How Porn Trains Objectification

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Research into Pornography Addiction

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Excerpt from an article on Gary Wilson’s site, http://www.yourbrainonporn.com.  Great read:


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:

  1. Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update (2015). A thorough review of the neuroscience literature related to Internet addiction subtypes, with special focus on internet porn addiction. The review also critiques two recent headline-grabbing EEG studies which purport to have “debunked” porn addiction.
  2. Sex Addiction as a Disease: Evidence for Assessment, Diagnosis, and Response to Critics (2015), which provides a chart that takes on specific criticisms of porn/sex addiction, offering citations that counter them.
  3. Neurobiology of Compulsive Sexual Behavior: Emerging Science (2016). Excerpt: “Given some similarities between CSB and drug addictions, interventions effective for addictions may hold promise for CSB, thus providing insight into future research directions to investigate this possibility directly.”
  4. 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”
  5. 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.
  6. Compulsive Sexual Behaviour as a Behavioural Addiction: The Impact of the Internet and Other Issues (2016). Excerpts: “more emphasis is needed on the characteristics of the internet as these may facilitate problematic sexual behaviour.” and “clinical evidence from those who help and treat such individuals should be given greater credence by the psychiatric community.”
  7. 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.”
  8. Searching for Clarity in Muddy Water: Future Considerations for Classifying Compulsive Sexual Behavior as An Addiction (2016).  Excerpts: “We recently considered evidence for classifying compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) as a non-substance (behavioral) addiction. Our review found that CSB shared clinical, neurobiological and phenomenological parallels with substance-use disorders. Although the American Psychiatric Association rejected hypersexual disorder from DSM-5, a diagnosis of CSB (excessive sex drive) can be made using ICD-10. CSB is also being considered by ICD-11.”
  9. Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports (2016). An extensive review of the literature related to porn-induced sexual problems. Involving 7 US Navy doctors and Gary Wilson, the review provides the latest data revealing a tremendous rise in youthful sexual problems. It also reviews the neurological studies related to porn addiction and sexual conditioning via Internet porn. The doctors provide 3 clinical reports of men who developed porn-induced sexual dysfunctions. A second 2016 paper by Gary Wilson discusses the importance of studying the effects of porn by having subjects abstain from porn use: Eliminate Chronic Internet Pornography Use to Reveal Its Effects (2016).
  10. Integrating Psychological and Neurobiological Considerations Regarding The Development and Maintenance of Specific Internet-Use Disorders: An Interaction of Person-Affect-Cognition-Execution model (2016). A review of the mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of specific Internet-use disorders, including “Internet-pornography-viewing disorder”. The authors suggest that pornography addiction (and cybersex addiction) be classified as internet use disorders and placed with other behavioral addictions under substance-use disorders as addictive behaviors.
  • See Questionable & Misleading Studies for highly publicized papers that are not what they claim to be.
  • See this page for the many studies linking porn use to sexual problems and decreased sexual & relationship satisfaction

“Brain Studies” (fMRI, MRI, EEG, Neuro-endocrine):

  1. 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.
  2. Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014) – The first in a series of Cambridge University studies found the same brain activity pattern in porn addicts (CSB subjects) as seen in drug addicts and alcoholics. It also found that porn addicts fit the accepted addiction model of wanting “it” more, but not liking “it” more. The researchers also reported that 60% of subjects (average age: 25) had difficulty achieving erections/arousal with real partners, yet could achieve erections with porn.
  3. 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].
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. HPA Axis Dysregulation in Men With Hypersexual Disorder (2015) – The Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis is the central player in our stress response. Addictions alter the brain’s stress circuits leading to a dysfunctional HPA axis. This study on sex addicts (hypersexuals) found altered stress responses that mirror the findings with substance addictions.
  9. 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?
  10. 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.
  11. Ventral Striatum Activity When Watching Preferred Pornographic Pictures is Correlated With Symptoms of Internet Pornography Addiction (2016) – Finding #1: Reward center activity (ventral striatum) was higher for preferred pornographic pictures. Finding #2: Ventral striatum reactivity correlated with the internet sex addiction score. Both findings indicate sensitization and align with the addiction model. The authors state that the “Neural basis of Internet pornography addiction is comparable to other addictions.
  12. 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”.
  13. 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).
  14. Preliminary Investigation of The Impulsive And Neuroanatomical Characteristics of Compulsive Sexual Behavior (2009) – Primarily sex addicts. Study reports more impulsive behavior in a Go-NoGo task in sex addicts (hypersexuals) compared to control participants. Brain scans revealed that sex addicts had greater disorganized prefrontal cortex white matter. This finding is consistent with hypofrontality, a hallmark of addiction.

The above studies are all the “brain studies” published (or in the press) on internet porn users.

