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.
The following is an interview I did for Pure Sex Radio, in which I reviewed the 9 Reasons Why Men Abuse Sex. I came up with these reasons during my work with men to help them manage their sexual and pornography addictions.
Pure Sex is sponsored by BeBroken Ministries. BeBroken is dedicated to the healing of individuals and family dealing with sexual sin. You can learn more about BeBroken Ministries at its website: https://2.bebroken.com
As you know, we don’t cure sexual or pornography addictions, instead, we learn to manage them. To assist us, the following are 4 steps we should take when temptations hits.
Don’t React. Respond.
This is a critical step. If you don’t get this one you will not be successful. Slow everything down. The key is to not rush off and act out but instead to sit with the emotions that have been activated by the triggering event. Find a place to be alone with your thoughts and feelings.
“I don’t know what you are so upset about. Every guy watches porn. It’s no big deal so why don’t you just leave it alone.”
I am blown away by the number of men I meet in my counseling practice who have uttered those words to their wives to justify their pornography addiction. In fact, many men believe watching pornography is as harmless as watching football. In their minds, since “every guy watches porn,” then it’s a harmless activity.
But they’re wrong.
Viewing pornography is far from harmless, especially to the emotional well-being of our wives. When we watch porn, we are sending extremely hurtful messages to our spouses.
While we may not intend to communicate self-worth eroding messages, nevertheless these messages are coming through loud and clear. Here are three of them.
I can’t tell you how many times I have spoken to men who say “yeah, I look at porn but I don’t think I have a problem.” To them pornography and masturbation are something all men do and therefore not a big deal. What they fail to understand is that their engaging in pornography damages others as well as themselves.
This is a great question and our author Kristen Clark does an excellent job answering it in an articled that appeared on the Covenant Eyes website. Pornography addiction is the result of deeply-rooted emotion issue(s) and/or trauma that have not been resolved. Entering into a relationship with a man that you know struggles with pornography is setting yourself up for a lifetime of heartache until the day comes when he elects to get help (if that day comes). Continue reading “Should You Date a Man Who Struggles with Porn?”→
Great article by Garrett Kell on being upfront and transparent with our wives about the struggle of sexual sin. This article originally appeared on the website “For The Church’. Read and take the advice to heart. One of the biggest issues facing couples in this situation is the husband lacks the courage to be honest and open. It is a BIG mistake and only leads to further pain and mistrust.
An article in the popular magazine Women’s Health outlined three reasons why couples should watch pornography together. Obviously, the writers and editors of Women’s Health don’t have a lot of experience in seeing how couples who watch pornography together can quickly see the erosion of their relationships.
Carla and Jonah started counseling after she found sexually-graphic text messages that he had been sending to women he met in chat rooms. He would later confess to her that he had been having online sexual encounters with three different women in which he would masturbate while reading the erotic text they exchanged back and forward. Continue reading “Couples and Porn Don’t Mix”→
A window of opportunity is a limited time period that allows us to engage in an opportunity or activity that is not available to us 24-7. Windows of opportunities come up often in the business world where executives must make snap decisions to engage or walk away from prospective deals.
Windows of opportunity also play themselves out with sexual addiction, primarily with the use of pornography and masturbation. Addicts are always looking for what I term “an open window” where they can act out without being caught.Continue reading “Shutting the Porn Window”→
Eddie, I have been happily married for 13 years and my wife and I have sex approximately once a week. I also masturbate (without pornography) about two times a week. Do you believe I have a sexual integrity issue?