It is an addiction rooted in shame and shrouded in secrecy.
Pornography – ”The New Narcotic” – is perhaps the world’s most underestimated drug.
No one wants to come out and admit they have a problem. The shame and secrecy actually feed the addiction. Sex Addiction is defined as any sexually related compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends,loved ones, and one’s work environment.
Generally, addicts don’t perceive themselves as worthwhile persons. Nor do they believe that other people will care for them or meet their needs if everything was known about them, including the addiction. They believe sex is their most important need. Sex is what makes isolation bearable. It always does what it promises, but only for a moment. The relationship is with sex, not with people.
- Every second, over R 36 000 is spent on internet pornography.
- Over 28,000 internet users are viewing porn every second.
- 40 million Americans are regular users of porn sites.
- 25% of all search engine requests are pornography related.
- 68 million searches are conducted a day that are pornography related.
- 35% of all internet downloads are pornographic.
- There are 116,000 searches for child pornography daily.
- Although the average age at which a child first sees porn online is 11, children as young as 7 years is being exposed to porn on their cell phones.
- Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the USA.
- The number one type of sexual addiction is habitual viewing of pornography.
South African statistics
The bureau of Youth Research at UNISA released the following statistics in 2017:
Exposure to porn of South African high school learners:
68.7% of male learners and
45.9% of female learners have been exposed to porn.
49.5% encountered porn while surfing the Internet for entertainment
30.8% first reaction was to continue viewing the content
0.8% of learners said they informed adult/showed adult
Although the average age at which a child first sees porn online is 11, children as young as 7 years is being exposed to porn on their cell phones.
The pathway to porn addiction:
1st step – Addiction:
Characterized by repeated return to material. Once the consumer gets hooked, they keep coming back for more, and still more, of this powerful imagery. Once addicted, they cannot get rid of this dependency by themselves.
2nd step – Escalation:
With the passage of time, the addict requires rougher, more explicit, more deviant, and “kinky” sexual material to achieve the same ‘high’. – It is at this stage that, if their wives or partners are involved with them, they eventually push their partners into doing increasingly bizarre and deviant sexual activities. In many cases, this results in a broken relationship when the partner refuses to go further or to participate. This often leads to much conflict, separation and eventually can lead to divorce.
3rd step – Desensitization:
This is when what was previously seen as gross now becomes an acceptable “turn on”. Material that was taboo, repulsive, and even illegal, in time is seen as acceptable. The person really believes that this type of antisocial, or deviant, sexual activity depicted is normal – even if the activity is illegal and contrary to their personal standards and moral beliefs.
4th step: Acting out:
This 4th phase is the increase tendency to act out sexually the behaviours viewed in the pornography. Merely looking no longer satisfies the addict. The fantasies have to be acted out. The addict has been repeatedly exposed to compulsive promiscuity, exhibitionism, group sex, voyeurism, frequenting strip clubs and massage parlours, even having sex with children, rape, and inflicting pain on themselves or a partner during sex.
Compiled by: Clive Human, The Secret in our Pews. http://www.christianaction.org.za/index.php/articles/pornography/39-the-secret-in-our-pews-porn-addiction-and-how-you-can-be-set-free
Two South African teens seeking help for porn addiction:
12 yr old (Afrikaans speaking) girl asking for help on MOBIEG:
‘’Well ek het n superhipermega major probleem met porn. Dis moeilik. Ek gaan elke dag daarop om te kyk. Na ‘n website. Verslaaf. Kan nie sonder dit leef.’’
When asked when she engages in this behaviour, she said: ‘Ek weet nie ek doen dit actually as ek alone time het jy weet’’.
We explained how addictive it is and she replied: ‘’ Is dit soos drugs? O hel!!!! Ek is in groter dinges as wat ek gedink he?’’
An 18 yr boy asked for help on MOBIEG WITH PORN ADDICTION. This is what he said:
‘’Hellow. I been struggle with porn since I was 14. i need help now. I’m 18. I’m addicted to porn and its getting out of hand. Try quitting watching pornography and mastibating. I can’t stop I, its like a drug inside me.
I am scared and lonely I am thinking of killing myself, my life is worthless. Girls always reject me nothing I do or say make the like me. I don’t know how to behave around people. I am used to be alone so the treat me like trash I spent my time watching porn. I am scared. I didn’t pass matric. I failed, my family is disappointed in me.
I started watching pornography when I was 15. It was good at first then I started mastibating . When I was 16 I started to be social isolated. I didn’t want to hang people, I wanted to be alone. I think it was the point depression got to me. When I was 17 I wanted sex so bad I started living in a fantasy inside my head. I did not believe in reality. I lost my friends because they were judgmental about the issue. Also I learn new way to hide pornography in my phone. Then pornography started taking over in my life I lost control. I just wish I could quit this.’’
