Author Topic: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ  (Read 24556 times)

Gabe Deem

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Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« on: March 12, 2014, 12:33:24 PM »
Let me make something clear here... Not everyone uses porn because of underlying issues.

We are in a new day and age where you do not just have your "classic" addict who has a history of abuse, or some kind of traumatic experience, or self esteem issues. Now that there is an unlimited supply of supernormal stimuli available and for free, we have a whole new "contemporary" addict who simply has chronically used something pleasurable, that is accepted by society, and has in turn changed their brain. Chronic over-consumption of anything intensely stimulating can cause sensitization, and desensitization.

Of course pre-existing conditions do increase some users' vulnerability to addiction. Yet therapists are increasingly seeing another type of porn addiction that is not dependent on pre-existing conditions.
They are labeling it in various ways including "opportunity addiction" and "contemporary rapid-onset addiction." Unlike classical 'sex addiction,' this type of addiction is to internet porn and has more to do with having access to, and watching porn on the internet, than inherent vulnerabilities, which may or may not be present.

Some guys watch porn to experience pleasure, some to ease pain. Both think that it will fill their life with joy, both can end up wrong.

John Mayer, a guy who dates supermodels, said he would rather watch porn and fantasize over having sex with a real woman than have sex. His brain has changed. His life doesn't suck.... In his interview with Playboy he said this when talking about how stimulating internet porn is:
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You're looking for the one ... out of 100 you swear is going to be the one you finish to, and you still don't finish. Twenty seconds ago you thought that [thumbnail] was the hottest thing you ever saw, but you throw it back and continue your shot hunt and continue to make yourself late for work.

Really understand this: If a young teenage boy has unlimited access to naked females/males doing things he has never heard of, he does not have to have an 'issue' for him to over-consume the supernormal stimulus in front of his eyes. He is naturally wired to find it arousing. Then slap A) the novelty factor in, where a teen can always escalate into more shocking material. And B) the fact that a teens brain is more vulnerable to addiction, and you have a recipe for disaster... or I should say sensitization.

(For further reading on the impact of todays porn on the teenage brain read these: Porn Then and Now:Welcome To Brain Training, Why Shouldn't Johnny Watch Porn If He Likes?, or watch this video presentation on the teenage brain! )

I and 3 other of my good friends experienced porn-related dysfunctions. All of us were normal dudes with normal lives. Why did we all watch porn? Because we thought it was awesome and felt amazing "busting all kinds of nuts ". We were unaware that it might have a negative physical impact.  In fact, I didn't believe porn could be the cause of my problems until I did the PIED test. I had ED for about a year before I figured it out, since I could get it up with porn. I had no clue what kept me limp with a partner.

Porn-induced ED is porn induced.... not issue induced. Without chronic over-consumption of porn there would hardly ever be chronic ED in young guys.

Now, I would agree that there are many guys still struggling with porn addiction who have some underlying issue, but not all. Some have simply watched a lot of highly stimulating porn from a young age and have addiction-related brain changes. Namely, 1) Sensitization, a highway in our brain that makes us crave porn. 2) Desensitization, a numbed response to other pleasure and normal sexual stimulation, making us crave more stimulation (porn). 3) Hypofrontality, weak executive control in our frontal cortex so we make bad decisions...and watch porn.

You do not have to be predisposed to become addicted. You just have to chronically over-consume porn, which can lead to brain changes.

However, both groups of guys, the pleasure seekers and the pain avoiders, need to get out and enjoy life. So the message still stands, Get busy doing other healthy things.

Simply put, porn addiction recovery is more about "why you can't stop", than it is "why you are addicted". You cannot become addicted to something without chronically over-consuming it.

Some will have issues to acknowledge and take care of, which have led them to use porn. Others will simply need to stop watching it and replace it. BOTH groups need to fill the void that giving up porn leaves in their schedule and mind with something healthy and/or productive. BOTH groups need to learn how porn re-wires and numbs the brain. BOTH groups need to understand that staying away from porn does not mean you will miss out on pleasure, It means you may finally experience it to the fullest.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 06:04:25 PM by Gabe Deem »
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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 05:14:19 PM »
I personally don't think it really matters whether porn addiction is a symptom or the cause... it must be dealt with in the same no-nonsense "I will press on regardless way" , no porn , no masturbation (my preferred path) and learn from any slips or relapses.

