Many people do not believe that porn affects us like drugs do. Others don’t believe porn can be addictive at all. Read the article below to be in the “know” about this.
The following is from the blog at FightTheNewDrug
On the surface, cocaine and porn don’t seem to have a lot in common but studies are showing that viewing pornography tricks your brain into releasing the same pleasure chemicals that drugs do.
What’s more is your brain actually begins to rewire itself because of this artificial stimulation. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. Read more to learn how it works.
On the surface, cocaine and porn don’t seem to have a lot in common. One is purchased in seedy alleyways; the other is free to download. One habit can get expensive pretty fast, while the other is about the price of a high-speed Internet connection. Besides, Hugh Hefner doesn’t exactly conjure up images of a cartel drug lord.
So where’s the similarity? Inside the brain. 
In case you’re not a neurosurgeon, here’s a crash course in how the brain works. Deep inside your brain, there’s something called a “reward pathway.”  You’ve got one. Your cat’s got one. For mammals, it comes standard. The reward pathway’s job is to help keep you alive by doing exactly what its name promises: rewards you, or more specifically, rewards you when you do something that promotes life, such as eating food or achieving something you’ve worked hard for.  And the way it rewards you is by releasing chemicals in your brain—mainly one called dopamine, but also others like oxytocin. 
Normally, these chemicals are really handy. They help us feel pleasure and to bond with other people, and they motivate us to come back to important activities that make us happy.  The problem is, the reward pathway can be hijacked. 
The way substances like cocaine and opioids make users feel high is by triggering the reward pathway to release high levels of dopamine without making the user do any of the work to earn it.  Want to guess what else does that? Porn. 
And that surge of dopamine is causing more than just feelings. As it goes pulsing through the brain, dopamine helps to create new brain pathways that essentially lead the user back to the behavior that triggered the chemical release. 
The more a drug user hits up or a porn user looks at porn, the more those pathways get wired into the brain, making it easier and easier for the person to turn back to using, whether they want to or not. 
Over time, the constant overload of chemicals causes other brain changes as well. Just like a junkie will eventually require more and more of a drug to get a buzz or even just feel normal, porn users can quickly build up a tolerance as their brains adapt to the high levels of dopamine that porn releases.  In other words, even though porn is still releasing dopamine into the brain, the user can’t feel its effects as much.
That’s because the brain is trying to protect itself from the overload of dopamine by getting rid of some of its chemical receptors,  which act like tiny catcher’s mitts that receive the dopamine released. With fewer receptors, the brain thinks less dopamine is there and the user doesn’t feel as strong a reaction. As a result, many porn users have to find more porn, find it more often, or find a more extreme version—or all three—to generate even more dopamine to feel excited. 
And once a porn user becomes accustomed to a brain pulsing with these chemicals, trying to cut back on the habit can lead to withdrawal symptoms, just like with drugs. 
While people often think of porn as something that’s been around forever, today’s version of porn is a whole new ball game. Thanks to the Internet, porn now mixes the most powerful natural dopamine release the body can produce with a cocktail of other elements—endless novelty, shock, and surprise—all of which increase the dopamine surge.  And because Internet porn offers an endless stream of variety, users can flip to a new image every time their high starts to fade, keeping dopamine levels elevated for hours.
Describing porn’s effect to a U.S. Senate committee, Dr. Jeffrey Satinover of Princeton University said, “It is as though we have devised a form of heroin … usable in the privacy of one’s own home and injected directly to the brain through the eyes.” 
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Nestler, E. J. (2005). Is There A Common Molecular Pathway For Addiction? Nature Neuroscience 9, 11: 1445–1449.
 Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered In The Context Of Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 3:20767; Pitchers, K. K., Vialou, V., Nestler, E. J., Laviolette, S. R., Lehman, M. N., And Coolen, L. M. (2013). Natural And Drug Rewards Act On Common Neural Plasticity Mechanisms With DeltaFosB As A Key Mediator. Journal Of Neuroscience 33, 8: 3434-3442; Hedges, V. L., Chakravarty, S., Nestler, E. J., And Meisel, R. L. (2009). DeltaFosB Overexpression In The Nucleus Accumbens Enhances Sexual Reward In Female Syrian Hamsters. Genes Brain And Behavior 8, 4: 442–449; Hilton, D. L., And Watts, C. (2011). Pornography Addiction: A Neuroscience Perspective. Surgical Neurology International, 2: 19; (Http://Www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/Pmc/Articles/PMC3050060/)
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 Angres, D. H. And Bettinardi-Angres, K. (2008). The Disease Of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, And Recovery. Disease-A-Month 54: 696–721; Berridge, K. C. And Robinson, T. E. (2002). The Mind Of An Addicted Brain: Neural Sensitization Of Wanting Versus Liking. In J. T. Cacioppo, G. G. Bernston, R. Adolphs, Et Al. (Eds.) Foundations In Social Neuroscience (Pp. 565–72). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
 Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, And Our Families. New York: Henry Hold And Co., 75; Caro, M. (2004). The New Skin Trade. Chicago Tribune, September 19; Brosius, H. B., Et Al. (1993). Exploring The Social And Sexual “Reality” Of Contemporary Pornography. Journal Of Sex Research 30, 2: 161–70.
 Satinover, J. (2004). Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, And Transportation, Subcommittee On Science, Technology, And Space, Hearing On The Brain Science Behind Pornography Addiction And Effects Of Addiction On Families And Communities, November 18.
Is she a collection of body parts? Is she made of plastic? Or is she a whole person with a soul, full of all the things that make a person human: strengths, weaknesses, quirks, fears, insecurities, anxieties, vulnerabilities, likes, dislikes, hopes, and dreams?
The answer is obvious, yet it escapes so many men lost in our sex-and-skin-saturated culture. Whether by conscious choice or by years of overexposure that has conditioned an addiction, many men view women as objects to be consumed.
This trap is so easy to fall in to, most men don’t even realize they are doing it. I know for most of my life, I didn’t.
If you allowed yourself to be raised on soft-core pornography the way I did, your mind and body define attractiveness as body parts. You give a woman her worth based on her body parts and not much else. This is just as true for woman you see on a page or a screen as it is for women you see in real life.
