Position on “Sex Addiction” and “Porn Addiction”

Position on “Sex Addiction” and “Porn Addiction”

There is currently much contradicting information available to the general public regarding the commonly used term of “addiction” to address issues of sexuality.  One of the roles MMHA takes seriously is to be up-to-date on credible, peer-reviewed, best-practice approaches to all issues surrounding mental health and serve as educators of such information.  Therefore, the following bullet points have been developed to help educate Mormon members and leaders regarding the topic of sexual behavior:

  • Currently “sex addiction,” “pornography addiction,” “love addiction,” etc. are not classified as psychiatric disorders.  These terms are not found in the DSM 5 (Diagnostic Statistical Manual) or the ICD-10 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, a medical classification list created by the World Health Organization) used by clinicians to assess their clients and therefore, they are not accurate diagnoses.
  • MMHA recognizes that even though “sex addiction” is not a currently viable diagnosis, sexual behavior can become compulsive or problematic and interfere with overall healthy functioning for a variety of reasons.  MMHA supports sex-positive approaches to addressing these types of issues, which can cause significant distress for individuals, relationships, and communities. Dr. Neil Cannon, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and Supervisor of Sex Therapy states: “If someone is acting out in a way that feels out of control to them sexually, it’s usually caused by something else, some combination of mental health issues like anxiety, ADHD, OCD. The result is that many clients get shamed by spouses, family and friends for being a ‘sex addict’ when what they really needed was a supportive counseling experience founded in solid principles of psychotherapy and marriage counseling.”  Buster Ross, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s LGBTQ-Integrative Program Director states, “It’s not that the struggles aren’t real.  It’s just that professionals are not convinced that ‘sex addiction’ is its own condition, perhaps best understood as symptomatic of other underlying mental health disorders (ADHD, impulse disorders, trauma-related disorders, bipolar disorder, stimulant-use disorders).”
  • MMHA is concerned with the common rhetoric currently found in Mormon culture where terms such as “sex addiction” are used to describe a wide range of behavior that usually has more to do with living certain religious or conservative values and standards than diagnosable criteria.  MMHA takes the stance that it is important to be able to distinguish the difference between supporting religious belief/values and unnecessarily pathologizing sexuality. MMHA encourages its practitioners to properly diagnose and treat underlying issues that may be affecting sexual or other types of human behavior. MMHA is concerned with the growing number of treatment centers, programs & trainings being developed that treat unwanted or out-of-control sexual behavior from an addictions model or by religiously-biased practitioners and that those within the Mormon population/culture are vulnerable to seeking incorrect and even harmful treatment for sexual issues.

It is for these reasons that MMHA does not endorse sex addiction treatment models. A paramount goal of MMHA includes helping the general public, ecclesiastical leaders, and health care professionals within the Mormon community work towards approaches and treatment modalities that promote healthy sexual education, sexual development, and relational intimacy.

* MMHA welcomes clinicians and educators who follow a sex addiction model to join the organization and be part of an ongoing dialogue, conferences and trainings. However, MMHA will not include “sex addiction” language or certifications on the website’s directories. The MMHA also reserves the right to not include clinicians or clinics that adopt these practices in its referral directories.

March 16, 2016

 

Links to Internet Articles:

Sex addiction isn’t a medically recognized diagnosis, By Kristen Rogers, CNN

Allen, S. (2015). Your porn addiction isn’t real. Daily Beast.

Jones, M. (2018, Feburary). What teenagers are learning from online porn. The New York Times Magazine.

Ley, D. J. (2013). Your brain on porn- it’s not addictive. Psychology Today.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks (2015, October) “Recovering from the Trap of Pornography.” Ensign.

Dr. Cameron Staley TEDx Idaho State University: Changing the narrative around the addiction story

Mormon Sex Info 0108: Dr. Cameron Staley and Pornography Addiction

Does Pornography Addiction Exist? Nate Bagley Mormondom

Rethinking Porn Addiction: Growth Marriage

 

Updated Research and References:

Attwood, F. (2005). What do people do with porn? Qualitative research into the consumption, use, and experience of pornography and other sexually explicit media. Sexuality and Culture9, 65-86.

Bridges, A. J., Bergner, R. M., & Hesson-Mcinnis M. (2003). Romantic partners’ use of pornography: Its significance for women. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 29, 1-14.

Bridges, A. J., & Morokoff, P. J. (2011). Sexual media use and relational satisfaction in heterosexual couples. Personal Relationships18(4), 562-585.

Braun-Courville, D. K., & Rojas, M. (2009). Exposure to sexually explicit web sites and adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health45(2), 156-162.

Brown, J. D., & L’Engle, K. L. (2009). X-rated sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with US early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36(1), 129-151.

Campbell, L., & Kohut, T. (2017). The use and effects of pornography in romantic relationships. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 6-10.

