Porn addiction has taken and destroyed many wonderful relationships. The statistics are rising every day. Many people are plagued with this issue and they suffer silently unfortunately the effects are ruining their relationships with those they truly love.
Porn addiction, which is a subset of sex addiction, can refer to a range of behaviors that are done in excess and negatively impact one’s life. “Porn addiction” is not an official diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-5). However, an addiction to porn can lead to serious consequences in many aspects of one’s life.
40 million adults in the U.S. visit internet pornography sites on a regular basis.
1 in 5 internet searches on a mobile device are for pornography.
Men who are happily married are 61% less likely to look at porn.
20% of men admit to viewing pornography at work.
88% of porn scenes contain physical aggression. 49% contain verbal aggression.
Porn addiction occurs gradually. This means there are stages that a person goes through before they are fully consumed in it. The front door is early exposure; like that time a picture innocently flushes in front of you as a kid.
The stages of addiction
Early exposure. Most guys who get addicted to porn start early. They see the stuff when they are very young, and it gets its foot in the door.
Addiction. Later comes addiction. You keep coming back to porn. It becomes a regular part of your life. You’re hooked. You can’t quit.
Escalation. After a while, escalation begins. You start to look for more and more graphic porn. You start using porn that would have disgusted you when you started. Now it excites you.
Desensitization. Eventually, you start to become numb. Even the most graphic, degrading porn doesn’t excite you anymore. You become desperate to feel the same thrill again but can’t find it.
Acting out sexually. At this point, many men make a dangerous jump and start acting out sexually. They move from the paper and plastic images of porn to the real world.
There is still hope for those who are addicted to porn and want out. You can start by first confiding in someone you trust. Treatment of course is simply counseling to work on that behavior. You will also need to be totally committed to your course once you start your journey of treatment.
Porn addiction treatment
Effective treatment of porn addiction typically follows the same basic approach that has proven to work in the treatment of sexual addiction and substance use disorders. If you or a loved one decides to work with a therapist or counselor, treatment will likely involve counseling such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), coupled with group therapy, 12-step and other social support groups and perhaps alternative therapies such as art therapy, equine therapy (working with horses), EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and the like.
Committing to a Contract
The biggest difference between recovery from sexual addiction in general and porn addiction in particular lies in the definition of sobriety. Whereas sex addicts typically focus on behavior change (eliminating problematic sexual behaviors while agreeing to engage in non-problematic sexual behaviors moderately and appropriately), porn addicts want to permanently and completely abstain from porn use. If the porn addict is also engaging in other addictive sexual activities, then he or she must look at those — usually with the help of his/her treatment team— to determine which are problematic and which aren’t. The porn addict then commits in a written “sexual sobriety contract” to change his or her behavior. It’s important to understand that the definition of “sexual sobriety” varies from addict to addict. Some may have only one problem to eliminate — such as porn use — while others may struggle with other sexual activities. As such, sexual behaviors that are problematic for one addict may be perfectly acceptable, perhaps even healthy, for another.
Finding Support and Understanding
As with other addictions, recovering porn addicts tend to do best with the support of others who are also in the process of healing. To this end, sex and/or porn addiction-focused group therapy is often useful. In most groups for sex/porn addiction, a treatment specialist (sometimes more than one) works with between six and 10 addicts. Addicts learn that their problem is not unique, which helps with the shame, guilt and remorse almost all feel, and that triggers their desire to act out. Group therapy is also ideal for confronting and overcoming the denial that drives porn addiction — the rationalizations and justifications that addicts rely on to make their behavior seem OK in their own minds.