Addicted To Predictability: When Porn Becomes A Problem

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Emotionally Unavailable From Porn Obsession
Is there such a thing as a "harmless amount" of porn?

With easy access to the Internet, porn is just a click away for many people. Research has shown that most men (over 95 percent) have viewed porn at some time in their lives. It's no surprise: the porn industry has been the number one income-producing industry in the country for quite some time. One reason why is that the porn industry exploits those obsessively compelled to search for new, stimulating images. A line is drawn when porn becomes a problem, and this line is different for everyone. Porn addiction is a personal and a relational issue.

While some people can use porn with a real-life partner to stimulate desire, sexuality and play, others use it as a way to isolate, and be in control of their sexuality and desire. Often, they feel fearful of not knowing how to meet their partner's needs. Some people even avoid sex altogether with a real partner due to feelings of hopelessness of a real person ever meeting their sexual needs in the way porn does.

What human beings desire at the deepest level is to belong: to have people who care about them, and in turn whom they care about. In generations past, humans lived in tribes, or communities, that provided stable, life-long relationships. These relationships offered support and belonging during our best and worst times. Our connections sustained us through life's difficulties and blessings. Unfortunately, for the most part, we don't have that now. Most people are isolated in their homes... and in front of a computer screen.

For instance, these days many families are sitting in the same room together, texting each other or else people not in the room. That passes as quality time! But it doesn't quite cut it: we actually need eye contact and touch as part of our basic human needs. The internet provides an escape from the pressure of relating with a real person. Now add the element of porn into the picture, and the user gets a dopamine hit from viewing a sexy image. The brain's reward system is stimulated and the viewer feels instantly better for a few minutes. Because our "real life" interactions can be volatile or upsetting, based on the many variables other people may bring to a conversation, the porn viewer's brain reinforces the belief that people are dangerous, unpredictable, and should be avoided. As such, they continually return to the predictability of porn viewing.

Additionally, the predictability of sexual stimulation from porn is at the viewer's control. The messy needs and desires of other human beings are not considered or valued. Other people actually become an obstacle to viewing porn and obtaining predictable sexual stimulation. Many problem porn viewers will reject real women, preferring their comfortable self stimulation with porn.

Porn as a hobby is like anything: use it in moderation, and only if it feels healthy to you and your partner. Have open and honest conversations together so you both feel comfortable with the level of outside stimulation in your relationship

How To Know If Your Porn Viewing Is A Problem:

1. You feel compulsive about viewing porn
2. Your partner's objections to porn feel like a problem for you
3. You neglect meeting with real people in order to view porn
4. You have tried to stop, but keep going back to it
5. You have feelings of guilt and shame after viewing porn
6. You spend multiple hours a day viewing porn, neglecting healthy behaviors such as exercise, eating healthy meals, socializing, hobbies, etc.
7. Porn use is affecting your job performance
8. Porn use is negatively affecting your marriage or intimate partnership
9. You have thought or are thinking about harming yourself in some way; broken skin integrity through cutting or rubbing, or suicidal feelings
10. You use porn when feeling bored, anxious, or stressed to numb out your feelings
11. You become angry when you have to wait to view porn images
12. Recovering sex addicts are encouraged to stay away from any porn use if it is part of their addiction cycle

If you see reflections of yourself in the above statements, you may be wondering if every guy deals with this problem. Many do.

Ask yourself: What is there be to be gained by stopping my porn viewing? Will your personal relationships get healthier? Will your marriage come back from the edge? Will you become more confident, secure and healthy? It is a personal decision you will need to make for yourself. Do you want a fulfilling, complete and engaged life, or do you want the predictability of porn?

Porn is a poor substitute for a real relationship. You can overcome your fears, you can learn better social skills and you can have fulfilling relationships. It takes time, commitment and work but many people have found freedom from porn. You can too, if you want it.

More emotionally unavilable advice from YourTango:


 

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

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
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