I really did not like the comment posted above about comparing this addiction to a child's cancer however. A child has no choice, a child with cancer is not selfish or deceiving, a child with cancer has nothing that is within their control or their parents. To say that p&m addiction is like a child's cancer is ridiculous and yes I agree that it is very hard to deal with and not easy at all but those of you with p&m addiction have a choice and ultimately are in control, it is up to you how you chose to live your life and how you want to be. Very annoyed with that comment.
I somewhat disagree with this interpretation of the above-mentioned afflictions. Regarding cancer, I'll just quickly point out that recent medical research has shown that many cancers are directly related to unhealthy diets containing excess sugar and processed food. More and more cases of cancer are being traced back to excess sugar counts and a lack of nutrients that otherwise can help prevent cancerous cells from growing. Of course, a child has no choice as to their own diet and thus the above points do not apply to children.
But regarding the second point, to say that a sex addict is "ultimately...in control" is not necessarily true. Many people get hooked on pornography at a young age due to feeling stressed out, alone, depressed, and they turn to porn as an escape from the stresses of life. Often times, they are shown pornography by their friends who declare it to be "harmless fun" or they might stumble upon their father's pornography magazines one day and become intrigued. Meanwhile, sex is glorified all over the place: on tv and in movies, in magazines, and in all kinds of advertising. Teenagers who abstain from sex or pornography sometimes get labeled as losers, virgins (used pejoratively), and prudes who aren't any fun. With all of this, is it any wonder that the majority teenage boys have viewed porn by the time they are 16?
Once people are addicted, it isn't easy to break free. Porn is not normally discussed as life-threatening or career-damaging the way hard drugs are. Everyone is afraid to talk about the topic and often it is just swept away as a harmless pastime. Once the addiction becomes deeply ingrained it can be extremely difficult to get a handle on, and many people who were addicted to both alcohol and sex claim that the latter is much more difficult to abstain from.
So maybe addicts did choose initially to turn to pornography, whereas a child did not choose to get cancer. But aside from this initial choice, often made at a young age in the face of serious temptations from society and the media, this addiction cannot be chosen--it strips the ability to make rational decisions, and causes the addict to do terrible things that go against their core values and beliefs. All the addict can do is make the choice to get sober, and commit themselves fully to recovery. But this doesn't mean that everything that happens along the way is a conscious choice on the part of the addict.
I think part of the confusion comes from using the word "choice" to mean both conscious choices and choices made under the spell of addiction. I would never consciously choose to look at pornography, but when my emotional brain takes over, and the addiction neurons start to fire, I lose control of my brain and "chose" to act out. In short, this addiction has the power to override our good intentions.
So obviously sex addiction is not the same thing as having cancer, nobody would argue that. But to say that this addiction is ultimately controllable would be equally dubious, since many people become ensnared before they even realize what happened. If someone had told me what this addiction would do to my life back when I was a teenager, I would've avoided it like the plague. While I still had the choice not to use porn, the total lack of encouragement to abstain, the lack of information regarding its addictive potential, and the profusion of sexual content in all of forms of media was not, unfortunately, under my control. I realize not everyone will share my perspective on this, but I wanted to give my two cents nonetheless.