Researcher: Porn Addiction a ‘Fiction’

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — A University of Auckland researcher who studied claims of compulsive behavior among men who watch adult content reports that the concept of “porn addiction” is “a fiction.”

Dr. Kris Taylor spoke to New Zealand news site The Spinoff as part of a current series on porn.

Taylor has spent years studying “the relationship between men and porn, including those in the NoFap community who’ve sworn off porn and masturbation altogether,” The Spinoff’s Don Rowe reported.

Taylor’s PhD dissertation studied the idea of porn addiction among a sample of New Zealanders aged 15-83, and noted “a lack of complexity in studies of the ways in which men and teenage boys navigate porn,” The Spinoff reported. “Taylor’s work suggests that while some men struggled with their porn use, actual addiction (in the diagnostic sense) to porn is itself a fiction.”

According to Taylor, pornography “has become a bit of a scapegoat for the larger problem of masculine entitlement, sexism and misogyny.”

The academic told The Spinoff that the language of addiction “is often used by viewers of pornography to diminish feelings of moral, ethical and even religious conflict. Masturbation can induce a sense of shame, and compulsive sexual behaviors can then be explained away as an addiction.”

“NoFap” Communities Online

Taylor has also researched members of online “NoFap” communities since 2016.

“While members of the community often see the benefits of self-discipline flowing into other areas of their life,” The Spinoff piece explained, “the emphasis on pseudoscience and flawed perceptions of human sexuality sets some up for failure.”

As XBIZ reported, the superstition that semen retention is related to magical masculine powers has a long history, linked to the Victorian notion of “sexual hygiene” and to “social hygiene” — which also helped give rise to the virulently racist “eugenics” movement.

For Taylor, much of the “NoFap” pseudoscientific discourse is connected with a “fear of real achievement in men coming down to being able to attract partners to have sex with, which is generally the main goal. That overlaps quite problematically with incel and other communities online, where the idea is that your life will become better if you have sex with a woman.”

Historically, he added, abstinence itself has been seen as “a very masculine way to deal with your issues — it’s very cut and dried, as opposed to being a little more introspective and reflective. It puts a massive amount of importance on penises and semen as key factors in how human relations are supposed to operate. We have a very poor understanding generally as a society around things like consent and a reliance on ‘just say no’ language, which doesn’t work.”

To read “The Man With a PhD in Porn Addiction,” visit The Spinoff.

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