By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS, CPCS
It’s a question I hear quite often from clients, “why can’t I stop looking at porn?”. And I tell them all the same thing. They have not learned to feel their emotions.
I realize that sounds a bit odd, but I assure you at the heart of a man addicted to porn is a man whose heart has trouble feeling. Our struggle with pornography is really the pursuit of emotional intimacy. The problem is most men don’t know that. In fact, they wouldn’t know emotional intimacy if it hit them in the face.
In my clinical practice, 9 out of 10 men who present with a pornography addiction also have an extremely low emotional IQ. What this means is three-fold:
- They can tell you when they are angry, sad, happy or afraid. These are called secondary emotions. However, they struggle to identify their primary or true emotions. For example, what are you really feeling when you say you’re angry?
- If they can identify what they are truly feeling (primary emotions), they can’t articulate them in a constructive manner. They struggle to share and be vulnerable with others.
- But worse of all, they can’t determine what others are feeling beyond secondary emotions. They lack the ability to empathize and seek out additional information from others who are expressing their emotions. Instead, they want to shut down the individual, fix their problem, or runaway.
Beyond the sex/porn addiction, a man’s low emotional IQ it’s the single largest complain women have about the men in their lives. They are emotionally disconnected. We don’t allow ourselves to feel emotions. And as I tell my clients: “you need to feel to heal”.
If you want to manage your pornography addiction, make increasing your emotional IQ part of your recovery process.