Myths and Misconceptions About Sex and Porn Addiction

Unfortunately, some people use the labels “sex addiction” and “porn addiction” to define any type of sexual behavior that doesn’t meet their personal, religious, or moral standards. Other individuals use sex/porn addiction as an excuse for sexual misconduct. Basically, they get caught engaging in inappropriate, problematic, possibly even illegal sexual behavior, and they blame their actions on an addiction, hoping to avoid or at least minimize the judgment and/or punishment they get. Recognizing this, it is helpful to understand what sex addiction is NOT.

  • Sex/porn addiction is not fun. Sex and porn addiction lead to shame, depression, anxiety, and a wide variety of negative consequences, just like every other form of addiction. Sex/porn addiction is not about having a good time any more than heroin addiction is about having a good time.
  • Sex/porn addiction is not an excuse for bad behavior. Under no circumstances are sex/porn addicts absolved of responsibility for the problems their choices have caused. In fact, part of healing from sex/porn addiction is admitting what you’ve done, accepting any consequences, and making amends as best you can.
  • Sex/porn addiction is not related to sexual orientation. Neither homosexual nor bisexual arousal patterns are factors in the diagnosis of sex and porn addiction, even if those arousal patterns are ego-dystonic (unwanted). Being gay, lesbian, or bisexual does not make you a sex/porn addict any more than being straight makes you a sex/porn addict. Sex and porn addiction are not in any way defined by who or what it is that turns you on.
  • Sex/porn addiction is not related to fetishes or paraphilias. Nontraditional sexual turn-ons (kinks, fetishes, paraphilias) are unrelated to sex and porn addiction. As stated above, sex and porn addiction are not in any way defined by who or what it is that turns you on.
  • Sex/porn addiction is not just a guy thing.The common perception is that only men are sex/porn addicts. This is not true. Plenty of women are sex and porn addicted, though they tend to talk about their behavior in terms of relationships rather than sexual behavior.
  • Sex/porn addiction is not the spouse’s fault. Sometimes sex and porn addicts blame their significant other for their addiction, saying things like, “If I got enough sex (or hotter sex) at home, I wouldn’t act out in my addiction.” This is a lie. It’s like blaming orange juice for alcoholism, as in, “If orange juice tasted better, I wouldn’t need to cut it with vodka.”
  • Sex/porn addiction is not the same thing as sexual offending. It’s possible to be both a sex/porn addict and a sexual offender, but addiction and offending are not the same thing. Most sex and porn addicts do not become sexual offenders.
  • Sex/porn addiction therapy is not sex negative. Some people worry that sex and porn addiction therapists are trying to be the new sex police, imposing moral, cultural, or religious values on sexuality, thereby creating a narrow version of sexual health. This is not the case. Certified sex/porn addiction therapists fully understand that sex and porn addiction have nothing whatsoever to do with who or what it is that turns a person on, and they treat their clients accordingly.

A version of this article also appears on our sister website, SexandRelationshipHealing.com, at this link. That site also offers free podcastswebinars, and drop-in discussion groups to benefit sex/porn addicts, loved ones of sex/porn addicts, and therapists who treat these individuals.