It’s easy to stare at a photo or movie of a nude woman and create the perfect fantasy with her. You know nothing else about her! The reality is, she’d likely have zero interest in you in real life and you likely would be quite turned off by a variety of things about her as well. But it’s not real life. It’s fantasy.
But where do you live? You live in real life, not in fantasy. We all live in real life. So what happens when the way we view women is completely formed in fantasy then we get up from the computer to interact with women in real life?
Problems ensue, and ensue quickly.
If you’re married, these ensuing problems are obvious. If there’s one thing marriage does, it shows the full humanity of a woman and the full humanity of a man. There’s a reason our marriage vows say “for better or worse” in them: marriage is guaranteed to bring with it the best sides of a person, as well as the worst. There is no hiding in marriage—which is the exact opposite of pornography and lust.
So as a man, you know all of your wife’s flaws, you smell her breath in the morning, and you see her when she’s tired, stressed out, and without makeup. You see none of these things in pornography—or in the attractive woman you think is flirting with you at the receptionist counter. Fantasy then takes over and you assume this woman has none of these human imperfections.
As fantasy crashes headfirst into reality, logical thought goes out the window and obsession and longing ensue—a recipe for disaster in a marriage.
But the stakes aren’t any less if you’re single. Many single guys feel they have a license to lust since they aren’t married, as it doesn’t seem like they are harming anyone else. The sobering remedy to this line of thought is simple: if you’re conditioned to view women as objects meant for your consumption, how do you view my wife when she walks in the room? How do you view my daughters? What thoughts go through your head? Where do your eyes go?
If you are single and you feel this gives you the license to lust, please stay far away from me and my family. This mindset makes you an incredibly unsafe person to be around.
As Christians, we are called to be in trusting, dignity-giving community with one another. The only way to do this is to be serious about the damage our pattern of objectifying women does to everyone around us.
The solution to a mindset of objectification is to allow God to rewire the way our brains process the women we interact with. We obviously need to completely cut off the pornography as the “professor” who wired us to turn women into pieces of meat like this in the first place. But beyond the elimination of this force, we need to allow God’s healing and corrective touch to rebuild the way we were designed to view women.
Every woman you lust over is someone’s daughter. Would you want someone lusting over your daughter the way you lust over women? Obviously not—because you view your daughter as a whole person, not as a collection of body parts.
All of us, men and women, are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). This is full humanity.
God tells us that the very definition of sex is two of these full humans coming together as one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Anything less that the full merger of these two humans falls short of God’s design for sex. “Full” meaning all of someone: the good and the bad, and definitely not just their body parts.
The reality is sex is not about body parts.
It’s about trust, safety and commitment—things that are completely foreign to lust.
God did not create women to be consumed, nor did he create you to consume them.
So next time you see a cute girl, don’t dehumanize her by placing her sole value on her physical appearance. And don’t let lust dehumanize you by turning you into this kind of consuming monster.
Sex and lust make lousy gods.
Ask the only God with any real power to heal you and put you on the path to loving all of his image-bearing children the way he loves you, and the way he loves your daughters.
This page lists all the studies assessing the brain structure and functioning of Internet porn users. To date every study offers support for the porn addiction model (no studies falsify the porn addiction model). The results of these 31 neurological studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 200+Internet addiction “brain studies”, many of which also include internet porn use. All support the premise that internet porn use can cause addiction-related brain changes, as do 10 recent neuroscience-based reviews of the literature:
Should Compulsive Sexual Behavior be Considered an Addiction? (2016). Excerpt: “Overlapping features exist between CSB and substance use disorders. Common neurotransmitter systems may contribute to CSB and substance use disorders, and recent neuroimaging studies highlight similarities relating to craving and attentional biases. Similar pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments may be applicable to CSB and substance addictions”
Neurobiological Basis of Hypersexuality (2016). Excerpt: “Taken together, the evidence seems to imply that alterations in the frontal lobe, amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, septum, and brain regions that process reward play a prominent role in the emergence of hypersexuality. Genetic studies and neuropharmacological treatment approaches point at an involvement of the dopaminergic system.“
Cybersex Addiction (2015). Excerpts: “In recent articles, cybersex addiction is considered a specific type of Internet addiction. Some current studies investigated parallels between cybersex addiction and other behavioral addictions, such as Internet Gaming Disorder. Cue-reactivity and craving are considered to play a major role in cybersex addiction. Neuroimaging studies support the assumption of meaningful commonalities between cybersex addiction and other behavioral addictions as well as substance dependency.”
Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption: The Brain on Porn (2014) – This Max Planck Institute fMRI study found less gray matter in the reward system (dorsal striatum) correlating with the amount of porn consumed. It also found that more porn use correlated with less reward circuit activation while briefly viewing sexual photos. Researchers believed their findings indicated desensitization, and possibly tolerance, which is the need for greater stimulation to achieve the same high. The study also reported that more porn viewing was linked to poorer connections between the reward circuit and prefrontal cortex – a common addiction-related brain change.
Enhanced Attentional Bias towards Sexually Explicit Cues in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014) – The second Cambridge University study. An excerpt: “Our findings of enhanced attentional bias… suggest possible overlaps with enhanced attentional bias observed in studies of drug cues in disorders of addictions. These findings converge with recent findings of neural reactivity to sexually explicit cues in [porn addicts] in a network similar to that implicated in drug-cue-reactivity studies and provide support for incentive motivation theories of addiction underlying the aberrant response to sexual cues in [porn addicts].“
Novelty, Conditioning and Attentional Bias to Sexual Rewards (2015) – Another Cambridge University fMRI study. Compared to controls porn addicts preferred sexual novelty and conditioned cues associated porn. However, the brains of porn addicts habituated faster to sexual images. Since novelty preference wasn’t pre-existing, porn addiction drives novelty-seeking in an attempt to overcome habituation and desensitization.
Neural Substrates of Sexual Desire in Individuals with Problematic Hypersexual Behavior (2015) – This Korean fMRI study replicates other brain studies on porn users. Like the Cambridge University studies it found cue-induced brain activation patterns in sex addicts which mirrored the patterns of drug addicts. In line with several German studies it found alterations in the prefrontal cortex which match the changes observed in drug addicts. What’s new is that the findings perfectly matched the prefrontal cortex activation patterns observed in drug addicts: Greater cue-reactivity to sexual images, yet inhibited response to other normal stimuli.
