“I think my porn addiction started when I was exposed to porn at 8 or 9 years old”, stated one student.
“I was emotionally abused as a young child and found porn early on”, another student told us.
“Porn addiction is really affecting my relationship with my wife and it’s stopping me from having an open relationship. I hope I can fix my marriage”, claimed another student.
Porn addiction. It’s been one of the most surprising trends in recent years for us here at Live Rehab. When we first started to think about the idea of helping people with porn addiction we didn’t know whether or not it would be something that people were very interested in or were dealing with.
Right after publishing our course we were immediately overwhelmed by the number of students who were relieved to find out that they no longer had to suffer in silence.
Let’s be honest; porn addiction is a tricky subject to discuss.
There are many reasons why. Some of it comes from the general embarrassment people feel. Other reasons include being unsure if it is treatable or a fear of failure. Where can you go and who can you talk to about this?
According to various sources, almost 25% of all search engine requests per day are pornographic in nature. Furthermore, the average age at which a child first sees porn on the internet is a shocking 11 years old.
When you put all of this together, it’s easy to see why porn addiction is so troublesome.
In this article we’re going to talk about what you need to do to fight porn addiction and why.
We’re going to cover emotional barriers, envisioning a life free from porn and how to harness the fear of failure into success.
Porn Addiction: Emotional Barriers
Emotional barriers are a major side effect of porn addiction which has lasting impacts on the quality of your relationships. One of the single most talked about issue with porn addiction that we hear over and over again from our students is the difficulty in being emotionally open.
Not being emotionally open presents some interesting problems with the ability to foster real, honest relationships with other people. While you may initially think of this as intimate or sexual relationships, it actually drives much deeper than that.
62.5% of people told us that “not being open” was impacting all their relationships – including work, plutonic and family. In other words, their porn addiction was badly affecting how they interacted with everyone in their life.
For some people, not being open is resulting in not being able to foster relationships at all with other people. Feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression are very common; you aren’t alone if you are feeling these things.
If you do have a partner, then porn addiction creates emotional barriers that take a massive toll.
As one of our students put it:
I also don’t like to talk about sex with my wife. I get scared that she will be turned off by my talking to her about it and never want to talk to me again.
There is a lot of fear to deal with when talking to your partner. What will he or she say? Will he or she treat you differently? Do you think he or she will stay with you if you talk about your addiction? These are all very valid questions and things to think about which certainly impact your decision to be emotionally closed off.
The problem is, is this is the right thing to do?
Deep down you probably know the answer to that question; no. Talking about your feelings is absolutely critical to your success in fighting porn addiction. We won’t sugar coat it and say that it is easy. In fact, it’s really hard. But, you have to do it.
One method that works for some of our students is finding a best friend to work with. Be careful, however, because you need to select someone that is able to relate to your situation and help you work through it.
Most people are not going to understand truly your situation unless they are a very close partner or going through the same thing as you (it’s one of the reasons we built Sobriety Success’s online forum).
You could choose to seek out a counsellor or a therapist but this route is also paved with a few things to be wary of. Because porn addiction is not a registered mental health disorder we have heard from students that some professionals have been less than helpful.
Whatever you choose, talking about your feelings opens you up and helps you to accept you are not alone. You don’t have to keep everything bottled up inside.
Envisioning a life free from porn addiction
What does a life look like free from porn addiction anyway? If you’ve been addicted to porn since you were 10 years old, then chances are you probably can’t even really envision a life without it. We’d caution you though to really spend some time thinking about what that kind of life might be like.
Here’s the part where you should take some action. Grab a journal or piece of paper and write down what you think that life would look like. Make some actionable things that are in the future but written as present tense. For example:
- Now that I’m no longer addicted to porn I am going to the gym 3-5 times a week
- Now that I’m no longer addicted to porn I have a great relationship with my wife/husband
In helping so many people, we’ve come to realise that most people, when they do this task, write things about motivation, self-improvement and their health/wellbeing.
This activity should reveal some interesting things about yourself if you are being open and honest. Porn addiction often kills the motivation inside that leads to things such as self-improvement and health.
