Some of you who are reading this may have been guided here for more education.
- The correlation (not causation) of the overuse of pornography to criminal behavior. As a therapist who worked with the sex offender/general population I would do generalized assessments of each prisoner. From the sex offender population to the general population of people committing a crime, every single one I interviewed had an addiction to hard-core pornography. During the assessment of their sexual history, most did not acknowledge this as an addictive behavior but the average viewing of hard-core pornography was the extreme of 5-6 times a day to the “mild” viewing of once every other day. When asked if this was concerning to them, most shrugged their shoulders and did not acknowledge any correlation whatsoever.
- To my previous point- The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) will not acknowledge pornography as an addiction. It boggles my mind why professionals world-wide don’t acknowledge this, especially with the correlation I pinpointed above.
- The myth that those in the pornography are choosing to do so. I’m not discounting their agency to enter into such accords with the industry but I do wonder how they reached such a vulnerable position. I cannot speak to an individual’s decision or perception but those who have spoken out speak of being coerced, manipulated or even forced into this form of slavery.
- The effect of hidden behavior on those closest to those addicted. Some are very honest about their viewing of pornography, they’ve even got the attitude “I do this, deal with it. Accept me and what I do or…there’s the door.” There are others that don’t accept this behavior because it violates their values but compartmentalize it so “nobody knows.” This creates a duality and often leaves those closest to them in a state of “something is wrong but I can’t pinpoint it, it must be me.” In this case, if a person gets caught, it can result in a form of ptsd called “betrayal trauma”. It is a debilitating disorder even to the strongest people I have come to know. Pornography thrives when hidden, it also thrives as an acceptable form of coping.
- Pornography has the same effect of an illicit drug with free access. I call it a dopamine dumper but the brain’s tolerance of it is insatiable. The brain has literally hit the jackpot… A HUGE dopamine hit at no cost. If you haven’t figured this out yet, the brain and body are constantly looking to keep the status quo of comfort. So the “convenience” of pornography is the gift that keeps on giving.
- No need for real life relationships. There’s a beautiful chemical that gets released when having a healthy sexual life with your spouse. It’s called oxytocin- it promotes the relationship and ties us to that person. In pornography, this chemical is released but with a screen. Not only with a screen but with a perfect image on that screen. A person with this addiction is literally creating connection with an inanimate object. Thus promoting dyscontrol. “Why have a real-life relationship when I can control pornography?”
- Albeit subconscious, body image and physical characteristics become the foundation of attraction in relationships and hijacks true identity. Rather than focusing on overall intimacy through spiritual, verbal, emotional, intellectual courtship, a person that sees a person only as how they appear will be disappointed to know that not all people can achieve what is on a screen.
How many exposures to pornography before it becomes a problem or addiction? We are never quite sure. As with the many different forms of cancer, catching it early is key to minimizing treatment costs and maximizing positive outcomes. For a quick self-assessment take our brief sexual self-mastery survey HERE.
If you are struggling with any kind of sexual self-mastery behaviors you want to change, including pornography struggles, please reach out. We have several programs that can help. You can call Life Changing Services at 877-437-6877 or visit our website Life Changing Services. Also check out our Men of Moroni program for men and Sons of Helaman program for young men.
Cody Hawes LCSW is a clinician that assists those dealing with sexual addiction, trauma, betrayal trauma and marriage/mental health recovery.