The active ingredient in porn addiction, problematic sexual behavior, masturbation etc ad nauseam is selfishness about sex. Obsession and craving occur across all those behaviors. Take the mind altering drug alcohol. It would be weird to say "I'm a gin addict." It would be even weirder to segregate and postulate that vodka addictoin is fundamentally different than wine addiction. Because they all contain ethyl-alcohol. Of course it's easier to believe heroin addiction is different than beer addiction but the basic definition of addiction doesn't change: the addict doesn't stop in spite of consequences, and the basic behaviors are the same. She uses more and more, life begins to revolve around using, things there are not enough time and money for fall away. She lies steals cheats. You are probably saying I never did those last few things, sure thats true. Me neither. But I lied to myself. I cheated myself out of having friendships, romantic relationships, better jobs (too busy). I cheated myself out of true happiness by choosing short term desires due to confusion and the lies in my head over the much less sexy ideas of being honest, humble and helpful, and it was not at all obvious to me that those things had anything to do with happiness in fact they seemed calculated to make me miserable due to their inconvenience and how much they would embarrass me and take up my time. Ironic, porn was embarrassing me and taking up my time . And in my case I did steal for my masturbation addiction We all know that alcohol is a drug, why make an unhelpful distinction? And the question "why did they use" leads the same direction regardless of "which addiction", basically they were not happy and drugs made them "happy." Exact same as us! We get hung up on the obvious differences in SIDE EFFECTS, such as between meth and alcohol. Yes some are uppers some are downers, the chemistry differs. But all are mood altering just the way I used pm+ and again the broad brush strokes paint the same picture if I don't nitpick and debate. One of my mentors used to say "I was the master debater, I just had an extra syllable in the middle there." I think all us addicts are self medicating the human condition: "another kind of addict" felt lonely and with her mood altered she could talk and make friends and dance and so on. I actually got jipped: pm+ never helped me with any of those things the way alcohol or other drugs would have! But those addictions come with other more visible costs, ours is the quietly pathetic one. Very few people (though I know some, just talked to one about recovery late last night) lose the good important things of life over porn and masturbation. Often we don't have those things to lose, active addiction didn't take things from me it prevented me from ever having them to lose to the addiction! Lose my self respect, what self respect? And I thought because it was free and natural and I was getting a wife (as if she is mine, that's that selfishness see) and a good job that it "wasn't that bad." More than just loneliness or generally not being happy are other parts of the normal human experience: fear, frustration including frustrated desires, self hatred, the illusion of control. All these they, using alcohol and other drugs, try to push down or away, to fight out of existence because they are uncomfortable. And just the way we have, when you boil it all down, selfishness about sex, they have selfishness about their drug(s). Pooling money together to get some but the person who makes the pickup takes a big dose before bringing it back. When I stopped fighting the idea that I was an "addict," when I focussed on identifying after giving up being different and special the identification changed my life. Not in and of itself, there's a lot more to it but that was a starting point. They say the devils in the details so don't touch them, look at how we all felt. They felt like they never belonged anywhere, me too. They felt like there was something wrong with them, so did all of us. So it's a spectrum and most people won't be able to hear any of this until going further and further on that spectrum. It looks like the people who find freedom from addiction tend to be the ones for whom it got worse and worse and worse. It can seem like consequences made them stop but if so why not after the first 10 consequences? Why did it take 39, why didn't the 38th one "work"? We still have all those human things, fear, anger, greed, shame etc when off the drug (in my case pm+ and been off for a long time). I think this is the real reason we see 2 common things: slips and unhappy sobriety. If I have the same uncomfortable feelings (some people call them negative energies) with their associated thoughts that I started numbing with pm+ and then I stop looking at porn and masturbating (I mean I stopped doing either ever even psubs edging flirting fantasizing on purpose etc) then it's no surprise if I start down the slippery surface to doing so again, doesn't matter how long. I still have the same underlying condition. The other phenomenon it explains well is unhappy sobriety. This is slow pitch softball: if I was deeply unhappy before getting more so by the day and pm+ seemed to help so I did it a lot and then stopped I bet I'm going to feel deeply unhappy! Luckily I can say from experience that it's possible to be kept sober long term, as far as I can tell indefinitely, and even reasonably happy while walking through the sober way of life. A sex positive sobriety! It's easy for me to hear the above as I write it as "sex is bad no sex" but that's not it at all. Nor its opposite, we VERY OFTEN get stuck in 0-100 thinking. I heard that is part of how the brain works is a tendency towards black and white not much if any in between tracks of thought. So fi you're wondering "Wait, is he saying XYZ sexual behavior is good or bad" know that that's a totally different question. I'm talking about selfishness, an attitude ABOUT sex. It's not what but how and why. When you have 2 options that both suck the answer is consider a 3rd option.