Is Porn Sabotaging Your Relationship?

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Is Porn Sabotaging Your Relationship?
Is your partner's porn usage ruining your relationship?

A recent study by Nicole Prause, PhD. from the University of California in Los Angeles has gone viral. The researchers are challenging the idea that sex addiction can be proven with brain imaging evidence. They say that there is no scientific evidence to classify sex addiction as a legitimate mental disorder. The debates are mounting as a multitude of rebuttal and support articles are being written daily.

One critique article of the study was written by another UCLA researcher, Rory Reid, a research psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry. He claims the findings in the Prause study are limited by difficult research parameters, with which he also struggles. He claims many media articles twist the research into a debate about something the original researcher did not intend, and he also states there is a lot of research yet to be done on the sexual addiction topic. Reid states neither he nor Prause's research is meant to disprove the large number of people who seek help with sexually problematic behavior.

Amidst this debate, a high profile politician, Anthony Weiner, was recently discovered to be engaging in "sexting." This first came to light in 2011, when he was publically disgraced and resigned from Congress. His behavior continued, despite those harsh consequences. How can his choices be considered "healthy" when they are clearly causing him such negativity? Let's explore what a healthy, secure relationship looks like, and then compare that to an insecure relationship. Insecure relationships can often include high-risk behaviors like sexting or heavy porn use.

Healthy, secure relationships are defined by Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) Researcher Sue Johnson as having a sense of "Felt Security."

Felt Security involves:

1. Mood stability, involving less reactivity and less anxiety, less avoidance and more support seeking behaviors.

2. Better information processing, incorporating flexibility, curiosity and openness and the ability to tolerate uncertainty.

3. Better communication and ability to collaborate, disclose vulnerabilities, be assertive and empathetic.

4. A sense of self that is more coherent, complex, articulated and positive.

Johnson also states that EFT is the only model of couple intervention that uses a systematic empirically validated theory of adult bonding as the basis for understanding and alleviating relationship problems.

When a couple seeks counseling and excessive porn use (or sexting) is part of the problem, there are often many ways that the couple is not experiencing "felt security" with each other. The disruption of the bond between them is felt by both people and this emotional disengagement causes anxiety, distress and avoidance behaviors in the relationship. This breeds arguments, resentments, distrust and a multitude of other stressful emotional states. Porn is one of many "outsiders" that create emotional distance in the relationship. Other culprits include excessive shopping, over- or undereating, gambling, drugs and/or alcohol and any other addiction that gets priority over seeking human connection.

Felt Insecurity, on the other hand, involves:

1. Mood reactivity, anxiety, avoidance and little support-seeking behaviors.

In situations where porn has played a part in a couple's insecure attachment, tempers flare and their ability to reason is diminished. It is hard to have a conversation or collaborate when your emotions are blaring at you and things feel like a "life and death" situation.

2. Inability to process information, incorporating inflexibility, lack of curiosity about others, being closed to new ideas and the inability to tolerate uncertainty.

When one person watches porn to the exclusion of spending time with a real person, am emotional bond is broken and needs repair. Insecurely attached couples will argue about porn use from their own point of view and never really hear what the other person is saying. They are not interested in understanding another person; they just want their version of the truth to be heard and be "right." Keep reading...

More personal development coach advice from YourTango:

Article contributed by

Teresa Maples

Counselor/Therapist

Teresa Maples MS, LMHC, CSAT, CMAT

Wanting something more from your relationship?, Join my newsletter. and you will recieve free practical relationship tools helping you develop a closer more connected relationship.

 

Location: Tacoma, WA
Credentials: CMAT, CSAT, LMHC
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Infidelity / Affair Recovery, Sex Addiction
Other Articles/News by Teresa Maples:

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