Porn Proofing Your Life

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Porn Proofing Your Life
Can't control your porn addiction? Read these tips on changes you can make that will help you cope.

Here are some ideas about some of the dangers to be aware of in your daily environment, things that make it easier or even a foregone conclusion that you will end up in front of some sexual imagery on a screen.

  • Dating sites and friendship or affinity sites may be a lead-in to a pornography binge.  You may begin looking at people’s ads and pictures thinking you are just looking for some healthy platonic companionship.  But this can be “triggering” in that the descriptions and photos on offer may be arousing or may bring about feelings of loneliness or neediness.  It is a short step to click on a hook-up site, sex chat room or a porn hub.
  • Getting into online fantasies of any kind can be a problem.  This one was a surprise to me.  I have seen addicts go online to look at cars they cannot possibly afford or boats or some other inanimate object of desire which ends up feeding their addiction.  They continue to see the internet as a source of fantasy gratification and in this sense a drug that takes them away from their reality.  We all do this from time to time with no ill effects, but living in fantasy is a problem for an addict and this kind of escape can become so regular as to be an obsession and can hinder his or her efforts to live in the real world without using a “drug” to escape.  When recovery stalls relapse can be the result.
  • Things you did while acting out on the computer.  This will be different for everyone but I have seen for example, one addict who chain smoked when he was acting out.  His addiction to cigarettes and his addiction to internet porn were “fused”, as they say in the addiction interaction typology.  In attempting to quit porn he thought he could still smoke from time to time, but lo and behold it made him want to use porn.  Be aware of this Pavlovian conditioning aspect to your own porn using habits.
  • The physical set-up in which you viewed porn can be another cue that is associated with addictive behavior and leads back to relapse.  Is your home computer in a particular room or location?  Move it.  Did you have a favorite chair that you sat in to view porn?  And so on.  Again these will vary from person to person but the point is to dismantle the whole set up.

Ultimately staying abstinent from a pornography habit will of course involve treatment.  It may take 12-step work, a sponsor who supports you and a therapist or support group.  And last but not least porn addicts who are serious about changing their lives need to build in contingencies.  Make a plan for how you will tighten up your recovery program or seek a higher level of treatment should you fail to stay abstinent with your current program.  Knowing that you have a plan in place and that you will stick by it can help make the consequences of porn relapse more real.

This article was originally published at PsychCentral. Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

John M. Grohol

Psychologist

Dr. John Grohol is a mental health expert and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.

Location: Newburyport, MA
Credentials: PsyD
Website: PsychCentral
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