I was counselling a 23-yo Mormon kid a few years ago. He let me read his years of diaries, including his long struggle with an addiction to online pornography, which is not something that was even possible when I was growing up — when porn was something seedy you could only find in slightly disreputable newsstands or shops, and even the glossy mags like Playboy passed around in junior high were relatively tame and airbrushed. Now every child has access to pornography from the time they learn to web surf, despite “safe surf” parental controls, and there are a lot of reports of addiction and support communities for those who seek out help.
Whether problems due to excessive viewing of pornography should really be called “addiction” is controversial. Let’s first look at what Wikipedia has to say:
Pornography addiction has been described as a behavioral addiction characterized by compulsive, repeated use of pornographic material until it causes serious negative consequences to one’s physical, mental, social, and/or financial well-being. However, the existence of porn addiction has been hotly contested by scientists and clinicians. Addiction to Internet pornography is also a form of cybersex addiction. There is no diagnosis of pornography addiction in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Problematic Internet pornography viewing is viewing of Internet pornography that is problematic for an individual due to personal or social reasons, including excessive time spent viewing pornography instead of interacting with others. Individuals may report depression, social isolation, career loss, decreased productivity, or financial consequences as a result of their excessive Internet pornography viewing impeding on their social life.
A behavior you can’t control that leads to neglect of normal life and real losses is perhaps not a physical addiction, but at least an obsession, and there’s enough evidence that constant use actually changes brain chemistry and creates dependency that I think it’s fair to declare it an addiction in the scientific sense as well. And while most addicts seem to be male (which makes sense given the known preference for raw visual stimulation in the male as opposed to emotional-attachment preferences of female sexual fantasies), there are definitely women and girls with porn addictions.
Views of porn addiction in the wider world fall into three camps: 1) Those who think it’s only a problem for losers with no self-control, classify addiction as moral weakness and a failure of will, and tend to make fun of sufferers; 2) Social conservatives (and some feminists) who see the porn itself as the source of the problem, and view addicts as helpless victims, which motivates their call for criminalizing and eliminating all access to porn; and 3) The camp that recognizes the problem, sympathizes with addicts, but view addiction as a phase which almost everyone will grow out of when they recognize how it harms real life.
I can remember when I was a young fellow with an excess of hormones. I had discovered masturbation around the age of 10, and until I was 25 or so, I went through periods where I would masturbate excessively, knew it was distracting me from school and social life, but had little control. Now imagine that hormonal urge plus the innate impulse to collect and view stimulating material, and you can see why the introduction of visual material that no one had evolved a resistance to might cause some new problems.
My young Mormon friend struggled and tried to be active in other areas to avoid temptation. He explained his problems to counsellors and got sympathy plus a prescription for more religious readings to gather willpower to resist, which did not really solve the problem. As with most people, it proved to be a phase and eventually activities and real social interactions displaced his porn obsession. But the lost opportunities and guilt (“Am I a Bad Person? Why can’t I control myself??”) did some harm.
With the distance-destroying Internet, no one needs to struggle against this alone. Like the widely-scattered Red Pill men, porn addicts have created support sites where they have developed a new vocabulary for describing their problems. The Reddit subgroup NoFap and the accompanying community website NoFap.org discuss ways to stop the obsession, with pledges not to masturbate and tips for resisting temptation:
NoFap℠ hosts challenges in which users abstain from pornography and masturbation for a period of time. Whether your goal is casual participation in a monthly challenge as a test of self-control, or whether excessive masturbation or pornography has become a problem in your life and you want to quit for a longer period of time, you will find a supportive community and plenty of resources here.
The specialized vocabulary they’ve developed to discuss the problem (edited from their Glossary):
Accountability Partners: Accountability partners are pairs who hold each other responsible for their sexual habits.
Blue Petal: Female equivalent of blue balls.
Chaser Effect: The super-charged desire to fap that sometimes hits 1-3 days after sexual acts. Especially powerful early on in a reboot.
DE: Delayed ejaculation.
Death Grip: The tight-fisted grip on the penis many men develop by masturbating. Because it is much more constricted than the grip of an actual vagina, the death grip overstimulates the penis, reduces pleasure in the long run, and can make it difficult or impossible to orgasm with a woman.
Death Schlick: Women have their own version of the death grip, the Death Schlick — stimulating the clitoris very rapidly and energetically — which can have the same effects.
