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Internet Pornography and Sexual Addictions are Destroying Relationships

 

Internet Pornography and Sexual Addictions Create Shame, Despair and Loss of Love.

The act of getting involved with totally anonymous strangers for sexual excitement and satisfaction creates a temporary high and inevitably leads to a serious letdown. The low periods lead to a need to seek the high again – and the process continues to the point of loss of willpower and lack of conscious control.

Some clients, the fortunate ones, come to counseling because the healthy part of their psyche is telling them to stop doing these potentially destructive activities. When they realize that they seem to be powerless to stop, they tentatively seek help from a psychotherapist or sex therapist who can possibly help them. These are the lucky ones.

The less fortunate clients arrive in sex therapy or marriage counseling because their life, as they have known it, is in complete disarray. Often, their spouse has already filed divorce papers, they are on the brink of losing custody of their children, and they may even be at risk for losing their job or approaching bankruptcy in their business.

If this scenario is sounding familiar to you, please continue reading. Don’t keep hiding the truth from yourself because you feel embarrassed, ashamed, fearful, terrified, or just want to deny that you are having a problem. The sooner you face the problem, the more likely you will be able to prevent and avert any serious long term consequences.

A client recently told me his story, a story that is becoming all too familiar to me.

For the last five years I have been involved with phone sex, chat groups, and exchanging sexy emails with strangers. Recently, I started to connect, in person, with a few of these “anonymous” people for a hands-on experience.

I have also started going to Exotic Dance establishments which give me a feeling of anticipation, exhilaration, excitement, and adventure that I have not had in my life for many years, perhaps never before.

Although many people would not condone this activity, for a single man without responsibilities or commitment to another person, perhaps this can just be considered a temporary excursion into a different world. But even then, it is setting up a type of intense and illicit sexual desire, pseudo intimacy, and an unrealistic concept of the purpose of sexual expression.

However, for a single man without a steady relationship, this pursuit of sexual pleasure will probably not hurt anyone but himself – his finances, his sense of his own capacity for love, his potential for contracting a disease, and his ability to focus on creating an intimate relationship with a known and available person in his life.

But for my client, his illicit sexual contacts, his intense compulsive desire for contact with these anonymous women, and his expenditure of time and money and emotional investment, is an absolute betrayal of his marriage vows.

Unbeknownst to his wife of many years, he has been spending large sums of money and huge amounts of time that have completely diverted his attention away from his business and caused him to disassociate from his wife and his family’s emotional needs.

Here are some questions that this troubled client has begun to ask:

• Why can’t I have those exciting, exhilarating feelings with my wife, with whom I have shared so many experiences and who I know I love?

• What is it about these other women that makes the thought of sexual contact with them so exciting and so compulsively attractive?

• Is it really possible for me to create that intense, powerful and overwhelming sexual desire and sensual exhilaration with my wife?

The majority of men (and it is mostly a male problem) who are sexually addicted to pornographic images, internet pornography, strip clubs, and other non-intimate and commercial sexual pursuits, do not know how to create love and excitement with an intimate partner. They are relying upon the whims and seductive expertise of strangers to titillate their senses and stir their desires.

Can a person with a current habit of receiving sexual pleasure and release through pornographic images, online sexual chats, exotic dance shows and lap dances, or compulsive illicit sexual entanglements, create that level of desire and excitement with a known partner, a live-in partner, a spouse, or a steady monogamous relationship? I believe the answer is “Yes, but….

Yes, it is possible to create whatever you truly want in a relationship. But, there are relationship skills that need to be learned.

• First step is to acknowledge that you do have a problem with intimacy and intimate sexuality.

• Second step is to seek help, for yourself first, and also with your partner if you have a steady partner and if that partner is willing to go for therapy with you.

• Third step is to examine, as completely as possible, your life history – all the potential factors that may have resulted in your need to pursue this activity.

• Fourth step is to slowly unlearn your embedded habits and to create new synapses and brain pathways that support a new way of handling your life and your relationships.

• Next step is to develop an ongoing support group, a mastermind group, that will continually support you to maintain your newly developed yet fragile way of handling your life.

Do you want to have truly exciting and loving relationships in your life? Are you ready to take the steps that will get you there?

by Dr. Erica Goodstone

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