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Pam Anderson And Playboy Rabbi Are WRONG About Porn

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amela Anderson Is Accusing Anthony Weiner Of Porn Addiction—Which Doesn’t Exist
Buzz, Sex

She may think she's an expert now, but her Wall Street Journal article proves she's ignorant.

Last week’s Wall Street Journal ran a piece by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Pamela Anderson. Using Anthony Weiner’s private life as a platform, it started by decrying the “devastation of porn addiction” and ended by saying that “porn is for losers.”

In between were line after line of inaccurate statements, bizarre conclusions about Anthony Weiner’s private psychology, and appeals to a rigid form of sexuality that makes sense for some people, but clearly not most of us.

For years, Rabbi Boteach has condemned masturbation as harmful and something that reduces people’s motivation to couple up (what an impoverished view of relationships — that people marry primarily to relieve their sexual hunger).

Since he opposes masturbation, he couldn’t possibly be neutral (much less positive) about pornography.

Pamela Anderson became rich and famous by uncovering her body and exciting people’s sexual fantasies.

OK, we shouldn’t judge her current opinions solely through her past behavior. But the same week that she co-authored the WSJ article, she celebrated being hepatitis-free by publishing a nude photo of herself on Instagram.

So she apparently isn’t against all pornography — just porn that doesn’t feature her.

Instagram

Without having actually interviewed Anthony Weiner, Anderson and Boteach have somehow concluded that he is a porn addict. That’s pretty disrespectful, and it violates the code of ethics of America’s counseling professions — we’re not supposed to diagnose people we haven’t personally evaluated.

But a far worse sin is promoting belief in the terrifying disease of porn addiction — which simply does not exist.

In true addiction — say, to heroin, nicotine, or alcohol — the body’s ability to metabolize a substance is dramatically affected. As a result, if you remove the substance from an addict’s life, their body reacts violently. Symptoms include vomiting, night sweats, tremors, even hallucinations.

If you take porn away from habitual users and they continue to masturbate, they get a little crabby. There’s just no comparison. If you take porn away from habitual users and they stop masturbating (as many “porn addiction” “treatment” programs require), they get pretty damn frustrated.

If you didn’t masturbate for a year you might feel the same way, even if you never use porn.

The article notes that “between 50 and 99 percent” of men consume porn. And yet most of those men manage to be adequate fathers, workers, and husbands or boyfriends. So simply consuming porn doesn’t destroy anybody.

Yes, some people consume porn in self-destructive ways — just like some people consume golf, Netflix, or romance novels in self-destructive ways. But we don’t blame golf, Netflix, or romance novels. And if we say that we or others are “addicted” to these things, we know we’re kidding.

But people who believe in the fiction of “porn addiction” mean it literally.

They can’t imagine that erotic activity unredeemed by romantic love can actually be harmless. They can’t imagine that people can look at videos of naked people happily enjoying sex (which is the vast majority of porn) for a few minutes and return to the rest of their lives unscathed — even though we do that with virtually every other pleasurable activity.

And those who believe in “porn addiction” can’t imagine that some people make bad choices about porn without being addicted — even though we know that various humans make bad choices about virtually everything else without being addicted.

We humans sometimes want something so badly, or feel so lonely, or so angry, or so frightened, or so unattractive, or so vulnerable, or so invulnerable, that we do stuff that makes no sense to anyone else. If that choice involves sexuality, there’s a big gang of people ready to pounce with negative judgments.

Hence slut-shaming. Hence “sex workers must be victims of trafficking.” Or “porn actresses must be drug addicts or rape survivors or victims of pimps.”

As a veteran sex therapist, I can assure you that no one leaves a vibrant, life-affirming sexual relationship with a real person for the solitary pleasure of masturbating to porn.

Plenty of people enjoy good partner sex and masturbate to porn.

What’s also common is that people find themselves in unsatisfying sexual situations — desire discrepancies, long-term boredom, relationship conflict that eliminates playfulness, alcohol-related problems, depression. Some of those people masturbate to porn a little or a lot. Some of those people eat ice cream a little or a lot.

Neither porn nor ice cream destroys a healthy sexual relationship, nor entices someone away from partner sex.

Everyone agrees that some 60 or 80 American million adults (including women) consume pornography. It is simply outrageous that the Wall Street Journal (and The Washington Post and The New York Times) run articles condemning the consumer practices of a huge percentage of people without critically questioning their assumptions, or without inviting comment from consumers or from experts with a different viewpoint.

And yet because the subject is sex, a bigoted, negative perspective is considered adequate.

Fortunately, you have YourTango for a broader, more scientifically accurate, and more humane point of view.

Dr. Marty Klein is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Certified Sex Therapist, and sexual health Policy Analyst. His seventh book, His Porn, Her Pain: Confronting America’s PornPanic With Honest Talk About Sex is published by Praeger.

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