DE: Delayed ejaculation – can include inability to orgasm during intercourse (if severe enough.)
ED: Erectile dysfunction – inability to maintain an erection during intercourse.
Edging: Fapping without orgasm.
Fapping: The act of masturbation, usually in conjunction with pornography.
Fapstronaut: A NoFap user.
Femstronaut: A female NoFap user.
Flatlining: Many NoFappers report one or more periods of zero libido during their streak, especially in the 2-6 week period. Transitioning from an overexcited, always-eager libido to none at all can be disconcerting and even scary for the experienced fapper, but many fapstronauts report that it is only a phase in the reboot and will pass.
Hard Mode: NoFap without any sexual release (even via a partner.)
NSFL: Not safe for life. This is reserved for disgusting stuff.
NSFW: Not safe for work. This label is affixed to potentially-triggering content and should be viewed with caution (may cause some fapstronauts distress.)
PE: Premature ejaculation
PIV: Penis in vagina (sexual intercourse)
PMO: Porn/Masturbation/Orgasm. They come together like a Happy Meal and the toy.
PVO: Porn / Vibrator / Orgasm.
Reboot: The process of restoring your brain to factory defaults. Said to take about 90 days (+/- 30 days), by anecdotal reports.
Relapse: For addicts, the act of returning to bad habits after a period of improvement. This is a serious word. Examples would include masturbating to porn (for a porn addict), significantly disrupting your life due to excessive masturbation (going on a 20x binge and skipping work), risky masturbation (masturbating in public), and other similarly life-disrupting activities due to an addiction.
Reset: Failing a NoFap challenge. This stemmed from the act of resetting your day counter badge back to day one. If your masturbate during your NoFap challenge, this would be called a reset.
Schlicking: Female equivalent of fapping (masturbation.)
The Surge: The period 5-14 days after the start of a streak often features a physically recognizable surge in energy and sexual drive, which seems to be associated with the fapstinence-induced testosterone surge observed in the study listed below.
YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary. Good words to remember, because no two reboots are exactly alike.
NoFAP.org has this list of benefits usually seen by those cutting out a PMO (Porn, Masturbation, Orgasm) addiction, which I can endorse from personal experience:
Recovery from porn-induced sexual dysfunction. Many fapstronauts report that NoFap’s programs have cured erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation, along with other sexual issues.
Increased self-control. Some fapstronauts do not feel like they have a pornography or masturbation problem. They are here to put their willpower to the test by facing their own instincts to pursue easy sexual arousal or indulge in certain sexual behaviors.
More hard-drive space. Some of the larger porn collections we’ve heard about can take up terabytes of information. No more hoarding. Permanently deleting it will free up a lot of hard drive space. As an added bonus, you won’t be hesitant to let people borrow your computer anymore.
More time. No more spending hours at the computer looking for that one video to get you off. That time can be better spent pursuing your passions, bettering your life, and spending time with friends or a significant other. The possibilities are endless.
Improved attitude. Many nofappers described increased happiness throughout their lives, especially in their attitudes towards sex and interpersonal relationships.
There are many more sites discussing the problem:
Salon: “Did Porn Warp Me Forever?”
And a comprehensive support site, YourBrainOnPorn.
Update: today’s news has a juicy story of a lawyer suing Apple for not stopping him from developing a porn habit, and so destroying his marriage. Heh!
And Amy Alkon’s take on the same story, with additional funny material.
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations
[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]
The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.
Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”
Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.
More on Attachment and Personality Types:
What Attachment Type Are You?
Type: Fearful-Avoidant (aka Anxious-Avoidant)
Avoidant: Emotions Repressed Beneath Conscious Level
Serial Monogamy: the Fearful-Avoidant Do It Faster
Anxious-Preoccupied: Stuck on the Dismissive?
Anxious-Preoccupied / Dismissive-Avoidant Couples: the Silent Treatment
nxious-Preoccupied: Clingy and Insecure Relationship Example
Domestic Violence: Ray and Janay Rice
Teaching Narcissists to Activate Empathy
Histrionic Personality: Seductive, Dramatic, Theatrical
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
On Addiction and the Urge to Rescue
Sale! Sale! Sale! – “Bad Boyfriends” for Kindle, $2.99
Controlling Your Inner Critic: Subpersonalities
“Big Bang Theory” — Aspergers and Emotional/Social Intelligence
Introverts in Management