Monday, December 18

Dealing With Porn Addiction

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Before the internet was ubiquitous in every aspect of our lives, porn addiction was for the creepy lifelong bachelor or the lonely guy with mommy issues. However, now that we depend on the World Wide Web for much of our information and entertainment, the condition is seeping into parts of the population previously unaffected. Seemingly normal men from all walks of life, including actor David Duchovny and an Australian preacher who faked having cancer to cover up a 16-year porn addiction, are claiming that pornography has taken over their lives.

Identifying an addict

While porn addiction is not yet listed in the DSM-IV as an official mental disorder like drug or gambling addictions, therapists are starting to take the condition seriously. The criteria for determining whether or not a patient is addicted to porn are much the same as the ones used to identify other addictions, revolving mainly around the dependence on pornography at the expense of other aspects of life. If viewing, reading, watching or thinking about pornography is interfering with your work, your relationship, your family life or your social interactions, it is a problem. Some porn addicts cannot perform sexually without the stimulation of pornography. Porn addiction may be a part of a more extensive sex addiction.

Availability and early starts

It is now easier to get your hands on porn than ever before. A man doesn’t even have to work up the nerve to walk into an adult video store anymore, but can instead in the privacy of his own home simply download to his heart’s content a dizzying array of pornographic content. The internet is definitely the main culprit behind the explosion of porn addiction. A study published in the journal Pediatrics stated that 42% of internet users aged 10 to 17 have been exposed to pornography. By the time these children reach adulthood, pornography can be a pervasive part of their lives and, for some, this can lead to serious problems, such as porn addiction.

Tolerance build-up

Like an alcoholic needs increasingly larger amounts of alcohol as his tolerance builds up, so will a porn addict need more extreme, unusual or deviant forms of pornography as his addiction develops. Some experts believe that viewing this material can lead to enacting unhealthy fantasies in real life. It is possible that deviant sexual behavior could be inspired by pornographic content. However, in the majority of cases, porn addiction remains an intensely private condition that does not extend to sexual interaction with others. It will, however, likely interfere with healthy sexual experiences of any kind.

The group dynamic

Support groups and 12-step programs for recovering pornography addicts are popping up all over the internet. As illogical as it might seem to turn to the net for help with a problem that most likely started there, many addicts have found comfort and healing through sharing their stories and talking to others with the same condition.

Dealing with sex addiction doesn’t have to be hard, and you don’t have to do it alone

Not unsurprisingly, the majority of groups created to help porn addicts in recovery are religious in nature. Most organized religions take a general disapproving stance on any sexual activity not related to making babies between two married, consenting adults, so it’s not hard to see why the church would have an interest in healing those addicted to pornography. For a religious person, this approach may work, but for someone who is confused and struggling with his sexuality, the guilt piled on by religious support groups may not be helpful at all when dealing with porn addiction.

Therapy

The best way to deal with any kind of addiction is to seek the help of a qualified therapist. Neither sex addiction nor porn addiction is considered an official mental disorder, but they are compulsions that can have serious effects on one’s sexuality and can be detrimental to social functioning. Any decent therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist will recognize this and be able to provide you with tools to reduce your dependency on pornography.

Filtering temptation

There is a variety of software available that can filter out certain content from the internet before it gets to your computer. These filters are usually used to prevent explicit content, including pornography, from reaching the innocent eyes of children, but they can have applications for the porn addict too. Of course, it’s easy to disable your own filters, but simply having them in place may provide enough of a deterrent when you’re craving a porn fix. There is also keylogger software that will track every move you make on the internet and even accountability software that will not only track your internet activity, but will also send a weekly report to your “accountability partner” to keep them up to speed on the sites you’re visiting.

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