People with strong religious beliefs are at lower risk for many behavioral health conditions, including drug and alcohol use. But stronger religious beliefs increase the risk of a person who identifies as addicted to pornography and struggles with it. Religion has a long history of restricting sexual behavior. More religious people are likely to restrict their sexual fantasies, have fewer sexual partners, express a stronger disapproval of alternative sexual behaviors / unconventionality (from using sex toys to homosexuality), and use less pornography in general. . But, stronger religious values also increase the prevalence of higher levels of guilt about sexual behaviors and higher levels of sexual dysfunction. More religious therapists are more likely to detect porn addiction than other doctors. Nowhere is the conflict between religion and sex more obvious today than the fight against pornography.
One of the problems is focused on the convergence of religion and pornography in those who struggle with the use of pornography. This problem is an astonishing change in the last few decades of sex and pornography addiction, where morality issues have been minimized, in favor of overwhelming attention to the alleged dangers of porn, often compared to a drug. This current issue focuses on the true origin of this conflict, on the grounds between religious sexual values and the availability of sexual stimuli in the modern world.
One of the first founders and leaders of the sex addiction movement suggested that sex addiction was the result of an education in a conservative Christian household with strict attitudes toward sex. Attention to this religious-sexual conflict has waned over the years, but it is now reviving with new research.
A group of researchers has published in detail about the links between religious values and the conflict over porn use. Together, they researched this issue, addressing and discussing the many issues that arise in this collection of articles, showing the growing need to better understand the nature and treatment of this conflict between religion and porn use. The issue in general is a powerful collection of important, useful research and theories that examine how and why religion and the use of porn continue to generate such dramatic personal struggles.
The theory that religious experiences in childhood are related to the experience of sexual shame that haunts you even after you become an adult. They are experimentally exploring a model that shows us the progression from childhood religiosity to moral disapproval of pornography to a sense of addiction perceived by pornography to a sense of sexual shame following the use of pornography. Their model is useful and valuable for clinical intervention because it explains a more sophisticated understanding of how porn users face shame and difficulty and how clinics can help them. Instead of addressing the use of porn, therapists can help patients examine their religious values, their moral values toward porn.
Religious people with low self-esteem are more likely to have difficulty using pornography and for these struggles to contribute to greater feelings of anger in general and anger toward God. When religious people use pornography more, their anger toward God and their general irritability increase. Therapists may be more effective in helping these patients learn to manage their anger, explore the dissonance between porn use and their moral disapproval, and suggest that assisting these patients in managing their anxiety through mindfulness techniques may be effective.
Those who feel addicted to pornography face more suffering and conflicts related to the use of porn. Studies on a large sample of adults show that religious people (including Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims) are much more likely to report being addicted to porn. Atheists and people with lower religious beliefs were much less likely to show their problems with pornography addiction.
Among patients undergoing treatment for sex addiction, both religious and non-religious people had a similar level of shame and stress. Both groups had comparable levels of masturbation and porn use, but religious people reported much lower levels of sexual partners, as well as much lower levels of alcohol and drugs, replicating previous findings that religion can be protective against these factors. Religious addicts were more likely to experience higher levels of depression.
Many religious people actually view pornography as a more important social issue than human violence or war.
People are struggling with pornography addiction. There is no denying this. What is essential, however, is that we begin to help people understand why they are fighting and to undo the moral and religious, developmental and individual motives of their struggle. It is clear the conflict between a person’s religious sexual values and their choice to use porn that contributes to a person’s psychological and spiritual struggles. Clinically, therapists can help people with this by applying techniques of mindfulness, anxiety and mood treatment, motivational interviews, education and moral exploration. The problem here is not pornography but the fact that people choose to use pornography without realizing the reasons why they reject pornography.
However, more people are starting to talk about this issue and offer compassionate support to religious people who use porn and fight this conflict.
The conflict between porn and religion is changing and can be a problem that simply disappears as society grows more comfortable with access to pornography. At a religious conference in early 2016, anti-porn religious speakers presented research showing that adolescents ‘exposure to porn is common, and even more so, that adolescents’ attitudes toward porn are different from the youth of their time. Today’s religious young people do not consider watching porn movies to be such a great sin. These young people can save the world and I don’t think it’s necessary to save it from pornography.