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Smartphones make porn addiction a growing problem

47 Comments

The trouble with the smartphone is that there’s no trouble with it – it gives you everything you want. The trouble with pornography is not its moral murk but its physiological impact on the brain. The trouble with pornography delivered via smartphone is that it’s ubiquitous, effortless, mostly free, and irresistible, potentially addictive. That, at least, is how Shukan Post (Sept 17-24) sees it.

Take “A-san” as an example typical of many – of more and more, as corona-isolation and corona-loneliness deepen. He’s 57, teleworking from home. Online pornography had been a titillating pastime before – limited until two years ago by the fact that his only access to it was the computer he shared with his family. Then he bought a smartphone, and suddenly there it all was at the twitch of a thumb. Days when supposedly working, nights when supposedly sleeping, he indulged his growing obsession. Sleepless nights and zombie days were the predictable results.

 Then there’s “B-san.” Now 45, three years ago he began noticing signs of erectile dysfunction. Online porn helped, then slowly escalated, swamping conventional marital sex, making it first boring, then impossible. “I’m tired,” he’d plead by way of excuse. He had reason to be. The marriage grew sexless and strained. Worse, it got to the point that mild porn no longer sufficed, and on it went to rape porn, SM porn and so on. “I hate myself,” he confesses to Shukan Post. But he’s hooked.

The scientific take on this is provided by Dr Ayumu Okumura, who specializes in dependency syndromes. All pleasures, he suggests, are small addictions. They trigger the pleasure hormone dopamine, which feels good but soon wears off. Why take that lying down? Simply trigger it again, and again, with ever more violent stimuli – and before you know it it’s out of control. Family, friends, work – all pale in comparison, finally, at worst, slipping out of the picture altogether.

Most of his patients come to him, Okumura says, complaining of smartphone addiction. “What do you do on your smartphone?” he asks. Among middle-aged and elderly men, the answer is increasingly, “Porn.”

“Smartphone addiction and porn addiction,” says Okumura, “are nearly equal.”

In olden days, not so very long ago, Shukan Post points out, porn was largely accessed through rental videos. There was the trip to the shop, the possible embarrassment of facing the store clerk with your choice, money to be laid down – in short, the nuisance involved served as a kind of check to unfettered instinct.  The smartphone, on the other hand, raises no obstacles at all between you and your most immediate desire.

Most of his patients, Okumura says, want to stop but find it too easy not to.

There’s nothing wrong with pornography per se, Shukan Post says. In moderate doses it’s healthy, especially for aging men. It helps preserve the libido and affords a sexual release which is healthy physically and mentally. The danger is not the thing itself but excess – a fact which is true of much besides pornography.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

47 Comments
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Some people seem to be more prone to addiction than others, usually as a substitute for something, or as a comforter/crutch. Doesn't matter whether it is cupcakes or porn, it's important to recognise the signs in yourself and address it, or in your friends and family, and have a word with them. Some people can recognise the problem and walk away, others need therapy and support. There is nothing wrong with most hobbies, interests and pastimes, but if they start to have a negative effect on your life or health and dominate your time, consider taking a break and asking yourself if there is a reason why you are depending so much upon one thing to get through the day.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

“I’m tired,” he’d plead by way of excuse. He had reason to be. 

I never heard of a Japanese wife asking for sex. Maybe this story is fiction. In my experience if someone has an addiction they avoid those who call them out on it. Politician Jeffrey Weiner in the US is the best example of internet sex addiction and he lost everything.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

This story focuses on older people who have only recently gotten casual access to the internet, but younger people have had such access to the internet for a couple of decades.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I’m pretty sure it’s the worthless mosaic digital distortion that is the root of all the problems.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

GBR48 .

Hit the twitching thumb on the head as usual,mate.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It is difficult to sustain a porn addiction on a smart phone, as the battery tends to run down prior to fulfillment.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Smartphone addiction and porn addiction,” says Okumura, “are nearly equal.”

