Isolation, secrecy, preoccupation.
Habitual porn use can squander time,
money, and emotional intimacy.
Pornography dependency is characterized by repeatedly consuming porn despite negative consequences, which may include loss of time, money, or the ability to perform sexually with a partner.
In our offices, there’s no value judgment whether pornography is inherently “good” or “bad.” The question is whether your current porn use enhances or damages your quality of life. If pornography-viewing regularly results in losing time or money that you’d prefer to spend elsewhere, it’s worth addressing that issue in psychotherapy and treatment.
Many people use pornography as visual content for masturbation. For others, pornography consumption is about “the hunt” for the perfect image. The high can also be hoarding and amassing a storehouse of porn, with much of it remaining unwatched.
Habitual porn use can become a crutch to distract from unpleasant emotions or boredom. When pornography becomes a primary method of self-soothing, porn and/or masturbation dependency develops. Sexualizing uncomfortable feelings creates a patterned response: craving sexual arousal in the face of fear, anxiety, frustration, or sadness. The brain comes to rely upon a flood of sexual neurochemicals (e.g. dopamine, endorphins, vasopressin) to anesthetize emotional discomfort. This quick-fix escapism is the driving force behind porn “addiction.”
Porn Addiction Therapy in the East Bay
Dependence upon pornography can be successfully addressed in psychotherapy. It’s crucial to find a therapist with specialized training in this area. General “addictions therapists” are well-meaning, but often do not have the specific clinical knowledge required to treat porn- and cybersex-related behaviors.
Effective treatment for pornography dependency provides clients:
- Immediate interventions and tools to stop or reduce compulsive porn consumption
- Best practices for obstacles to accessing porn or cybersex (e.g. Internet filters)
- Awareness of specific, unique purposes pornography and/or cybersex serves in one’s life
- Education regarding interplay of shame, isolation, and ritualized behavior
- Development of increased self-esteem and healthier coping mechanisms
- Access to more authentic emotional and romantic intimacy
Click here to request an appointment in our Oakland office or to get more information about treatment.