Retraining your brain is a key component of fighting back against porn addiction. Your brain has essentially been hijacked by the effects of porn. The hijacking effect has literally affected your ability to get out there and live the life you want or envision for yourself. How can you be focused on self-improvement if your brain won’t let you?
Your overall health and wellbeing are likely under attack as well. Many of our students report that they want to get into the gym, workout and feel physically better about themselves. For some people a real physical issue of erectile dysfunction sets in with porn addiction.
The affects of porn addiction have made it so that you are unable to respond to the physical pleasure associated with sex. Erectile dysfunction is a very real issue to contend with. Through retraining of your brain, it is possible to get back to (or learn to) a state of erection without the use of pills.
We’ve talked already about the negative mental affects you might be feeling from an emotional perspective and especially issues surrounding depression and anxiety. Envision yourself in a world free of those feelings, feeling healthy and happy. That’s the end result you’re looking for.
It can be difficult at this stage to even think this way; we get it. Look for the small joys in life. Find ways to really envision this new life because it’s important to know exactly what you’re striving for. After all, what’s the point of fighting porn addiction if you don’t know what you’re doing it for?
Porn Addiction: Harnessing the fear of failure into success
At this point you’re undoubtedly scared. Most students are. And, it’s really not surprising to hear. There is, after all, plenty of fear to go around. The fear usually falls into 3 categories (there are more but generally we see these 3 the most):
What you have to realise though is that these powerful emotions should be harnessed into powering your success. That sounds like a bit of a mouthful so let’s break it down a little bit:
Relapse is a real fear that anyone battling any addiction faces. There are so many things you can do though. Managing triggers is the biggest thing you should focus on if this is your biggest fear. Learning to understand exactly what is triggering you the most turns it into a powerful ally.
Triggers can be used as a little marker in your mind. In fact, if you use triggers properly, they can be used to short-circuit the whole addiction process. After all, a trigger is literally your brain or body signalling to you to stop!
Disappointment is a strong feeling. It has tremendous power over your actions.
I fear that there will be time where I will have to disappoint my wife or close friends.
One of the things you need to realise when thinking about disappointment is that this strong feeling is an internal one. While it is true that you do have the potential to disappoint another human, the feeling needs to be focused internally first. Owning your own internal thought processes is the first step in harnessing this feeling.
Once you’ve realised that the only person you can truly disappoint in the long run is yourself, you can use that to power your decisions. The ultimate disappointment comes in not taking action to combat your porn addiction.
Failure is one of the hardest things to think about. But, ultimately, what are you afraid of? More than likely you’re afraid of disappointing yourself or someone else. It’s not really the failure itself that you fear but the resulting outcomes of the failure. That’s a bit of a mind wrap but it really boils down to the end result doesn’t it?
By now you should be thinking of using this fear of failure as a motivational weapon in the fight. Get yourself motivated. Use the vision of your future life and newfound ability to be open emotionally to take the fight right to the porn addiction itself.
This is a powerful mindset shift but its one you need to put time and effort into mastering.
So, what now?
At the start of this article we said that we’d be talking about some important issues relating to porn addiction. If there are three main things you should take away from this article it’s these:
1. You need to put time in to deal with your emotional barriers
2. Spend time envisioning a life free from porn
3. Harness the fear of failure into a positive ally
These three items form the foundation of a recovery that rebuilds the important core functions of who you are.
Sure, there are other things that you need to be doing.
But that’s not what this article was about. It’s about empowering you to make changes in your life right now that will provide long term benefits.
If you are looking for more though it’s time we talk about Sobriety Success the leading addiction and recovery platform from home. As we’ve mentioned at various times through this article, we’ve helped thousands of students already across a wide variety of addictions.
Our porn addiction recovery course has over 100 lessons that walk you through the entire recovery process from start to finish. All of the quotes you’ve read in this article have come directly from students who have taken the course.
We realised, early on, that people like you want a way to fight addiction that doesn’t involve going to a traditional rehab facility. Combined with how much stigma there is around porn addiction and it’s really clear why people like the online method.
Here’s what one of our students has to say:
This course really helps in breaking free from your addiction. The instructor laid out clear steps to help you achieve those.
If you need help right now, you can get started for FREE – simply click here to start your 7 day trial.