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Porn Epidemic


Photo by Jared Brashier on Unsplash


Pornography is an enormous problem in society and has an impact on many aspects of life, especially relationships.  What makes it so dangerous is its availability, affordability, and anonymity.  Individuals addicted to pornography often isolate themselves, experience depression, irritability, anger, express denial or defensiveness when confronted and are overprotective of the technology with which they view it.   Some individuals experience a sexual dysfunction as a result of their porn addiction. Psychologist Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., who specializes in sexual addictions states that an “addiction is a relationship-a pathological relationship in which sexual obsession replaces people.”  Describing porn’s effect to a U.S. Senate committee, Dr. Jeffrey Santinover of Princeton University said, “It is as though we have devised a form of heroin 100 times more powerful than before, usable in the privacy of one’s own home and injected directly to the brain through the eyes.”

Porn is big business and has a higher revenue than CBS, NBC, and ABC combined.  The power and money internet porn produces enables it to reach every corner of the globe.  Men who view it regularly report being less satisfied with sex and with their relationships.  Porn addicts tend to compare their partners with the images viewed and have a distorted perception of healthy sexual relations.  They completely lose the emotional connection associated with intimacy and are entirely fixated on the physical aspect of the connection. People who view porn often experience depression, anxiety, and loneliness along with less overall happiness and life satisfaction.  The chemical changes that occur from extensive pornography viewing is overwhelmingly addictive and many neuropsychologists refer to pornography as “visual crack cocaine.”  Our brain eventually desensitizes to images and habituates to them which leads to boredom resulting in the need for higher octane images.  For many, pornography is a way to self-medicate and escape vulnerability.

Recognizing that a problem exists and taking action are essential to managing this addiction.  Being able to set clear limits and establishing an accountability person along with restructuring one’s computer are good starting points.  It is also helpful to identify triggers, deal with emotions, and incorporate healthy strategies to deal with stress and conflict.  Some may benefit from attending a support group like sexaholics anonymous and consider a computer monitoring/tracking program like Covenant Eyes. Some studies have found a link of porn addiction and divorce.  Spouses of porn addicts experience betrayal, fear, anxiety, anger, isolation, humiliation, and mistrust which creates conflict and disconnection in a relationship.  Of course transparency and working through the emotional pain are important aspects to healing.  Couples will need to have open access to all technology accounts in order to rebuild trust.  The importance of communicating expectations, needs, and priorities are essential for deepening the connection.  Acknowledging the magnitude of the pain and trauma resulting from this addiction is necessary.  Working in counseling on the above issues can facilitate change and quicken the healing process.  It starts with acknowledging the problem and than implementing the solutions.

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© 2019 by Colgrin