Why is porn so addictive?
Viewing porn excites the mind and sexually arouses the body. A natural consequence is the carnal desire to act out sexually and relieve the sexual tension. Most often, this is done by masturbation. Pornography is habit-forming and masturbation is habit-forming and the two together become a powerful force for addiction. The self-stimulation to a sexual climax is momentarily pleasurable and it can initially elevate a person’s mood, providing a momentary “high.” That usually results in the temptation to repeatedly replicate these feelings, potentially producing an obsessive- compulsive pattern if not stopped in time by the obvious red flags.
BRAIN SCIENCE BEHIND PORN ADDICTION
What is behind the enormous addictive power of pornography? Porn is powerful because it taps into mental models with powerful emotional biological and chemical connections throughout the brain and entire body which is similar to what happens in a healthy marital relationship. The difference is that porn triggers such a powerful response that we do not have a natural built-in mechanism to cope with it – it is a total overload that creates an imbalance, dysfunction, diseased state in the human system, an illness like a drug dependency. That is why neuro-psychologists refer to porn as “visual crack cocaine”.
If dopamine is too high for too long it leads to nerve cells losing their sensitivity. Persons who find themselves habitually masturbating will find that what they had previously been turned on by becomes “boring” – or more accurately, fails to turn them on. A common result of this is the quest for more porn, different porn, material that has never been seen that might even cross boundaries of taste, decency and sexual orientation.
Josh Fults ( http://joshfults.com/category/psychology/) explains Pornography is shaping the way a new generation of males view women, sex, and intimacy. It creates a sexuality in men that divorces sex from emotion. Healthy sexuality is meant to be deeply emotional. It was designed to be one of the most emotionally charged connections a man and woman can have, yet pornography creates “undead” sexual machines. Why?
Because one is behaviorally conditioned repeatedly to have a sexual encounter with an image.
The brain continually ingests sexual imagery, pleasure, and sexual release. Neurons (these are the cells in your brain) that fire together wire together. When sex is practiced correctly, sexual stimuli and positive emotions become melded together in the brain. We don’t see that with kids brought up on a steady diet of pornography. Does this affect their marriages? Does it ever! They often lack the ability to be emotionally intimate with their spouse and this leads to a host of difficulties.
They often expect sex to be what they see acted out in porn and women to look like what they view in porn. They create an appetite for what is not real, for what will never be real. This often leads to desire difficulties because they cannot find their wife sexually desirable. Porn also leads boys to depersonalize women. The female sex is not seen as a person. They become objects designed solely to titillate the rampant sexual desires of men.
In case you were still doubtful – pornography addiction is real. Considering the symptoms and comparing them to those that we know of from other addictions; the similarities are shocking.
Porn addicts have in fact a range of symptoms which are typical to those that use porn excessively:
- Social anxiety
- Erectile dysfunction
- Lack of interest in real sex
- Lack of interest in anything other than porn
- Relationship & Marital issues
- Employment issues & Jobless
- Poor academic performance
Virtual Reality Cybersex is also becoming more easily available. The current scope of this technology allows users to interact sexually in a virtual world with the use of your finger touching a screen image. Cybersex (sexual stimulation on the internet) is transforming our sexuality. The internet has become the main broker of the global sex market and in particular the global sexual exploitation of children. Predators become virtual, anonymous and untraceable—or so they think.
The rise of the web has allowed a ‘virtual marketplace to emerge’, supported by powerful criminal networks and businesses*. The internet is said to run on a ‘triple A engine’ in that it is accessible, affordable and anonymous. What this technology has enabled is a proliferation of child pornography which allows material to be digitally produced, stored, shared and distributed online. While it is estimated that approximately 7,000 child pornography images were in circulation in 1990, a total of 2.5 million images were recovered from one case alone in 2014.
Some consequences of being addicted to pornography are:
1. Sexual addiction using cybersex, once started, escalates quite quickly.
2. Sexual addiction on the internet will extend to non-internet behaviours (like cheating on your partner, visiting strip clubs, having sex with prostitutes, raping women, etc).
3. Sexual addiction magnifies behaviours (feelings of depression and suicide, relationship problems, etc) as well as associated problems (e.g. drugs, alcohol, nicotine, gambling. etc).
4. Sexual addiction will affect your work, relationships, finances, health, etc. in a negative way once it gets out of control. There comes a point where you won’t be able to control your acting-out due to the addition and your compulsive behaviours will eventually destroy you.