(Post written by Anne Smith, mother and healthcare professional)
Many seek sexual stimulation outside of the bounds of ‘normal’ intercourse. In most cases, people can keep this urge under control, but serious problems arise when people (especially young people) use porn as an educational rather than a recreational tool, and attempt to apply the fictitious (and often damaging) mores of porn to their real-life sexual encounters.
Problems can also occur when one relies so much upon porn that it begins to disturb the operation of their day to day lives. Sex is a major human drive, which releases dopamine and engages the brain’s ‘reward’ system. As such, it’s surprisingly easy to become both neurochemically and psychologically addicted to ‘artificial’ sex. Porn addiction is a very real, very damaging, and growing problem.
If you fear that you or someone you love may be suffering from it, here are a few things to look out for:
It is perfectly possible to be a ‘high functioning’ porn addict who maintains an outward facade of a perfectly healthy life. Such people exist in every stream of addiction, and are often in more danger than most as it’s harder to understand that they have a problem. ‘Buffers’ like a high income, a comfortable life, or a supportive/enabling family essentially hide or prevent the negative effects of their addiction, meaning that they may not experience the kinds of pressures which force other addicts to get help. As sex is a natural and normalized drive, porn addiction sufferers often fall into the ‘high functioning’ category, as those around them simply don’t realize that anything’s wrong. In such cases, a lack of interest in social interactions can be a revealing sign. Refusals to leave the house, insistence upon spending evenings alone with the computer and so forth may all indicate that something is wrong. If you yourself fear that you’re a porn addict, ask yourself how much of preoccupation porn is when you step into your house of an evening? Are you willing to forgo other commitments because of it? Have you done so? If this is the case, you may need to take a long, hard look at your habit.
It is all too common for porn addicts to lose track of time while they’re watching internet porn. They may miss appointments, be frequently late, or act confused about the time of day when they emerge from their porn fugue. When people are engaged in internet porn, everything else ceases to matter in a way which it does not with many other internet-based pursuits. If you suspect that you have a porn addiction, think about the amount of time you’ve wasted or lost while pursuing your pornographic interests. If it’s significant, and if it’s impacted upon your real life, then you may well have a problem. If you suspect that someone you know has a porn addiction, take a note of their timekeeping. If it’s erratic, and if they seem bewildered or shocked by their lateness or inability to track time, then it may well be the case that they’re spending far more time than they realize embedded in virtual sex. Porn addiction tends to be a secretive condition, so it involves effectively disappearing for hours at a time. Marking the amount of time ‘lost’ in this manner is one of the best ways for outsiders to comprehend that there is a problem.
Problems With Sex
One of the major issues with porn addiction is that it ‘desensitizes’ people from the excitement of genuine sex, as well as conditioning them to expect all sex to be like the sex they see on porn. Pornographic sex tends to be extreme, as well as specifically designed for the pleasure of the viewer rather than for the pleasure of the individuals involved. Those who grow up expecting real sex to be like porn are likely to be not only confused themselves, but a deep disappointment (and possibly damaging) to their future spouse. Real life sex is far more intimate, co-operative, and private than that presented upon the screen – and it comes with a whole lot of weird sensations, smells, and tastes which porn doesn’t portray! This can make people with a porn addiction upset, confused, or even angry – and they may try to ‘rectify’ the situation by attempting to make real sex more like the porn they’ve viewed. If someone you love is presenting extreme or obviously porn-influenced ideas about sex as though they are normal, if they are pressuring someone into mimicking porn during sex, or if they are cross when their partners refuse to behave like porn actors during sex, it may be a serious sign that their porn viewing habit is getting deeply out of hand. Time to do something about it.
Do you, or someone you know, have a pornography addiction? Today is a great day to get help!
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