Counseling Men Blog
Advice for men – and the women who love them!

Top 3 Causes of Addiction to Porn

Posted by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC on Wed, Jul 25, 2012

addiction to porn causesPart 2 of 2

For men, three things drive addiction to porn more than anything else:

  1. Visual Stimulation
  2. Need to Relax, Feel Pleasure, and Escape
  3. Addictive Aspects of Pornography

In the first article on this topic, Inside Look at Pornography Addiction, we answered the question what's addiction to porn look like and how many people struggle with it.  Now let's see what we can learn about the causes for addiction to porn.

The following bulleted excerpts are from the article Porn Addiction Destroys Relationships, Lives from the San Francisco Chronicle.

#1 -- Visual Stimulation

Probably not much of a surprise here for anyone who knows much about us men.

    • "For 90 percent of men, images are a big source of stimulation," he says, whereas women - an estimated 25 to 30 percent of online porn users - tend to prefer interactive chat rooms.

The way men's brains are wired sets us up for porn addiction being a huge problem for us.

#2 -- Need to Relax, Feel Pleasure, and Escape

Most of us men aren't very good at relaxing.  Many of us struggle with turning off our brains.  We often don't use good stress management techniques.  Not any different from women, we can struggle with negative thoughts about ourselves and low self-esteem.

We want a quick and easy solution to these problems.  Isn't there a pill I can take for this?  Sure, look at a little porn.

    • If people want to escape feelings of low self-esteem, shame, isolation or the pressures of life, work or relationships, pornography is a place to get lost and feel wanted, imagining the perfect partners who always desires them - and whom they can always satisfy.
    • "Like with any addiction, it's a predictable way to soothe," says San Francisco psychotherapist Gregory Rowe. "I've talked to soldiers back from Iraq who say the Internet centers there are jammed with soldiers masturbating to porn. It's a way to manage their anxiety.

#3 -- Addictive Aspects of Porn

There are some unique aspects about pornography that make it easily addictive.  It's so readily available online; sex is a wired in desire for all men and not one very easily done without; Internet porn sites are designed to get us to want more and more, which feeds a key ingredient of addictions.

    • San Francisco marriage and family therapist Julian Redwood, who specializes in treating patients with pornography addiction, says the biggest problem is that there is a physiologically addictive nature to porn and all sexually addictive behavior. People build up a tolerance and need more and more stimulation to achieve the same high. "So someone might start by looking at images of a normal heterosexual couple having sex and then move on to watching bestiality or sex with children. People push their edge."
    • "Online porn is so much about the hunt," Redwood adds, which is part of why people spend so many hours at it, at the expense of their jobs, family, social life and sleep. They keep searching for the image or video that is going to turn them on. It's similar to the drug addict going out to score the drug, or someone into prostitutes cruising the red-light district. "But there are lots of people who would never go to a prostitute who engage in Internet porn."

The biggest question for each of us men to answer is what are we going to do about our susceptibility to addiction to porn.  If you don't have a plan to protect yourself from porn addiction, seriously consider meeting with an expert to get one. (Read Part 1 of this series - Inside Look at Pornography Addiction

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Tags: Porn Addiction