By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS, CPCS
“I have something I need to tell you,” said Daryl, a 32-year-old client who has been watching pornography since he was 13 and recently lost his job after being caught viewing it on his company phone. “The reason I have struggled to stop watching porn is because I like it. I’m ashamed to admit that to you but I truly enjoy watching pornography.”
My response to Daryl was a simple one, “thank you for being courageous to share that with me. I appreciate your honesty.”
And that is exactly what Daryl was doing – being honest. You see, pornography serves as a source of stimulation that activates pleasure-enhancing neurochemicals in our brain which produces a buzz or natural high. And guess what? We like that!
But the so-called appeal of pornography is not healthy and encourages objectification. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the mental, emotional and physical anguish porn can bring to individuals and relationships. It is destructive on many levels and can lead to:
- Dissatisfaction with partner’s appearance
- Erectile dysfunction or retarded ejaculation
- Escalating destructive sexual behaviors
- Increasing reckless behaviors – including heighten aggression during sex
- Increased isolation and distancing in relationships
- Creation of barriers in relationships
- A partner feeling betrayed
Managing Temping Thoughts
This is only a partial list of the problems that can result from chronic use of pornography and masturbation. And here lies part of the problem. We have an entertainment outlet that ruins the lives of those who participate in it as well as those who consume it. But it’s an entertainment outlet that provides an enormous stimulation that is difficult to ignored once you have been exposed.
More than 600 years ago, Thomas A. Kempis, a German-Dutch canon of the late medieval period wrote a famous book entitled The Imitation of Christ in which he outline the dangers of not being able to control lust including our desire for it.
“Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks,” he wrote. “First, a mere thought comes to mind, then strong imagination, followed by pleasure, evil delight, and consent. Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry. And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.”
Euphoria Turns to Despair
Despite the level of enjoyment porn brings, one day it will all end. The euphoric feelings turn to shame and disgust. The sexual excitement shifts to sexual frustration. The sense of engagement becomes isolation, loneliness and despair.
So, let’s hear what else Daryl had to say during our session after admitting he enjoyed watching pornography.
“I’m sitting here today because I have come to understand porn is ruining my life,” he commented. “I have lost a job I love, and my wife is repulsed by what I have done. We may end up divorced. I hate what I have become.”
Daryl like so many others who have gotten caught in the hamster wheel of pornography has come full circle in his thinking about the stimulant that has rocked his world. And why he may profess an enjoyment for porn, more importantly he has come to realize it is a cancer that can destroy everything he loves.
Perhaps you also have experienced the negative consequences of pornography personally or in your relationship. There is a way out, however, it is not a battle you can win by yourself. It will require you to be courageous enough to step out in faith to seek help and support.
Eddie Capparucci is a licensed professional counselor and certified in the treatment of sexual and pornography addiction. Among his many clients, Eddie has worked with professional athletes including NFL and MLB players and television personalities.
He is the creator of the Inner Child Recovery Process for the Treatment of Sex and Porn Addiction. He is also author of the book, Going Deeper: How the Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction.”
He is the administrator of the websites http://www.MenAgainstPorn.org and www.SexuallyPureMen.com and over the years, he has spoken to numerous organizations regarding the harmful impact pornography has on individuals, relationships, and society. He is the host of a monthly webcast entitled: Getting to the Other Side: Helping Couples Navigate the Road to Recovery. You can learn more about him and the Inner Child Recovery Process at www.innerchild-sexaddiction.com.