Sexual Desire, not Hypersexuality, is Related to Neurophysiological Responses Elicited by Sexual Images (2013) – This EEG study was touted in the media as evidence against the existence of porn/sex addiction. Not so. This SPAN Lab study, like #7 below, actually lends support to the existence of both porn addiction and porn use down-regulating sexual desire. How so? The study reported higher EEG readings (relative to neutral pictures) when subjects were briefly exposed to pornographic photos. Studies consistently show that an elevated P300 occurs when addicts are exposed to cues (such as images) related to their addiction. However, due to methodological flaws the findings are uninterpretable: 1) the study had no control group for comparison; 2) subjects were heterogeneous (males, females, non-heterosexuals); 3) subjects were not screened for mental disorders or addictions; 4) the questionnaires were not validated for porn addiction. In line with the Cambridge University brain scan studies, this EEG study also reported greater cue-reactivity to porn correlating with less desire for partnered sex. To put another way – individuals with greater brain activation to porn would rather masturbate to porn than have sex with a real person. Shockingly, study spokesman Nicole Prause claimed that porn users merely had “high libido”, yet the results of the study say something quite different. Four peer-reviewed papers expose the truth: 1, 2, 3, 4. Also see the extensive YBOP critique.
Modulation of Late Positive Potentials by Sexual Images in Problem Users and Controls Inconsistent with “Porn Addiction” (2015) – Another SPAN Lab EEG (brain-wave) study comparing the 2013 subjects from the above study to an actual control group (yet it suffered from the same methodological flaws named above). The results: compared to controls “individuals experiencing problems regulating their porn viewing” had lower brain responses to one-second exposure to photos of vanilla porn. The lead author, Nicole Prause, claims these results “debunk porn addiction”. What legitimate scientist would claim that their lone anomalous study has debunked an entire field of study? In reality, the findings of Prause et al. 2015 align perfectly with Kühn & Gallinat (2014), which found that more porn use correlated with less brain activation in response to pictures of vanilla porn. Prause’s findings also align with Banca et al. 2015 which is #4 in this list. Moreover, another EEG study found that greater porn use in women correlated with less brain activation to porn. Lower EEG readings mean that subjects are paying less attention to the pictures. Put simply, frequent porn users were desensitized to static images of vanilla porn. They were bored (habituated or desensitized). See this extensive YBOP critique. Five peer-reviewed papers agree that this study actually found desensitization/habituation in frequent porn users: 1, 2, 3, 4. 5.
Compulsive Sexual Behavior: Prefrontal And Limbic Volume and Interactions (2016) – Compared to healthy controls CSB subjects (porn addicts) had increased left amygdala volume and reduced functional connectivity between the amygdala and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex DLPFC. Reduced functional connectivity between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex aligns with substance addictions. It is thought that poorer connectivity diminishes the prefrontal cortex’s control over a user’s impulse to engage in the addictive behavior. This study suggests that drug toxicity may lead to less gray matter and thus reduced amygdala volume in drug addicts. The amygdala is consistently active during porn viewing, especially during initial exposure to a sexual cue. Perhaps the constant sexual novelty and searching and seeking leads to a unique effect on the amygdala in compulsive porn users. Alternatively, years of porn addiction and severe negative consequences is very stressful – and chronic social stress is related to increased amygdala volume. Study #8 above found that “sex addicts” have a overactive stress system. Could the chronic stress related to porn/sex addiction, along with factors that make sex unique, lead to greater amygdala volume?
Can Pornography be Addictive? An fMRI Study of Men Seeking Treatment for Problematic Pornography Use (2016) – (in the press) Excerpts: Men with and without problematic porn sue (PPU) differed in brain reactions to cues predicting erotic pictures, but not in reactions to erotic pictures themselves, consistent with the incentive salience theory of addictions. This brain activation was accompanied by increased behavioral motivation to view erotic images (higher ‘wanting’). Ventral striatal reactivity for cues predicting erotic pictures was significantly related to the severity of PPU, amount of pornography use per week and number of weekly masturbations. Our findings suggest that like in substance-use and gambling disorders the neural and behavioral mechanisms linked to anticipatory processing of cues relate importantly to clinically relevant features of PPU. These findings suggest that PPU may represent a behavioral addiction and that interventions helpful in targeting behavioral and substance addictions warrant consideration for adaptation and use in helping men with PPU.
Altered Appetitive Conditioning and Neural Connectivity in Subjects With Compulsive Sexual Behavior (2016) – A German fMRI study replicating two major findings from Voon et al., 2014 and Kuhn & Gallinat 2014. Main Findings: The neural correlates of appetitive conditioning and neural connectivity were altered in the CSB group. According to the researchers, the first alteration – heightened amygdala activation – might reflect facilitated conditioning (greater “wiring” to previously neutral cues predicting porn images). The second alteration – decreased connectivity between the ventral striatum and the prefrontal cortex – could be a marker for impaired ability to control impulses. Said the researchers, “These [alterations] are in line with other studies investigating the neural correlates of addiction disorders and impulse control deficits.” The findings of greater amygdalar activation to cues (sensitization) and decreased connectivity between the reward center and the prefrontal cortex (hypofrontality) are two of the major brain changes seen in substance addiction. In addition, 3 of the 20 compulsive porn users suffered from “orgasmic-erection disorder”.
Compulsivity Across the Pathological Misuse of Drug and Non-Drug Rewards (2016) – A Cambridge University study comparing aspects of compulsivity in alcoholics, binge-eaters, video game addicts and porn addicts (CSB). Excerpts: CSB subjects were faster to learning from rewards in the acquisition phase compared to healthy volunteers and were more likely to perseverate or stay after either a loss or a win in the Reward condition. These findings converge with our previous findings of enhanced preference for stimuli conditioned to either sexual or monetary outcomes, overall suggesting enhanced sensitivity to rewards (Banca et al., 2016).
September 9, 2005 was the worst day of my life. Confronted by my church board leaders, I had to admit my addiction to porn and headed home to tell my wife and four children. I knew a major train wreck was about to happen, and there was nothing I could do. My sin had been found out and I had no idea of the consequences that were going to unfold.
It feels like the hardest thing in the world to do. You know this news is going to wound her deeply and you have used that as an excuse to not confess. You reason, “If I keep it a secret and she never knows your marriage will be better and I will be able to stop on my own.”
