'Tidal wave' of porn addiction as experts warn action is needed to save the next 'lost generation' (Pauline Brown)

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One leading charity has revealed that regular consumers of online adult porn are more likely to start watching child pornography and other illegal materials to get the hit they crave. Scotland needs more sex therapists to tackle a spiralling increase in the number of porn addicts.

Experts have warned of a “lost generation” of men who have become addicted to watching pornography online.

And one leading charity has revealed that regular consumers of online adult porn are more likely to start watching child pornography and other illegal materials to get the hit they crave.

Glasgow-based psychosexual therapist Pauline Brown said: “Quite simply, there aren’t enough of us in Scotland to cope with the workload.

“We’ve already lost a generation to porn – this is now about salvaging the next one.”

Pauline said more men were seeking help as a result of being hooked on online porn.

She said: “I would never see patients with erectile problems under the age of 45 when I was working 25 years ago.

“Now it’s quite normal for young men, even as young as 19, to be seeking help.

“They watch porn and everything after that in real life is vanilla sex and so they go chasing a buzz.

“Quite often, it’s mixed in with other addictions such as alcohol or fantasy-gaming websites.

“But I’ve seen people whose entire sexual experience is linked to the accessibility of porn and two-dimensional images on a screen.

“It’s no surprise that this can then escalate into criminality.”

Charity The Reward Foundation – who give talks to schoolchildren about the risks of internet porn – say some have become so desensitised to watching extreme sex that they have been driven to seek out images of child abuse.

Mary Sharpe, the charity’s chief executive, said: “The waiting list to get a GP referral to a NHS sexual health clinic is typically nine months to a year – during which time an individual’s habit may have developed into a criminal matter.

“Due to cutbacks, the clinics will typically refer a porn addict to a private sex therapist – and there are only around 30 of them in all of Scotland with the proper training in this area.

“They alone are unable to manage the tidal wave of porn-related problems we’re now seeing.

“There are increasing numbers of men on the sex offenders’ register for watching child porn, not because they’re traditional paedophiles who seek sexual contact with children but because their behaviour was driven by a craving for more shocking images.”

Research by Cambridge University neuropsychiatrists in 2013 found watching porn gives users a shot of the reward chemical dopamine to the brain.

But the satisfaction is always shortlived, driving them on to find a stronger buzz beyond real sex – a classic sign of addiction.

There has been an explosion in the numbers of men seeking medical help for erectile dysfunction. NHS prescriptions for the problem have soared nearly 500 per cent since the turn of the century, from 67,515 in 2000-1 to 324,953 in 2015-16.

Britons now spend an average of 25 hours a week online and three quarters own a smartphone, making access to the internet even easier.

It is estimated that one in six Brits is now a regular porn user, with three quarters of men watching at least occasionally.

Since 2009, the number of registered sex offenders in Scotland has risen 45 per cent from 3637 to 5295 – but the numbers convicted of internet-related offences more than doubled between 2013 and 2015 alone, from 252 to 527.

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