July 9, 2018

STATEMENT: World Health Organization Recognized “Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder”, Pornography Addiction Should be Next

Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE

Washington, DC – According to news reports, the World Health Organization has recognized “Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder” (CSB or CSBD) – which functions as an umbrella term for both “sex addiction” and “porn addiction”- as an impulse control disorder. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation applauds this step forward, and calls on WHO to formally acknowledge how compulsive pornography use fuels sex addiction and can become addictive in and of itself.

“The World Health Organization has formally recognized the reality of sex addiction. Now it’s time for it to take another step into the 21st Century by also recognizing the public health harms of pornography,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “While some pseudo-scientists—reminiscent of doctors who encouraged cigarette use in the 1950s—argue that pornography is harmless, science shows otherwise. Neurological tests and peer-reviewed research point to the reality of pornography addiction that countless individuals, male and female, suffer from every day.”

“Like other public health issues, not all exposed have the same response. However, for many pornography consumers, repeated exposure and frequent use is correlated to addiction, which can lead to harms such as porn-induced erectile dysfunction, divorce or failed relationships, and sometimes sexually aggressive and violent behaviors.”

“The research is clear that pornography use is harmful to the brain. In fact, there are 39 neurological studies consistent with 280+ Internet addiction brain studies, supporting the premise that Internet pornography use can cause addiction-related brain changes. A 2014 study found that increased pornography use is linked to decreased brain matter in the areas of motivation and decision-making, impaired impulse control, and desensitization to sexual reward. Further, a 2015 study from Cambridge found that pornography use can drive novelty-seeking, so users need more and more extreme content over time in order to achieve the same level of arousal. This is a hallmark of addiction.”

“For 56 years, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has warned of the addictive nature of pornography. Today, we once again call on public health organizations, medical professionals, and elected officials to recognize and combat the public health impacts of pornography.”

More information about the public health harms of pornography can be found here:endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth

Resources for individuals, romantic partners, and parents to heal from or prevent pornography addiction can be found here: endsexualexploitation.org/resources

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography.

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