Good resources for overcoming pornography addiction?
September 29, 2017 11:23 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for resources that will help me recover from a porn addiction that I’ve had for many years but only recently has caused negative consequences in my life.

I’m a gay male in my thirties, married, and have fallen into the classic trap of viewing more and more hardcore pornography. It’s leading to erectile problems when I’m with my husband (I basically have to imagine porn to stay aroused) and causing me to romanticize the unhealthy sexual behavior that caused me a lot of suffering in my twenties. It’s the latter that is a bigger issue for me- my marriage is very important to me and porn is threatening my resolve to stay away from my old habits.

I’m already about to start working with a therapist who specializes in this area, but I benefit a lot from “further reading” and don’t want to be idle between appointments. A lot of what’s out there seems to have either religious or otherwise weird, reddit-y influences. I’d love information that’s appropriate for my situation.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (3 answers total)
Hi, I'm sorry you're going through this. It's brave of you to recognize the issue and take action. I'm not sure where you're based, but in the UK, the recommendation is to engage with a therapist, which you're already doing, which is great. Your therapist should have literature recommendations for you as well.

I'm not sure if this is true for you, but porn addiction for gay men is often extra complicated because it's wrapped up with lots of other issues, like sexuality and stigma. There's an interesting article from the GMFA about other men's issues with porn, maybe some of it might help you? They recommend, in addition to one-on-one therapy, support groups like Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. You might also try emailing them to see if they have other reading recommendations.

I have also heard good things about The Velvet Rage. It's not specifically about porn addiction but does cover a lot of overlapping topics related to sexuality for gay men. A sex therapist I know recommends it for many of his patients.
posted by stillmoving at 6:12 AM on September 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hi there. I've never been in your situation, and so this is just a shot in the dark - apologies if it's completely inappropriate.

I'm guessing there are a lot of 'impulse control' issues here going on for you, in terms of the simple act of refraining from looking at porn. I feel like many of us are addicted to online stimulation to a really damaging degree, and it can have a real impact on real world relationships and perceptions. That's not even with the complicating factor of that stimulation being sexual. Is there something you can implement until you're out of the habit of looking a lot - I know there are apps / add-ons you can use that restrict access to website you specify, or how about putting the child lock on your internet usage?

Is your husband aware of the situation? I know it would be very hard to talk to him about it, but I'm wondering whether having it out in the open will give it less of a hold over you.

I also wonder whether this points to a lack of something in your relationship with him. The way you describe your marriage has an air of 'this is stable, and it's good for me, in a wholesome way'. That can be really unsexy. There's something about the thrill of the new which is very hard to replicate in a long term situation, but are there elements of what you are missing that you could bring into your relationship and sex life? Is there anything you're seeing online that you could take into the bedroom, in a safe and healthy way - owning the desire, and sharing it with your husband? I wonder whether that would take the sheen off too.

Just a thought.
posted by starstarstar at 11:47 AM on September 30, 2017

Breaking Addiction by Lance Dodes is very compassionate and practical, full of examples. It illustrates patterns that all addictions have in common.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 12:53 PM on September 30, 2017

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