Together these brain studies found:

  1. The 3 major addiction-related brain changes: sensitization, desensitization, and hypofrontality.
  2. More porn use correlated with less grey matter in the reward circuit (dorsal striatum).
  3. More porn use correlated with less reward circuit activation when briefly viewing sexual images.
  4. More porn use correlated with disrupted neural connections between the reward circuit and prefrontal cortex.
  5. Addicts had greater prefrontal activity to sexual cues, but less brain activity to normal stimuli (matches drug addiction).
  6. 60% of compulsive porn addicted subjects in one study experienced ED or low libido with partners, but not with porn: all stated that internet porn use caused their ED/low libido.
  7. Enhanced attentional bias comparable to drug users. Indicates sensitization (a product of DeltaFosb).
  8. Greater wanting & craving for porn, but not greater liking. This aligns with the accepted model of addiction – incentive sensitization.
  9. Porn addicts have greater preference for sexual novelty yet their brains habituated faster to sexual images. Not pre-existing.
  10. The younger the porn users the greater the cue-induced reactivity in the reward center.
  11. Higher EEG (P300) readings when porn users were exposed to porn cues (which occurs in other addictions).
  12. Less desire for sex with a person correlating with greater cue-reactivity to porn images.
  13. More porn use correlated with lower LPP amplitude when briefly viewing sexual photos: indicates habituation or desensitization.
  14. Dysfunctional HPA axis and altered brain stress circuits, which occurs in drug addictions (and greater amygdala volume, which is associated with chronic social stress).

article source: http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/brain-scan-studies-porn-users

 

Confessing your porn addiction… to your spouse

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Another great article from the Covenant Eyes blog:


Surviving the Worst Day of Your Life: How to Confess Your Porn Addiction to Your Spouse

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.


article source: The blog at covenanteyes.com

click here to read the article on Covenanteyes.com

 

Betrayal Trauma [from Covenant Eyes Blog]

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Great article from the blog at Covenant Eyes.  Enjoy: 


Betrayal Trauma: The Side of Porn Use No One Talks About

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.”

betrayal trauma

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:

  • Indescribable fear
  • 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.

Online Support

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.

12-Step Groups

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.


Skinner_Bio

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.


article source: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2016/05/10/betrayal-trauma-the-side-of-pornography-use-no-one-is-talking-about/?utm_campaign=hope-after-porn&utm_content=48762187&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter#

It’ s Not just a “guy thing” Anymore.

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Take a moment and look at the statistics below:

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.


Marriage Recovery After a Porn Addiction

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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:


Marriage Recovery After a Pornography Addiction

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.

Covenant EyesSo 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.

And often that means involving a third party. Here’s a response by a former porn addict on how he managed to quit–and advice for wives in that same situation.

3. Do not be his Accountability Partner

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.


article source: http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2010/02/sex-after-porn-addiction-restoring-intimacy-marriage/

 

3 Reasons it is Hard to Quit Watching Porn

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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.

article source: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2017/01/31/cant-stop-watching-porn-3-reasons/

When porn stops being “fun”

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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.

Wait, really?

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.


article source: https://www.xxxchurch.com/men/porn-may-great-season-happens.html?utm_term=twitter-followers&utm_content=bufferc4257&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Your Kid’s Brain and Porn

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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

BY
Erica Etelson
POSTED ON
January 24, 2017

childbrainWhen 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?


source: http://www.parent.co/this-is-your-kids-brain-on-porn/

 

Prevent Recovery Burnout

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This is a great article I read on the Covenant Eyes blog.  A good reminder, and good encouragement.  Enjoy:

Porn Addiction Recovery: 5 Ways to Avoid Burnout

Last week I was having an informal conversation with one of my accountability partners. Our chat flowed through normal catch-up material and soon the quintessential question arose: How are you doing with pornography?

Having anticipated this, I delivered a rehearsed answer, one that gave the truth but left out the true emotions that ran underneath the surface: I was getting tired of the fight. Truly, I was exhausted, and down to the core I knew that I needed to speak up. I started to say things like, “I am tired of this being so hard,” “Isn’t it supposed to get easier as time goes on,” and even “I don’t think it’s worth all these sacrifices anymore.”

As I heard myself speak, I started to understand that I had hit a point that many before me had warned me about: recovery burn-out. In my discussions with those who are battling addictions of many kinds, I have observed that almost all suffer with this in some context.

At the beginning of one’s recovery, the desire to make a change and be free from that addiction fuels them, driving them forward with a determination to gain back control of their life. Everything is hard, but they were warned of this, and they have the necessary support (therapists, accountability partners, friends, etc.) to wrestle through the withdrawal stage.

