Religiosity Has Big Impact On Self-Perception Of Porn Addiction

A person’s specific religious or moral beliefs can significantly affect the odds that he or she will feel affected by pornography addiction, according to new findings from a team of American researchers.

Pornography addiction is a specific manifestation of sex addiction, a behavioral disorder capable of seriously diminishing a person’s sense of well-being and ability to lead a functional daily life. In three related studies published in February 2015 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers from four U.S. institutions examined the impact that an individual’s moral or religious beliefs have on the chances that he or she will feel addicted to pornography. The researchers concluded that moral and religious beliefs are a substantial influence on self-perceived pornography addiction, even in people who don’t have a high level of involvement in pornography consumption.

Sex Addiction And Pornography Use

All people with sex addiction are damaged in some important way by their excessive or uncontrolled participation in real-world sexual activity and/or sexual thoughts or fantasies. In the U.S., there is no single definition for this disorder, although the American Psychiatric Association came fairly close to establishing such a definition under the heading of a condition called hypersexual disorder in the early 2010s.

Dock Over Lake-Religiosity & Porn Addiction-ChristianDrugRehabSince there is no standard definition for sex or sexual addiction, doctors must rely on tests called screening tools to identify people who probably have meaningful problems with excessive sexual behavior or thinking. Examples of currently available screening tools include the Sexual Compulsivity Scale and the Hypersexual Behavior Inventory.

Sex addiction is a form of behavioral addiction; doctors and researchers use this term to describe non-substance-related addictive processes that alter brain chemistry in a manner that strongly resembles the changes associated with substance addiction.

Current evidence indicates that people involved in excessive or otherwise dysfunctional use of pornography can undergo some of the core brain changes that signify the presence of behavioral addiction. Screening tools designed to uncover problematic involvement in pornography consumption include the Pornography Craving Questionnaire and the cybersex-specific Internet Sex Screening Test.

Religion And Morality

Religion and morality are spiritual and social concepts that often overlap in any given individual. A religion is an organized form of spirituality centered on such things as a shared set of specific beliefs about the purpose and meaning of life, as well as membership and participation in organizations dedicated to the practice of those beliefs.

Philosophers and psychologists broadly use the term morality to refer to the rules or beliefs that guide a person’s individual and social sense of right and wrong. Most religions feature moral codes; however, people who hold no religious affiliation can also base their conduct and beliefs on self-identified moral principles.

Religion, Morality And Pornography Addiction

In the first two studies published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers from Case Western Reserve University, Bowling Green State University, the University of North Texas and Mesa Public Schools used data gathered from two groups of college students to explore the impact that religion and morality have on the chances that any given person will feel addicted to Internet-based pornography.

The first study included information from 331 undergraduates, while the second study included information from 97 undergraduates. In both groups of students, the researchers found a strong link between involvement in religion and the self-perception of pornography addiction. The researchers also concluded that moral judgment of pornography use is the linchpin that connects religious feeling to perceived involvement in addictive pornography consumption.

In the third study, the same team of researchers used interviews with 208 adults to explore the connection between religion, morality-based judgment and the chances of feeling addicted to pornography. The results from this project also revealed a strong link between religiosity and the odds of believing that one’s pornography use is addictive.

The studies’ authors note that, among both college students and adults, a religious orientation is associated with feeling addicted to pornography even when actual pornography use does not occur with unusual frequency.

They also note that, among religious adults, a self-perceived addiction to pornography does not depend on the presence of known addiction indicators such as a loss of self-control or an unusually neurotic (i.e., irritable, angry, anxious or guilty) personality. The authors’ findings indicate that, in at least some cases, the self-perceptions of people with strong religious or moral codes may lead to the identification of pornography addiction in individuals who would not typically merit such an identification from an outside observer.

Read More About Sex Addiction And Christians In: Women, Sex Addiction and the Church – Part 1