Look in the mirror and say to yourself, “Liar!”
The truth is you have already wounded her and your marriage. She just doesn’t know why there is this barrier between the two of you. Here is your reality.
Your use of porn is heart adultery according to Jesus in Matthew 5:28.
This has gone on for years and perhaps decades and you haven’t stopped.
You are scared to death of what this confession will do to her, you, and the family.
I understand your fears and I know it is the last thing you want to do. Yet, it has to be done…so what is the best way to tell her?
I lived in that world for years. Not until I resigned my position as a pastor and was forced to confess was I able to do it. Nine years later our marriage is still intact and God has healed our wounds and inhabits our brokenness every day. Getting through it with your marriage surviving can be helped or hindered by how you deal with your disclosure. So here are five things that will prove helpful to you.
Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What you plan on telling her will not be the same as what she will want to know. The truth is how often you act out using porn. The when and the where are important facts. The details are not. Too many details will be destructive for her in the long run.
Consider telling her in the presence of a counselor or pastor. Having someone there to help moderate the conversation can be helpful to things escalating and becoming worse. That third person should be made aware of what is going to happen in the meeting and should be someone your spouse is comfortable with.
Confession is the beginning of the long journey of recovery. Hopefully you are broken by your bad choices and desire to really stop and get the help you need to walk in purity. This is a reality most people want to minimize. Seeing this as a first step is good but having a plan for recovery helps give hope. Find what groups there are in your area that deal with sexual brokenness and make plans to attend consistently. You should plan on attending at least for one year.
Genuinely ask for forgiveness and be repentant. It will not be your words from which she will receive assurance. Talk is cheap. It will be a change in your behavior and seeing godly sorrow that will help her. She will feel that she cannot trust you…and that is normal. However, she needs to place her trust in God that whatever you do He will take care of her.
Realize that this will be traumatic for her and create desperation and wounding. Both of you would do well reading from this website and this book.
Nothing is going to make this easy. Looking back, I wish I had come forward and confessed before I was caught. If I were a better man I would have done so. However, the bottom line is you need to come clean. You need to be honest.
Your Father, your Lord and Savior, and the Spirit—your comforter and counselor—will walk you through it. You need to allow Him to begin dealing with putting the broken pieces together. It all begin with walking in the light of confession and repentance.
Over the past 9 years I have worked with many men trying to break free from this sexual sin. The support and encouragement from your wife will be a very helpful part of the process. However, that is a decision she will need to make on her own. What you do and how you act in the days following your confess will either help her come along side of you or push her away.
It is time to be a humble and loving servant to her as we are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).
About the author, John Doyel
After 26 years in full time ministry John Doyel resigned his position as Senior Pastor in 2005 because of his sexual brokenness. For the past 10 years he has dedicated himself to helping men recover from sexual sin and return to God. He writes daily e-mails of encouragement to help believers recover—called 180 Recover—because we are told to encourage one another daily as long as it is called today. He also lead a recovery ministry at Vineyard Columbus called 180: Helping Sexually Broken Believers Return to God.
My new client had just sat down when I asked how I could help. She told me, “I recently discovered my husband has been viewing pornography behind my back. I found out he has been doing this for most of our marriage.”
I gently asked, “How is that influencing you?”
She responded, “I can’t sleep, I can hardly eat, and I can’t think about anything else. I think I am going crazy.”
“What you are experiencing is normal. You aren’t going crazy,” I said. “What you are experiencing is trauma related to discovering your partner’s use of pornography.”
After conducting research for more than ten years and with more than 3,000 individuals, I can confidently say trauma is very common in women and men who discover their partner’s secret sexual behaviors.
In the early 2000’s, there was very little research on this topic. In fact, many therapists were using the codependency model to treat these individuals. However, that wasn’t matching up with what I was experiencing in my clinic. Many women were just discovering that their partner had been using pornography for years without their knowledge. They had felt something was wrong in their relationship, but didn’t know what.
In 2005, in an effort to understand the effects pornography has on relationships, I co-authored an assessment “Trauma Inventory for Partners of Sex Addicts” (TIPSA). The women and men who took this assessment began telling the real story. Many of these individuals are experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms. What does this mean exactly? The following symptoms are very common:
Reliving the experience (dreams, replaying the discovery over and over)
Avoidance (not being able to go out in public or be around things that remind you of what your spouse has done)
Negative self-cognition (I am not good enough or he/she wouldn’t do this. If I were prettier, taller, more attractive, lost weight, she/he wouldn’t do this.)
Increased emotional arousal (intense anger, yelling, sleep problems related to racing mind, anxiety, suicidal thoughts)
When I share this information with my clients and teach this in educational classes, inevitably women say, “Why isn’t this being talked about more? I really thought I was going crazy.” My response is that we are now just starting to see the powerful and long lasting effects of betrayal trauma. The symptoms are real and individuals suffering from this type of betrayal should be understood and treated using a trauma model.
If you are suffering from your spouse’s hidden use of pornography, there is help and support. You are not alone and you aren’t going crazy. What you are experiencing is betrayal trauma. I offer a free assessment you can take to help identify your symptoms.
Support Resources for Betrayal Trauma
If you are suffering from betrayal trauma, please reach out. In my research, I have discovered that most women wait for months or years to get help. They feel like others will judge them so they suffer in silence. You don’t have to deal with this alone.
Bloom–the world’s largest online support for betrayal trauma. This online support for women offers a support forum where you can receive support from others who understand what you are going through, educational classes on betrayal trauma, question and answer sessions with professional therapists, yoga classes, and much more.
COSA–a recovery program for men and women whose lives have been affected by someone else’s compulsive sexual behavior.
Specialist in Your Area
SexHelp.com–If you want a therapist who understands sexual addiction, you will want to find a certified sexual addiction therapist (CSAT). All CSAT’s have more than 150 hours of training in treating sexual addiction and betrayal trauma.
APSATS–The Association for Partner’s of Sexual Addicts Trauma Specialists. This group certifies therapists who specialize in treating betrayal trauma.
In conclusion, if you are experiencing extreme pain from your partner’s hidden sexual behaviors, you are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of individuals suffering from untreated betrayal trauma. So please reach out for support. There is help available and people who understand what you are going through. Although you may feel like you are going crazy, what you are experiencing is real. It is called betrayal trauma.