Now fast-forward to a few months or even years down the road. Are they still surrounded with support, or even seeking out help? Are they still as dedicated to their recovery as they were in the beginning? Honestly, it depends on the person, but too often I find that many (including myself) get tired of asking for help.

I hear in my own head too often, “You were supposed to be over this by now, so get a handle on it without bringing anyone else into this mess.” I know that I am not alone in these angst-filled contemplations, because many times the process of recovery is viewed as peak-and-dive, where the degree of difficulty peaks during the initial withdrawal and forming of healthy thought-patterns and habits, and then drastically declines with time. Instead, the recovery process looks a lot more jagged, with ups and downs in unpredictable configurations that cause frustration and feelings of hopelessness and defeat.

Why does this matter? Ultimately, it means that all of those in recovery and those helping need to have postures of grace that adequately take into account the long-term nature of recovering from pornography addiction. With any addiction, there should be the continual reminder that this most likely will be something that will be struggled with for years, if not for a lifetime. In my recovery, I have found some thought-patterns and practical ideas that have helped me survive the reality of this long-term journey of overcoming.

1. Be realistic about the long haul.

A porn addiction is just that: an addiction. It means that this process most likely will be a temptation and a battle for months, years, if not a lifetime. When we hold ourselves to standards or expectations that demand complete deliverance from our addictions, we set ourselves up for failure.

Recovery is a process, and included in that will be many seasons of hardships, others of great success.  All of those seasons are a part of the the inclusive redemption of God’s story, no matter if this is something that we struggle with until our last day. We need to continually prepare our hearts for a battle that can be won, but a battle that will need new energy, motivation and strategy as time goes on and the circumstances of our lives change.

2. Find ways to channel that energy with a new hobby/idea.

Honestly, this has been one of the most helpful tips that I have found in my recovery process thus far. Find an interest, a hobby, a talent, and throw your energies into it.

The less time that we spend idle means that there is less time to fall into temptation. When I notice that I am having a harder week fighting temptation, I will work even harder to be intentional about what I do with my time. It makes an incredible difference in my life when I can be using so much of my frustration and angst into something productive, one that leads me away from pornography and promotes a healthy lifestyle at the same time.

3. Recognize that falling into sin may happen, but it does not discount the effort that has been taken in the recovery process thus far.

In my journey, It makes me so upset when I fall back into sin that I have already confessed and made the commitment to rid my life of. When I confessed my sin of watching pornography and found accountability, I finally felt like I could get rid my life of it. However, that process of healing did not happen in a continuous forward motion of resisting temptation. Too often, it meant that I would be resisting for a while and then eventually falling right back to where I was before I made that promise. Every time I found myself in a place of sin again, I felt more and more dejected and that the effort I had put in thus far was useless.

Yet, how beautiful is it that even when we make a commitment to resist sin and yet fall into it again, we have a God that welcomes us with open arms. His relentless love does not hold a limit of the amount of times we can fail before He begins to walk away.

In recovery, meditate on the truth that each day that is a victory! Each minute, hour, day, month is a testament to God’s strength that gives us determination. It is not about counting the number of days that we have resisted, but about the power of Jesus that weaves in our story, whether we have made it 1 day or 150, or made it a year and lost sight of the purpose for a day.

It is not a success countdown that allows us to go the distance, but a mentality and thought process that lives and breathes grace and victory.

4. Celebrate the little victories.

I already touched on this point a bit, but I want to emphasize just how important it is to this process. At the beginning, it seemed like I could not actually feel that I was winning the battle until I had reached a year without pornography. The problem was I did not make it that far. And during those times, I found no reason to celebrate that I had made it months without it.

It is critical that we learn to celebrate all the victories in this recovery, even the little ones. Did you resist going on the computer today because you were feeling tempted? Yeah, it might have been yesterday that you did not, but today you did! Were you able to make it a week without it? That is incredible! Find ways to be thankful in each and every step, however seemingly small.

God walks us through, and He gives us strength in the moment to overcome temptation. It has made my process full of much more joy when I am able to thank God for the minutes, hours, days, and months where He has walked in this with me.

5. Document the process.

It does not have to be anything fancy or creative. I have a friend who writes down on little pieces of paper the little victories or where she has seen God move in her battle against pornography. When she is feeling particularly disheartened, she reads a few of them to be reminded of God’s faithfulness in her journey.

Do whatever feels most comfortable for you and make sure you can come back to it in the future. What a blessing it is to be able to look at how God has provided for us before and be reminded that He can and will do that for us again.

Sometimes the relentless battle of fighting darkness seems too much to press on. Be encouraged that the power of Christ already has victory, and His strength will be sufficient for you. Whatever season you are in, however fall you have fallen or pushed through, God will provide for you. Find reason to celebrate in that!