Err, no it's not the same. These guys porn addiction is just the same as Pokemon Go, gambling, online games on PS4, reading the comments section on different websites, etc..

Smartphones are not making porn a problem. Internet has been here for a while now, long before smartphone.

Pornhub on a smartphone's screen is not the same as porn on a 27" screen, or so I heard...

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Been exposed? Just live with it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Heavens sake, if adults want to view naughtiness on there smart phones or laptops, home computers what is the problem here?

Your choice, to much you will go blind.....

5 ( +8 / -3 )

There are far worse addictions than porn! Porn addiction is better than drug, alcohol, smoking or even social media addiction! People make a fool of themselves by uploading on social media day after day and soon they’ll also upload taking a sh-it in the toilet…It’s really getting that bad!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Heavens sake, if adults want to view naughtiness on there smart phones or laptops, home computers what is the problem here?

The addiction is not to "porn", it's an addiction to dopamine. Same as someone smoking, drinking, gambling, eating too much sugar, etc. All are dopamine addictions which cause chemical imbalances in your brain. Meaning you're not functioning at your best.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

People managed to avoid commenting on this-

[  Worse, it got to the point that mild porn no longer sufficed, and on it went to rape porn, SM porn and so on. “I hate myself,” he confesses to Shukan Post. But he’s hooked. ]

And instead the usual, "it's not harmful" and the usual deflections.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The term "porn addiction" is used, but is it a real thing?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@1glenn

I think it depends what you mean by addiction, but I would argue absolutely anything can be an addiction, in the terms of mental addiction. See gambling, most commonly. People can become mentally addicted to basically anything, even work. There can be physical elements to it, such as the dopamine hit, but also just from forming certain habits.

Physical addiction is another thing altogether, ala caffeine or alcohol.

I don't think there is any real physical addiction to pornography, but mental...sure, same as anything else. There is no way we can possibly deal with everything people could become addicted to, we would have to live in a box with zero stimulus. Instead we need to look at ways to help people identify and best manage these addictions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Addfwn

One of the the central points if the article is that it creates a physiological (directly related to the body's physical functions) addiction.

And oh btw-

[ Worse, it got to the point that mild porn no longer sufficed, and on it went to rape porn, SM porn and so on. “I hate myself,” he confesses to Shukan Post. But he’s hooked. ]

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If it would be bigger tablets or monitors, yes, but smartphones? You would guaranteed need some sophisticated additional magnifying tools to see anything so that it ever could have a negative effect or you simply might be anyhow looking for. Smartphone displays are maybe a danger for your eyes’ health, but not more. lol

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The proximate cause for addiction is less relevant than the condition it’s self. Addiction is a mental health issue, there are underlying causes/problems leading to the addictive behaviour which need to be addressed rather than the particular symptom.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If it means checking out some pron satisfies the partner/husband from reaching out to other women,I feel most Japanese women can live with that... As long as she's coming through as well.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One of the the central points if the article is that it creates a physiological (directly related to the body's physical functions) addiction.

I take your point, Legrande, but I think there's a difference between physical substances that are addictive and an addiction generated by mental stimulus. Everyone is affected by the former but not by the latter. We can designate physical substances as harmful, but less so with the causes of mentally stimulated addictions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@albaleo

Be that as it may, you're going to be hard pressed to find anything more taboo and physically arousing than viewing (1) attractive people who disrobe, revealing their nude body and private parts (2) these people then engaging in physical sexual intercourse.

That is a hell of a dopamine rush, and once a young school boy (or middle aged man) starts viewing in the privacy of his room behind locked doors, chances are he'll want view it again...and again...and as the article accurately notes, chasing the incredible power of the initial experience can easily lead to viewing hard core material, which depicts exploitation of women as a means to gratification.

Let me ask you a question- You think all these sex offenders DON'T watch porn?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Zoomers are a complete mess in general. Someone made a video pointing out how damaging their lifestyles are and all they've done is whinge about it https://youtu.be/myZ3vbvpH7w

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Hey I am just gunna throw in my 2 cents to the pile…

Not all things are equal, and yes like a few have stated, addiction and the levels of it and how you deal with it is the central issue.