As we get some re-balance happening in the brain chemistry from a period of healthy, sustained recovery... then I think we are better equipped to start delving into the whole cause or effect question.

The early days of recovery have us in pretty uncomfortable territory, just maintaining sobriety, lots of withdrawal symptoms and conflicting emotions. That is probably not the best time to start peeling the layers off, in my opinion.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 08:24:23 PM »
I think that watching porn is harmful, there's no question about that. The younger a person is when they are exposed the less experience they have in evaluating the value and the potential risks of such things and it's more likely that a person will have problems the earlier they are exposed. I consider this one of the greatest risks of Internet porn. I had extreme interest in porn from a young age, but virtually no access to it until my late teens or early twenties. I did, however, have a single exposure to some pretty hardcore print material in my early teens and, I believe, it caused some damage.

This is not unique in the slightest. Alcohol and tobacco products are restricted from being sold to minors. There are good reasons for this, a child can become hooked on such products very easily and lacks the life experience to evaluate these products properly. They may desire to drink or smoke for status, to experience an activity that they perceive as being adult, as an act of rebellion or any number of other reasons that are not valid or informed.

Porn was likewise restricted until the age of the Internet. The neighborhood newsstand would toss out any Jr. High aged kids that wandered into the porn area so there was a degree of restriction. Porn shops asked for IDs and there was the secondary disincentive of the risk of being seen entering or leaving such a business. Internet porn changed all of that. Porn became available with no real restrictions upon age. Undoubtedly this has contributed to unleashing an epidemic of addiction, ED, etc.


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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 10:57:54 PM »
When I first started watching porn and for the majority of my 10+ years watching it, it was just my lust for women and their bodies. I grew up with a pretty normal family and living situation, even grew up in a church. Never abused, always had friends, loving parents and siblings. Nothing about my pre-porn life had or has anything to do with me watching it ever.

Only recently in the past 5 months because of my job has stress brought it about to relieve stress (or so I thought it would but it doesn't ultimately), and even still that is coupled with my enduring lust for women.

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I and 3 other of my good friends experienced porn-related dysfunctions. All of us were normal dudes with normal lives. Why did we all watch porn? Because we thought it was awesome and felt amazing "busting all kinds of nuts ".

This was me in a nut shell.

Quote
If a young teenage boy has unlimited access to naked females/males doing things he has never heard of, he does not have to have an 'issue' for him to over-consume the supernormal stimulus in front of his eyes. He is naturally wired to find it arousing.

Plainly put, I love boobs and butts and legs and skin. I should've probably already called animal patrol a couple times in my life for my obsession with doggystyle, it was out of control. Just kidding. Butt for real.

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Simply put, porn addiction recovery is more about "why you can't stop", than it is "why you are addicted".

This is so true. I am addicted because I watch porn. Easy enough. I can't stop watching porn because I lust after women and as of late have unhealthy amounts of stress. I need to deal with the root issue of my lust to stop watching porn instead of focusing on trying to just stop watching porn.

Thanks for the great article and info! Truth.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2014, 01:47:35 PM »
I can relate to Gabe story because I started early watching porn, back then I was 11 years old and I just started out of curiosity and of course it was super exciting.
I believe that we all started like that (at least the majority), so nobody started at that young age because they just wanted to get out of pain however the brain changes lead to that, so now everything else apart from porn, videogames, tv etc seems boring and because we trained ourselves to always feel BIG pleasure now when we deal with a problem we feel pain or discomfort and we naturally move to a place where we feel in control. Our brain needs to gain pleasure and avoid pain and once we started to watch porn we created that neuro-pathway to HIGH pleasure, so whenever we're in pain the fastest quickest way to get out of it is to watch porn.

English is not my first language I hope you'll understand my opinion

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2014, 10:06:38 AM »
Well said Alex!

