Mark Jorgensen Q&A: How Desert Solace Center Treats Sex Addiction

Mark Jorgensen Q&A: How Desert Solace Center Treats Sex Addiction

“Of course, addiction begins with a choice to indulge in a particular behavior or substance,” he said. “But as addiction takes hold, the actions of the addict become a function of the more primitive midbrain, which governs the primal instinct of survival, instead of the frontal cortex, which govern logic and decision-making.”

Utah residential facility to offer treatment for porn 'addicts' St. George • Desert Solace offers therapy, integrate family into process.

SOURCE: Salt lake Tribune 2_22_2012

A St. George couple hopes to open what they believe would be Utah's first residential treatment center for pornography "addiction."

Mark Jorgensen and his wife, Jerri, are seeking state approval to open the 5-acre Desert Solace for up to eight men whose treatment would consist of 45 days of talk therapy combined with outdoor exercise and a healthy diet. Cellphones and computers will not be allowed, and sex offenders will not be eligible. The treatment will cost $8,000, but the Jorgensens believe insurers will cover at least the psychotherapy portion.

"It will give those addicted to porn a chance to get away from everyday life and just focus on their problem," said Jorgensen, who describes himself as a former pornography addict who wants to help others overcome their obsession. "It will give them freedom and a chance to take back their lives."

While the Jorgensens use the term addiction, there is ongoing debate over whether compulsive use of pornography is a true addiction.

Ted Wander, a Salt Lake City psychiatrist and member of the Utah Psychiatric Association governing board, said there is no consensus on that question within the treatment community.

Drug addicts and porn abusers have some commonalities, he said. Dopamine, an organic chemical that plays a role in the brain's so-called pleasure and reward centers and is present in higher levels in drug addicts, is also found in the brains of pornography users, according to Wander. And people whose lives revolve around pornography can demonstrate behavior similar to alcoholics and drug addicts, including a lack of understanding of the negative consequences of their actions. But excessive use of pornography "is not recognized [as an addiction] in the diagnostic manuals used by the American Psychiatric Association," he said.

He didn't know of any existing residential program in Utah dedicated to porn users.

The Jorgensens said they plan to apply by March for a permit from the Division of Family Services to treat eight male residents at a time, and may want to expand that number to 12 in the future. The couple has been hosting open houses of the facility, located in northern St. George near Snow Canyon State Park, and describe the community as accepting of the idea.

How Pornography Can Change Your View of Sex

Teens who receive most of their sex education from pornography and adults who turn to pornography to satisfy their lusts often find their view of sex becomes warped over time. Below our team at Desert Solace offers a few examples of how pornography can change the way you see sex:

Consent is not often present.

Many graphic videos and images depict non-consensual situations and then twist it to seem as though the victim is enjoying the act against his or her will. This is not a portrayal of healthy sex, which should always be between two consenting partners who respect one another’s wellbeing.

Pornography provides unrealistic expectations.

Pornography is sold as a fantasy to its audience, which is why so many videos and erotic literature portray sensual situations that could not play out in real life. However, if these situations are all teenagers and compulsive viewers are seeing, they can develop false assumptions about what sex is really like.

People can become disinterested in real-life intimacy and sex.

Viewing pornography can lead to the development of sexual fantasies that can’t be achieved through intimacy with a partner. When partners can’t meet the standards set by pornography, some people stop becoming aroused by the prospect of real sex and retreat back to pornography.

Though right now breaking free of pornography may seem impossible, we encourage you to call 435-817-1351 today to learn more about overcoming your pornography addiction in St. George, Utah, with our 12-step recovery program.

 Contact us today, there is hope.