Porn Addiction

The advent of the Internet has resulted in the proliferation of Internet-related pornography. The Internet has increased greatly the accessibility and affordability of pornography while maintaining anonymity. Most people who use pornography do so recreationally as a source of pleasure while masturbating or engaging in partner sex. Some (mostly men) use porn addictively in the sense that they lack control of the behavior and continue to use it despite negative consequences in their lives.

Those who use pornography addictively tend to have experienced childhood injury resulting in painful feelings that they have difficulty regulating. They discover in adolescence that viewing pornography while masturbating removes painful emotional states – such as anxiety, emptiness and boredom, while at the same time creating feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Once established as a means of alleviating painful emotional states (a negative reinforcement) and creating pleasure (a positive reinforcement), porn addiction becomes difficult to change. People with a porn addiction experience a recurring failure to control the behavior (i.e., they continue to use it compulsively despite their own predictions that they can stop), and they continue the behavior despite negative consequences such as censor in the workplace, loss of productivity, and partner distress (it is common for men with porn addiction to lose sexual interest in their partner).

In some cases people use pornography in a non-addictive manner, but it is nonetheless a problem in their relationship. If one partner objects to pornography per se, the other partner’s recreational use becomes a source of conflict in the relationship often requiring professional assistance.

Whether a person has a porn addiction or a relationship problem involving pornography, I use a comprehensive, treatment approach, drawing upon techniques that are appropriate to the client’s needs from a variety of approaches such as Voice Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy, and Mindfulness. I help people to develop an understanding of the origins of the problem in early childhood maltreatment, to learn urge-coping strategies including healthy self-soothing, and to cope with slips in a constructive manner. In addition, I invite the partner to participate at appropriate points in the treatment process. Finally, I encourage those suffering from porn addiction to participate in Sex Addicts Anonymous (SSA), a self-help group that uses the Twelve Steps.

If you would like more information regarding porn addiction, please feel free to contact me at 604-873-0222 or at info@pauljames.ca.