I am Addicted to Porn

Posted on by Dr. Kevin Skinner

Help I am addicted to porn. Hundreds of people send me emails or leave me messages like this one each year. My heart goes out to each one of them. There is nothing easy about overcoming an addiction to pornography. During the past six years I have been gathering data from individuals whose lives have been permanently changed by pornography. There collective stories are sad and heartbreaking.

Here’s a comment that illustrates my point:

“Pornography has almost cost me my marriage. My wife doesn’t trust me anymore. I am not as effective at work. It is ruining my life.”

This man doesn’t like pornography. In fact, the story that many people trapped in it tell me is that they hate it. Why do we turn to things that we hate? I believe it has a lot to do with the chemical changes that occur while viewing pornography. The research is clear that pornography alters the brains pathways activates the reward center of the brain. The result is that individuals can become dependent upon it. Therefore, they can experience cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and a strong compulsion for it when they try going without it. These are all symptoms of addiction.

My research with more than 4000 men indicates that pornography significantly alters emotions (they become more negative), relationships (they are less confident and at times more critical), and they don’t are as effective at work or school. I am not guessing or just relating anecdotal evidence here. These are real people sharing their lives with me. It is hard to see so many people’s lives being negatively influenced by pornography.

So what is the solution?

I have a basic formula that I have used with hundreds of clients over the years. It is basically five steps that are essential to recovery. I will list them below:

  1. Be open and acknowledge that you need help. Many people attempt to keep their involvement in pornography in the quiet. Yes it can be embarrassing to open up and tell someone that you are involved in pornography, but only in opening up and allowing others to help you will you see significant improvement.
  2. Seek understanding and knowledge. I am convinced that with the right knowledge overcoming an addiction to pornography can be accomplished. It is not easy, but with the right tools it is definitely possible. I have seen many of my clients make significant improvement. In my book, “Treating Pornography Addiction: The Essential Tools for Recovery” I discuss the first steps to recovery.
  3. Find sponsors. Simply said the more people you can talk to about this problem the better. This is especially true when you are struggling with cravings. My experience has been that when my client’s have a sponsor–someone to be open with about their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors they really make vast improvements. I believe that the ability to be candid with someone who understands what you are going through is a big deal.
  4. Develop meaningful relationships. The next element of recovery is learning to be intimate. Don’t mistake seeking sexual pleasure for intimacy. In my special report “Addiction and Intimacy” I discuss six different types of intimacy and the importance of each of them in the recovery process. Addictive behaviors prevent true intimacy, therefore I believe that learning to connect with others is a powerful way to overcome an addiction.
  5. Find joy and happiness. It is very important to understand that when you take something out of your life–like an addiction that it has to be replaced with something. My belief is that discovering what brings joy and happiness into ones life will aid in the recovery process. One of my favorite exercises for replacing addictive thoughts is to have my client’s write down what they are grateful and why for a solid week. It is a lot of fun watching my client’s discover true joy and happiness again. This is especially true when they enter my office for the first session with their heads down and hopes of recovery almost gone.

When you typed the words, “I am addicted to porn” into the search engine I am going to assume you were wanting help. Over the past 14 years I have worked with hundreds of individuals trapped in pornography. The suggestions I listed above will help you. There are many other resources I offer. Here’s a few:

I hope you have found this information helpful. Recovery is possible. Please don’t give up.

Best regards,

Dr. Kevin Skinner, LMFT

 

9 Responses to I am Addicted to Porn

  1. Pingback: Treating Pornography Addiction: The Essential Tools for Recovery | Addictions

  2. MIKE DOYLE says:

    I think I might be addicted to porn. I’m a sex addict. What should I do??

    • Kevin says:

      Thanks for taking time to ask. Obviously you are willing to acknowledge that you need help. This is a good sign. Far too often individuals aren’t willing to admit or see their problem. However, before you accept that you are a sex addict I would recommend that you take the online survey I created at GrowthClimate.com. This assessment will assess your level of involvement in pornography. It also assesses your involvement in other sexual behaviors. Once you have taken this assessment, you will be given ideas and suggestions on how you can proceed.

      I would invite any other question you may have completed the assessment. Change is a process and not an event so please remember that it is going to take some time and energy. There are many things you can do to heal. However, before that can happen let’s assess exactly what your needs are and then I can give you more specific suggestions.

  3. evaone says:

    I think pornography is the most vicious addiction to man

  4. Cole says:

    As a first-year med school student, I have been able to enjoy many successes in life. Pornography, however, has been my one downfall. Now that I have decided to give it up because I see the potential damage it could do to myself and those close to me, I feel like there is a great mountain in front of me. Any encouragement or advice on the best route to recovery would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dr. Kevin Skinner says:

      Thank you so much for being willing to share you experience and story. You, much like many others, are a good person whose life has changed because of pornography. Change is not easy, but doable. I know that you are wanting to change so let me offer a couple of things that are essential: 1) accountability–you will benefit from being accountable to one or more people; 2) get more knowledge–it is important to learn what you are dealing with; 3) develop emotional regulation skills–these will help you deal with stress and other times you feel vulnerable; 4) do regular acts of service to help others–this is very helpful in the recovery process.

  5. b says:

    My wife and I fight about “porn” a lot more than we should. I have been drawing for about 23 years now, and I have always been a fan of erotic works of art. Borris vallejo being an early inspiration of mine. Now I’m married and have two kids and my passion for erotica hasn’t slowed down. I recently started 3d modelling and as usual an innocent wireframe soon turns sl. My wife is sick of fighting with me because as always I get online looking to find inspiration or free 3d models and it always goes from cg to sexy cg to Cg porn to real porn. And that’s the issue! I want to do erotic type artwork either sketched or 3d. But I can’t seem to keep from the real thing. I start out good but soon waver. Its exhausting! For my family and I, it has almost destroyed everything, yet I do it. I’m ashamed of what I have become but can’t seem to let go of the idea of being an artist producing erotica or softcore (no hardcore). Maybe I should just paint a tree or something. But even then a tree could become a sexy woman antwined with nature. I need help!

    • Dr. Kevin Skinner says:

      One of the common misperceptions about pornography is that is won’t harm you. The truth is that it alters your brain. Think about how much you think about pornography or sexual images. If you are thinking about these things frequently, than pornography is beginning to take control of you and your life. I imagine this is the case with you since it is something that is hurting your family and you still struggle to give up. Pornography is NOT an easy thing to just walk away from. True healing and recovery require study, accountability, loving support, and often professional help. If you want help, I would encourage you to seek professional help and also to find other ways develop your artistic talents.

  6. b says:

    I am in the process of seeking help now. The fights are far to often and its quite draining on everyone in the house. I want to change and I have a ton of interests that help keep my mind off the issue like cooking, bonsai, botony, landscaping, gaming, and hiking. Most of these are summer activities and we rarely fight. But then it gets cold out and there’s little to keep my mind from wondering. And the fights increase substantially. I don’t want to lose my wife over this, thank you for your time and advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ukashonlinealis