That being said, Subject A is losing sleep and becoming less productive because he can’t go to bed at night.

Subject B is now ignoring his wife and can’t stop watching rape porn and it’s getting more violent and criminal and he needs more violence in his sex fantasies for it to work…..

Ok, one of these guys actually is quite a weird fellow.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Let me ask you a question- You think all these sex offenders DON'T watch porn?

Most men watch porn. Any who say they don’t are lying or in a very small minority.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Bob Fosse.

Okay I'll take you at your word.

Do you think porn makes us better people, and contributes to healthier relations between men and women? If you had a daughter, how would you feel if she said she was getting into porn, and you got wind that she was slated to make a mock-rape video next week? How would you feel if a close acquaintance of yours (your sister/niece/etc.) was sexually violated by someone who made footage of the incident and uploaded it to a porn site?

These are all valid questions to ask ourselves as porn continues to increase in popularity and influence on society.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My two cents worth:

Addiction in the clinical sense is to a physical substance. One can be addicted to various drugs, such as the opioids, caffeine, and nicotine, to name a few. They are not each equally physically addictive, nor are they equally physically harmful.

Our bodies are hardwired toward certain behaviors, such as eating, sleeping, breathing, and sex. That we need these activities to live, or to carry on the species, does not mean that we are physically addicted to them.

It seems to me that the term "porn addiction" is unscientific, and using that term makes a serious discussion about watching porn more difficult.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It seems to me that the term "porn addiction" is unscientific, and using that term makes a serious discussion about watching porn more difficult.

With the huge amount of money that is made from porn, you're never going to get a clear 'scientific' answer, as academics/researchers are always on the look-out for patronage and funding...Would you be able to answer any of the questions regarding if you think porn makes us better people, how you'd feel if your daughter said she's getting into the porn industry, etc.?....you'd be braver than most, who seem content to avoid and deflect.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

With the huge amount of money that is made from porn, you're never going to get a clear 'scientific' answer, as academics/researchers are always on the look-out for patronage and funding

Dark worldview you have there. It seems you think literally everyone is only motivated by money.

Not in line with reality though.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Strangerland

Well it appears someone is not familiar with how multi-billion dollar enterprises protect their interests.

If you were to look into how the tobacco industry managed to thrive for so long despite there being clear evidence for quite a long time you would learn something.

[ Cigarettes were recognised as the cause of the epidemic in the 1940s and 1950s, with the confluence of studies from epidemiology, animal experiments, cellular pathology and chemical analytics. Cigarette manufacturers disputed this evidence, as part of an orchestrated conspiracy to salvage cigarette sales. ]

That's alright, most people don't know, either.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Do you think porn makes us better people, and contributes to healthier relations between men and women?

Depends. Can’t speak for everyone and tend not to agree with those who claim they do.

If you had a daughter, how would you feel if she said she was getting into porn, and you got wind that she was slated to make a mock-rape video next week?

Wouldn’t be happy about it, but her life her choices.

How would you feel if a close acquaintance of yours (your sister/niece/etc.) was sexually violated by someone who made footage of the incident and uploaded it to a porn site?

Sister is a close acquaintance?

I’d support her or him and hope the perpetrator was prosecuted.

These are all valid questions to ask ourselves as porn continues to increase in popularity and influence on society.

I disagree. They are morality panic masquerading as ‘valid questions’. Nothing new about that. People still ask questions such as ‘How would you feel if your daughter brought a black boyfriend home?’

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I like to talk with people. Over my long life, I have talked to people who did many, many different jobs.

I knew a young woman who experimented at a young age with making explicit videos. She moved on. Should she be condemned for experimenting with something that I would not have encouraged her to do?

I knew a few women in college who made AVs and/or worked illegally in the sex trade. They paid for their college expenses, and went on to become well respected members of the community. One became a physical education teacher at a public school, and one got her PhD in psychology, had a practice, and wrote books. The lady with a doctorate also found time to pose for four pages of pictures in Playboy magazine.

