It may be difficult to think of a time when we were sans smartphones…or even a plain cell phone for that matter. Technological advances in personal electronics, particularly the mobile phone, have come fast and furiously. In the early 2000’s, capabilities such as email, fax and web browsing became mainstays. In 2007, Apple’s iPhone came along and changed the marketplace for good.
While these tools certainly provide a convenience in accessing information, from business communications to personal interests, they have made it increasingly difficult for those of us who struggle with compulsive sexual behavior. Prior to the Internet, pornography use consisted of print media and video — VHS and DVD. To get access to these, you actually had to leave your house to make a purchase and risk the embarrassment of doing so. Sexual addictions, such as paying for sex or casual encounters, too relied upon print media … and on using a landline or payphone to set up the appointment.
The Internet and popularity of the PC and Mac computers changed all that. Along with the aforementioned smartphone evolution and personal tablets, the easier and more convenient access to porn and other sexual outlets provided complexity for those who are wanting to stop their compulsive sexual behavior. New phones, new apps and new messaging tools may be leading to a new group of people – especially young teenagers – who are living with pornography addictions. Many experts believe the rise in these addictions is specifically connected to smartphones.
Smartphones are a convenient way to find hookups, look at pornography and text with sex partners. From Ashley Madison to Adult Friend Finder to Grindr to even non-dating or sex websites like Facebook and Craigslist, it’s never been easier to find sex from your phone.
If you’re looking to get off this merry-go-round, do prepare for some hard work. Consider these options:
Personal accountability and accountability to another person or people is essential. It starts with being open and accountable to yourself, realizing that you have a problem and are demonstrating out-of-control behavior. If you have contacts, people who you act out with, consider erasing their contact information. Tell them not to contact you anymore if necessary.
Accountability with others can take the form of personal counseling, joining a group, and/or learning how to share openly in a balanced manner with your spouse or partner.
There’s an App for That
Similar to your personal computer or Mac, Apps for either filtering pornographic material or setting up accountability software are available for your smartphone. Consider downloading apps for you phone that will help you not only curtail your use but to also let others know what you’re up to.
Set time limits on how long you spend on your phone. Many people who struggle with compulsive sexual behavior initially do not seek out sexual material but do hang out too long on their phones until trouble finds them. The set up is similar to computers and television…not setting healthy limits is only asking for trouble. Have periods where your phone is completely turned off and not immediately accessible to you (i.e. not on your bed stand at night).