Is pornography always addictive

Sex addiction expert Kenneth M. Adam, PhD explains why and how pornography use can become an addiction
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Is pornography always addictive

So it's a good question to think about between when is a problem using porn from when it's not a problem using porn, so because I think alot of people have that question. So we come back the definitoin of addiction, so someone has lost control, somebody has consequences, and they cannot stop because of the consequences, then it's problematic. And the consequences that we're beginning to see with long term pornorgraphy use, and it could be short term like three months, but using it all day and all night, is that people start getting aroused only by the pornography image and they become not just sexually aroused, but they have hormomes released in their brain that causes them to be attached to the image. They feel in a relationship to the person. And now they have somebody on the screen who is a perfect fit for their idiosyncratic fantasy and they've unlocked the key to a very specific fantasy that had been lurking in their brain, and now they can't get interested in anybody else. And so when their wife, or husband, or girlfriend, or boyfriend is interested in being intimate either sexually or otherwise, they start being not only disinterested, but turned off. They can't even get aroused anymore in many of the instances that we've seen. So when somebody's using porn, whether you use the word addiction or not, we have a person who has had severe consequences because of porn use and we have people reporting to us that when they try to stop, because they start to realize that they've gone too far, they start being intruded on with these porn images that they can't get it out of their memory banks. So addiction is a memory issue. The more you expose the brain to erotic stimuli, the more the memory system collects those images and pretty soon, because of the hyperaroused states, that's all you're interested in. And so the person you've loved for 40 years, or 40 days, you don't feel in love anymore with them. The brain has been altered. The good news is, is that, that can change, but it takes time.

Sex addiction expert Kenneth M. Adam, PhD explains why and how pornography use can become an addiction


Expert Bio

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Kenneth M. Adams, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., CSAT, is a Licensed Psychologist, the Clinical Director and Founder of Kenneth M. Adams and Associates in suburban Detroit, Michigan, as well as a faculty member at the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals. As previous Clinical Director for the Life Healing Center in Sante Fe, New Mexico, a residential treatment center for trauma and addiction, Dr Adams created the first inpatient program exclusively for partners of sex addicts. In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice, Dr. Adams is a national lecturer, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of child abuse, dysfunctional family systems, and sex addiction. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, the books Silently Seduced and When He’s Married to Mom, as well as co-editor of Clinical Management of Sex Addiction. In 2011, Dr Adams received the “Carnes Award” for “outstanding work in the field of sexual addiction and compulsivity”. He is a certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a CSAT supervisor, and CSAT training facilitator as well as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner. Dr. Adams is a member of the American Psychological Association, Michigan Psychological Association, Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), and International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) as well as an advisory board member to SASH and IITAP, and an editorial board member of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. For more on Dr Adams visit


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