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Porn as Erototoxic | Posted: January 26, 2006

Large Increase in Porn DVD Sales Indicates Growing Pornography Addiction

Researcher says porn "endogenous drug" that permanently restructures brain, mind, memory, conduct

By Gudrun Schultz

UNITED STATES, December 16, 2005 ( - A significant rise in pornographic DVD sales and rentals within the United States points to a rapidly growing addiction to pornography that is going largely unacknowledged within society.

The United States' massive porn industry has reported a marked increase in sales of DVD's for home adult entertainment. California-based Adult Video News predicted revenue of US$12.6-billion this year for the industry. Of that number, US$4.28-billion is predicted from sales and rentals of porn DVD's, even though the price of a porn film has dropped 20% in the last year--to less than US$50.

The report offers no reason for the increase in sales and the growth of the industry overall, although some retailers of the products have suggested the increase is due to growing social acceptance of adult sexual entertainment.

That 'social acceptance' is in fact a rapidly growing addiction to pornographic material within mainstream society, according to researchers and therapists who work in the field of sexual dysfunction.

Dr. Judith Reisman, who has done extensive research discrediting the work of Alfred Kinsey, has shown compelling evidence that pornography is a powerful addictive force. In an article titled Exposing Pornography's Addictive, Destructive Effects, published 2003, she states:

"For decades I have lectured on visual pornography as an "endogenous drug" that permanently restructures the brain, mind, memory and conduct of unthinking users...Pornography overrides cognition and causes dramatic changes in viewers' behavior. This can be simple coarsening, impairing the capacity to love, or it can lead to brutal sexual crimes." (Exposing Pornography's Addictive, Destructive Effects)

Dr. Mary Ann Layden is co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Cognitive Therapy. Speaking before the 2004 Senate Commerce Committee, she said, "Pornography addicts have a more difficult time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts, since coke users can get the drug out of their system, but pornographic images stay in the brain forever.

Social acceptance of the industry appears to be a blanket of acceptability tossed over the ugly truth of pornography--that the industry degrades the people involved in the production of material, degrades the viewer, and fosters socially deviant behavior.

"Those who use pornography have been shown to be more likely to engage in illegal behavior...Research indicates and my clinical experience supports that those who use pornography are more likely to go to prostitutes, engage in domestic violence, stranger rape, date rape, and incest, " said Layden.

From de-valuing of women and children, to disruption of the ability to be in intimate relationship, to the acting out of violent fantasy against actual victims that leads to sexually motivated crimes, research clearly shows the devastating social results of pornography addiction.

The unchecked increase in child pornography offers unavoidable evidence for the fundamentally disordered nature of the industry. Individuals who defend adult porn may be outraged by the view that child pornography is a direct outcome of the adult industry, but in fact viewing the recorded image of child abuse has become a sexual turn-on for an appalling number of adults.

Furthermore, research shows that as an addiction, pornography builds upon itself, driving the addict to seek more extreme experiences of visually satisfying material.

"Sexual addicts develop tolerance and will need more and harder kinds of pornographic material," said Layden. "They have escalating compulsive sexual behavior becoming more out of control and also experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop the use of the sexual material. This material is potent, addictive and permanently implanted in the brain."

Despite industry defenders' claims that adult entertainment is a healthy form of sexuality, the porn industry has seen an enormous increase in recent years in "extreme" porn involving violence, the abuse of animals, a focus on fecal and urinary functions, and self-mutilation.

"There are no studies and no data that indicate a benefit from pornography use," Layden said. "If there were a benefit, then pornography users, pornography performers, their spouses and their children would show the most benefit. Just the opposite is true. The society is awash in pornography and so in fact the data is in. If pornography made us healthy, we would be healthy by now."

For the full text of Layden's statement, see:

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