Finnish police officer: Sex addiction is growing health problem
Porn and sex addictions occur more and more often in Finland. Therefore, the Diakonia Institute of Western Finland has started a project to combat the problem.
Porn addiction has many adverse effects on people's well-being: anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, lack of trust, distorted sexuality, violence against women, and objectification, Kalle Mäenpää points out. In daily life, he is a police officer and is currently also the project manager of a project that aims to help sex and porn addicts.
The project's goal is to set up recovery and peer support groups; he says to Seurakuntalainen. In addition, he and his colleagues want to raise awareness on a national level on this issue.
Mäenpää partly blames the current "disposable culture" for the growing problem of porn and sex addictions. "With only one click, you can select a person, use them and then throw them away", he says. "It is sad to see how our society is driven increasingly by an insatiable culture of pleasure-seeking, where one wants everything as quickly as possible."
In addition, the threshold to start watching pornography is very low; the police officer points out. "Today, if a man wants to, he can see more naked women in one day than he had seen in his entire life."
The fact that pornography has been normalised in society is scary, Mäenpää thinks. "It conveys the image that nothing is sacred anymore, and nothing is respected."
Porn and sex addiction are a growing problem, he notices. "It has been shocking how drastically sex and porn addiction has increased and how widely it affects a person's life."
Porn impacts all aspects of life, the police officer learned. Mental health, relationships, sexuality, physical well-being, the ability to work and life management as a whole, he sums up.
Both boys and girls suffer because of porn consumption. Girls may develop negative self-esteem as they compare their bodies to those of porn stars. This may result in depression, anxiety and eating disorders. On the other hand, boys may get a distorted image of sexuality and of girls. They may be prone to sexual harassment and not understand the concept of consent, Mäenpää says. As a police officer, he notices that about half of the sex offenders have a strong addiction to pornography.
According to the police officer, sex and porn addictions are characterised by "a person's inability to control their strong and frequent sexual impulses or desires, which lead to repeated, unwanted sexual behaviour." He points out that it is very difficult for addicts to break out of this vicious cycle, even though he or she may experience great problems because of it.
More often than not, watching porn is not solely for sexual pleasures but fulfils a more profound psychological need, Mäenpää says. "It is absolutely true that sex addiction is a kind of coping mechanism, a distorted way of controlling life. Dependent behaviour aims to facilitate negative and produce positive emotions where a person does not have effective ways to regulate their own emotions", he explains.
Mäenpää compares porn and sex addictions to other problems he encounters as a police officer. In his job, he has seen many suspected perpetrators confessing their crimes during the interrogation. "Only after that recovery and breaking away from the cycle of crime is possible. I feel that sex and porn addiction have a lot in common with that. Addiction must come to light so that a person can start on the road to recovery."
To people who struggle with a porn or sex addiction, Mäenpää has a message: "Feel free to seek help for yourself. No one has to be left alone."
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