Dr. Kevin Skinner is the co-founder of Bloom, an online company that provides support and learning for women struggling with betrayal trauma. As a licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Skinner has been helping individuals and families for over 18 years. He’s authored the best-selling book Treating Pornography Addiction and created multiple audio series regarding pornography addiction and relationship intimacy. Dr. Skinner is also the co-founder and Clinical Director of Addo Recovery, a clinic dedicated to treating individuals struggling with betrayal trauma and pornography or sexual addiction.
If you look closely through the numbers above, you will notice a few things:
The number of women, worldwide, who view pornography is greater than you may have expected.
The number of women who view pornography in the U.S. is towards the bottom of the list… but that is not reason to celebrate with a “U-S-A” chant. The 2010 census reports that there were 157 million women in the United States. Let me do the math for you:
25% of 157 million women = roughly 39.2 MILLION women who view porn in the USA
In countries where fewer men view pornography, the number of women who view pornography is higher.
What does all this mean? Porn is a global problem, and an issue that is definitely no longer just a “guy thing.” Men and women everywhere are viewing pornography and are being affected daily by its impact. Whether sex trafficking, producing pornography, purchasing pornography, prostitution, or the victims of rape; women everywhere are affected by porn more now than ever.
Have you had the “sex” talk with your kids? You may want to have the “why porn is harmful” talk with your girls… before they are exposed and before they become a statistic. It is equally important to have these discussions with our boys, but as the title implies, the focus of this particular post was raising awareness that more and more women are regularly affected by and are users of pornography.
the graphic above was based on data compiled by a purveyor of pornographic material in their 2016 review of site traffic. I have chosen not to mention the name or cite the webpage as not everything on that page is “safe” to see. I assure you the data is good and reputable.
I wanted to share this article, primarily because the author is a woman and she agrees with my belief that wives should not be accountability partners for their husbands who are struggling with or addicted to porn. Read on:
Is intimate sex after porn addictions even possible?
Perhaps your marriage hasn’t been touched by pornography, and if so, that’s wonderful. But I still encourage you to read on, because porn is so prevalent, and we have to understand it just to help our husbands and sons, as well as our friends who are going through this trauma.
The effects of porn are devastating. Pornography addictions are now one of the largest causes of divorce. Porn is wrecking marriages. It’s also wrecking men’s libidos, and it’s one of the largest causes of men’s reduced sexual interest. In one study I read recently, college aged males were having far less sex with actual people because they were so addicted to porn. Now, of course, I don’t want college aged males to be promiscuous with actual women, either, but the point is that here’s a group that is notorious for sleeping with many partners, and yet they’ve stopped because porn is easier. And once you become addicted to porn, you tend not to want the real thing.
That’s true in marriages, too. Not all marriages experience this, but slowly but surely a man who is addicted to porn becomes less interested in sex with his wife. When he is interested, he tends to want to try more extreme things. And he also has difficulty making love without fantasizing, because what porn has done is rewire his brain to think of images as erotic, as opposed to relationship. Thus, most men who are addicted to pornography cannot actually get aroused without concentrating on a few images in their brains first.
So can your marriage recover from a porn addiction? And can sex after porn ever be intimate again? Let’s look at some steps to real recovery and intimacy.
1. Understand that Porn Use Can Be an Addiction
When men say “it’s got nothing to do with you”, they honestly mean it. Men are wired, much more so than women, to be aroused visually, and so pornography is a huge temptation for them. And it’s so easy to access today. Once they start watching, though, they tend to need more and more to get the initial high that comes with it, in the same way that an alcoholic needs more and more drinks to feel tipsy.
It does change the chemical balance in the brain, and it is an honest to goodness addiction for many men. That doesn’t mean it can’t be broken; it’s just that many men WANT to break it, but don’t know how. They feel great shame about it, in the same way that an alcoholic feels shame.
If your husband has a porn addiction, you’re going to be angry when you learn. You’ll feel disgusted, ashamed, and probably a little vengeful. That’s only natural. But when you calm down, try, as much as you can, to also feel a bit of sympathy. Listen to your husband’s heart. If he is repentant, but doesn’t know how to stop, then help him. If he isn’t repentant, then lay down some pretty firm rules and an ultimatum. A marriage can’t survive a porn addiction long-term. It is cheating, whether he admits it or not. He may not think of it that way, but it is stealing his sexual interest from you, and it is undermining the whole basis for your marriage.
2. Help end the Porn Addiction.
You need to take some action to end the addiction. It would be nice if he could stop all on his own, but it’s rarely that easy. We don’t ask an alcoholic to stop drinking when there is still a ton of alcohol in the house. In the same way, your husband can’t just stop his porn addiction without removing the internet lure.
So either drop the internet temporarily altogether, or get filters installed. Talk to him about this. He may be leery at first, but make it clear that if he wants to stay in the marriage, he needs to take these steps. And please, try to do it in a loving way. I know you’re angry, but if you blame him and lecture him you’ll just drive him away. How much better to tell him instead that you want to work towards rebuilding your sex life, and making it satisfying for both of you. You want to achieve true intimacy. You want your marriage to be rich and close and beautiful, and this is the first step towards that.
Most men will need some sort of an accountability partner to recover from this, similar to a buddy that people are matched with in AA. You can’t be that partner, because he can’t be honest with you if he’s tempted again.
Churches need to go out of their way to start accountability groups for men in this area. We need to step up to the plate, and if you can grab the pastor’s ear and suggest it, then do so. Encourage your husband to find a godly man that can hold him accountable. Some computer programs can automatically send an email to someone of your choice if you go onto a questionable website, so that the partner can literally monitor his web use.
Be aware, too, that he likely will fall in the initial period. It’s very hard to break an addiction, and he’ll be moody, twitchy, and angry. He can’t be perfect overnight. And occasionally he’s going to fall, whether it’s at work where he still has internet access or when he’s in a hotel or something. If he does fall, he’s going to feel even worse.
Have you ever tried really hard to lose weight? Or quit some food that you don’t want to eat anymore? It’s hard. And remember how awful you feel when you grab one and stuff it down? This feels way worse. Remember that just because he falls does not mean that he isn’t still moving in the right general direction. If he remains committed to breaking the addiction, then forgive him. And encourage him to talk to an accountability partner about it.
