New research from Cambridge University has revealed that pornography has the same effect on the human brain of compulsive viewers as the thought of alcohol does in the mind of an alcoholic. This seems to suggest that it is possible to become addicted to pornography. For those who are compulsive users, this will come as no surprise.Combine this with a study from East London University that found that 20% of teenage boys “were dependent on porn to have sex” and a problem of epic and disastrous proportions begins to reveal itself. Teenage boys are collecting, grading, and sharing porn. Their expectations are founded on what they see, often resulting in humiliating, degrading, and ultimately disappointing experiences with girls. The adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to addiction as the pre-frontal cortex that controls impulses does not mature until the mid-20’s.

The good news is that steps are being taken in the sex-education curriculum to address this very real problem. Also a national newspaper has started a campaign to limit access to porn by young people. For some the scale of this problem may seem insignificant but it is growing by the day. Sex is one of the ways in which we relate to one another. But the objectification of another puts an end to this and limits the range of caring and sharing. In Jungian terms this means it makes the awakening of the female aspect in males by females that much more difficult. Reciprocity is thus stunted in both the male and female. Male desire may contain elements of power, status, and of course, immortality. But ideally there is also a place for respect, recognition, and care. This is what we must foster in the young.

(Internet pornography addiction may be defined as “a psychological addiction to, or dependence upon, pornography, characterised by obsessive viewing, reading, and thinking about pornography and sexual themes to the detriment of other areas of the viewer’s life.”)