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Porn Addiction FAQ


  1. What is porn addiction?
  2. How is it possible to be addicted to porn?
  3. I struggle with pornography; does that make me a sex addict?
  4. I find myself looking at more extreme pornography. What are the consequences?
  5. Do I have to tell my partner I’m addicted to porn?
  6. What if my partner and I watch porn together?
  7. I look at porn every 3 or 4 months- is this a problem?
  8. To be anti-porn is a prudish and repressive attempt to dictate morality, isn’t it?
  9. Do pornography filters work?
  10. I caught my child looking at porn online, what should I do?
  11. What are the steps to end pornography addiction?

1.  What is porn addiction?
Porn addiction is the overuse or abuse of pornography that has negative consequences for one’s life.  The porn addict cannot control the compulsion and continues the destructive behaviors despite negative consequences.  Alone with only the computer for company, porn addicts are isolated from real human contact.  For an addict, porn objectifies the actors and leads to a loss of intimacy.
2. How is it possible to become addicted to porn?
For some individuals, repeated exposure to powerful images, such as porn, creates an obsessive craving to see the images over and over. This craving leads to compulsive behavior patterns that can be very difficult to stop. A person who wants to stop a behavior or thought pattern, despite suffering negative consequences, but cannot is typically addicted. It is a simple matter of high levels of exposure for certain people, and porn can become an addiction. Porn is not automatically addictive for everyone.According to the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health, approximately two million people are addicted to Internet sex.  Research suggests that many porn addicts spend 11 – 12 hours a week with some form of internet sex.  Porn addiction can be a convenient outlet to avoid intimacy. This form of “transactional sex” is often reported to be shallow and unfulfilling over time.
3. I struggle with pornography; does that make me a sex addict?
Not necessarily.  Some people only watch porn without engaging in problematic sex.  However, for many, there is little difference between porn addiction and sex addiction.  Seeking a high to escape one’s feelings is usually a form of addiction whether it is alone or with others.  Rarely does porn addiction exist without additional sexually obsessive thoughts or behaviors. 
4. I find myself looking at more extreme pornography. What are the consequences?
It is common for excessive porn viewing to lead to more extreme pornography.  This is very much like drug addiction as the body continues to build up a tolerance and requires the drug in greater amounts to feel any effect.  Porn addicts often explore pornography outside of their tastes and values seeking novelty to get a fix. This can lead to illegal activities, such as viewing child pornography. The consequences can destroy families and careers. Excessive pornography sometimes leads to sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction. Clients report that their porn addiction often accelerated to sexually acting out behaviors such as affairs or sex with prostitutes.
5. Do I have to tell my partner if I’m addicted to pornography?
Telling your partner is your choice. Most people only seek help after the humiliation of having their double life exposed. Getting caught generates a great deal of trauma for all concerned.  If you need help stopping porn, the best way to handle this is… to get help now. A professional sex addiction therapist is trained in the disclosure process when and if the time comes for disclosure.  For more information, see the Partners of Sex Addicts FAQ.
6. What if my partner and I watch porn together?
Just as physicians don’t fix bones that aren’t broken, our therapists don’t fix problems where there are none for the individuals involved.  The sexual activity between two consenting adults is their business.  A therapist may ask; “Is this an authentic expression of sexuality for these two people?”  “Is one trying to please the other in an effort to hold on to the relationship?”  “What is the capacity for healthy intimacy between the couple?”  Ultimately, it’s your choice, and it’s not automatically a good or bad thing.
7. I only look at porn every 3 or 4 months – is this a problem?
The question is — is this a problem for you?  Sexual values are different for everyone and there is no “one size fits all.” Porn is a booming business with reported annual revenue of 12 billion dollars. There are plenty of people for whom porn may not be a problem. Certainly porn does seem to provide a sexual “high” that can be addictive, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who looks at porn will become addicted. People have different abilities to maintain a healthy and balanced life. There are also people, both porn viewers and/or partners, who believe that looking at any pornography at all violates trust in a relationship or a religious value. Sexual recovery sometimes means stopping a behavior. Sometimes, abstinence can be helpful to determine one’s true sexual values.
8. To be anti-porn is a prudish and repressive attempt to dictate morality, isn’t it?
The fact that many professional sex addiction therapists successfully treat porn addiction is not the same as being anti-porn or ‘sex-negative’. There are organizations that condemn pornography. Center for Healthy Sex has no such mission and holds no ideological opinion on pornography. If porn is a personal problem, then seeking help makes sense. Sometimes a person’s morality is anti-porn in spite of a pornography addiction. Professional sex addiction therapy is available to help reduce blame, shame, and low esteem and develop sexuality that is in line with one’s core values.
9. Do pornography filters work?
Yes. One of the first interventions a sex addiction expert recommends is to install filters on your computer or phone to not allow access to adult content sites.
10. I caught my child looking at porn online, what should I do?
According to Family Safe Media, 90% of children ages 8-16 have looked at internet porn. Children are naturally curious about sexuality. A healthy sex education, a sense of self-worth, and an environment of open communication creates the surest safety for any child. Of course, sex education and sexual values vary for each household. If you feel like you’re in danger and require therapeutic tools to help your children develop their own healthy sexuality, feel free to call our consultation line.
11. What are the steps to end a pornography addiction?
Professional sex addiction therapists help porn addicts deal with their feelings of shame, humiliation and embarrassment. Like any addiction, the first step is to stop all problem behaviors.  Stopping the problem behaviors allows the brain to re-set and learns to live without the “high” of compulsive behaviors and obsessive thought patterns. There are many 12-Step programs including Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous. 12-step meetings are where a person can join a fellowship to discover that they are not alone and that help is available. In addition to attending 12-Step meetings, individual therapy is extremely helpful to teach a person to stop unwanted behaviors.

 

 

 



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