And if he won’t seek an accountability partner? I’d really question his commitment to seeking porn. If he is truly sorry, then he will want to get help. Sometimes, of course, getting accountability is hard because it may endanger your job if you confess. If your husband is in ministry, or on the mission field, and is addicted to porn, here are some more thoughts that can help.
4. Rebuild your sex life–it is possible to have great sex after giving up porn!
Here’s the hard part. Pornography, fantasy, and masturbation go hand in hand. For males, you rarely have one without the other. So if a man tells you that he’s addicted to pornography, it also means that he fantasizes and that he masturbates. It’s gross to think about it, I know, but it’s true.
To get out of that cycle so that his physical desire is channelled towards you again is often a very long process. Understand that from the outset. Rediscovering intimate sex after porn is not going to be an easy road, but it is one you can travel together.
First, you have to give him the freedom to be honest with you. If you want to rebuild intimacy, he needs to be free to tell you when it’s not working. Because pornography rewires the brain and tells a man that what is arousing is an image rather than a person, many men actually experience impotence without external stimulation (the images they’re used to seeing). So many men, in order to have sex with their wives, start imagining and fantasizing about those images.
That may be a shock to some of you, and I’m truly sorry. This is such a difficult thing, I know, but remember that God can help you get through anything.
You need to leave room for God to work, though, and show your husband forgiveness and grace, because most men who are recovering truly do want to get better. It’s just very difficult for them. They’re scared that they’ll never be able to really have sex again without the pornography.
So make a plan that you want to help him get reacquainted with true intimacy. Spend some time, perhaps a week or so or however long it takes, not actually making love. Lie naked together and get used to touching each other again. Look into his eyes. Let him experience the erotic nature of just being so close to someone he loves. Take baths together. Explore each other, and take things very slowly so that he can see that he can become aroused just by being with you. If you try to go too fast, you can push him into fantasy again in order to “complete the deed”. Instead, spend some time letting him discover that he can become aroused once again by being with you. But this is much easier if there’s no pressure, and if you spend a lot of time just being together naked, talking, kissing, and exploring.
My book 31 Days to Great Sex can help with this, because I confront the dangers of pornography head on and explain how it changes the libido. And then I provide exercises that you can build on, little by little, step by step, over the course of a month so that you do start to feel more intimate again.
Usually when we think of rebuilding sex lives we think that we have to somehow compete with pornography. We want to be so arousing that he won’t need it anymore, and so we go the lingerie route, or we decide to try new things. That actually feeds into his addiction, because what he really needs is to experience the sexual high that comes from relational and spiritual intimacy, and not just from visual arousal or fantasy. It’s not that you can never wear lingerie again; it’s just that in the initial recovery period, the aim is not to be “porn lite” in your marriage; it’s to help him channel his sexual energy in a different direction: towards you. If you try to just act out pornography, you actually encourage him to keep those fantasies in his head alive, and you do nothing to retrain his brain.
So take things slowly, and let him know that if he needs to take a break because his mind is wandering, it’s okay for him to tell you that. You’d rather he be honest so that he can get his heart and head right and start again.
Rebuilding sex after porn means spending a lot of intimate time together, perhaps reading Psalms, or Song of Solomon, while lying together. I know that sounds corny, but honestly, when you are spiritually close, the sexual feelings often follow. One of the sexiest things you can actually do together is to pray, because it is so intimate. And it’s the kind of intimate that is the exact opposite of fantasizing, so it helps keep those impulses at bay.
But believe that God can restore your marriage.Throughout this whole process you will need some support to continue showing grace and forgiveness, and to get over your initial revulsion. Talk to maybe one close friend or mentor, but don’t talk to everyone you know, even “in confidence”, because then they will always think of your husband in a certain way.
He can make it even more intimate than it was before. He can take you to new heights together. But it’s a process that takes time, and will inevitably have some setbacks. That doesn’t mean you’re not progressing; just be patient, rely on God, and believe that you can reach the other side together. My book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, helps couples see the beauty that God intended for sex, and has a big section on how to rebuild intimacy after a porn addiction.
I want to stop watching porn. No really, I want to quit. I have made promises. I have tried fresh starts on the New Year. I have even gone forward in church, gotten down on my knees, and begged God to help me stop watching it.
However, like a dog that returns to its vomit, I find myself back online watching porn. What is the real problem? Is God deaf to my prayers? Am I not a Christian? Is God just tormenting me for my sexual impurity? Will I ever be able to stop watching porn? Because based on my past it seems impossible.
Porn addiction is an extremely complex issue with no simple answers or cookie cutter solutions. Most men fall into what I call the “Zap Trap”–praying that God would just heal them, and they will be able to stop watching porn without having to fight the fight of recovery.
Could God do that? Well, sure He can do anything.
However, in working with hundreds of men over the past ten years, I have learned that He rarely does an instant healing in this area. So, let’s look at three main reasons why it is so hard to quit looking at porn.
Reason 1–Porn is addictive.
Apart from the spiritual battle you are in by simply being a Christian, you are in a physical battle with a physical addiction. You have literally become a drug addict. The drugs you are addicted to are those released in your brain when you become sexually aroused.
God designed those drugs as a wonderful part of His plan to bond a husband and wife as one during times of sexual intimacy. They all have a distinct purpose and are marvelously effective. However, your brain does not differentiate between having sex with your wife or having sex with porn. The same drugs are released with the same effect. Pleasure, focus, energy, release, and other things happen which make having an orgasm one of the most enjoyable things God has given to us.
We like it. We like it a lot. So, we want it again and again. With that experience accessible in a five minute trip to the bathroom with your smart phone, we start using it more frequently. When we get stressed. When we get angry. Or when we want escape from problems, we can easily get a fix that does not fix anything.
Dopamine, testosterone, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and serotonin flood our brains, and we feel good for a while. Then shame and fear return, and it is not long before we want another escape.
Christians who can’t stop watching porn do not like it when I tell them they are drug addicts, but that is the truth. The drugs are between their ears. They do not need a pusher. Their drugs are basically free of charge and are extremely effective. We can now access whatever things we want to view and get a quick fix within a few seconds.
Also we can walk out of wherever we just acted out and seem fine to everybody. No hangover. No trace of what you have done unless you forget to delete your history.
