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Take Action for Pornography and Sex Addiction

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Frequently Asked Questions

• Is pornography addiction just about substance dependence?
No, not really. We all have the brain reward circuitry that makes sex rewarding. These rewards have feedback mechanisms to tell us when we have had enough and when to seek out more. This is a normal survival mechanism that has been with us for a long time. In someone with addiction, the circuitry becomes dysfunctional. The 'enough' mechanism either doesn't switch on, so we are always on the search for 'more'. As 'enough' never happens, the addict is never satisfied. Because the switch is expected but doesn't arrive, the addicts brain becomes tricked into looking for more, or stronger ways to satisfy the 'need'. So, anyone who becomes addicted to pornography is vulnerable to looking for ever stronger, more explicit hardcore pornographic imagery.

• Isn't that just switching one bad habit for another?
As I said, that depends on what your intentions are. By using lube as the stimulant more often, as you continue to do that, and get more and more pleasure from it, your brain will click into gear and realize there is another way to achieve the same satisfaction. A way that is not so costly in time, depravity, guilt, the risk of being caught out (by having a corrupted computer with lots of tell-tale signs in the history etc), it's less complicated, you don't have to feel so bad about what you're doing, and the hate that you feel about betraying your partner with porn is reduced.

• Why should pornography destroy a relationship; after all they are just pictures, aren't they?
Relationships are one of our greatest sources of joy and fulfillment. But it is also true that they are a sea of struggle and misunderstanding. You make great relationships by making great decisions. Lasting and meaningful relationships bring much happiness and satisfaction. If you were to come home and say to your partner, I'm seeing someone else. What do you think the effect would be? If you are looking at porn and engaging with porn, then your mind sees it as something real, even if only for the few seconds of orgasm. You can deny it all you want, but does this not belittle your partner who now sees what you are doing as being unfaithful?

• Isn't pornography just a bad habit?
If it was just that, like not brushing your teeth properly, or putting your clothes on in a particular order, then you could change it easily with some conscious thought. But pornography isnt like that; it is an obsessive compulsive cycle which is difficult to stop. Most people start by thinking 'I just won't think about it anymore'. And this is fine for a short time, usually right after failure. But the longer it goes on, the thought comes back to look again. You resist, and resist, and resist some more, then you give in, watch porn, reach climax, and vow to never do it again. The more you try to steer clear of porn, the stronger the intensity of the jabbering going on in your brain to do it again, this one last time. You've gone from habit to compulsion, and they are not the same.

• Is pornography addiction just a male problem? Are women affected too?
Men are far more likely to become trapped into porn addiction, and there are many different reasons for that, which is why it is usually written about and described as a male sex addiction. But no, it is far from being only a male problem. Women are increasingly finding they are being caught up in their own sexual fantasy.

• Is chat room addiction safer than pornography addiction? Isn't this just a woman's problem?
The type of chat rooms I guess you're talking about promote cyber sex and cyber porn. These consist of 'rooms' that promote a range of sexual fantasies and sexual chatter. Explicit sexual communication and dialogue can be just as addictive and one of the attractions, at least in the early days, is the variety of men and women that you will meet there. Women in particular are drawn into this type of sexual behaviour because they perhaps feel less inhibited. This can be especially true if they have had to otherwise keep sexual expression under control in other areas of their life.

• I CAN'T stop looking at porn. I've tried and tried and it's impossible for me. What can I do?
First change the word CAN'T to I DON'T KNOW HOW YET. Can't is a very powerful word. Everytime you say it your unconscious looks for meaning and see's that you feel hopeless, impossibly lost, unable to do anything, paralyzed. You are reinforcing your own inability to change anything. But I DON'T KNOW HOW YET, opens doors doesn't it? You have new possibilities. Maybe if somebody showed me how, I would know how to face my demons and win. Remember, it's NOT can't, its I DON'T KNOW HOW YET!