We had an in law who worked in the sex trade in New York, making very good money. She saved up her money for ten years, and then got married and settled down, in Germany.

I do not have any answers, but I would say that various aspects of the sex trade exist, and are not likely to go away.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Glad your in-law could make good money in the sex trade.

However you should also talk to the Japanese women who are tricked/coerced into porn and then raped on camera, or those who are trafficked.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

However you should also talk to the Japanese women who are tricked/coerced into porn and then raped on camera, or those who are trafficked.

Yes. If glenn1 is a rape counselor or police officer. If not he/she is free to enjoy pornography without your input.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Legrande, you clearly have strong personal feelings about pornography but your argument boils down to this:

A ”Peanuts are bad”

B “I like peanuts”

A “You should talk to those families who lost someone to peanut allergies. How would you feel if your sister choked on a peanut?”

Packaging has warning labels, there is help for those who need it. But you can’t ban peanuts.

Pornography should be controlled and legislated, but you can’t ban it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes. If glenn1 is a rape counselor or police officer. If not he/she is free to enjoy pornography without your input.

Out of sight, out of mind, gotta love it.

Well if you live in Japan or in any way make your living dealing with Japanese people, you have an odd way of showing your appreciation for those referred to in the article who are suffering as well as the many who are exploited by this criminal-syndicate controlled industry (and yea way to go supporting a criminal industry and supporting the exploitation of those who are tricked and coerced/trafficked).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

it really doesnt. It just makes it more convenient for people to find what they already looking for.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If something makes it easier for an addict to get what they are addicted to, that something is making the addiction problem worse. Claiming otherwise is simply a logic failure of massive proportions.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Out of sight, out of mind, gotta love it.

Well if you live in Japan or in any way make your living dealing with Japanese people, you have an odd way of showing your appreciation for those referred to in the article who are suffering as well as the many who are exploited by this criminal-syndicate controlled industry (and yea way to go supporting a criminal industry and supporting the exploitation of those who are tricked and coerced/trafficked).

Enjoy porn = support rape and criminal activity in Japan.

Ok. We clearly can’t debate this on the same level. I’ll leave you to it, but thanks for your input!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Bob Fosse

Porn as you know is big-time business. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, it is run by criminal syndicates here in Japan, who have the unsavory habit of tricking/coercing young woman into being raped on camera.

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/japenese-woman-forced-porn-modelling-agency-sex-nudity-tokyo-a7736386.html

https://www.tokyoreporter.com/entertainment/adult-video/ex-av-actress-i-seriously-wished-that-id-never-been-born/

Ok Bob, thnx for the discussion.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Bob Fosse

Porn as you know is big-time business. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, it is run by criminal syndicates here in Japan, who have the unsavory habit of tricking/coercing young woman into being raped on camera.

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/japenese-woman-forced-porn-modelling-agency-sex-nudity-tokyo-a7736386.html

https://www.tokyoreporter.com/entertainment/adult-video/ex-av-actress-i-seriously-wished-that-id-never-been-born/

Everyone knows this. You’re not enlightening anyone. I told you that most men watch porn. That doesn’t need links or you taking me at my word, it’s documented fact over and over.

If you have a brother, father, husband, son, anyone in your life who is male, and according to data about 70% of females too, they watch porn.

What’s your solution?

I guess “ban all porn!”

That’s not my solution. My solution is the same as other similar issues; family support and education first, legal enforcement next.

You can’t do better than that. Impossible. Ridiculous to even suggest it.

As I said, you are focusing on the peanut allergy and not the peanut.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Bob Fosse

No one said anything about banning porn until you brought it up.

