When Someone You Love Is Addicted To Porn
The easiest billion dollar industry to research, watch, and even participate in is what we call Pornography. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry that is destroying marriages, families and corrupting the minds of children. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Since I started working with at-risk youth back in 2014, I was shocked at the amount of young children and youth who were addicted to pornography or even just watching it on a semi/ regular basis. When talking with teens, they mentioned they first saw it through their parents/guardians. I realized that I lived a very sheltered life growing up because I truly did not know what pornography was until I was a freshman in college. A recent study found that compulsive porn users “had greater impairments of sexual arousal and erectile difficulties in intimate relationships but not with sexually explicit materials.”
Among the damaging statistics, men and women are being affected by pornography every day. It not only spills out into their relationships, marriages, but it is also destroying families. Children have easy access to pornography and other sites that are damaging to their mental health, mind, brain function, and how they view sexuality and the opposite sex. As many as 93.2% of males and 62.1% of females are exposed to porn before they turn 18. Even in the strictest household, chances are young children and teens are viewing and seeing materials that they should not be looking at. (Yes! They are smarter than we think!) Children who are watching porn can easily become victims to other things such as cyberbullying, sex trafficking, etc. “The exposure of children to internet pornography is harming their developing brains. Pornography consumption is associated with decreased brain volume in the right striatum, decreased left striatum activation, and lower functional connectivity to the prefrontal cortex.”
If your child/teen is addicted to porn
First and foremost express your love for them and explain how you want them to have a happy, healthy, and successful life, but share your concern that their involvement into porn can jeopardize their future happiness, well-being, and relationships. If you do this in a caring, loving way you will have a better outcome.
Teach your child on the damaging effects that porn causes to the development of sexuality, and how pornography views others as a sexual object. Also the desensitization that takes place from repeated overexposure.
Keep the lines of communication open. Remember addiction thrives in secrecy and is less likely to reoccur when communication is happening all the time with no judgement.
Learn from your child. Ask them how it started, and how long it has been going on.
If they need additional help beyond what you can offer, it’s okay. Know that there are professionals, pastors, and groups who can further help your child if extra steps are needed.
Protect! Protect! Protect! Take all social media outlets away from your child or remove them from the home. You can safeguard your house to help and protect your child and really your entire family. If you can’t remove computers and other forms of technology, put filtering systems and accountability blocking sites on their phones, computers, etc. This will help greatly. Keep all technology out of bedrooms!
If your child is addicted to porn, and it is something you are struggling with yourself, walk this journey with them and experience healing together. Remember, you are still the parent so discipline as you see fit, but if you do it in a way that is not degrading to your child.
Lastly, warn and educate other members in your family and circle of friends so that others can learn how porn can quickly become addictive.
Remember, being open, honest, and having good communication will be the key to fighting this fight together. Know that you are loved and there are numerous support groups out there that are willing to lift you up and fight right alongside of you. Life is too short to be anything but happy, healthy and living on top of the world without garbage weighing you down.
If your spouse/significant other is addicted to porn
First and foremost DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF. If your significant other/spouse is addicted to porn it is not because you aren’t pretty enough, thin enough, or not worthy enough. YOU ARE. An addiction to porn goes much deeper than anything that is on the surface. Very similar to gambling addictions.
If the relationship is something that you want to fight for finding things to do to stay active together is key!
Therapy doesn’t always work for everyone, but finding the proper counselor, therapist, or group who specializes in porn addiction is essential.
Most importantly change all social media outlets so your significant other/spouse can’t easily access porn. In some cases if all technology needs to leave the house for a period of time, then do it. It will be hard but SO worth it in the end. Just like there are parental controls for our children, there are parental controls for adults that can be used on phones, and computers.
Numerous people have asked me, “What if we are watching porn together?” I would never tell someone (or a couple) how to live their life, but I would highly recommend that couples do not watch porn together. It may seem fun and innocent, but after a while, watching porn will slowly seep into your mind, steal your thoughts and not only will you start craving it but you will find that your intimate life will change as well.
If you are single and meet someone, never be afraid to have open communication about “hot topics” such as pornography. This will help in your discernment on whether it is a relationship that will thrive or not. There is nothing wrong with knowing and owning what you want out of a significant other and spouse.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you are struggling, you are not alone and there are places and people who are willing to help you! Together let’s rid the world of this horrific billion dollar industry.
God Bless You!
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