• How do I stop watching porn until 3 or 4 AM and assist my pornography recovery?
It's not unusual for porn addicts to watch movies up to 25-30hrs a week. For the employed, or the married, this must therefore be a night time activity. The main time for failing and slipping back is late at night, when the rest of the family is asleep. Your eyes are tired, you feel exhausted, and pornography is justified as a way to finish off a long day, to eleviate the sexual tension and ensure you get a good nights sleep. This sort of thinking sets you up for failure. The answer is to change the habit and change the outcome.

• If I give up pornography, will I lose my libido?
Another misconception really. Most people report that when they give up pornography their desire for sex goes down. But most realize it just goes down to a 'normal' level for them. The intensity and pleasure of a 'real' sexual partner, in the form of a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife, becomes so much more fulfilling, that pornographic sex comes nowhere near.

• Is it okay to use a lubricant to masturbate, rather than watch hours of pornography?
That depends. Do you want to stop masturbating, or do you want to stop using pornography to masturbate? If you want to stop using pornography to encourage sexual gratification, then it would make sense to switch to some kind of lubricant to make the act of masturbation more pleasurable. If you can achieve the same degree of pleasure and reward through the use of a lubricant, then your brain has immediately found a new way of achieving the same thing that drives you to watch porn. The brain becomes diverted toward the idea of physical stimulation rather than visual stimulation. Ultimately the brain doesn't care HOW you do it, just as long as you do.

• Is it healthy to masturbate?
Well, it's not physically unhealthy, but many men do worry that the act must be unhealthy on some level. Some people think, if they do masturbate, they will damage something inside their penis, or vagina. Others think, if they don't masturbate, especially men, their balls will fill up with semen and ache or burst, or otherwise give them pain. All these are wrong. Masturbation allows for the release of tension, frustration, and emotion. It gives a gentle chemical hit in the body that is warming and pleasurable. I do not hold a religious view as to the rights or wrongs of masturbation.

• Can I wear out my penis with excessive masturbation?
No. Masturbation will not decrease your sex drive, neither will it cause you health problems. The amount of sperm in ejaculate material is microscopic. At ejaculation, sperm (microscopic by volume), fluid from the seminal vesicles (2/3rds by volume) and fluid from the prostate gland (1/3rd by volume) mix together as semen and enter the urethra to be forced out of the opening in the head of the penis by the muscle spasms of orgasm. Masturbation does not have any more effect on reducing your sperm count than any other sexual activity. This is why, following a vasectomy, the volume of semen ejaculated doesn't decrease, since only the sperm are missing.

• But I feel that masturbation is betraying my partner too. What about that?
Don't worry, 99.9% of the time, your partner will probably masturbate occasionally without you, too. So get over it. Everybody does it. Everybody! Now, if you want to stop masturbating as well as give up pornography, it will be a whole lot easier to give up one first, the other second.

• Is this all my own fault?
Whilst I hate apportioning blame, I am conscious of the fact, and believe, that my life is the product of all of the choices that I have made throughout my life up until now, and that I am where I am now because of those choices. I believe that to be true of YOU too. No one else is to blame for anything that is going on in your life right now. You may not like it, but somehow this problem has somehow crept in, or been rammed in, by somebody else, but you, however unwillingly, let that happen. James Allen said, "Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation." So, YOU hold the key to your own success or failure. Allen also said, "Circumstances don't make a man, they reveal him." Making the right choices reveals you to be a person of power.

• How will two little CD's help me to change my behaviour?
What I am hoping to do with these two CD's of conversation, is to give you more choices, and the tools to help you make better choices. You have to have the desire to change. Remember what was just said? Circumstances reveal the man (or woman). When circumstances are desperate, like accepting you are addicted to porn, or being forced by a partner to do something about it, what becomes revealed is your ability to accept or reject your call to action. Are you man enough to step up and make the choices necessary to quit?

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In Conversation With Philip Chave: Understanding, Coping With & Eliminating Internet Pornography Addiction & Sex Addiction

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