really do understand where you are coming from, and on the surface, it sounds good, but I am unconvinced.
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