To make his case, study author Dr. David Ley points out that "pornography addiction" is not included in the latest edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders because there's a glaring lack of scientific evidence that it's actually a disorder at all. And Ley's recent review of past studies on porn consumption also finds that only 37% of research papers on habitual sex behaviors characterize porn viewing as an addiction.
Furthermore, there's very little evidence that porn is harmful in any other way, Ley adds. It doesn't--as some have claimed--change men's brains or lead to erectile problems. Even children exposed to pornography don't seem to be harmed by it.
So if pornography isn't harmful, could it actually be beneficial? Leys says it very much could be. It helps men foster healthier attitudes about their sexuality, helps them find more happiness in their long-term romantic relationships and helps men "experiment" with taboo sexual behaviors in a way that ultimately harms no one.
“We need better methods to help people who struggle with the high frequency use of visual sexual stimuli, without pathologizing them or their use thereof,” adds Ley. “Rather than helping patients who may struggle to control viewing images of a sexual nature, the ‘porn addiction’ concept instead seems to feed an industry with secondary gain from the acceptance of the idea.”
It will be interesting to see how Ley's comments are received, especially by professionals who specialize in the treatment of male sexual disorders. A study published just days later in the journal Sexual Abuse, for example, found that sexual predators who used child porn were less likely to prey on children than sexual predators who did not.
Ley's comments appear in his piece, "The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the “Pornography Addiction” Model".