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Study reveals high price of smut addiction

Severe social, relationship and legal problems hit habitual viewers

By Simon Sharwood, 11 May 2012

Habitual viewers of smut often mess up their lives, according to preliminary analysis of a new study conducted by University of Sydney academics, who believe the problem is caused in part by the ubiquitous availability of online video nasties that viewers can watch anywhere, with many devices.

Dr Gomathi Sitharthan from the Univeristy’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor Raj Sitharthan from its Department of Psychiatry surveyed 800 habitual online smut viewers and found “excessive users had severe social and relationship problems and had often lost their jobs or been in trouble with the law as a result of their addiction.”

Some even “escalated their viewing to more extreme and often illegal material.”

The researchers found that 43 percent of those surveyed started to view smut between the ages of 11 and 13. They also learned that 47 percent spend between 30 minutes and three hours each day watching smut.

85% of those surveyed were male and more than half were either married or in de-facto relationships.

Some more preliminary results include:

  • 88 percent of respondents said they are willing to seek professional help to treat smut addicition, but would prefer to do it online;
  • 30 percent acknowledged that their work performance suffered due to excessive viewing;
  • 20 percent of respondents said they preferred the excitement of watching porn to being sexually intimate with their partner;
  • Around 14 percent had formed a relationship with other online users;
  • 18 percent were preoccupied with fantasising when they were not online.

The study was conducted because the researchers feel smut is now so accessible that it is worthwhile to understand its impact, especially as Professor Sitharthan has seen more patients presenting with problems caused by addiction.

"Watching porn is a learned behaviour and we believe it can be unlearned,” Dr Sitharthan says.”We are finding that people do understand that their excessive porn viewing is impacting on their lives and they want to change.” ®