How many people know about your secret struggle? You simply cannot tell anyone because you might lose your job, your friendships, your wife, and your family. People will drop dead in shock because everyone thinks you have it all together, and so that pressure keeps the truth buried deep in your darkest places. You feel trapped because you are in a prison of your own making.
I know this from experience. I was a pastor for 26 years and struggled with a sexual addiction for eight long years. I hated myself. I did many sexual sins, and there was no way I could just say to my wife and my board, “By the way, I am addicted to sex.” However, God in His mercy revealed my secret life and my recovery began in September 2005. Talk about a train wreck and painfully injuring my wife and our four adult kids.
If you remain in isolation, you are a dead man. Satan prowls around seeking whom he may devour, and you are an easy target. The sin that so easily entangles you has its hooks in deep, and you will need a team of people to help you pull the hooks out and stop watching porn. Your daily choices allow sin to be your master, and the father of lies has you dancing like a puppet on a string.
To make it through a withdrawal period of about 90 days, you need people available to you on a constant basis and you need to learn how to reach out to them when the whole temptation process to watch porn begins. We like to say reach out before you reach in. Reach out to your team before you reach into your pants.
The opposite of isolation is community. Scripture has a lot to say about community and our ministry was founded on this passage in 1 John 1,
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Fellowship is community. It is being daily connected to other men to help you fight the battle. How many armies send their troops out alone to fight the enemy alone? None. Stupid question. So why are you trying to fight it alone? Lone sheep are dead sheep.
Reason 3–We don’t take it seriously.
It is so easy to say to yourself that everybody is doing it. It is not such a big deal. Are you kidding me? Porn use is destroying families and marriages at an alarming rate. God says sexual sin is a big deal. He calls us to purity and holiness. He has started a good work in us and plans to finish that work but if we are walking in sexual sin we grieve and stifle the Spirit within us and will continue to be pulled into deeper areas of sin.
Every Monday night about 100 men gather at our church because their sexual sin has and is ruining their lives. They cannot stop and are heading into very dangerous and dark waters. We lie to ourselves when we think that we can handle it. If that is the case, why are you reading this article? Why are the statistics saying that over 50% of all Christian men are addicted to porn?
Are you aware of the rise and prevalence of sex trafficking around the world?
We need daily encouragement to stop watching porn
I believe with all my heart that the answer to stop watching porn is found in God’s Word. He calls us to community with no condemnation. He wants all of us to be connected and truthful with one another (and Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability can help with this). We need to do as James says. We need to confess our sins to one another, pray for each other and then healing can begin to come. Lastly, we need encouragement. Look at this passage in Hebrews 3:
“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
We need encouragement every day or we will be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. For this reason, I began writing e-mails to encourage believers struggling with sexual sin. Six days a week I encourage people all over the country, and you can receive that encouragement as well. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll add you to the list.
This article speaks very candidly about the addictive nature of pornography. It is written by Zachary Horner
WARNING: This is real talk to help you learn about pornography.
Porn May Be Great for a Season, But Then This Happens
I remember the first time I stumbled across pornographic material, 10 years ago. I was fascinated. I hadn’t discovered masturbation yet, but the stuff I was seeing made me feel good just by itself.
Seeing women the way they were portrayed in this material activated a feeling I had never felt before. I still had a lot to learn about pornography.
Porn was something I pursued on and off for the first four years. Never got hooked or addicted to it except for a few weeks at a time, and then I’d walk away without much of a problem.
Then it drew me back. With ferocity and ruthlessness. And I got stuck. I got hooked.
Masturbation entered the picture. All of a sudden I found a way to have release, to have relief, to feel good almost whenever I wanted to.
Porn was a nice tool to have, a nice treat on the side. Keep in mind, all this time I was a Christian. And pretty soon, I realized that what I was doing what not healthy. So I tried to stop. But I couldn’t. And this is where I learned the most important thing you can ever learn about pornography.
Porn is magnetic. And you’ll get stuck.
Pornography promises so much, and it delivers on it. It promises you attention and good feelings. It promises you relief, release, and relaxation. It promises you the reward of sexual fulfillment, if even for a moment.
But then you’re hooked and it’s hard to leave. All of a sudden, watching porn and masturbating becomes more about filling a craving and not about the pleasure you first felt. Yeah, there’s still some pleasure attached to it, and that’s why you keep coming back.
Ultimately, it leaves you empty. It leaves you with just a few moments of pleasure and then a heck of a lot of emptiness. But when you’re addicted and you’re craving a fix, you keep coming back.
The most helpful thing we can ever share with someone struggling with a pornography addiction or habit is that it feels good.
If we ignore the magnetic nature of pornography, we’ll never be able to beat it. Because we won’t take it as seriously as we must. It’s something that draws our attention and our time in an intense and fierce way, with the potential to fight through and take over every part of our lives, but when we ignore that magnetism, we won’t give it the effort we need.
We won’t put in the proper mechanisms to block our access to it. We won’t surround ourselves with the right people for accountability and encouragement. We won’t work to train our mind to think differently when temptation comes. Basically, we won’t do what’s necessary to overcome it.
Many times I’ve struggled to properly evaluate pornography’s effect on me, and it’s in those times when I’m most vulnerable. When you get hooked on pornography, it’s like a magnet is implanted in you, and porn is the other magnet, calling you, drawing you to itself time and time again so you get stuck. Any time I thought I had it all figured out, how to stop looking at it, or that it wasn’t all that bad, that I could resist it, you could bet that I would give in within a day or two. And you would be right.
We have to understand that just because something feels good doesn’t mean we should pursue it. Just because it feels natural to watch pornography and masturbate to it doesn’t meant it’s helpful. Just because it calls our name and begs for us to join it doesn’t mean we have to answer.
Fortunately, there are many stories of men and women who have been in this place, who have been hooked, and who have gotten themselves off the hook. Let us all, those who are losing the fight and those who are winning, seek to join their ranks, be one of the many who found real, lasting victory.
Every parent should read this, and every person who knows others with children should read this and pass it on. I struggled with pornography addiction for 18 years, and it all started… …when I was a kid. Read on, this article has some good info and resources:
This Is Your Kid’s Brain on Porn
January 24, 2017
When my son was little, we liked to go see a family variety show that performed around town. One afternoon, I sat at my computer to check the performance schedule. I Googled “The Buddy Club,” and, a moment later, was up to my eyeballs in hairy, erect penises. I fumbled to close the browser while checking over my shoulder to see if my three-year-old had witnessed the display. (He hadn’t.)
