How does a person actually become addicted to pornography? There is a path or a process by which this happens. For many men, adult entertainment is simply seen as a way to relax or relieve stress. That may be all they see on the surface but there are actually deeper causes for people to turn to pornography.
Wounds from the past impact us today
Many of the men who struggle with pornography struggle with some pretty deep emotional wounds. There are emotional conflicts from their past that lead them to porn to ease that pain and then this pain keeps them going back to it. This could be related to past abuse, neglect abandonment, parental divorce, weak masculine identity, poor body image, loneliness, guilt, or shame.
The Selfishness of Pornography
There is also narcissism, pure selfishness that leads a man to feel entitled to view pornography. Many people today struggle with extreme selfishness and self-centeredness. A man goes onto the internet to look at porn thinking it is just entertainment but it is actually feeding his own selfishness.
The Progression of Addiction
The more a person views pornography the more the person gets physically addicted. Not only does the person become emotionally addicted but he also can become physically addicted. As with any addiction, after a while a tolerance develops. A little isn’t enough. More of the substance is needed to get the same desired effect. Instead of spending 20 minutes on the internet, it increases to several hours or more. The type of pornography also becomes more extreme. Soft stuff is not enough and the person moves to the more hard core porn that may include violence or fetishes.
Along with a tolerance a dependence develops. The person actually needs the pornography. He needs the fix several times a day or week and if he does not get the fix there are actually withdrawal symptoms. These may include depression, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and stomach aches. These are valid withdrawal symptoms. The addiction can become so strong that the person’s life becomes out of control and the addiction rules his life.
For some men, simply looking at pornography isn’t enough anymore and they begin to act out on what they have seen. This can lead to seeing escorts, prostitutes, extra marital affairs, etc. This carries the real danger of sexually transmitted diseases as well as loss of marriage, family and jobs.
This is the path of addiction. It is the same path whether it is drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, video games or gambling. Pornography is just a click away and it is easy to become addicted. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to pornography, seek help. Consult with a therapist or other trusted source to get help.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Have you thought of pornography as an actual addiction?
- Have you experienced any of the emotional wounds that were mentioned in this video? How do you think they are impacting you today?
- Have there been times in the past when you have committed to not look at porn? How successful were you?
- Read John 8:34. Do you believe this is a true statement? In what way could you become a slave to pornography?
- Do you believe that your addiction to pornography could progress to acting out in other more dangerous ways? Why or why not?
- Read John 8:1-11. What can you learn about Jesus and his view of sexual sin from this passage?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.