Pornography Addiction: 4 Steps to Healing – Erin Rackham, MS, LAMFT

beautiful married couple embracing on white background

Pornography addiction and compulsive pornography use are becoming more and more prevalent with the rise of the anonymity, accessibility, and affordability of internet porn. It is no wonder that Utah legislators have recently declared it a “public health crisis”. Unfortunately, with this increase in pornography use has come an increase in relational distress as well. Many relationships begin to struggle with the revelation of a partner’s pornography use because it feels like infidelity to the partner, which feels traumatic and takes time to heal. So if you’re the pornography-user in your relationship, but you’d like to stop, what can you do? How do we heal from such a devastating habit?

  1. Insight.  Think about when this all started. What was happening in your life at the time you began intentionally seeking out pornography regularly? Chances are high that it was a particularly stressful time, whether you were 12 years old or 21. Most people who struggle with pornography use started seeking it out because they realized it helped them cope with the stresses happening in their life. This is why a lot of people relapse once they get married, which is counter-intuitive until you realize that marriage is one of the most stressful relationships we can have, and the first year of marriage brings with it a certain amount of stress and painful emotions people often don’t know how to cope with.
  2. Access your emotions.  So now you know what was happening when you started using, now try and think about howyou were feeling. If this is too hard, think about the last time you used pornography and what you were feeling just before. Usually people are trying to escape from painful and overwhelming emotions like sadness, hurt, shame, pain, or fear. This is particularly true for men, who have been socialized to only feel anger or sexual. These vulnerable, softer, emotions often don’t have an outlet, so they build up until they become overwhelming and the man has to escape from them by distracting himself with pornography and the endorphin release that comes with it.
  3. Accept, listen to, and act on your emotions...(read the rest of the story)

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

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