Porn Addiction and the Pandemic

Porn addiction is one of the most controversial topics in our field. Like other sex addictions, professionals argue whether it exists or not. It’s such a controversial topic, I even wrote a book about sex addiction and some of the controversies surrounding it! Needless to say, if you’re researching this topic, you’ll find a lot of conflicting information. Most of that information will focus on whether or not you should call the problem you’re having an addiction. Unfortunately, most of this information is about professional debates and it won’t help you much at all. During stressful and even traumatic times, it’s obvious that whether you call it an addiction or not, some people struggle to control the amount of pornography they are viewing. You might be one of those people, so I’m hoping this article will help by focusing on what is probably going on and what can maybe help you with the problem you’re having. 

Again, the debate about whether or not it should be called an addiction distracts from the problem itself. People are often unsure if it’s even possible to be addicted to porn use. So I bring up the controversy because I know from experience that this is often a place where people start researching. 

I encourage you focus on yourself rather than endlessly reading articles about whether or not porn addiction exists. If you’re experiencing overwhelming emotions about your use of pornography, you’re unable to change your behavior patterns, or your relationships or work are suffering, there is a problem. Identifying why there is a problem and what you can do about it is critical. It’s much more critical than the label itself. After you identify the problem and figure out what you can do about it, you can then focus on whether or not you believe it’s an addiction. 

To help you identify your problems and what you might be able to do about it, I have written down some information about what can be triggering during a pandemic and why it can lead to out of control pornography use. 

Numbing 

The most obvious reason that people are at a higher risk of engaging in out of control pornography use is because we’re in a vulnerable time. Things are very uncertain and numbing is one of the ways that we deal with vulnerability. Pornography is one tool for numbing. 

We all numb. Numbing can become compulsive though. People can learn to rely on their numbing behaviors. 

Settle into vulnerability

I can’t really expect anyone to embrace vulnerability. We’re wired to get away from it. But getting away from it is an illusion. We can’t. So we have to orient to the vulnerable world that we live in all the time. 

Share how you’re feeling

Our struggles during vulnerable times can make us feel very isolated. Our numbing behaviors can make us feel isolated too! It’s common to feel some level of shame about struggles that you’re having. We get so many calls from people who think that they’re the only ones who are struggling with this problem. Trust me you’re not. We also hear the relief they often experience by just being able to share how they feel. 

Relationship struggles

Another common reason that porn addiction is more common right now is because people are feeling isolated in their relationships. Some people already had issues prior to the pandemic. Dealing with a vulnerable times can bring those issues out. It can also encourage new issues. 

Don’t ignore problems

Whether it’s a problem with sex, connection or communication, it’s important to deal with them. Learning how to talk and share, but especially how to listen is critical to making your relationship work. 

Accept your feelings

Denying how you feel will only make you feel worse. This is a stressful and complicated time. No feeling lasts forever. So learn how to accept the feelings that are there and practice accepting them. They’re just information about what is happening inside of you and around you. 

Get help

If you have a difficult time accepting how you feel and managing the vulnerability of the current pandemic, it might be a good idea to find a therapist. Talking with someone can’t change the situation itself, but it can help you feel less alone. It can also help you improve coping skills so that you’re able to better manage the situation as best you can, without relying too much on numbing, isolation, and avoidance.


If you’re in the Dallas area and you’re looking for a therapist, please feel free to contact us

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