Porn Doc Is In! —Is Viewing Porn Harmful?

Porn addiction and sex addiction experts from Compulsion Solutions answer your most pressing questions. We’ll answer your question too… e-mail Porn Doc. Searching for Porn Online

 

Dear Porn Doc,

I am a married man who likes to look at online pornography. I don’t feel this is a problem. My wife knows to some degree how much I look at it. She’s not crazy about it but also doesn’t tell me to stop. What I’d like to know is: is porn harmful?

 

Porn Doc:

The answer to your question is, it depends. The more important question for you to consider is: is pornography harmful for me?  On a macro level, there are ongoing studies on the possible harmful effects on the viewing of pornography. A new online journal, Porn Studies, will begin to critically explore your very question. A study in the Netherlands claimed porn use has only a small effect on sexual behavior. The Wall Street Journal weighed in on the Netherlands study with an article that now has over 200 comments. Expect more and more debate and information on this topic.


Getting back to your specific situation, you mention that your wife is both not “crazy” about your viewing porn and that she does not know the whole picture either. Good barometers on whether this is harmful for you are whether or not looking at online porn negatively affects your marriage. Some possible lookout points are:

  • Finding pornography more exciting than actual sex with your partner
  • Covering up your behavior more and more. Are you justifying the half-truths? Are you keeping secrets?
  • Are you spending more time than usual looking at porn? Is there any kind or progression that you are noticing?
  • Are you trying to bring what you see online into the bedroom with your wife that makes her uncomfortable?

 

These are just a few things for you to consider and observe. You may want to take our online quiz to better help you in determining a more complete answer to your question. If you find that there are problems, I encourage you to seek professional counseling.


Dear Porn Doc,

Can you recommend or suggest replacements for acting out sexually? I’m in recovery and feel like I am constantly white knuckling it.

 

Porn Doc:

You’re wise to examine this. There is so much energy tied into compulsive sexual behavior —the energy we receive from it (the rush) and the amount of energy we spend on it. A metaphor I often use is if you are going to build a dam, the water will look to venture onto different paths. You do need to have other things to do to at least temporarily divert the impulses. How can you give your “addict” a new job?

 

I find that two paths are usually the best — physical and creative. It is important that you have some kind of exercise or physical movement routine to offset the physical rush you likely get from acting out. Find other ways to burn off energy. The creative path is also important because if you really examine the underbelly of addiction, you will find that low self-esteem represents the driving force to act out, to self-soothe. The creative process simply makes you feel good about yourself and what you are able to make. A few examples of creative activity include painting, woodworking, cooking, music, and writing.

 

Replacement behaviors are a good and necessary part of your recovery. I do hope that you are actively working with a therapist on the root causes of your addiction. You need to do both.

 

 

 

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