Reboot Nation Forum > Porn Addiction

Is Porn Addiction A Symptom Or Cause of Issues? MUST READ

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Gabe Deem:
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:

--- Quote ---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.
--- End quote ---

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.

fcjl8:
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.

lte:
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.

rainforth13:
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.


--- Quote ---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 ".
--- End quote ---

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.
--- End quote ---

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.


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

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.

Alex:
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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