Sep 252003
 
Authors: Patrick Crossland

Hey all, my name is Joe, and I’m a porn addict.

It’s taken me a long time to realize it, and after a few fights about it with my girlfriend, whom I love very much, I have opened my eyes.

Tonight, as I was sitting at my computer, routinely looking up porn, I decided it is time to break free from its grip, so I visited this site, and was inspired.

It took a lot of guts, but I did it, I cancelled my subscription, deleted my email from mailing lists, deleted all the baggage on my hard disk, and I even threw out the 10 cds of images and videos I have collected over 5 years or so.

–“Newleaf,” writing on a support group Web site www.no-porn.com for pornography addicts.

***

The new face of addiction doesn’t involve lighting up, inserting a needle or opening a bottle, but rather clicking a mouse. Dan Socall, licensed psychologist and certified sexual addiction therapist, said the word “sex” is the third most common word into search engines, after “and” and “the.”

“There’s more availability online; a lot of people would not go to a porn store, but just get it off the net,” Socall said. “People can lose time on the Internet, go into a trance and that increases addiction right there.”

A sexual addiction is much like many other common addictions in that the behavior becomes compulsive and dominates a person’s ability to function normally. In the past, the common idea was that those who suffered from other forms of addiction would be more prone to cyber-sexual addictions. However, Socall finds that when it comes to the Internet, it’s not just individuals with a history of addiction who are susceptible to abuse.

“People are sort of curious,” he said. “Some people look and it’s not a problem, other get more interested and start spending more and more time.”

***

I have no idea how this forum works. I have just this morning confronted my husband (again) with what I found on the videos he has been hiding and left him a letter with material on how to know if you are addicted. He has admitted that he has a problem and wants to seek help.

Where do I go from here?

How do I act/react/support him without accepting the material. I love my husband of 33 years, 2 months and 11 days and don’t want my marriage to be destroyed over this. I am a Christian my husband isn’t (yet). Any suggestions are gratefully received.

— “savemymarriage” writing on a www.no-porn.com.

Like other forms of compulsion, sexual addiction affects the chemistry of the brain, releasing endorphins and stimulating the body. This stimulation can have an addicting effect, which oftentimes carries over to an individual’s personal life with negative consequences.

“With any addiction, we need to use more and more of the substance over time,” Socall said. “It could cause people to be more susceptible to things they maybe would not normally do.”

An addict may spend more time observing pornographic material than living a normally functioning life. This separation from a healthy and functioning lifestyle is one of the initial signs of a sexual addiction.

“We usually start to look at if a person is starting to lose time, or if they start to have consequences as part of their behavior,” Socall said.

These consequences may include self-destructive behavior such as losing money, losing work or hurting relationships.

“A person addicted feels out of control by the need to access porn. Often they will have withdrawal symptoms when not involved in pornographic activity,” said Larry Bloom, a psychology professor at CSU. “With a highly addicted person the activity consumes their life and may create dysfunction in the rest of their life.”

Bloom stressed that not everyone who observes pornographic material is an addict.

Socall agreed with Bloom, explaining that healthy sexual behavior helps you feel better about yourself or a relationship.

“I think that with most things, like alcohol, it’s not bad or good; it depends on what you do with that substance.,” he said

Sean Casten, store manager at the adult Book Ranch, 730 S. College Ave., said business has increased as a result of pornographic material on the Internet. He said individuals see pop-up advertisements online and purchase the product at the store rather than having it sent in the mail. Even after an attempt to sell products online he said individuals preferred to make the purchase in the store.

“We tried to do Internet advertising, but as far as mail orders, people don’t want stuff delivered to their house and have someone intercept the package,” he said.

The Morgan Library at CSU in no way attempts to monitor the sites accessed by student on the public computers. Julie Wessling, assistant dean for public relations, said privacy is an important concern at the library.

“It’s a very important value to us,” she said. “We value confidentiality and privacy to the highest degree.”

For those who may be suffering from a cyber-sexual addiction, a wide array of 12-step programs and online support groups can provide safe and anonymous help. For more information visit, www.recoveryzone.com or www.no-porn.com.

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