An existential-phenomenological inquiry into self-perceived pornography addiction

Pacholec, Olga (2022) An existential-phenomenological inquiry into self-perceived pornography addiction. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC). [Thesis]

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Despite scientific and clinical interest in problematic pornography use as a type of behavioural addiction, little is known about the qualitative characteristics of self-perceived pornography addiction. The goal of this study is to enhance the understanding of pornography addiction from the perspective of users who consider themselves addicted. To this end, semi-structured interviews were carried out with ten male participants in therapy for pornography addiction. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was applied to data gathered from the interviews to capture the essential features of their experiences. The findings demonstrate that self-perceived pornography addiction is a multi-faceted phenomenon, involving physical, psychological, behavioural, relational and ethical difficulties. Despite physical pain and instrumental treatment of one’s own body, pornography consumption is perceived as a highly valued form of intimacy-free sexual conduct. The study shows that self-perceived addiction entails an alienated way of being with the focus on the self and intensely negative emotionality in the form of self-directed hostility and adverse self-perceptions. Conceptualising the experience in terms of addiction provides the self-perceived pornography addicts with a set of explanations and justifications for their behaviour. This understanding, however, raises a number of concerns, including a deep fear of stigma, the belief that addiction to pornography is particularly difficult to overcome and the assumption that their problems are perceived by others as a form of self-indulgence rather than genuine difficulty. The study adds to the knowledge of the phenomenon, which is predominantly explanatory in nature, by revealing new qualitative characteristics and offering insights rooted in the lived experience. In the absence of evidence-based recommendations and guidance for practitioners, it has the potential to inform clinical practice of clinical psychologists working with clients who experience problems with pornography consumption.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Keywords (uncontrolled): Addiction, behavioural addiction, pornography, problematic/excessive/compulsive/high pornography consumption, pornography dependence, (self-perceived) pornography addiction
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 37343
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2023 16:44
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2023 20:58

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