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Porn Addiction FAQ

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.

For some individuals, repeated exposure to powerful images, such as porn, creates an obsessive craving to see the images over and over again. This craving leads to compulsive behavior patterns that can be very difficult to stop. A person who cannot stop this compulsive behavior despite suffering negative consequences 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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