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Pornography – What???

Leave aside the prurience vs free speech debates over pornography.  Mental health practitioners focus on its effect on so-called “users”. Today we look at two concerns: (1) Effects on youth (2) Addiction

  1. Youth

Concerned experts discuss how the easy access of pornography is affecting children. They cite statistics showing that 90 percent of kids between the ages of 8 and 16 have watched online pornography at least once – most while doing homework. Parents and educators are faced with an urgent task of having “the talk” not just about the birds and the bees but the sometimes very dark world of porn.

Cordelia Anderson, author of “The Impact of Pornography on Children, Youth and Culture,” says “Even if your child has not been exposed to porn that does not mean she or he will not be affected by school friends, boyfriends, girlfriends who might have distorted views of sexuality.” As if sex ed were not controversial enough, at what age can parents and educators add the topic of porn to sex education and media literacy? And what language and tone can help teach children who cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality”?

(By AirTalk, How can sex ed tackle the ubiquity of pornography for ‘Generation XXX’, 19, 2014)

In times past, and now on the internet, youth struggle with intimacy- its hows, whens, wheres…even its whys… “Where do I fit in”?  It is imperative that, in the case of pornography, they correctly navigate the entrapping route between fruitless fantasy and true, rewarding intimacy.

  1. Addiction

    (a) One view; Maybe it is not an addiction

Recently there has been an increase of attention, amongst professional psychologists, to the idea that the viewing of pornography is addictive and could cause significant harm to people. This has generated significant debate around whether or not pornography is actually addictive and whether it should be considered an actual disorder. Though this is a hot topic as of late, the debate has been going on for some time.

This debate really heated up for professionals in 2015 when the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-V) for therapists did not include sexual addiction (which includes pornography addiction) as a clinical diagnosis. Since this time many have pointed to the fact that pornography addiction is not recognized and have jumped to the conclusion that it therefore is not addictive.

For many, it is hard to accept that pornography is addictive because you do not take any substance into your body like drugs and alcohol. (Rob Dindinger, Psychologist at Child & Family Psychology in Orem, Utah, Pornography Addiction: Science Fact or Science Fiction, Published on March 11, 2016)

    (b) Another view: It is an addiction, Desensitization  

When you suffer from a desensitizing addiction, you lose dopamine receptors. This means that your brain naturally has less receptors in which to feel the pleasure coursing through the body. The longer the addiction goes on, the lower the number of receptors is, and the harder it becomes to feel anything positive

Normally, when one reaches a goal, the brain says “good job” and makes the person feel good. After a desensitizing addiction, the body no longer has the ability to say “good job” in the same way, or at all, if the addiction has gone on untreated for too long. This can make a relapse into repetitive behavior that does bring about that feeling, almost inevitable, to some addicts.

When one succumbs to a desensitizing addiction, such as an addiction to pornography or sex, it can be very difficult to recover. It usually takes very little for a person to fall back into old habits, which can make it increasingly more difficult to recover in the future. There are reasons behind the relapse that can be very difficult to overcome. These are a few of the reasons, which may make it a little easier for people around the addict to understand the behaviors.
(Top Reasons Why Recovery from Desensitizing Addicts Is So Difficult, Home » Common Addictions » Sex and Porn Addiction, Posted August 2015 ).

The bottom line for you is, “Does this activity interfere with my daily living or relationships”?

This is where Counseling on Demand comes in. If you or your partner is unsure of what to do, talk to us. We can guide you in either situation

(1)Youth guidance We can be the “third party” avoiding possible parent-youth emotional traps. We are online; thus avoiding any stigma of office visits…and your young are comfortable with the internet.

(2) Addiction (or not) Confused? We can have an open and comfortable discussion about your problem and explore whether you are addicted at all.

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I am the Founder and CEO of Counseling On Demand with a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with over 25 years of experience in helping Individuals, Couples, Adolescents, and Families who struggle with a wide variety of Life's Challenges. I thus have developed an Array of Effective Counseling Tools and Evidenced-Based Interventions to help you towards Your Road to Better Mental Health and Wellness. You are Never Alone...I look forward to meeting with you or your family member soon!