Internet porn addiction

Help with internet porn addiction

Road to recovery

Constant over-exposure to internet porn can shrivel key parts of the brain impairing structure and function. Changes can manifest as emotional numbness, a lack of motivation, morphing sexual tastes, lack of interest in real partners, low libido, no sexual satisfaction, social isolation, brain fog, social anxiety, uncharacteristic sexual fetishes, a desire to act out porn scripts, suicidal ideation, erectile dysfunction and in some cases, escalation to illegal material. Most people would agree that these are unpleasant, unwanted and even dangerous effects, but there is a road back to recovery.

  • Online sources of information about pornography use:
    • Your Brain on Porn is the world’s largest repository of scientific information on internet pornography addiction.
    • CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection command) is the UK-wide site which provides support for when something has happened online that has made you feel worried or unsafe.
    • The NSPCC operates Childline which is a service to assist young people with all types of issues, including those to do with online sexual activities and pornography.
    • In the UK people wanting assistance in dealing with the effects of pornography from a Christian perspective may find resources and other help from The Naked Truth Project which is based in Manchester.
  • Online recovery and support forums specific to internet pornography – all are based in the USA or Australia. The first three have online communities where help from other community members is available 24-hours per day. They have many members from the UK.
    • Reboot Nation helps people ‘reboot’ their brains with encouragement and education. Reboot is a complete rest from artificial sexual stimulation (i.e. pornography). Founded by American activist Gabe Deem (Twitter @GabeDeem) they are a community of people who have discovered the negative effects of pornography. If you or loved ones struggle with porn addiction and/or porn-induced sexual dysfunctions, this place is for you.On this site you will find many resources and information to equip you with the tools necessary to start recovering today and become more aware of the potential harm caused by high-speed internet porn. Reboot Nation also runs a YouTube TV channel.
    • rebootnationNoFap hosts challenges in which participants abstain from porn and masturbation to recover from porn addiction and compulsive sexual behaviour. 90 days is the gold standard. NoFap supports all victims of pornography. Whether you have a porn addiction yourself or just need support as a partner, parent, or loved one of somebody struggling with pornography, the NoFap recoverycommunity is here to support you.
    • Reddit NoFap is another version of NoFap on the reddit/r/ forum.
    • Two charities with help for people coming from a faith background are Fight the New Drug in the US and Integrity Restored in Australia.
    • This Australian website Go for Greatness has good information and videos.
  • Community-based 12 step and SMART recovery:
    • Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) offers peer support groups for people with sex addiction following the 12-step principles. Meetings are free and held all around the UK.
    • Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) offers peer support groups for people with sex and/or love addiction following the 12-step principles. Meetings are free and held all around the UK.
    • COSA is a 12-step recovery program for men and women whose lives have been affected by compulsive sexual behaviour. Meetings are free and held all around the UK.
    • SMART Recovery – Self Management and Recovery Training. The online services of UK SMART Recovery includes a social networking platform, a training site and chat system.
  • Software* to control access to pornography:

*These are just some of the many software options to control access to porn available. Listing them here does not constitute an endorsement by The Reward Foundation. Take the time to investigate what filters and monitoring apps are right for your needs.

  • Recommended books:
    • Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction by Gary Wilson, Commonwealth Publishing. Available in print and as an e-book on kindle.
    • Wack: Addicted to Internet Porn by Noah B. E, Church. Available for free as a PDF if you sign up here.  Noah Church writes from experience, having been an internet pornography addict himself.
    • The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography by Wendy Maltz and Larry Maltz.
    • Sex Addiction: The Partner’s Perspective by Paula Hall, a leading UK therapist.
    • Sex Addiction 101: A Basic Guide to Healing from Sex, Porn, and Love Addiction Paperback by Robert Weiss, a leading US therapist.

Doctors: Men on the recovery websites have said doctors are often unaware of the impact of pornography use and prescribe Viagra or the like to deal with erectile issues. Viagra works ‘below the belt’ to help blood flow to the penis. The trouble is that porn-induced erectile dysfunction is an issue of poor nerve signalling between the brain and genitals. As a result Viagra and similar pills often don’t work or stop working quite quickly leaving the men even more anxious. For more information on how ED happens see this presentation.

In Scotland, referral times from GPs to sexual health centres are around 9-12 months. If you are suspected of having a porn addiction, the sexual health clinic will almost certainly refer you to a therapist in private practice. If you cannot manage to quit porn through the free online services mentioned above, you may have underlying issues or need support with quitting from a trained sex therapist who understand pornography-related disorders and sex addiction. Contact one of the umbrella organisations in the UK:

Further if you have been charged with a sex offence that may have a arisen as a result of your porn addiction seek a trained sex therapist or contact the free service Stop it Now! (Scotland). This is a child protection charity that believes that the key to preventing sexual abuse is awareness among parents and community members. They work to build public confidence in recognising and responding to concerns about the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. They also provide support services to individuals and their families with problematic sexual thoughts, those who may be at risk of sexual offending and those who have been charged with a sexual offence related to possession of child abuse imagery or the like. This includes those who are under investigation for internet offences. They also support friends and family members of individuals who are at risk of sexual offending or who have offended (https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/scotland.htm).

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