Sunday, 27 December 2015

Top 4 Porn Addiction Myths: Q&A

Fortify Program | December 10, 2015

by (See all authors)

Q: Do only people with “Addictive Personalities” have a problem with porn?

A: So there is still a lot of debate on this one. A recent study by Simone Kühn, and Jürgen Gallinat, found that frequent porn users had a significant reduction in grey matter in areas of the brain like the frontal lobe. They also found a decrease in neural connectivity in those areas. The important thing to know about this is these are the areas of the brain that control logic, reasoning and decision making. All things that contribute to compulsive behavior. The catch is that this was not a “before and after” study. Meaning the scientists didn’t take a look at people's brains before they had watched porn regularly for a few years, only after. Because of this they couldn’t unequivocally conclude that the porn addiction caused the underdeveloped brain makeup. It is still possible that people are predisposed to porn use because of the structure of their brains at early stages of their lives.

There are a couple reasons this is unlikely.

  1. After porn use stops, the neural pathways in the brain that were being inhibited begin to grow and develop. This shows that even if porn wasn’t the initial cause of underdevelopment, it was creating an environment that stunted neurological growth.
  2. Porn acts almost exactly like a drug, as far as chemical release in the brain. This is important when answering this question because we do have “before and after” science for drugs. These studies show that susceptibility to drug use has more to do with your environment than your personality.

This chicken-or-the-egg question can be a little frustrating but honestly, why is it so important? If you have noticed that porn is causing negativity in your life the question should be “what are you going to do about it?” Besides, having an “addictive personality” just sounds like people are going to be addicted to hanging out with you.

Q: Is porn addiction just about sex?

A: Not nearly as much as you would think. The above video talks about a lot of misconceptions towards addiction and the concludes that addiction is about a lack of healthy connections. Sex is a powerful way to connect with another person. When it is healthy and reciprocated, that level of intimacy can help us feel important, powerful, wanted, and useful. Who doesn’t want to feel those things? Author John Steinbeck said that "Most of the vices of men are attempted short cuts to love.” When someone is caught in an addiction it becomes the only way their brains know how to seek out connection. Even though it is a short cut, and there is no real reciprocation, we still try and fake it. Remember, most of the things that drive people to porn addiction started as good, healthy, human desires that have been twisted into something dark.

Q: Is there such thing as healthy porn use?

A: We’re going to go with a solid no with this one. First off, the whole “I watch porn all the time and I’m fine” argument has some pretty big holes in it. Our first question to that would be if you have ever tried going without porn for a while. A month? What about 90 days? Not admitting you have a problem because you never tested it is not the same thing as not having a problem. The second reason is that porn will always affect how you see others. This has huge play in current or future romantic relationships. Studies have shown that after viewing porn, people experience less attraction to their partner and less sexual satisfaction. Even in situations of infrequent porn use. Basically, porn contributes to intimacy FOMO (Fear of missing out). If we’re always on the lookout for bigger, better, shinier, we’ll never be able to enjoy with what we have. Last reason; there is no such thing as “Free-Trade” porn. While a lot of industries are pushing to make sure their products come from reliable, socially conscious sources that do not contribute to poverty, slavery or violence, the porn industry is on it’s way back into the dark ages. Open source porn sites are becoming more and more popular and what that means is regulation is almost non-existent. Anyone, from anywhere, can upload anything. If a subject's age, consent, and compensation are not recorded, we have no real way of truly knowing. Seeing is not believing when it comes to porn. Are we really going to trust an industry whose greatest safeguard is an “Are you 18?” button?

Q: How long does it take people to “fix it?”

A: This is a bit of a loaded question. Usually what people actually mean by this is one of two things: can you quit cold turkey, or how long do you need to be sober before you don’t have a problem anymore? It is important to remember that cold turkey is another way of saying “eventually I had a last time”. Some people get around to their last setback faster than others. The idea that you can declare a setback to be officially the very last is just silly. What matters is making a plan, learning and being patient, focusing on the positive and building healthy connections. This is not an excuse, it is a reality. Recovery is not simply a result of willpower, it is the result of practice. Ready for a hard truth? Porn will probably always be something you have a weakness for. That does not mean it will always be a problem for you or that you will always have setbacks. Recovery done right will fill your life with positive habits, supportive atmosphere, and strengthen your character. Porn w]may be just as accessible and destructive, but you can become stronger. The problem is, asking how long that will take is like asking how long it takes to get a six-pack. It depends. Everyone is different and everyone will have a different journey but that doesn’t make it any less possible.