Internet porn addiction: Patients are getting younger and younger

Updated March 16, 2021, 7:24 pm

  • According to experts, more and more young people – especially men – are addicted to sex films on the Internet.
  • Doctors see a problem of great social importance, which could be exacerbated significantly by the corona crisis.

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A man who watches porn in the basement all night. A father who is caught masturbating in front of the screen by his children. A man who watches sex films 40 hours a week and can’t help but say: “I keep raping myself.”

From the point of view of experts, addiction to Internet porn is becoming an ever greater problem for society – especially in Corona times with home office and few leisure opportunities.

Addiction medicine: Patients are getting younger and younger

“In the past, my patients were mainly men between 40 and 50 years of age who had two or three failed marriages and different sex partners behind them and then at some point asked themselves: Is it maybe because of me,” says the psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist Kornelius Roth-Schaeff, who himself Has been dealing with the phenomenon of sex addiction for four decades, on Tuesday at an online discussion event organized by the Austrian association “Safersurfing”.

“But in the last 20 years my patients have become younger and younger. These are digital natives between 25 and 30 years of age who were sometimes confronted with pornography on the Internet before puberty.”

He cites studies from the United States and Sweden, according to which between five and eight percent of the population are addicted to Internet porn – mostly men. According to addiction expert Michael Musalek, long-time Medical Director of the Anton Proksch Institute in Vienna, the proportion of men makes up 75 percent.

Heavy consumption of sex films is not recognized as an addiction

There are no specific studies for Europe and German-speaking countries, also because excessive consumption of sex films on the Internet is not recognized as an addiction by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the WHO, compulsive sexual behavior, which includes excessive porn consumption, has been a mental illness since 2019 (“a milestone,” experts say). But official recognition as an addiction is still lacking.

From Musalek’s point of view, porn has “a high potential for addiction” – more comparable to heroin than to alcohol. “The crucial point is the so-called kick,” he says. Roth-Schaeff even speaks of a “sexual super drug”.

“What used to be hardcore is now flower sex”

The Munich neurologist and psychotherapist Heike Melzer has a patient who watches porn 40 hours a week and quotes him with the sentence: “I keep raping myself.” She sees a big problem in the decoupling of interpersonal relationships and sexuality. “One uses the other as a mere masturbation aid.”

She also has a patient who is only 17 years old. “When he was eleven, he saw everything that could be seen on the Darknet,” says Melzer. “What used to be hardcore is now flower sex.”

Young men in particular, who were confronted with such images far too early and far too excessively, are sitting with her in her practice today. 20-year-olds who can barely live sexuality in the analog world, have orgasm disorders or need Viagra. “The porn industry works hand in hand with the pharmaceutical industry,” says Melzer.

In the corona crisis, some also watch porn during working hours

And the corona crisis exacerbates the problem from their point of view: “It is much more dangerous when you work from home, because then the social corrective is no longer applicable and you may even revert to porn during working hours.”

Even without social isolation and focusing on the digital in the corona crisis, the President of the Austrian Federal Association for Psychotherapy, Peter Stippl, describes the phenomenon of Internet pornography in dramatic terms, speaking of “terrible excesses”. “Whole livelihoods are endangered,” says Stippl. “It is necessary to react to it socially and politically.” (Britta Schultejans / dpa)
© dpa

She has often dropped the covers and made the thoughts of some male fans really fantasize. But that should end now.

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