When I first meet a man struggling with porn addiction, he often uses the following introduction: “Hi, I am Ted Smith, and I am a porn addict.”
First adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous, addiction groups universally utilize the fill-in-the-blank addict label.
I hate it.
The “Porn Addict” Label and Shame
There are two reasons for my disgust with this name tag. The first concerns the stigma it places on an individual. Like a black mark, a stigma can crush self-esteem, causing shame and embarrassment. And shame often perpetuates addictive behaviors.
Counselor and researcher Jay Stringer says: “According to the data from my research, men were almost 300 times more likely to seek out pornography for every unit of shame they felt about such behavior. For women, the numbers were almost double, with those in my sample being 546 times as likely to do so. It must be said that shame, not pleasure, drives pornography use.”