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Imagine if all the heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine you ever wanted or could possibly use was sitting on the desk in your home or work office. Now imagine that supply of illicit drugs being constantly replenished with a fresh supply.
Even if you weren’t normally a drug user and clearly understood the dangers and potential addiction risks of just trying it once, wouldn’t you be tempted? Isn’t the knowledge that they were there enough to pique your interest?
Drugs and Sex:
That situation is similar to what’s going on with Internet pornography and sex addiction. Right now, there are countless websites you can visit that will provide you with every type of pornography imaginable. And not only are these websites free to visit, but they are constantly being resupplied with hundreds of new videos, photos, and even live broadcasts of sex workers.
Addiction to sex and drugs are very similar. They both stimulate the same pleasure centers in the brain. And they both can consume people’s lives as they blindly pursue their next interaction with the object of their desire, be it an injection of heroin or a video of two people having sexual intercourse.
The difference is that drugs costs money. And you typically have to go into a sketchy neighborhood or meet with some unsavory characters to purchase them.
With pornography, you can get as much as you want anonymously. And if you are even the slightest bit clever, you can block or erase any evidence of your use of pornography with a few clicks of your computer’s cursor.
Sex and Addiction:
The problem with this scenario, of course, is that it’s a very slippery slope. Once you get a taste of Internet porn – and presumably become sexually aroused – it’s hard to forget it’s there.
It also can become a slippery slope. In other words, looking at pornography once in a while can lead to spending longer and longer amounts of unproductive time pursuing sexual pleasure.
And, like drugs, you can quickly graduate from gateway porn – such as a few dirty pictures or a soft core video – to more hard core stuff. It’s no coincidence that there has been a rash of convictions of formerly respected, upstanding people such as school teachers, business leaders, and politicians being charged with possessing and distributing some of the darker forms of porn, such as child pornography.
There are some very deep, dark wormholes you can go down once you start looking at online porn. And for many people, once they start down that path, it’s practically impossible to turn back.
Overcoming Sex Addiction:
Like any other type of addiction, being powerless to chase after sexual stimulation can have devastating consequences. In addition to the risk and embarrassment of being arrested – as mentioned earlier – there’s also the shame of being discovered by family members or your partner.
Then there are the real costs of sex addiction, especially as it’s related to Internet pornography. All those hours people spend looking at dirty videos and obscene pictures is time they aren’t spending doing their jobs, spending quality time with their family and friends, or doing other things that benefit their lives rather than wallowing in the lurid squalor of pornography.
Steps You Can Take:
Obviously, the best way to avoid becoming addicted to online pornography is never to look at it in the first place. Once you open that door, it’s hard to close it. So the best option is to nail it shut and never peek at what’s inside.
But that’s already impossible for many, if not most, people. So another option is to use the parental settings on your home computer to block any pornographic websites. Just go to the settings functions of your computer and follow the instructions to prevent you from accessing these sights during your weakest moments.
With many systems, you can choose to block porn sites for a specified period of time or you can permanently disable your computer’s ability to access these sites.
Some systems require you to password protect these sites. All you need to do is randomly assign a password that you can’t possibly recover by typing blindly when asked to input the password.
Real Addiction Requires Real Treatment:
For many people, cutting off access to online porn is enough to quell their desires to look at it. Because you can’t get at it, over time your need for it can wane.
But if you continue to struggle with sex addiction, you may require professional interventional care such as a sex addiction counselling. Ask your personal physician for a referral to a medical psychiatrist or an addictions treatment center. You also can ask your pastor, rabbi, or other spiritual leader who will respect your privacy. Regardless of how you get help, the most important thing is that you get the help you need to return to your normal, productive life.