Porn Addiction & Sex Addiction

Porn Addiction Is Not Sex Addiction.

Internet porn addiction is an internet addiction.

Sex addiction requires real people; porn addiction requires a screen

 

Here are some ways porn addiction differs from sex addiction:

1.     Sex addiction involves real people; Internet porn addiction involves a screen. Porn addicts are hooked on pixels/searching/constant visual novelty. In contrast, sex addicts are hooked on novel partners, voyeurism, frottage, flashing, risky sex, and so forth; porn may or may not supplement other behaviors.

2.     Internet porn addiction is more akin to video-game addiction than sex addiction. It often does not spill over into other sexual activity. In fact, many heavy porn users cannot become aroused by real women—even women they find sexually attractive. Comparing a porn addict to a sex addict is like comparing a World of Warcraft enthusiast to a Las Vegas high-roller.

3.     Internet porn addicts often comment that they would like a steady girlfriend, or, if they have a mate, that they want to respond sexually to her. Sex addicts want a variety of partners. They are hooked on novel people rather than novel pixels.

4.     Sexual performance woes are a common complaint among Internet porn addicts. We typically don’t hear about severe sexual performance problems among sex addicts.Help! I'm going down.

5.     Porn addiction appears to be increasing as access to high-speed porn during teen years increases, although some older guys also report developing the addiction after switching to high-speed Internet.

In sum, a sex addict’s pursuit of living people is over the top, while a porn addict is largely missing out on 3-D action. In effect, porn proves “sex negative” for many users.

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I knew I was in trouble when in real life girls standing naked in front of me barely got me erect, but as soon I jumped on a computer and looked up some crazy porn I was excited and rock hard.

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I realized I could bring myself literally to the brink of orgasm solely with visual stimulation—without using my hand at all. My mind was rewired into relying on the extreme images fed to it by my eyes to produce arousal.

—Internet porn user

What Porn Does to Your Sex Life & Mental Health

Porn addicts are not hooked on sex; they’re hooked on Internet porn. They have not been training for sex, but for virtual stimulation. Here are comments of three:

 

[Weeks after stopping porn] I have felt physically attracted to real women for the first time in a long time. It’s strange, but I was basically asexual when I was on pornography.

I’m hoping to break 30-year of porn use that has, in part, made me a 40-year old virgin. I started porn use at age 12-13, ejaculated to images of fantasy women only (fit/muscular women and/or big boobs), never ejaculated without porn, and used it frequently. I’ve had opportunities with several women, but was a complete dud. Earlier this year, I had another failure to perform with a woman I liked quite a bit, and after 30 years I decided to do something about it. Trouble is, I think I never even developed “proper” brain pathways for what actual intercourse with a real partner is like. There isn’t even an old, overgrown path to go back to; it never existed. I’m 33 days porn/masturbation free. But having closed my current road, I feel like I’m surrounded by dense jungle where a foot has never before been set. And me without even a machete, when I feel like I really need a chainsaw and a bulldozer.

For as long as porn addiction remains virtually invisible, users who develop symptoms are in a precarious position. They have to figure things out for themselves, and it’s not easy to connect the dots between porn-induced sexual dysfunction problems (or porn-related anxiety, depression or concentration problems) and viewing porn. After all, Internet porn is a powerful aphrodisiac. It also makes the user feel better while viewing. Not surprisingly, users eagerly ascribe their symptoms to any other suggested cause, or simply conclude, “This is who I am.”

Right now, experts’ protocols and well-meaning journalists are making the journeys of many of those at risk for Internet porn addiction unnecessarily long. Moreover, those who need more substantial help, because they are self-medicating due to childhood issues are also being caught in the “porn is harmless” net. Furthermore, adolescent porn users are wiring their sexual response to pixels, not humans—and some receive rude awakenings when they can’t successfully have, or enjoy, real sex. Do these users have to wait until they become full-fledged addicts to begin rewiring their brains?

I’ve suffered from anxiety and self confidence issues for years. I had suspected part of it was due to PMO but always felt it was difficult to stop. Several years ago I quit for about 3 months and was happier than I had been all my life. I socialized with people, went on dates with women, and was more confident than ever. However…for whatever reason out boredom…or habit…I relapsed. I went down a spiral of depression and even contemplated suicide. Since then it has been a struggle…until now! I am on day 21 being PMO free and I’m not looking back!

After I got past the 2 weeks stage I started to see diminished anxiety, more confidence, and even better vocal tonality. I feel like I am becoming normal again—like the person I am supposed to be. Women are noticing me again and I can genuinely have a conversation with them. I feel like I’m connecting with people in general better. I am even performing better athletically. I feel stronger, faster and sharper. It is as though the fog has been lifted! I’m 29 years old and now I feel like I have the energy that I had in my teens. My goal is to be PMO free for the rest of my life. The momentum I feel is stronger than a cheap thrill that PMO brings. I look forward to living and not hiding anymore. Taking back control is the most liberating thing I’ve felt in a long time.

The great porn experiment | Gary Wilson | TEDxGlasgow

Gary Wilson asks whether our brains evolved to handle the hyperstimulation of today’s Internet enticements. He also discusses the disturbing symptoms showing up in some heavy Internet users, the surprising reversal of those symptoms, and the science behind these 21st century phenomena.

Today I had my first real craving. I was driving home and out of nowhere it hit me. I felt this urge to look at porn and my mind started trying rationalize it all while at the same time I was thinking, “No I don’t want to do this.” It took me a few minutes to settle down a bit and pull out of the tailspin.

I looked at what I was actually feeling and something became very apparent. I wasn’t horny, what I was craving wasn’t sexual release. I was craving porn.

Partners of sex and porn addicts

Partners of sex and porn addicts will need to learn the science of porn addiction. If you know nothing about it, start with this short TEDx talk: The Great Porn Experiment

Support, Forums, Websites, Books

Recovering from an addiction is very tough to do on your own, or solely with a partner who is (understandably) feeling resentful. Said one forum member:

I’ve had good experiences with my local Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings (http://saa-recovery.org/), and the meetings will help you connect with others, and also heal shame that you feel about yourself. Opening up to a group of non-judging folks is incredibly healing, and I highly recommend you check out wherever you live. There are also telephone meetings which are great, and allow you to connect with people all over the world. I’m going to join one of these myself.

A support group is a great way to form close, sincere friendships. Recovering users benefit enormously from exchanging tips and support with others. Many of the following sites have forums, meetings and recovery programs.

Note: If you seek help from a therapist or doctor, you may want to educate him/her first about some of the symptoms heavy porn users are reporting.

Non 12-Step Forums:

Non 12-Step Organizations, Sites & Programs:

 

12-Step Based Groups:

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