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  • Sex Help: I think I am getting Addicted to Porn

    Getting addicted to porn in the Internet age is becoming a major problem for many. Our Sexpert Saidat Khan provides help on this growing issue.

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    I think I am getting addicted to Porn. What can I do?

    For most people, viewing pornography occasionally is an acceptable activity or behaviour that gives pleasure. Some people fall into an emotional and physical trap when it is used in a compulsive and addictive manner that leads to feelings of guilt and shame.

    Definition of sex addiction and pornography: ‘Engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behaviours that are acted out despite negative consequences.

    If you think you are addicted, you may like to ask yourself the following questions that will help you make sense of your situation.

    1. Am I obsessing, craving sex and internet pornography and have difficulty controlling my thoughts.
    2. Am I concerned that my intrusive sexual thoughts may cross the line between social acceptability and the law?
    3. Do I feel irritable and agitated when I am unable to engage in the desired sexual behaviour?
    4. Do I spend substantial time in activities related to sex and visiting online porn websites?
    5. Does my use of pornography lead me to have or want sex with sex workers?
    6. Is my sexual behaviour/activity escalating with more intense use of internet pornography and excessive masturbation?
    7. Does my sexual behaviour affect other areas in my life, leading to neglecting responsibilities such as work and family?
    8. Do I continually engage in the sexual behaviour despite negative consequences, such as damaged relationships or potential health risks?
    9. Do I have a desire to stop but still carry on?

    If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, you may need to address your issue.

    The process and need for sex-related activities are a response to a survival chemical made in our own bodies called dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ hormone. This is a natural chemical that is produced when we feel good about ourselves. Porn releases this chemical in the brain instantly.

    There is growing evidence that young men aged 13-25 years of age who regularly masturbate to porn are experiencing porn-induced erectile dysfunction.

    Excessive use of internet pornography affects physical and psychological desensitisation to normal sexual arousal and stimulation. For males, especially, it alters the perception of healthy sexual behaviours. It will also affect marriages and undermine marital relations. The altered perceptions and expectations depicted by women in pornography can affect male sexual fantasies.

    Internet pornography addiction starts off as a desire to feel good but it soon becomes otherwise, with overwhelming feelings of guilt, shame, anger, fear and anxiety.

    It is used as a coping mechanism to escape from core feelings, such as low self-worth, anxiety, lack of attachment, depression, abandonment, anger and even boredom, so it is not really about the activity or the behaviour.

    This maybe even more exacerbated by those who have entered into an arranged marriage with no knowledge of sex education or sexual experiences and who are unhappy with their relationship.

    You can begin by putting in place certain strategies to help you control your behaviour that would include: mobile phone and internet protected filters to deny access to porn sites; maintain a communicative and honest relationship with your partner; read educational sex addiction material; call sex addiction anonymous and join a 12 step meeting and seek professional help with a qualified sex addiction therapist to explore the psychological factors that predispose the behaviour.

    With a structured plan and the right support; a healthy recovery from internet porn addiction is possible.

    When psychological issues and behaviours are explored and brought to the awareness, you will have the courage and resource to put yourself back in control and move onto having healthy attachments and fulfilling sexual relationships.

    If you feel you are suffering from porn addiction, first contact your doctor or health professional to discuss the issue. Then get referred to a psychosexual and relationship specialist who can develop the plan to help you recover. To get help, you must be honest to yourself and the professionals, to really tackle this issue.

    Saidat Khan is an experienced psychosexual and relationship therapist who treats individuals and couples with sexual dysfunctions and intimacy issues. He also facilitates structured group-work; programmes for sex addiction/compulsive behaviour. Based at his Harley Street practice in London, he is open minded and empathetic to client’s needs. Information about his services is available on his website.

    Do you have a Sex Help question for our Sex expert? Please use the form below and send it to us.

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    Saidat Khan is a Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist and an Addictions Specialist from Harley Street London. He is a keen golfer and enjoys yoga. His motto is ''I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become'' by Carl Jung.

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