Can porn exacerbate paraphilia?

Forewarning: personal anecdote not based on science. I made this to generate discussion that could help me learn about myself. Might go a bit TOO descriptive and personal. Apologies in advance.

I was exposed to porn at a tender age (8 years). Currently 22 and have since developed an immense array of odd and problematic fetishes and fascinations. I’m not going to claim that porn turns kids into perverts (was already interested in sexually maiming and humiliating others before my first exposure; no, I was never sexually abused, unless you consider viewing sexual media on TV as a child a form of sexual abuse), but can porn exacerbate one’s perversions?

When I was in elementary school, I would oft relish the thought of doing violently, sexually horrible and disgusting things to both my classmates and to adults, and having those same things done to me. But I’ve wondered: did being later exposed to porn that fed into these obsessions turn me hypersexual and uberfocused on these things? Had I never had Internet access, would my fetishes not have become as lifeconsuming as they have in my teen and adult life? Would my IRL pedophilia, for instance, be not as powerful and intense today had I not discovered lolicon in my youth? Did porn only serve to reinforce my sexual aberrations, make them stronger than they would’ve been otherwise…?

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I’ve heard that porn can give you paraphilias and “fetishes” a lot from internet based anti porn advocates. I’ve been unable to find any kind of hard evidence though, which seems weird since it should be easily testable in a laboratory environment.

I’ve also never heard it used in a court case as a defense or reason to get a lesser punishment which if it was real I assume it would have been by now. What I mean is that the defendant says there not really a pedophile. Typically people who belive porn gives paraphilias also say that ceasing to watch porn will alleviate them, and so if someone was on trial for watching cp they could claim it was a porn induced paraphilia and they should get a lesser sentence cause there not really a pedophile and will soon stop being attracted to children if they stop watching porn.

That makes sense, but I already had my fetishes before I was exposed to porn at 8 years. I’m not claiming that porn gave me these orientations, only asking if they heightened what feelings were already there. At this point, I don’t believe cutting porn and sex from my life will make my paraphilias lessen. They’re already pushed to the max and cause me unimaginably excruciating selfloathing and suicidal ideation. I don’t believe quitting porn alone would change this…

And thank you for the fast reply!

There’s no conclusive evidence to support a causal link between exposure/consumption of (paraphilic) pornography and the onset of paraphilias or paraphilic behavior.

Associations and correlations have been noticed by a handful of studies, but these have been off-set by the fact that the majority of paraphiliacs had little to no exposure to pornography of any kind, or that of a paraphilic kind, at a young age.

From what I could tell, it’s unclear how paraphilias form or if they can be ‘learned’ or ‘acquired’. It’s currently believed by most that you either have them or you don’t, and finding out you have one is a matter of discovery or revelation, rather than an ‘acquired taste’ from prolonged exposure, but that isn’t an implausible hypothesis to make. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true to an extent, whereby people just happen to be more ‘open’ to such things and it’s a matter of taste, or not at all and paraphilias function more akin to a ‘sexual orientation’ than a mere matter of taste, which would make sense since the ICD-11 draws a line between fetishism and paraphilia. I feel as though that line should be more thoroughly explored.

For the longest time, it was theorized that one’s tastes or interests in pornography would ‘escalate’ from more tame content and depictions to more graphic and obscene ones the more they engaged with it, but this would later be dispelled by a lack of valid evidence to support it, as well as overwhelming evidence and testimony to the contrary, as people always go back to those baser interests.

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That makes sense, that I always had these issues and was merely drawn to seek more and more disturbing content to satisfy myself. Some would take comfort in realizing there was nothing they could do to stop their brains from being this way, but it just makes me feel more despairful about my situation…

Regardless, thank you for speedy repliance!

I can offer some anecdotal and uncorroborated life experience. I was minimally exposed to porn as a child as Al Gore had not invented the Internet yet. :rofl: I had seen some photos and magazines that a cousin got. He lived in a large city where these were more prevalent that the rural-suburban town I grew up in. They just interested me. Let’s face it, a teenage boy is bursting with hormones. I really have never seen actual CP and want to keep it that way. Supposedly it was fairly available in the 60s and it wasn’t until the 70s that the big crackdowns happened.

I did have some sexual encounters with other teens, but it wasn’t until as a 19 year old, I found myself excited by a 12 year old, that I started to realize I had an attraction to adolescents.

Fortunately, I was also attracted to people my own age, so my predilection stayed my own little secret. I was happily married for 30 years to a lady my age, until she passed. Needless to say, I did not share this little secret with her. As a CSA survivor, she would NOT have understood that I meant no harm to actual children. Her story, when she felt like sharing it, made me even more resolved to never harm a child.

I have found ways to tame the desire; text stories, drawings and 3D pictures and a rampant imagination. I also purchased a sex doll, but that did not go well. In fact, that was how I learned about Prostasia. @Terminus was a great help when Customs tried to screw me.

I feel that my desires were always there, but they needed some stimulus to make me aware of them. I had almost no exposure to sexual issues as a preadolescent, and as an adolescent, I never considered my attitude unusual. Attraction to other adolescents seemed normal. My attraction has been constant these past 50 years, so I believe it is part of a person’s makeup.

On another note, people vary. A lot. So, while I have a constant interest in teens, it doesn’t rule me. Other people can have an overwhelming interest and need more help in controlling those urges. Some people believe in binary choices with nothing between, you are straight or gay, you are a pedophile or normal, etc. I believe that all of these orientations (and I believe they are orientations) have a range of values and need not be the entire person. You can be bisexual for example, more straight than gay, more gay than straight, have an attraction to children only, have an attraction to children and adults, and so forth.

If any of this helps, I am glad. If not, well, I am no sexpert. :slight_smile:

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I have been watching lolis for more than 10 years. If they made thing worse, it’s taking an awful long time.

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At the time I was growing up, porn for most people was limited to Playboy magazine and maybe Penthouse if things got really racy. Nonetheless, fetishes were apparently abundant, diverse, and often as bizarre as you might expect, if you looked into psych profession case literature, as well as people’s later disclosures during the era of sexual liberation (~1970-85).

A fetish is a metaphor for loss or relief of control that serves as a sexual gateway to the inner essence of another person (real or imaginary). When a person with a vulnerability fetish imagines this - including all the dramatic scenes you envision - most likely they have the sense that this violating scenario is taking the other person out of their socially cultivated artifice and right to the quick of the quick of their personalities – the real of the real, the absolutely immediate. This metaphor combines an intense desire for intimacy with the embedded presupposition that no one would voluntarily be THAT intimate; therefore their natural limit must be pushed beyond the beyond to really find them. We all understand this could be grossly, reprehensibly criminal if actually enacted against a person’s will, but as a trope of vulnerability, it could work in a role-play such as BDSM. I can’t see any way porn could causally add or subtract from a metaphor like this, and if you think back, you may be able to think of some much earlier childhood punishment or embarrassment scene that connects to it in some way. That would be more the regular path of genesis of a fetish.