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'It really impacts people's lives': Trinity researchers looking to speak to men with porn problems

Up to 17% of porn users experience personal distress as a result of watching the material.

Image: Shutterstock/nito

THE RISE OF smartphones has made pornography more accessible than ever, but the explicit material has been shown to have a negative impact on many people’s lives. 

Sexual material being instantly available to anyone with internet access has long been a cause of concern in some quarters and the number of people seeking support for compulsive porn use has been rising for the past decade.  

While the majority of people watch porn without it negatively affecting them, research has shown that up to 17% of porn users experience personal distress and an impact on their functioning as a result of watching the material.

In a bid to deepen our understanding of the issue, a team of researchers from Trinity College Dublin are looking to speak to men who think they have a porn problem.

The study will explore the psychological experience of men who engage in compulsive use of internet pornography, sometimes referred to as “porn addiction”, who experience psychological distress as a result of their use. 

Michael McDonald, a trainee clinical psychologist who is part of the research team, says the pervasiveness of phones has added “Triple A” fuel to the porn problem fire.

“Personal and portable electronic devices, they’re referred to in the literature as a ‘Triple A’ engine which gives online sexual material its appeal.

It’s accessible, it’s affordable and it’s anonymous. There’s a sense that that has fuelled some of this increase in difficulty.

“Because it’s such a new medium; the internet and the handheld devices that are becoming ubiquitous, everywhere, it’s an emerging field,” he explained.

The Trinity team are looking for men over the age of 18 whose compulsive porn use has caused them to experience psychological distress or has negatively impacted their relationships to participate in a study.

“This is something that really impact people’s lives. It can impact their well-being and their relationship with family members and with others,” McDonald told TheJournal.ie.

Participants will take part in strictly confidential interviews which, McDonald says, will give people the space to talk about how the issue affects them and give them the opportunity to better understand their experience.

Anyone interested in taking part in the study can find more information here

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Ceimin Burke

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