That incident came to mind years later, during a parent meeting of my son’s Jewish youth group, when a youth mentor warned us of the easy availability and extremity of online porn. One of the moms there recounted a disturbing anecdote: Her 13-year-old had seen an online porn video and later tearfully confided to his mom, “I can’t get it out of my head. I wish I could go back to the time when I’d never seen that.”
So began my quest to learn everything a mother never wanted to know about pornography: What is typically portrayed? How does watching porn affect adolescent boys? Is it addictive? Can I keep my son away from it?
If your idea of porn is naked women in lewd poses or close-ups of people vigorously copulating, you’ll have to put aside such quaint notions. Today’s porn is hard-core, hard, hard, hard. The industry’s diabolically effective marketing strategy involves baiting and hooking young viewers by feeding them a series of increasingly dehumanizing content, ratcheting up the shock quotient to forestall boredom.
By “dehumanizing,” I mean that the vast majority of heterosexual porn portrays women being violently brutalized and humiliated by one or more men in one or more orifices. Women are gagged, choked, struck, and verbally abused. They have cum squirted in their faces and large objects (made of flesh or other materials) shoved into their orifices. Close-up shots are careful to show the woman’s swollen, torn, and inflamed body parts.
In other words, when boys watch porn, they’re seeing women being sexually assaulted and tortured. Even relatively tame porn videos typically portray sex without intimacy, with a focus on ejaculation, speed, and unusually large breasts, buttocks, and penises. No wonder my son’s youth group friend was traumatized.
Most boys see porn for the first time at the age of 11 and, by the time they’re 18, many are consuming porn on a regular basis. Some of those young men become addicted to porn, though no one seems to know how many.
Girls watch porn, too. The recent spike in the incidence of teen girls waxing their pubic hair, undergoing breast augmentation, and mutilating their genitals with “labiaplasty” surgery has been blamed on porn.
Sociology professor Gail Dines, author of “Pornland”, calls pornography “the public health crisis of the digital age.” Her rhetoric isn’t overblown. According to Huffington Post, porn sites get more traffic than Amazon, Twitter, and Netflix combined. A staggering one-third of all internet downloads are pornographic.
Research into the psycho-social effects and addictive qualities of porn is just beginning to catch up with the magnitude of the crisis. A slew of studies link porn consumption with infidelity, job loss, and erectile dysfunction. Young men profiled in Time’s recent cover story on porn describe their experience in similar terms – they got hooked young, and their compulsive use of porn led to sexual dysfunction, shame, and, later, withdrawal symptoms such as depression, headaches, and insomnia.
According to Gary Lynch, a neurobiological psychiatrist at the University of California at Irvine, the viewing of a single pornographic image can immediately alter brain structure. Many researchers corroborate Lynch, among them University of Texas neurosurgeon Don Hilton, who testified at a congressional briefing on pornography in January 2015.
Hilton characterizes pornography as a readily available drug that produces an addictive neurochemical trap and notes that brain imaging of porn addicts shows shrinkage in the brain’s reward and control centers akin to that of drug addicts.
Cambridge University addiction expert Valerie Voon puts it more succinctly: “Letting our children consume [porn] freely via the internet is like leaving heroin lying around the house.”
There are, to be sure, a handful of researchers who posit the innocuousness of porn, but they’re up against a growing consensus that porn is harmful and addictive.
Certified sex therapist Wendy Maltz has treated dozens of compulsive porn users at her practice in Eugene, Oregon, including growing numbers of young men who started using porn as teens but didn’t acknowledge they had a problem until they began suffering erectile dysfunction or depression in their 20s. Her porn clients are ashamed of themselves, often self-isolate, and experience poor self-esteem, insomnia, and anxiety.
Maltz, co-author of “The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography,” says that porn was the first sexual experience of many of her clients. Instead of stealing kisses under the bleachers, these young men are masturbating in front of screens. “Porn railroads their sexuality,” she says. “They don’t realize they’re forfeiting control to this industry and giving up something very precious – love-based intimacy and erotic imagination.”
A little-noticed Salon essay by novelist Mark Slouka echoes Maltz’s lament. Slouka contrasts the experience of cyberporn with the experience of lovemaking. He likens online porn to a “million-room whorehouse” that offers a 24/7 smorgasbord of pre-packaged sexual fantasies that colonize the mind. In Slouka’s experience, the price porn users pay is the loss of imagination, accountability, and agency. They become an “army of unmanned drones, piloting our libido through the ether.”
Maltz’s clinical experience bears out what Slouka intuited and researchers have found – that porn serves up a powerful cocktail of feel-good neurotransmitters and adrenaline and that this blend of novelty, stimulation, and pleasure amps up what’s already a powerful, feel-good, biological response to an irresistible intensity.
Kids whose brains are wired for novelty, excitement, and risk, are particularly susceptible.
To make matters worse, free porn is never more than a few mouse clicks or cell phone swipes away. Some kids seek out porn, others come across it accidentally while Googling seemingly innocent terms such as “panda movies,” “bravo teens,” and, my personal favorite, “whitehouse.com.”
Age-appropriate curiosity can land a young child searching for words like “boobs” or “butt” on some highly inappropriate sites. A colleague of Maltz’s once treated an eight-year-old boy who got shocked, then hooked, when his search for butt images delivered images of double penetration anal sex.
Maltz reminds parents that all kids are naturally curious about sex and counsels them to make sure their kids get authentic sexual education before porn becomes their teacher. Some of Maltz’s clients don’t even know they can have an orgasm without porn while others demand that their first sexual partners act out scenes they saw in a video.
If your child does get exposed, Maltz advises staying calm and not lashing out or blaming your child. Educate yourself about why porn is harmful and share this information with your child. Validate your child’s curiosity, engage in honest, non-judgmental communication, and, if needed, seek professional help.
Parental filters on devices can help protect younger children, but most seem to figure out how to disable the filter. Eventually, they’ll see porn, whether on their own device or a friend’s. Dines’ organization offers additional resources for concerned parents.
During the time it took you to read this article, eight million people viewed porn. Was your child one of them?