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2014, 03:03:59 PM »
A bit of both in my case, I think. I found porn around 12-13ish and was a now and again pmo'er for a few years I even think this screwed up my motivation even with a once every two day habit, but even then I wasn't addicted to it then. When I was working around 16-17 up to 18 I was going through a stressful time and my once every 2 days or whatever habit turned into one every night then twice everyday for comfort or stress I think? I think it's when the brain recognises the link between emotional stress and pleasure and obviously frequency that turns us into addicts.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2014, 10:00:26 PM »
I agree, Big Lebowski.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2014, 11:59:10 AM »
I can relate to Gabe story because I started early watching porn, back then I was 11 years old and I just started out of curiosity and of course it was super exciting.
I believe that we all started like that (at least the majority), so nobody started at that young age because they just wanted to get out of pain however the brain changes lead to that, so now everything else apart from porn, videogames, tv etc seems boring and because we trained ourselves to always feel BIG pleasure now when we deal with a problem we feel pain or discomfort and we naturally move to a place where we feel in control. Our brain needs to gain pleasure and avoid pain and once we started to watch porn we created that neuro-pathway to HIGH pleasure, so whenever we're in pain the fastest quickest way to get out of it is to watch porn.

English is not my first language I hope you'll understand my opinion
Good points I agree. (BTW Hi - I'm new here, thought I'd post on this topic because it's quite interesting :-)

I initially started using porn at the age of 13. Porn gave me a FREE unlimited supply of 'supernormal' stimuli. This was like crack for a teenage boy. I can still remember thinking at the time that I felt lucky to have porn since I was having no luck with girls. (I didn't lose my virginity until I was 20). I used porn whenever I wanted to feel good. Again, at the time I interpreted my need for porn as 'wanting to release some pressure' or a natural urge due to being a male. In retrospect this was BS, I just wanted to feel good and feel high. Sometimes I used porn to wipe away painful emotions, other times I felt fine, but I used porn to feel better than good.

When I was 20 I finally lost my virginity (yay!), I had a string of relationships between 20 - 23 which were emotionally very painful for me. During this time my porn use started to reflect my feelings towards women, i.e. a growing hatred. Unfortunately this anger led me towards violent extreme porn. This was the point I realised I had a problem with porn. After many failures at giving up by myself, I eventually began group therapy, which focused on examining the underlying desire for porn. In others words it assumed porn was a symptom rather than the cause.

Although this group therapy was useful - it's obvious to me that over the years, I began using porn as a way of expressing my hatred towards women - it hasn't actually stopped me from using porn. I don't expect that further examination of my life will reveal something that will result in an epiphany and free me from my desires.

No, I think in this case the simplest explanation is the right one. I look at porn because it gives me a high. The high mixed with my tainted history with women, but a high nonetheless. The way out of this is to reboot my brain and most importantly, replace the cheap high porn gives me, with satisfying natural highs that I used to enjoy prior to porn. Easier said than done, but it seems the right course.


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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2014, 06:32:33 PM »
Thanks, great post. This can definitely cause some confusion when people insist that you need to look deep into your past to find out the root cause of your addiction.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2015, 01:24:31 PM »
I'm glad to have this information because, well I DID have a traumatic childhood, and self esteem issues as a kid.  And I did have a nicotine addiction at one time.  But, deep in my heart I know I was never seeking out porn to cover up some pathology in my makeup. I sought out porn because it was fun and made me feel good.  Before PIED, and before I was married, I had no problems getting out in the world and finding like minded people to have fun with - sexually and otherwise.  My childhood bullshit was pretty much dealt with early on and has never really caused me problems later.  I actually am grateful for the experiences I had back then because it led to being who I became and who I am, and I have no complaints about any of it.  The internet porn, however, seized and captured me and that is where things went wrong.  All by itself. 

Others, I know, have other experiences.  But I am not in denial, or whatever.  As soon as I learned this was a thing, and that was actualliy MY thing, - well here I am.  Like right now.  I know it is what I have to do, and have no regrets, other than those times I've been unable to get it up with someone I really cared about. 



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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues???? MUST READ
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2015, 01:42:40 PM »
I'm glad to have this information because, well I DID have a traumatic childhood, and self esteem issues as a kid.  And I did have a nicotine addiction at one time.  But, deep in my heart I know I was never seeking out porn to cover up some pathology in my makeup. I sought out porn because it was fun and made me feel good.  Before PIED, and before I was married, I had no problems getting out in the world and finding like minded people to have fun with - sexually and otherwise.  My childhood bullshit was pretty much dealt with early on and has never really caused me problems later.  I actually am grateful for the experiences I had back then because it led to being who I became and who I am, and I have no complaints about any of it.  The internet porn, however, seized and captured me and that is where things went wrong.  All by itself. 