Cooper, A., Delmonico, D. L., & Burg, R. (2000). Cybersex users, abusers, and compulsives: New findings and implications. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 7(1–2), 5–29

Doring, N. (2009). The internet’s impact on sexuality: A critical review of 15 years of  research. Computers in Human Behavior 25, 1089–1101.

Frost, D. M., McClelland, S. I., Dettmann, M. (2017). Sexual closeness discrepancies: What they are and why they matter for sexual well-being in romantic relationships. Archives of Sexual Behavior. advanced online publication, doi:10.1007/s10508-017-0960-2

Grov, C., Gillespie, B., Royce, T., & Lever, J. (2011). Perceived consequences of casual online sexual activities on heterosexual relationships: A.U.S. online survey. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 429-439.

Grubbs, J. B., Exline, J. J., Pargament, K. I., Hook, J. N., & Carlisle, R. D. (2015). Transgression as addiction: Religiosity and moral disapproval as predictors of perceived addiction to pornography. Archives of Sexual Behavior44(1), 125-136.

Grubbs, J. B., Exline, J. J., Pargament, K. I., Volk, F., & Lindberg, M. J. (2017). Internet pornography use, perceived addiction, and religious/spiritual struggles. Archives of sexual behavior46(6), 1733-1745.

Grubbs, J. B., Stauner, N., Exline, J. J., Pargament, K. I., & Lindberg, M. J. (2015). Perceived addiction to Internet pornography and psychological distress: Examining relationships concurrently and over time. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors29(4), 1056.

Grubbs, J. B., Volk, F., Exline, J. J., & Pargament, K. I. (2015). Internet pornography use: Perceived addiction, psychological distress, and the validation of a brief measure. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 41(1), 83-106. doi:e10.1080/0092623X.2013.842192

Hald, G. M., Kuyper, L., Adam, P. C., & Wit, J. B. (2013). Does viewing explain doing? Assessing the association between sexually explicit materials use and sexual behaviors in a large sample of Dutch adolescents and young adults. The Journal of Sexual Medicine10, 2986-2995.

Hald, G. M., & Malamuth, N. (2008). Self-perceived effects of pornography consumption. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 614-625.

Hald, G. M., Malamuth, N. M., Yuen, C. (2010). Pornography and attitudes supporting violence against women: Revisiting the relationship in nonexperimental studies. Aggressive Behavior, 36(1), 14-20. doi:10.1002/ab.20328

Kohut, T., Baer, J. L., & Watts, B. (2016). Is pornography really about “making hate to women”? Pornography users hold more gender egalitarian attitudes than nonusers in a representative American sample. The Journal of Sex Research53, 1-11.

Kohut, T., Fisher, W. A. (2013). The impact of brief exposure to sexually explicit video clips on partnered female clitoral self-stimulation, orgasm and sexual satisfaction. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 22, 40-50.

Kohut, T., Fisher, W. A., Campbell, L. (2017). Perceived effects of pornography on the couple relationship: Initial findings of open-ended, participant-informed, “bottom-up” research. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, 585-602.

Kraus, S. W., Voon, V., & Potenza, M. N. (2016). Should compulsive sexual behavior be considered an addiction? Addiction, Available online: doi:10.1111/add.13297.

Kuhn, S., & Gallinat, J. (2014). Brain structure and functional connectivity associated with pornography consumption: The brain on porn, JAMA Psychiatry, 71(7), 827-834. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.93

Leonhardt, N. D., Spencer, T. J., Butler, M. B., Theobald, A. C. (2017). An organizational framework for sexual media’s influence on short-term versus long-term sexual quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Advanced online publication, doi:10.1007/s10508-018-1209-4

Leonhardt, N. D., Willoughby, B. J. (2017). Pornography, provocative sexual media, and their differing associations with multiple aspects of sexual satisfaction. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Advanced online publication, doi:10.1177/0265407517739162

Leonhardt, N.D., Willoughby, B.J., and Young-Petersen, B. (2017). Damaged Goods: Perception of Pornpgraphy Addiciton as a Mediator Between Religiosity and Relationships Anxiety Surrounding Pornography Use. The Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 55, pgs. 357-358.

Leonhardt, N. D., Willoughby, B. J. (2018). Longitudinal links between pornography use, marital importance, and permissive sexuality during emerging adulthood. Marriage & Family Review, 54, 64-84. doi:10.1080/01494929.2017.1359811

Ley, D., Prause, N., & Finn, P. (2014). The emperor has no clothes: A review of the ‘pornography addiction’ model. Current Sexual Health Reports6, 94-105.

