Get help for online porn addiction and reclaim your relationship

Paul Larsen Sex and Relationships Therapist, LMFT Morningside Recovery
Get help for online porn addiction and reclaim your relationship

Sexual addiction itself is tough to describe because everyone defines it differently. It’s also complicated when it comes to online porn addiction because every case is unique. Chances are individuals in a relationship with an addiction to porn have a lot of hiding and secrecy in their lives and choose to use porn for sexual gratification versus rejection from a significant other. Individual porn addicts either have no communication with spouse about sex or they ask for something that their partner may not be comfortable trying.


Do

Do understand what makes a healthy relationship

A Healthy relationship has to be 5 things:

  1. Dependable
  2. Reliable
  3. Predictable, in the vein of stability or known expectations
  4. Supportive
  5. Caring

The key here is that a healthy relationship involves a partnership, which means all five elements must be reciprocated by both partners.

Do avoid the seductive power of Jezebel

Addiction can be referred to through the three J’s: “Jack, Jane, and Jezebel”

  • Jack = Alcohol
  • Jane = Drugs
  • Jezebel = Instant sexual gratification outlet (in this case online pornography)

The problem with Jezebel is she is extremely dependable, reliable, and predictable. You’ll see exactly what you want to see, and probably more.

These elements give people permission to do it again and again. They may say to themselves or their significant others, “This is the last time,” but that constant, instant access—knowing porn is always there—plays a role in giving the addicted individual permission to return to it.

Because Jezebel provides instant gratification, any rejection or insecurity falls away. You don’t feel that when you’re watching porn. This is where porn can feel supportive and caring, but the bottom line is porn is an all receiving relationship, which is both unhealthy and addictive.

Do get support

In addition to finding a therapist for individual work, go to a 12-Step meeting or alternative sex addiction support group. Surrounding yourself with others who have been where you are can relieve any guilt or shame you may be experiencing. Despite how it may seem, these groups provide spaces of sympathy, not embarrassment.

Do help yourself through self-awareness

Denial is no help to anyone. Thinking you can handle logging on the internet too soon will likely result in relapse. Isolating yourself by refusing to get help through a therapist or support group in the hopes that going cold turkey on your own will work is also a bad idea. If you’ve come so far as to read this article, you are already self-aware enough to make a change for the better. Stake the next steps toward recovery by continuing to educate yourself and reaching out when the time comes.


Don't

Do not keep it a secret

People say their sex lives are nobody else’s business. This is true, but keeping personal issues like online porn addiction a secret is more damaging than it would be if you were to seek help.

Do not put privacy settings on your devices

Don’t have a private code on your computer or smartphone. Allow someone else that access, where it’s a parent, friend, or partner. Keeping your devices open to others adds an element of getting caught when you are trying to hide it.

Do not go online

Don’t go online unless you absolutely have to. In a way, this is common sense, but in today’s hyper connected world it’s not always that simple. If you have to go on the Internet for school or work, that’s understandable, but do your best to limit it to just those tasks. You’re putting yourself in too vulnerable a circumstance just by opening an app, portal, or web browser. It’s not worth exacerbating the addiction.

Do not unload your guilt on your partner

Get into individual therapy and follow the suggestions of a therapist. Have them assist or advise you on how to disclose the addiction to your significant other, down to figuring out exactly how to say it if need be. Seeking help is critical so that you don’t trigger other relationship related issues and insecurities for either you or your partner.


Summary
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There are a number of resources at your disposal if you seek to address your online porn addiction. Although it may seem like the right thing to do, you should avoid taking action on your own or bearing all this information at once to your significant other. Make sure to seek help for yourself first. Then, once you are prepared and have the advice of a professional, you can open up the conversation with your partner. You may even find that your peers in a group setting become good friends or confidants. Despite the complicated nature of online porn addiction, there is hope for recovery. Just be sensitive to others once the time is right to share.
 


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Paul LarsenSex and Relationships Therapist, LMFT

Paul Larsen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with over 18 years’ experience specializing in Sex and Relationships. He currently works at Morningside Recovery, a mental health and addiction treatment center in Orange County, CA....

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