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Global study reveals nearly 100 million addicted to pornography

Online Safety
15 March 2024
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A global study suggests nearly 100 million adults may be addicted to pornography, equating to about 3% of the global population experiencing 'problematic pornography use', which negatively impacts relationships and job performance.

The research, published in Addiction, surveyed over 80,000 adults from various countries, revealing a concerning level of usage, with less than one percent seeking help.

Dr Beatha Bőthe, the study's lead author from the University of Montreal, emphasises the widespread nature of the issue. She said, 'Our research shows that the problematic pornography use may be more common than many might think and affects a wide range of people.

'It highlights that while many are struggling, not many seek help. That's important because it suggests that more work needs to be done to understand and support those who are affected by it.'

The study involved 80 researchers from the International Sex Survey consortium, examining participants from 42 countries, including the US, UK, China, France, and Germany.

The average age of participants was 32, with a majority being women (57%) and heterosexual (68%). Findings indicate that porn consumption is more prevalent among men but does not significantly vary by sexual orientation.

Key findings also include that the average age of first exposure to pornography was 14, and the study highlighted the varied forms of pornographic content available, from videos to virtual reality.

The research adds to the growing body of evidence on the potential harms of excessive pornography consumption, including negative impacts on body image, eating disorders, and relationship satisfaction.

The study calls for increased awareness and interventions to support individuals struggling with pornography addiction.

Such findings are timely as the UK government closes its Independent Pornography Review looking into the impact on sex and relationships, mental health and attitudes towards women and girls in the UK.

Recent polling from the charity CARE showed that the UK public support stricter regulations on pornography, including the appointment of a Pornography Commissioner to ensure that such content can be reported and removed for consumption.

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