Love, T., LAier, C., Brand, M., Hatch, L., Hajela, R. (2015). Neuroscience of internet pornography addiction: A review and update. Behavioral Science, 5(3), 388-433. doi:10.3390/bs5030388

Malan, M.K., Bullough, V. Historical development of new masturbation attitudes in Mormon culture: Silence, secular conformity, counterrevolution, and emerging reform. Sexualtiy and Culture 9, 80–127 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-005-1003-z

Messina, B., Fuentes, D., Tavares, H., Abdo, C. H. N., Scanavino, M. T. (2016). Executive functioning of sexually compulsive and non-sexually compulsive men before and after watching an erotic video. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 3(14), 347-354. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.12.235

Park, B. Y., Wilson, G., Berger, J., Christman, M., Reina, B., Bishop, F., Klam, W. P., Doan, A. P. (2016). Is internet pornography causing sexual dysfunctions? A review with clinical reports. Behavioral Science, 6(3), 1-25.

Perry, S. L. (2016). From bad to worse? Pornography consumption, spousal religiosity, gender, and marital quality. Sociological Forum, 31, 441-464).

Perry, S. L., & Whitehead, A. L. (2018). Only bad for believers? Religion, pornography use, and sexual satisfaction among American men. Journal of Sex Research. Forthcoming.

Peter, J., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2016). Adolescents and pornography: A review of 20 years of research. The Journal of Sex Research53, 509-531.

Prause, N., Steele, V. R., Staley, C., Sabatinelli, D., Hajcak, G. (2015). Modulation of late positive potentials by sexual images in problem users and controls inconsistent with “porn addiction”. Biological Psychology, 109, 192-199.

Prause, N., & Pfaus, J. (2015). Viewing sexual stimuli associated with greater sexual responsiveness, not erectile dysfunction. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 3, 90-98.

Rasmussen, K., & Bierman, A. (2017). Religious and community hurdles to pornography consumption: A national study of emerging adults. Emerging Adulthood5, 431-442.

Regnerus, M., Gordon, D., & Price, J. (2016). Documenting pornography use in America: A comparative analysis of methodological approaches. Journal of Sex Research, 53, 873-881.

Reid, R. C., & Kafka, M. P. (2014). Controversies about hypersexual disorder and the DSM-5. Current Sexual Health Reports6, 259-264.

Rissel, C., Richters, J., de Visser, R. O., McKee, A., Yeung, A., & Carauna, T. (2017). A profile of pornography users in Australia: Findings from the second Australian study of health and relationships. The Journal of Sex Research, 54(2), 227-240. doi:10.1080.00224499.2016.1191597

Seigfried-Spellar, K. C. (2016). Deviant pornography use: The role of early-onset adult pornography use and individual differences. International Journal of Cyber Behavior, 6(3), 34-47. doi:10.4018/IJCBPL.2016070103

Seok, J., & Sohn, J. (2015). Neural substrates of sexual desire in individuals with problematic hypersexual behavior. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 9(321), 1-11. doi:10.3389/frbeh.2015.00321

Strachan, E., Staples, B. Masturbation. Pediatrics in Review April 2012, 33 (4) 190-191; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/pir.33-4-190

Stulhofer, S., Busko, V., Landripet, I. (2010). Pornography, sexual socialization, and satisfaction among young men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 168-178. doi:10.1007/s10508-008-9387-0

Sun, C., Bridges, A., Johnson, J. A., Ezzell, M. B. (2016). Pornography and the male sexual script: An analysis of consumption and sexual relations. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45, 983-994.

Sussman, S., Lisha, N., & Griffiths, M. (2011). Prevalence of the addictions: A problem of the majority or the minority? Evaluation & the Health Professions, 34(1), 3–56.

Thomas, J. N. (2016). The development and deployment of the idea of pornography addiction within American evangelicalism. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity23, 182-195.

Vaillancourt-Morel, M., Blais-Lecours, S., Labadie, C., Bergeron, S., Sabourin, S., Godbout, N. (2017). Profiles of cyberpornography use and sexual well-being in adults. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 14, 75-85. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.10.016

Weinberg, M. S., Williams, C. J., Kleiner, S., & Irizarry, Y. (2010). Pornography, normalization, and empowerment. Archives of Sexual Behavior39(6), 1389-1401.

Willoughby, B. J., & Busby, D. M. (2016). In the eye of the beholder: Exploring variations in the perceptions of pornography. The Journal of Sex Research, 53, 678-688.

Willoughby, B. J., Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M. & Brown, C. (2016). Differences in pornography use among romantic couples: Associations with satisfaction, stability, and relationship processes. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45, 145-158.

Willoughby, B. J., Carroll, J. S., Nelson, L. J., & Padilla-Walker, L. (2014). Associations between relational sexual behavior, pornography use, and pornography acceptance among emerging adults. Culture, Health, & Sexuality, 16, 1052-1069.

Wright, P J. (2013). U.S. males and pornography, 1973-2010: Consumption, predictors, correlates. Journal of Sex Research, 50, 60-71.