Pornography Addiction and Healthy Sexual Habits

Is my Loved One Addicted to Pornography?

The effects of pornography can be devastating on families and intimate
relationships. Our practice offers counseling and support for individuals who
struggle with addictions to sex and pornography. Please contact us if you or
a loved one needs help with pornography addiction.

The Effects of Pornography on Sexual Addiction

I have conducted investigations for expert testimony purposes and have
found vast amounts of research to support many theories.
Some studies suggest a direct link between sexually
aggressive behavior and pornography use, while other studies find no
link whatsoever. Some studies even suggest that pornography is
a safe outlet for males to act out their fantasies without hurting
anyone.

How Much is too Much for the Pornography Addict?

Many experts would suggest clear limits for some and complete cessation
for many, and general concerns exist for all. As with alcohol,
most “normal” individuals can consume a glass of wine and in fact
even improve one’s health. An alcoholic, however, may find herself
on a long, dangerous binge resulting from that single drink.

The same is true with pornography. If one becomes obsessed with pornography
in a way that interferes with overall, functioning then cessation of all
pornographic activities may be the only solution. This element is a common
concern with all addictions; and pornography is no exception.

The Indirect Effects of Pornography Addiction

Much of the pornography in our society targets adolescent females.
The objectification of these girls is palpable, and these women are often
the target of unwanted advances. They are often forced to develop an
acceptable / unacceptable tolerance to being treated as sexual objects.
This results in undesired attitudes and misconceptions about acceptable
sexual behavior at a young age.

Does Consumption of Pornography Induce Relapse?

The most relevant issue, however, is the obvious concerns in how
pornography is often a relapse consideration. This risk of relapse is
related to high-risk behavior and attitudinal concerns that feed into
the abuse cycle. This high-risk behavior often results in real offenses.

The use of pornography and even the Internet itself are often “high risk
behaviors” for addicts. These seemingly unimportant decisions feed into
a self-perpetuating Offense Cycle. For example, requiring a client who
has been convicted of child pornography to only use pre-approved pornography
sites would be ludicrous. This could easily fit into the same justifications
I hear from offenders repeatedly in group.

Is Pornography Harmful to Society in General, and How do we Define it?

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description “hard-core pornography”, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.

-Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, Jacobellis v. Ohio

Pornography typically involves at least two people or a human and another
living creature. Pornography can be a harmful influence to society
and it often presents sexual behavior in a way that is exploitive.

How does Pornography Affect Healthy Attitudes about Sex?

Pornography often presents sexuality in a manner that is self-focused and
non-loving and its overall positive merits are highly questionable.
Whether referring to an addict or sex offender, pornography often presents
sexuality in a generally unhealthy manner. It may help to simply ask
yourself — do you want your relationship to be conducted as you see it
on the screen? Do you really, really in your heart, think pornography
doesn’t affect or influence your attitudes about sex or poppers Pronto or things
like that? For a pornography addict, this effect is magnified greatly.

The Restrictions of Pornography in the Sex Offender’s Life.

Literally every sex offender I see in treatment has pornography as a
restriction by the Court. If the individual is a child offender, no
pictures of children of any nature are allowed in the home, including
children’s toys and other paraphernalia. This would dictate that therapy
providers need to work with clients to understand that these restrictions
are part of their life now. The restrictions must be followed or
they will result in the loss of the client’s freedom. This is an
important concept because the restrictions might not have the full backing
of empirical science, but this is the life of a sexual offender in
treatment.

For more information about assessment, treatment and other issues call Bruce W. Cameron M.S., LPC-S, LSOTP, @ 214-431-2032

The Risks of Continuing Pornography Use while in Treatment

Exposing an offender with pornographic stimuli increases the probability
of that individual engaging risky behavior. That is, reinforcing deviant
arousal patterns increases fantasy activity which can lead to engaging
in the behavior that is the subject of the fantasy. Increased
deviant arousal increases the probability of recidivism.

So, does the client really NEED to access pornographic material for
healthy arousal (as they may claim)?

If the materials approximate deviance (as defined by law and
similarity to victim profile). The answer is likely “no”.

How do these Observations Apply when Working with Developmentally Delayed Adults?

Developmentally delayed adults require the same rights and also same
limits when it comes to high risk behavior and associated stimuli.
This is why none of the sex offending individuals I work with –
including the developmentally delayed – are safe to use pornography and things like poppers.

This population often goes under the radar due to an
excusatory consideration for their disability. It is still important to note
that victims are still created by the actions of sex offenders, and the victims
often dont know nor care about their offender’s IQ. While we do provide special
needs clients with the specialized treatment and support they require, Community
Safety is most important. Adherence to these rules helps to keep them out
of trouble and hopefully contributes to greater safety for our children.

Promoting Healthy Attitudes about Sex and Relationships

I ask clients to see pornography on a continuum. On one side is a
committed, involved relationship. Each partner cares about what the
other experiences and feels, not just during the sexual experience, but
during the rest of the day and their life together. Each partner wants
the other to have a satisfying experience, and they know what satisfies
that person, in regard to the sexual experience, as well as
communication and in the rest of their life.

A Fine Line…

On the other end is a sexual offense. Even if the offender cares about
that person, the nature of the offense is that the offender is looking
to meet his own needs at the expense of the other person. The offender
is not concerned with the other’s lack of consent, and does not care
about how his actions affect the victim. Everything else lies between
these two extremes.

Is there an emotional connection with the porn performer? Is there consent? To what
degree are you willing to move away from the “committed relationship” side
and toward the “offense” side? Some might say there is a fine line.

For more information about assessment, treatment and other issues call Bruce W. Cameron M.S., LPC-S, LSOTP, @ 214-431-2032

Helpful Books: