Sadly, our children are being exposed to pornography at the average age of 11, usually before they have been sexualized. I have seen children as young as ten who have pornography related issues. Chlidren first view porn when peers show it to them, when an adult is viewing porn with a child in the vicintiy, or when the child stumbles upon it while on the Internet. When a child is exposed to porn before they are ready to be sexualized they develop an unhealthy and unrealistic view of sexuality. Intimacy with a person becomes next to impossible.
Once the brain has been exposed to porn it actively seeks more of it. The effects of pornography on the brain are similar to the effects alcohol or drugs have on the brain. Pornography feeds the pleasure parts of the brain making the individual crave more.
Viewing pornography becomes a release from life's daily stressors. It becomes an unhealthy way of coping with the world. It allows the individual to escape overwhelming emotions in the same way alcohol, drugs, eating disordered behaviors, and gambling become unhealthy and addictive coping skills. The problem grows when the individual acts impulsively and compulsively to view porn.
Addiction to pornography can exist alone or with other sexual acting out behaviors. The brain becomes desensitized to the images being viewed leading the individual to seek more hard core, fantasy driven images. The individual can become highly involved in this fantasy world leading to seeking out prostitutes, threesomes, bestiality and more and more. When the individual attempts to bring this into the bedroom, within a relationship, it can be distressing for the partner.
Common problems that may develop with porn addiction are:
- Failed attempts to cease use
- Spending exorbitant amounts of time viewing porn
- Poor impulse control
- Relational issues
- objectifying others in a sexual manner.