Tell Me About It: I’m worried about my porn addiction

I would love to have a relationship but worry I’m not able for it

Illustration: Thinkstock

Illustration: Thinkstock

Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 01:00

Q I am 27 and live at home with my parents. Life is really getting me down and I am angry all the time. I feel I could be heading for depression. The problem is I think I have a porn addiction and I’m now beginning to realise it is affecting all parts of my life. I hardly go out any more and find there is nothing to do but spend my nights in my room on the internet. I would love to have a relationship but worry I’m not able for it or that I won’t be able to hide the things that turn me on now. I feel disgusted with myself but telling my family or friends is not an option. I’ve even been tempted to look at porn on the work computer, even though I know if I get caught I will get fired.

A Porn is one of the hidden problems of our age. Many people look at it only intermittently, but there are others who have serious problems. As we become more and more connected to our devices, many people suffer from separation anxiety if they cannot find their phones or computers. The reward we get from porn is intense and satisfying – at least in the moment – and it can be hard to give this up or to take the risk of finding satisfying sexuality in the world of real people.

Porn addiction is primarily a male phenomenon, although research is beginning to show some women are affected also. To quote Alain de Botton in his book How to Think More about Sex: ‘‘Pornographic content providers [have] exploited a design flaw of the male gender. A mind originally designed to cope with little more sexually tempting than the occasional sight of a tribeswoman across the savannah is rendered helpless when bombarded by continual invitations to participate in erotic scenarios far exceeding any dreamt of by the diseased mind of the Marquis de Sade.”

Human beings have always enjoyed eroticism and the internet has an endless supply of material on hand.

One of the major problems with porn is that it is always available when you feel lonely, sad, bored or flattered, and ever-increasing hits are available at the touch of a button. It is easy to give yourself a break from your troubles, and the pleasure is real and rewarding. However, the purpose of desire is to break you out of your own comfort zone and take the risk of connecting with another human being – something requiring courage and confidence. We need the pull of desire to get us to do this, and if that desire is being met by porn, we stay in our safe, small places.

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