This is a really interesting article about how the new revision to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is missing the whole problem of internet porn addiction, especially its real effects and recovery.
I think it does bring up a few very important points:
1) Like prescription drug abuse, porn addiction can develop in a normally non-addiction-disposed person, and then distort the person's mind enough to become addicted.
2) For those without underlying predisposition, normalcy can be returned to in relatively short order with complete abstinence from porn.
3) The DSM is avoiding one of the most common problems young people face in this era.
In fact, I think a lot of problems with porn are being swept under the rug, and if counselors are not educated in the warning signs, they will be unable to help people when it is needed the most. Let's take a look for a moment at dating.
I've encountered a number of young Christian women who have a 'wonderful' relationship with their boyfriends... who are addicted to porn. They all describe the same passive, caring, laid-back boy who does not pressure them for sex. The latter is a big selling point, because these young women take their 'waiting' seriously because they want to have a decent and healthy sex life.
The problem usually arises when the boy states that he is watching and abusing himself to internet porn, quite often the 'really bad' stuff. The girl is scandalized, but does not want to give up on the 'great relationship' which is different from other relationships in that the boyfriend isn't getting too frisky and has a really calm demeanor.
Well, then the bad news comes out: he's calm in large part because he's exhausted from his porn habit. If he actually had to 'perform' with her or any other real woman, he probably wouldn't be able to.
If he has introverted tendencies, then porn allows him to not struggle to overcome the most inhibiting aspects of his introversion. He is not challenged to grow up and perhaps move towards the 'middle ground.' Porn means he can satisfy his natural desires without others. He is stunted.
And, there are lots of young ladies who are interested in a stunted relationship so that they don't have to grow, either. Except, when the time comes to 'consummate' the relationship, or when they need him to be actually present in the relationship, they realize that the porn has removed all of that desire.
This is usually when I get the phone call or email asking for help.
My answer usually goes something like this: he needs to get off the porn completely and the MO as well for at least a year, possibly longer, to allow his mind to revert back to some kind of normal. You don't know who he is if you met him while he was using porn and you may not like him once he comes around to himself. He may not be a pervert based on the weird stuff he's been abusing himself to, but neither of you knows yet because he is sick. You may want to ease off on the relationship until he gets help, because you had better not get into 'fixing' him. If you do, then you need to get over to an Al-Anon meeting and start learning what codependency is.
As you read through this, I'm sure you are already seeing the reason why there are so many ED pill advertisements on TV, radio, and internet.
Porn addiction is real, and it would be better if the DSM would address the real problem. In the meantime, porn addicts are finding help for one another on-line. If anyone knows a good program to help addicts deal with their withdrawal from porn, I'd like to hear from you. For those who absolutely cannot quit and maintain abstinence, there is always SAA.