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By on July 1, 2015

New study finds that pornography is not addictive

play button, grey on white backgroundWhen we talk about the exploitation of women as a part of our efforts to prevent gendered violence, pornography often comes up. And while practioners are mixed its relation to sexual and domestic violence, one concept always comes up – pornography addiction. “But a lot of men are addicted to porn,” my psychology students often argue. People don’t choose to exploit women, they say, they can’t help it.

A new study from UCLA counters the pornography addiction claim, finding that the brain doesn’t react to pornography like it does to other addictive substances. This article from Huffington Post sums up the findings:

In the brain, porn “addiction” looks the opposite of addictions like cocaine, smoking cigarettes and gambling — and therefore should be treated with different therapies.

While the article focuses on “treatment” implications, this research has particular implications for prevention. If people are not viewing excessive amounts of pornography because they are addicted, behavior change becomes much more possible. Moreover, cultural change has a chance. We can address cultural factors that tell men they are entitled to women’s bodies, the porn industry’s targeting of particular consumer audiences, and much more.

Read more and access the article here. How do you think this impacts our prevention efforts? Share in the comments section below.

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