The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, April 27, 2010. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's blog at The Huffington Post website.

Porn Addiction Takes a Lot of Time

I examined the toughest addictions to quit, and found that love was the worst.

But recent research has indicated a seriously disturbing addiction that is more commonplace than most people realized: pornography.

Senator Chuck Grassley asked for an investigation of SEC computers. You know the SEC -- the Securities and Exchange Commission -- the group charged with policing Wall Street to enforce any new financial regulations that are passed?

What may give us pause is that the SEC is the group that was supposed to police all of those derivative instruments and credit default swaps. In fact, the SEC couldn't catch Bernie Madoff despite being offered explicit road maps to his Ponzi scheme, as Harry Markopolos revealed in his book No One Would Listen. Markopolos believes -- surprise! -- that all kinds of fraud are going on in the financial industry and that SEC enforcement wouldn't recognize a crime if they saw a bank being robbed.

But back to the Grassley-inspired investigation, which was conducted by the SEC Inspector General's office (and what have they been doing up until now?). This vigilant watchdog found over 30 people repeatedly viewing porn on government computers -- during the financial meltdown! Seventeen porn viewers were at senior levels of the SEC.

Here are the worst two cases involving senior officials, one a lawyer and the other an accountant:

  • The attorney spent up to eight hours a day viewing and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office. This man was promoted to head of the SEC (or is that SEX) -- kidding! -- he resigned. (Wonder what he's doing with the free time he now has?)
  • The accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting porn websites, but by diligent application, he still amassed a large collection of porn on his hard drive. This guy is now head of the SEC! Not, but he still works there, after a two-week suspension.

Visualize, if you will, someone trying 16,000 times in a month to outwit blocks to his getting to his one true desire, or someone spending all day at work compulsively lusting over porn. Tell me -- is that an addiction? Come on. You know what porn is when you see it. Surely you can detect when something's addictive. Let's just hope they don't put Harry Markopolos in charge of investigating everybody's computers!

And this porn-seeking behavior is at the top of the addictive pile (remember, these guys then went home to their personal computers). Heroin addicts don't spend all day and night shooting up. They rest sometimes.