PORN ADDICTION

PORN ADDICTION

The widespread accessibility of porn means that more people are watching it than ever before. One consequence of this is that cases of addiction to porn are more common than ever.

In counselling, we tend to think of ‘addiction’ as a habit that you have little or no control over. It’s something that you keep returning to, over and over, regardless of the negative impact it’s having on other areas of your life.

Porn addiction can have a detrimental effect on many areas of your life. You may become socially isolated, prioritising it over seeing friends, family and loved ones. It can have a pronounced effect on your sex and romantic life — very often coming to replace or interfere with your desire for intimacy in the ‘real world’. Some people start to engage in risky behaviours too — watching porn at work or in public.

One of the trickiest aspect of a porn — or any other — addiction, is that it rarely starts out this way. People who become addicted to porn often start out as casual users and over time watch it more more frequently and more compulsively. Often, people don’t realise that their habit is problematic — or aren’t willing to realise this— until things have become particularly bad.

Where does porn addiction come from?

While in some ways porn addiction is a very modern addiction, in others it’s much like any other form of compulsive behaviour. The most common root causes of porn addiction — much like alcohol addiction or drug addiction — are some form of unmet emotional need or emotional pain.

This pain might come from feeling isolated or unloved. For others it’s caused by struggling to form proper, intimate relationships with others. Sometimes mental health problems are a factor — most commonly, anxiety or depression. Self-worth often plays a part — when someone feels bad about themselves, they often search for substances or activities that make them feel better. Porn — again, like alcohol or drugs — often feels like a simple way of escaping from pain, a means of blotting it out by stimulating the rush of other emotions or sensations.

Of course, in the long run, the person in question usually feels worse, not better. What they gain temporarily they usually lose — and then some — in the long run. This, in turn, can create a cycle of dependence: as the addiction makes them feel lower and lower, so they have more need to engage in it.

What steps can you take to break porn addiction?

The first step is to recognise that there’s a problem. This can be one of the hardest things to do: unfortunately, one of the effects of porn being so commonplace in society is that heavy porn watching habits have become more normalised. Often, you may not realise that your behaviour has been compulsive for some time.

Beyond this, the best next step is the same as with any other addiction: seeking help.

Speaking to a trained counsellor or healthcare professional means getting access to expertise and experience that can be massively beneficial if you’re struggling with porn addiction.

A good programme of treatment usually approaches your addictions from two fronts. Firstly, it helps you to develop strategies to address your specific porn viewing habits (often through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy — CBT). You may talk to your counsellor about the times you’re most likely to watch porn, or whether there are certain triggers that are likely to make you want to do this. The counsellor will then help you think about ways to address these triggers — noticing them, acknowledging them and finding ways to avoid giving in to the compulsion.

Secondly, it’s likely it will also involve some in-depth talking therapy (psychoanalysis), in which you are helped towards understanding the emotional needs that caused you to become addicted in the first place. The counsellor will talk to you about your life in general — how you feel about your relationships with friends and family, and any areas where you feel things are difficult. This will help you to understand your emotional inner life — and feel supported and listened to.

How we can help

If you’re finding it hard to talk about any tricky issues, Relationship Counselling, offers a safe and confidential space where you can be open and honest.

To find out more and to arrange an appointment contact us today