Others, I know, have other experiences.  But I am not in denial, or whatever.  As soon as I learned this was a thing, and that was actualliy MY thing, - well here I am.  Like right now.  I know it is what I have to do, and have no regrets, other than those times I've been unable to get it up with someone I really cared about.
That's interesting. I suspect that Internet porn set me on a retrogressive course and I had to regain a lot of lost ground. I had my problems as a young man, but I was much more mentally fit in my teens than, for instance, in my thirties or forties. I've retaken a lot of lost ground since then, but there were some bad, bad times along the way.


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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2015, 10:24:06 PM »
Thanks for this excellent post.  I think there's still some controversy among professionals in psychology and addiction therapy, but as you say there's much evidence to back up what you're saying.  It's good to get this out there and to keep things in perspective.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2015, 09:01:39 PM »
i started watching internet porn at the age of 18 and until now. But after going through so much of sluggishness, procrastination, mood swings, low self esteem (that everyone complained about) I was starting to think that porn may have been the issue.
from my point of view: mostly addiction is related to stress. and by stress i mean both good stress (eustress) and bad stress (stress as hell). Say you just finished your homework and now you want to relax bam you use porn. say u were just frustrated and gave up doing homework and bam you use porn.

one way i  learned is by quitting my smoking habit. i had tried so many times to quit and i always failed. then one day i just tricked my brain. I said i wont quit smoking but i will control my self on not to smoke and till this day i say that to my self . Off-course i wanted to smoke and i did smoke a couple. but lets say i never gave up on controlling. in over 14 months i smoked may be 2 weeks and again in a mode to control it. But this is improvement.

i am trying to apply same idea on this one. so instead of saying i quit porn i will simply say i will control my self on not to watch porn.
lets say if i say " do not think of the white bear" what comes to your mind. obviously a white bear right?. then so every time when you have an urge to use porn.  if you say i quit watching porn, you are forcing your brain to think on what you loved once the most. and you fight with it and constantly remind of what you have been missing. Instead you should be negotiating. say this to your brain": Hey brain,i am controlling you right now  lets watch else for fun like inspiring TED talk. or may write a poem.call a friend,you know.this is also a positive reinforcement as you bring the fun into the brain by doing other stuff.

we will all rise out of this: lastly a word three word philosophy that has helped me overcome many  challenges in my life:

Patience, Fortitude and Endurance:

Patience which means to wait, fortitude: which means become able to bear pain, and, endurance: increase your endurance to do two of those.

peace, mikerman



 

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2015, 06:31:11 AM »
i can contribute to discussion with my personal story of addiction. I am 34yo and differently to lots of younger people in these forum i started PMOing when i was 20yo when i have my own pc with fast internet connection. During my teens i was shy and silent, quite unlucky and with low confidence with girls becouse of my body. I started to feel more confident with girls and friends at about 18-19 yo even becouse i grow up later compared to my peers. then i get hooked to porn and for couple of years i loose progresses i ve done. In general before to start PMO ing i cant say i was the most brilliant, player, famous and easygoing guy aniway i was taking more care of friendship and people around me.
After got hooked on porn i preferred to stay more time alone and i was more introverse than before. The most evident change it was that i did not almost payed any attention to girls, it was just too demanding get pleasure from flirting and sex with girls compared to porn.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2016, 04:06:06 PM »
One thing I have noticed during my times when I was PMOing:  It is the perfect way to pass of time... to throw time away for pleasures sake.  When you spend hours fapping and flapping away with your laptop infront of you it is like time has speeded up and hours can pass like minutes.... On the other hand when you stop doing that particularly in those first few weeks in the earlier stages of the rebalancing process the opposite happens.

Time is slowed down and the reboot period (say an average of 2 months) can seem like a very long time indeed!

The point I am trying to make is that if P, M, and O can alter our perception of time like that - God only knows what other things it can do to your brain.... or any other parts of your body for that matter.

Thanks for sharing your story and all the best to you on your journey of recovery!  All of you.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2016, 03:56:52 PM »
Thanks for this story, Gabe!  I agree with @Big Lebowski that I likely started with "innocent" PMO at a young age, and then when I was slapped in the face by multiple real life adult problems in my early 20's, PMO became the twice daily habit it became.

On the other hand, I'm also intrigued by this because I have a girlfriend who overcame an eating disorder and she insists that I need to figure out what trauma in my life triggered this so that I can get over it.

