Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil: The Hidden Hurts of Pornography Addiction
Pornography: What is Porn Addiction?
Porn. The mere mention of the word can leave both men and women feeling hot under the collar but for very different reasons. While some view it as a natural and perfectly healthy activity, others view it as on a par with infidelity and of the utmost disrespect to women. Some couples watch it to spice up a fledging sex life, whilst others use it to gain relief from the stresses and strains of the day, but what happens when the occasional watch turns into a daily battle affecting your relationships, your work and your happiness. What happens when it’s not about feeling stressed and needing a release but about being unable to simply function?
Like with all addictions what can start as a bad habit can lead quickly into a vicious cycle of behaviour in which the addiction at hand starts to take over you day-to-day life. We may neglect those important to us such as our partners and our friends and families and we may similarly find that we lose interest in careers, hobbies and our general health and wellbeing as we become more compelled to watch porn. Consequently, acknowledging you have a problem is an important first step in changing destructive behaviours.
Symptoms & How it Develops
Like with all addictions, an addiction to porn develops in just the same way. Your first few experiences with porn were probably very rewarding. You might have felt a great sense of relief after a hard day. This positive first experience will have not gone unnoticed by your brain. Consequently, you may have started to experience what feels like uncontrollable urges to repeat that same sexually satisfying experience and as you do, the connection between watching porn and gaining sexual satisfaction (or relief) becomes positively enforced. This results in the urges to watch porn becoming more and more powerful and more frequent. You may find that even doing something similar as when you watch porn can illicit sexual thoughts – a perfect example would be sitting at the computer! As this cycle starts to deepen you may find yourself spending increasingly more time watching porn, perhaps requiring more extreme pornographic material or finding that you are unable to have sex without the use of pornography.
Good questions to see if you having a problem with porn are:
- Does your use beyond your control? Have you tried to stop and failed?
- You feel a host of negative emotions after watching porn – such as shame, depression, remorse and guilt?
- You go to great lengths to watch porn such as coming home early from work ?
- Do you feel unable to think of anything else other than porn even when you are not using pornography?
- Do you spend large amounts of time watching porn?
- Is watching porn having negative consequences on other areas of your life? Are you not turning up for work? Or neglecting your partner?
- Are you watching porn in inappropriate places i.e. at work?
- Have you spent large amounts of money on porn?
- Do you suffer from anxiety when not watching porn?
If the answer is yes to one or more of these questions then seeking help can be a crucial step in preventing further damage. But what help exists? Won’t it be embarrassing to talk to someone else about my use of porn and whether I’m addicted to porn?
Although many of us find it embarrassing discussing our sex lives with those around us, talking to a trained counselling psychologist trained in addiction or a therapist trained in sexual problems can help. It is important to remember that counsellors and therapists are not here to judge and they have a great amount of experience in handling these matters with sensitivity and compassion. They can help you to gain some perspective as it can be easy to see no way out of vicious cycles. They can help you to:
- Identify triggers and high risk situations
- Re-negotiate relationships and friendships
- Manage cravings to watch porn
- Manage any underlying causes such as stress, anger, depression or anxiety and develop coping strategies for future problems
- Identify pleasurable activities away from pornography
- Help you to lead a healthier re-balanced life
- Explore past relationships and views on sex
Sometimes trying to fight all the problems that we face can be overwhelming and we need the support of trained professionals, as well as our family and friends to get through it. Although you might be feeling embarrassed about talking to a stranger about your problems, be sure to remember that your counsellor is there to help and not to judge. If you would like to know more about the services offered at Harley Therapy in helping those who are addicted to porn and/or experiencing another form, please call or email to enquire more.
You can also visit our sister site harleytherapy.com to find trained, professional therapists who specialise in addiction, sexual difficulties and other issues to book a session and talk to a counsellor confidentially.