Let’s start off with a little mental jog. What’s the one thing we’ve all “enjoyed” yet we’re all (males and females) ashamed of it?

Got it? No? Well that’s okay, I’ll answer it for you. It’s oatmeal cookies. Got you there, didn’t I? Actually, to be honest, It’s porn. In fact, 1 in 5 (20%) of all the searches on the internet are about porn, I don’t know about you but that’s a lot given the gazillion types of things searched on the internet. Getting down to business, Porn is a very controversial topic. Countless studies have been carried over it yet, none of it ever links it to the directly severe adverse effects like rape or to any actual benefits. Eerily and perhaps unsurprisingly, it has been undoubtedly known to increase divorce rates and sexual dysfunctions in men over the age of 20 but that could, at the end of the day, boil down to a lack of communication between the partners.

Now, this very controversy, over its pros and cons, are what perfectly describe the nature of porn, it’s very damn personal. So personal, in fact, that we tend to hide it from our parents, friends, siblings and even spouses. With this tags along an inherent sense of responsibility and expectation not to watch it, more on unsaid expectations here. Yet, the main problem with porn is the main problem with pretty much everything in this world; addiction.

What makes porn addiction so hard to pin down is the fact that it’s very hard to actually realize you’re addicted. Porn addiction however is, thankfully, less controversial than porn itself as it leads to a rather huge bunch of social, moral and personal issues which include but aren’t limited to developing a sexual tolerance, interference with daily life, decrease in productivity, emotional distress, compulsive masturbation, sexual dysfunction and impotence. These problems, by their nature, lead to many other problems and issues. Hence, the question reckons “What causes porn addiction?”

To understand this, we need to understand the concept of “operant conditioning”. In this, a certain act or behavior is reinforced aka rewarded which makes you want to do it again and hence the cycle continues. Porn addiction is somewhat similar as it rewards you with the universally best-selling thing in this world, sex.

Sex is a very basic and instinctive drive so getting addicted to porn is very easy. Porn, which is mostly accompanied by masturbation, rewards us with sex without actually having to go out and find a “mate”. Now, this ease coupled with human nature towards sex make it, psychologically, a very enticing thing with a strong pull and hence, there are several well documented psychological problems caused by it like guilt, shame, confusion, ambivalence, depression and even anxiety. It severely damages our self-worth and we may delve deep into an existential crisis, wondering whether all that we do is all for naught. Not to mention how it impairs our dopamine receptors in a way that we no longer get happy about things we used to. Yup, it’s pretty bad.

Coming to the solution of this ghastly problem, the best way to treat Porn Addiction is, in fact, to start with yourself, no pun intended. You need to build a strong willpower and know that you can overcome this problem. Porn Addiction, unlike other ones, is actually psychological so that’s where the “willpower” kicks in. We have to learn to be more productive with our time. Turning sexual urges into creative and productive actions is something that many Buddhists have done over time because of the sheer strength of these urges.

We need to understand our basic reason which causes us to watch porn, whether it be stress, excess of free time, lack of hobbies or loneliness. Instead of taking the easy way out, we need to work towards turning these 20/30/60 minutes of our lives into something productive. It doesn’t sound like much but that’s the only real solution for a self-imposed problem like this. Acceptance of the problem is, in this case, the most crucial part of the solution because the controversially taboo nature of it makes it very easy to think that we’re above this or that we can’t succumb to something so basically disgusting.

After acceptance and building a strong willpower, comes consistency. Consistency doesn’t mean we’re never going to watch it ever again, even if we slip up one day, it isn’t the end of the world but we shouldn’t undo all of our work over the guilt that we slipped up. Consistency demands willpower and acceptance in equal doses as we have to constantly fight the desires that consumed us wholly just a while ago. We can’t just stop in one day, it’s an eventual process as we slowly decrease the amount of our very set behavior until there comes a point that we’re actually free from its grasp, if things are rushed though, we could end where we started as, like any other addiction, porn addiction does in fact, have withdrawal symptoms which may lead us straight to the rat race we were trying to break.

So, Acceptance, Willpower and Consistency are the 3 pillars on which we have to work if we wan to break out of porn or any other addiction. This lends weight to the fact that porn addiction and it’s consequent serious discussions are undoubtedly the taboo to rule all the other taboos, as the King of taboos.

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Recommended app to help with quitting the addiction: Fortify

Sources: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography_addiction

http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/

http://www.psychguides.com/guides/porn-addiction/

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