Ok thnx for the discussion Bob.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A smartphone is just a tool. The internet is just a tool. They are inanimate objects. Addiction is only cultivated by one's own part, whether due to birth defects, acquired habits, etc. But one cannot blame the tool for one's own addiction. Even less so if I myself actively seek out a particular item that serves as a drug or temporarily reduces the craving for addiction. And porn is just like any other service - it is a demand-response. If the consumer wants it, they will deliver it. It's not the other way around.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What Ive noticed is the attitude towards porn and its affects on other people, there was a TV program on the UK TV, it was a documentary all about teaching teenagers in school all about sex education, they took 6-7 boys and 6-7 girls and a lady from Holland who taught sex education asked the girls about there understanding and perspective of love and then she asked the boys, and it was immediately differant to what the girls thought, it was pretty obvious that the boys watched porn, there views were based on what they had seen and watched on the laptops etc, and when the teacher asked them why and what, the girls were horrified and told the boys that its not acceptable to treat a girl in that manner. The teacher showed a chart of ladies bits and asked the boys which one they preferred, most of them said "bald" or shaved, so she gave them a razor and told them to do the same! and she explained how uncortable it was and its bit leaning towards Young children, (if you know what i mean) and she asked them is this normal behaviour?

Watching porn on an electronic device is altering our perceptions and the way we treat each other, a lot of it is fantasy etc, so guys are haveing a distorted view on sex and relationships, which the girlfriends or wife dont like.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Porn is "potentially addictive"? Nice assertion. Where is the evidence? The DSM 5 doesn't list it or "sex addiction" as real, diagnosable disorders.

Any claim that is asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Here is the link to YouTube warning there is some strong and colourful language!

https://youtu.be/9jcJRCMfnjI

but it just goes to show how porn is altering our perseption on sex and loving relationships.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I will say this- to the people questioning or denying whether or not a ‘porn addiction’ is a real thing or not: it most definitely is!!! I have done a project on this in one of my old classes and I learned a lot about it. It is a real thing that people struggle with and should be taken as seriously as any other addiction out there. The damages and effects that it can have on your physiological and even physical aspects are pretty crazy. Not to mention the damage it can potentially cause in relationships, especially marriage. I do think that smartphones indeed make porn way too accessible. But there’s literally nothing we can do about it, really. It’s as easy as pressing a few buttons on your phone and within seconds your desires and fantasies are fulfilled. It can be easy for men (and women too) to get caught up in this type of ‘world’ and depend on something like porn to fill a void that they have within themselves. I think that because people accept it more and normalize it, is why it doesn’t get taken so seriously. For example- ‘every guy watches porn! It’s just what they do’. Okay, that may be ‘true’ but once it gets to the point where you are choosing porn rather than physically being with another person, or it becoming all you think about, or when you literally can’t go an extended amount of time without doing it is when it starts to become an addiction. Also if you are using it to block out emotions like anger, sadness, loneliness or depression. It’s just like alcohol. It doesn’t have to be bad unless you make it bad. People drink to have fun and socialize. Once you start drinking because you are sad, angry, depressed or lonely is when it’s mixed with the wrong emotions and can become a problem. Same thing with porn. I think this was a great read!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Porn is "potentially addictive"? Nice assertion. Where is the evidence? The DSM 5 doesn't list it or "sex addiction" as real, diagnosable disorders.

Just because a politicized and not infallible document like DSM 5 doesn’t recognize porn addiction as a real doesn’t mean it isn’t. Homosexuality was once considered a sexual disorder until the culture and politics decided otherwise. Besides, if you are told by lots and lots of people that they are addicted- why would you refuse to believe their “lived experience?”

Nothing in this article makes a value judgment about pornography itself. It simply tells the story of individuals whose lives have been negatively impacted by their compulsive consumption of it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Non-substance addictive behaviors in the context of DSM-5

Although not included in the DSM-5, several other non-substance or behavioral addictions were considered. Specifically, the topics of addictions relating to sex, exercise and shopping were discussed but not included as it was concluded that (p. 481 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)), “at this time there is insufficient peer-reviewed evidence to establish the diagnostic criteria and course descriptions needed to identify these behaviors as mental health disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3858502/

Nevertheless, doctors do agree that it's a real problem that needs treatment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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