The pornographic industry has been at my fingertips since I began to develop an interest in it, at the age of 13.  With the progression of technology, it has only gotten more accessible.  To date, it’s as easy as checking my “new follower” notification on twitter. At least once a week, I will get followed by a cam girl or pornstar and with the click of a button, I have entered the ironically named “adult entertainment” portion of the Internet.

I think the accessibility of porn these days scares a lot of parents and the knee-jerk reaction is often to use an onslaught of parental controls, monitoring apps and other types of software to spy on your own children.  I gather that the general public realizes this is like trying to contain a wildfire with a standard home extinguisher.  Simply labeling it as out of bounds only makes teenagers want to rebel and cross the line. So, when a product is as compelling as porn, there’s no need to add to its seductive lure by making it “forbidden”. Switch out “forbidden” for a synonym, “naughty” and it’s pretty clear that the message is destined to backfire.

If we have learned anything from the failure of the war on drugs, informing the public about the risks and rewards of drugs, from a non-biased standpoint, is the answer to preventing misuse and addiction. Porn should be treated for what it is, a drug just like alcohol or marijuana. Whether it’s opening up the “Incognito” browser, rolling up a joint or mixing a rum & coke; all of these actions are done to provide a release from reality and stimulate a pleasure response in the brain.

“Cambridge Neuropsychiatrist Valerie Voon was featured last year in the UK documentary, “Porn on the Brain”. Her research demonstrates that the brains of habitual porn users show great similarity to the brains of alcoholics. A brain structure called the ventral striatum plays a significant role in the reward system of the brain—the pleasure pathways. It is the same part of the brain that “lights up” when an alcoholic sees a picture of a drink.” (Source: covenanteyes.com, Title: Brain Chemicals and Porn Addiction: Science Shows How Porn Harms Us).

So let’s talk about it for what it is. Porn is a drug and the only way to help your kid understand how to deal with the temptation is to have that seemingly awkward talk. Converse about what’s going on in their brain and why their body reacts the way it does to that type of virtual stimulation. It will remove some of the shame associated with having a sexual desire and the frustration of their inability to act on it during those uncomfortable pubescent years.

The positives shouldn’t be left out. Masturbation has been a thing for thousands of years for a reason. Sometimes that sexual release breaks some of the tension and allows me to be calmer or less “on edge” for a period of time. I had a conversation with my dad when I was 13 that resonated with me. We spoke about porn/masturbation and how it’s associated with lustrous thoughts. If those thoughts are left unmanaged, they can be detrimental to a person’s patterns of thinking and damage other areas of one’s life. I didn’t stop watching porn, but at least when I did, I questioned the morality behind what I was doing and recognized it as an unrealistic depiction of sexual behaviour.

Trust your teenagers to start thinking about their actions like the young adults they are. Inform them without judgment and make them feel less alone in the matter. It’s probably the first recreational drug we are exposed to and, if approached properly, it can provide a healthy foundation for the ones we will encounter later.

(This post was contributed anonomously by a young adult)
Photo credit: Seemann from morguefile.com

How Can I Change?

“It has been one week with zero communication with my partner who has a sex addiction. It may seem like not a lot of time; however, when you have spent the last three years (every day) speaking with or seeing him, then you come to realize that these seven days can feel like a lifetime.

I’ve looked at my phone to see if there are any messages and I’ve “creeped” him on instagram to see what he has been up to; but I am now realizing that only one person called me today. So I start to look back on my life (or at the past 3 years) and wonder what I have done and whom I have neglected.

I’ve become aware that there are a number of people I’ve neglected in the past three years…myself included. Reading through google searches of how to help my sex addicted partner, I found the word codependency come up quite frequently.

I then read a little further and have identified that I am able to relate to almost all common characteristics of being a codependent.

So although I am sad about not having any contact with my addicted partner, I am realizing that it is time to work on myself. Perhaps that is the best way to help my partner….starting with me first.”

Some of the common characteristics of codependency, that others may also relate to are:

  • Spending a great deal of time focusing on the person with addiction and neglecting yourself and others.
  • Sacrificing self with the unrealistic expectation that it will foster loyalty.
  • Becoming someone you don’t like (e.g. angry, hopeless, helpless, untrusting, drained)
  • Giving the person struggling with addiction the unearned benefit of the doubt over and over again.
  • Enabling by seemingly turning a blind eye, compromising yourself, and trying to control or “parent” the person

To learn more about overcoming codependency and addictive behaviours, call us today .