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While pornography addiction is not yet listed in the DSM-IV as a mental disorder in the way that drug or gambling addictions are listed, the time has come to consider what internet porn is doing to us all, users and makers and those who feature in it, alike.
Are you addicted to pornography? Check out the list of criteria here. Addiction to pornography shows many of the features of other addictions, including dependence on porn to the exclusion of other aspects of life. If viewing, reading, watching or thinking about porn is interfering with your work, family life, relationship, or your social interactions, it is definitely a problem. Some pornography addicts will not be able to sexually "perform" without the stimulation of porn. In addition, pornography addiction may be a part of a more extensive syndrome of sex addiction - or it may not.
Availability and early porn use are serious problems
It is now so much easier to get pornography from the internet - and while not having to even set foot in an adult video store may sound great for getting a cheap thrill, the ability to download every kind of pornographic content is not necessarily a good thing. The explosion of pornography addiction is certainly down to the internet - and almost all men have seen some porn. what may of more concern is that the average age of furst exposure to porn is now 10 years - should boys of ten be seeing internet porn? By adulthood, porn may be an established and even pervasive element of their lives and, for some, this can lead to serious later problems, such as pornography addiction and relationship issues.
Tolerance build-up due to porn use
Like an alcoholic or gambler needs increasingly
larger amounts of alcohol or larger stakes, a pornography addict often needs
more extreme, unusual or deviant forms of porn to maintain his stimulation &
arousal levels. Some experts think viewing this material may produce acting
out of very unhealthy fantasies in real life. Even seriously deviant sexual
behavior could be inspired by pornographic content in men with little
self-control or impulsiveness control. Fortunately, for most men, internet
pornography addiction remains a private state of affairs and does not affect
sexual interaction with others. It may, however, interfere with the normal
physical expression of sexuality.
Support groups, therapy groups, and 12-step programs for recovering porn users and addicts are common on the internet. Ironic though it is to turn to the internet to solve a problem that it caused, a lot of porn addicts have found healing by sharing their stories and discussing it with others who have the same problem.
Dealing with sex addiction doesn't have to be hard, and you don't have to do it alone... Not unsurprisingly, the majority of groups created to help pornography addicts in recovery are religious in nature. Most organized religions take a general disapproving stance on any sexual activity not related to making babies between two married, consenting adults, so itís not hard to see why the church would have an interest in healing those addicted to porn. For a religious person, this approach may work, but for someone who is confused and struggling with his sexuality, the guilt piled on by religious support groups may not be helpful at all when dealing with pornography addiction.
Therapy for porn addiction
The best way to deal with porn addiction is to consult with a qualified therapist. Sure, sex addiction and internet pornography usage is not a mental disorder, but they are behavioral compulsions with potential consequences - and they can be harmful to social functioning. Any good therapist, psychologist knows this and can provide you with skills and psychological tools to reduce your dependency on porn. The latest specialist site to open up to help men discover how to stop using internet porn is now on line.
Software to filter out adult sites
Software is available to filter out pornographic content from the internet before it gets to your PC. While these filters are usually used to prevent explicit content, including adult sites, from being seen by children, they can be very useful for pornography addicts too. And yes, of course you can disable these filters, but they may act as a deterrent when you want a pornography "fix". There is also key logger software that records every move you make on the internet and - remarkably - "accountability software" that tracks your internet activity, and sends a weekly report to your "accountability buddy" to inform them about which sites youíre watching.
End pornography use
For most men, watching is an occasional guilt-ridden experience. But for those men - and some women - who use pornography constantly, this may be a mental, emotional and possibly even a physical trap. Happily, with therapy, computer filters, positive affirmations, accountability, and self-questioning, it can be overcome.