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Whether or not you believe that pornography compulsion equates to an actual addiction, there are many good reasons for quitting a porn habit. Pornography alters the body’s ability to respond to normal sexual stimulus until it hits a point where more and more deviant material is required to reach the same “high”. Pornography also severely affects relationships as a double life is often required maintain the habit. Consistent pornography use has been shown to alter an individuals view of women in general and their value as people, rather than simply body parts. In a darker view, pornography is also directly associated with the human trafficking industry and those who support the porn industry are also indirectly supporting the degrading trade of women and children.

Determining reasons for quitting porn are fairly straightforward, however, doing so is not quite as simple. Pornography addiction is defined as an uncontrollable compulsion to view or participate in pornographic material. Although many may believe that stopping is a simple matter of willpower, this is not the case. Researchers have recently likened pornography addiction to that of a substance abuse addiction in its severity. There are several steps that need to take place before recovery.

  1. Make the commitment for yourself. It is not enough to want to stop hurting a spouse or partner. You have to be deeply tired of the repercussions of pornography use in your life and genuinely crave a change. Although the impulse to protect your significant other is important, the desire to stop needs to come from deep within.
  2. Seek professional help. No one would tell an alcoholic to simply stop drinking or a drug addict to stop using. Both of those issues require outside intervention and counsel and so does pornography. Because it is an addiction that thrives on secrecy and isolation, it is crucial for an individual to bring the dialog about their struggles out into the light.
  3. Limit Your Access. Although this is not considered a complete solution, placing internet filters, throwing away the pictures and videos or assigning someone to monitor your activity is a good way to help remove the temptation while you work on the skills you need to avoid triggers.
  4. Create a Plan. Unlike a substance abuse problem, a pornography addict cannot be expected to never again engage in anything sexual. Sex is a normal part of a healthy life, and an addict must re-learn appropriate boundaries. Creating and adhering to a clearly defined plan about what is and what is not allowed is how a pornography addict maintains “sobriety”.
  5. Become Accountable. Find someone you trust to become accountable to. This could be a spouse, a counselor, a religious leader or a friend. Knowing that you have to report to someone can help make the difference between relapse and success. Again, pornography thrives in the dark. Bringing the problem aboveboard is essential to recovery.
  6. Take Steps to Repair Your Relationship. If you are in a relationship, there is a good chance your partner has felt the negative effects of your addiction, even if she is not fully aware of it. Pornography addicts become more distant and may have trouble with desensitization and erectile dysfunction. Whether or not you feel that your pornography use has anything to do with your partner, she is likely to feel hurt and betrayed. Attend family counseling so she can understand the nature of the addiction as well as how to best support you, and you can understand how to handle her concerns as well. 
  7. Give Yourself a Break. Addiction is a vicious cycle and relapsing, especially after an encouraging period of sobriety, can be very discouraging. Understand that recovery from pornography addiction is a lifelong battle and it is very unlikely that you will not fall off the fence now and then. When you do, put a plan into place that helps you get back to where you need to be. Support from a friend or counselor, or increased safeguards can help.

 

If you or someone you know struggles with pornography addiction, please contact us at Desert Solace. One of our expert counselors can answer your questions and help you determine your treatment options