I've tried over and over, and I can't figure it out. I keep coming back to the idea that I was 12 years old and my dick was awesome. That's it.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2016, 11:53:29 AM »
BOTH groups need to understand that staying away from porn does not mean you will miss out on pleasure, It means you may finally experience it to the fullest.

So well said!

Thanks for the great post Gabe!
My last erotica relapse was September 30th. My goal is to go without erotica for 90 consecutive days.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2016, 03:00:26 PM »
I wonder if I initiated this post as I came at my recovery from narrow thinking and dopamine definitely became the soother of choice. Many stresses but they could have maybe been avoided if I learnt healthy coping strategies early on.  Porn became an addiction and really span out of control.

Thanks Gabe for this post. You really should write more. Also if you know anything deeper about hypofrontality and recovery of it would be great. Cheers!

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2016, 11:48:28 AM »
I started masturbating at d age of 13 and looking at erotic magazines at 13... And i started using porn at 15..I really had nothing I was running away from no pain...but I realised my reason for seeking porn was simple (I lust for women so much and when I don't end up getting one I resort to porn) to a point where I didn't deem it necessary to front girls anymore when I could get d pleasure I sort by watching porn and fapping to it...this went on for years and I became addicted because of the novelty of porn.. U know d saying ( 1 is never enough and 12 is not too much) I am currently 21 years old and what I have come to realise is that after I finish fapping to porn all those strong urges I felt before that just vanishes...meaning am not really craving porn and its naked women shit coz literally I get turned on just seeing beautiful ladies pass by me...but I was addicted to the dopamine release my brain gives me...because I found out I don't get turned on watching d same porn over and over ...so I search for an interesting scene for a better dopamine release...all these have affected me..coz I find it hard nw to remain erect with my girlfriend...because I lack focus of what is at hand...and because my brain is used to being fed with numerous position of girls being smacked...so I guess d best approach to help myself and those willing to embark on d journey is to stop lusting after women..not like for ever though coz I can't see myself not shagging again...but @least for now....PEACE...

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2016, 09:35:49 AM »
I started masturbating at d age of 13 and looking at erotic magazines at 13... And i started using porn at 15..I really had nothing I was running away from no pain...but I realised my reason for seeking porn was simple (I lust for women so much and when I don't end up getting one I resort to porn) to a point where I didn't deem it necessary to front girls anymore when I could get d pleasure I sort by watching porn and fapping to it...this went on for years and I became addicted because of the novelty of porn.. U know d saying ( 1 is never enough and 12 is not too much) I am currently 21 years old and what I have come to realise is that after I finish fapping to porn all those strong urges I felt before that just vanishes...meaning am not really craving porn and its naked women shit coz literally I get turned on just seeing beautiful ladies pass by me...but I was addicted to the dopamine release my brain gives me...because I found out I don't get turned on watching d same porn over and over ...so I search for an interesting scene for a better dopamine release...all these have affected me..coz I find it hard nw to remain erect with my girlfriend...because I lack focus of what is at hand...and because my brain is used to being fed with numerous position of girls being smacked...so I guess d best approach to help myself and those willing to embark on d journey is to stop lusting after women..not like for ever though coz I can't see myself not shagging again...but @least for now....PEACE...

Welcome to Reboot Nation Sammy, thanks for sharing.
My last erotica relapse was September 30th. My goal is to go without erotica for 90 consecutive days.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2016, 05:33:41 AM »
Hello everyone! Its a bit weird for me but I want openly to address my Problem. I have nightmares and it feels like I'm going to die soon as I cannot sleep from having wet dream.I don't know what to so can somebody help me?

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2016, 03:31:33 AM »
Hi Sab,

It appears you are just in overdrive.  It is good that you spoke of your fears.   Is there anything you can do when you wake from your dreams to write them down?  Wet dreams are very normal and nearly all men have them.  Not to worry.  Do you exercise at all?

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2016, 06:34:18 PM »
Porn is like crack. Once you watch you can't stop. It pisses me off when people say there's nothing wrong with porn and the only problem is you which may be partially right but obviously it's easier to quit soft-core porn than hardcore.

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Re: Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2017, 01:43:55 AM »
BOTH groups need to understand that staying away from porn does not mean you will miss out on pleasure, It means you may finally experience it to the fullest.

I think this quote is going to help me a lot.