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Hooked on Porn?

Are you addicted to porn? Is it affecting your life or your relationship? Why is porn so hard to resist?

I’ve been there, done that, and come back to tell the tale. I’ve discovered some answers that will help you deal with porn and it’s not about forcing yourself to stop. I encourage you to understand your reasons for choosing porn, regain freedom from the compulsion, find integrity and strength, and reconnect to yourself and your loved ones.

“I can stop looking at porn any time I want to; I stop almost every day. But I can’t resist the urge to start again. Am I addicted to porn?” Does this sound like you? Some psychologists think porn can be addicting but others disagree. It’s not addictive like a drug can be – I’ve looked at porn in the past, and I’ve spent years without porn with no withdrawals. Calling porn addictive is an easy explanation that really explains nothing.

Still, I have found porn hard to resist at times. It seemed strongest when I was feeling anxious, lonely, or depressed. Why shouldn’t I indulge in some fantasy connection with a beautiful, willing woman with no demands or responsibilities? What’s the harm? But when it was over and I was wiping up the results, I’d made no progress with whatever was bothering me. I don’t want to think about how much of my life has been wasted in mindless unproductive activity watching porn. So why did I keep going back to it?

As a teen, porn was an exciting way to discover a forbidden topic. Later, when my first marriage was failing and my business going down the tubes, I indulged in porn as a temporary escape. During the lonely years after the divorce, I used porn as a balm for loneliness and depression. All of that made some kind of sense, but after Victoria moved in with me, I was still drawn to look at porn even though it upset her. How could I make sense of that? Now I had a strong reason to quit, but I was hooked on porn.

Understanding

In trying to understand why I was hooked, I came across all the lame reasons: “That’s just the way men are,” “Men are more visually oriented than women,” and “It’s a way to satisfy the male instinct to spread his seed.” And there were lots of lame excuses too: “I’m not hurting anyone,” “It has nothing to do with you, Sweetie,” and “At least I’m not out chasing other women.”

Nothing seemed to make sense to me until I found this simple explanation: porn is a strategy to meet some deep need within me. The basic theory is that actions are motivated by attempts to meet basic human needs. A simple example: rest and safety are basic needs; as a caveman, I would find a cave; as a young professional, I would rent an apartment. But we are not simple creatures; often meeting one need means not meeting another. The caveman may have to sleep in the open or under a tree to follow his food source. Because of limited funds, the young professional may have to decide between the nice apartment and sharing a house. Essentially, they both have to find new strategies to meet their needs.

Why is this relevant?

Watching porn is a way of meeting some basic needs. After much self-examination, I believe I was trying to find intimacy without fear. Of course, it was only a facsimile of intimacy when compared to true intimacy with a real woman, but I’m only now learning what it might be like to have a relationship without fear of rejection. Throughout most of my life I kept a certain reserve, avoiding the risk of letting someone know the real me. Sexual intimacy was one thing, and easy – even affection was easy. But opening up? Showing a woman my deepest self? Not a chance. What if she didn’t like me? What if she rejected me? What if I wasn’t good enough? Getting to know a woman was always exciting at the start – maybe she was the one who would accept me as I was. What I didn’t realize was that there wasn’t a chance anyone could really accept me if I never opened up. Eventually, the excitement died and we drifted apart for whatever reason was handy.

I’ve always wanted someone I could feel safe with, with whom I could let go and be me without fear of being rejected; but real women weren’t filling that need – through no fault of theirs. The closest thing I found was porn. With porn there was no worry that the fantasy woman would leave me or that I wasn’t good enough. The images were always ready when I needed them and willing to play whatever role I wanted.

Is porn enough?

Relationships can be challenging. For many, the challenges are too great, the effort required too much, the fear of being hurt overpowering. A real relationship is too scary; porn may be the only chance for some kind of intimacy. But some of us are torn; we crave intimacy with another but fear the vulnerability. I was trying to have both but I had to choose… and porn was not enough.

For most of my life I had two strategies to meet my needs for intimacy and safety, and neither was working well. Porn was safe, there was no vulnerability, but it was only a fake intimacy. Relationships provided intimacy but were only partially successful because I wasn’t fully investing myself into them. Finally I took the risk with my wife to be open and honest; to discover our needs on both sides of this issue as well as other issues in our relationship. It all began with revealing to her that I looked at porn, and has evolved, through ups and downs, through crises and backsliding, into the most important connection of my life. We kept coming back to basic needs and reestablishing our connection there, and each time we were both amazed at how strong our connection was becoming.

The feeling of having a partner I can rely upon, one who knows my deepest needs and accepts me as I am, is the safest and most intimate feeling I’ve ever known. I’m no longer hooked on porn. Now, I’m hooked on the feeling of being fully involved in sharing my world with the love of my life. And I’m very happy about it.

Permission is granted to use or reprint this article only with the following information included:
Garry Prater, author
Love and Pornography; Dealing with Porn and Saving your Relationship
GetHelpwithPorn.com

(Approximately 1100 words)