Internet porn addiction

Help with internet porn addiction

Road to recovery

Constant over-exposure to internet porn can shrivel key parts of the brain. This damages both its structure and function. Changes can manifest in many ways:

  • 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. However, there is a road back to recovery.

Online sources
  • Your Brain on Porn is the world’s largest repository of scientific information on internet pornography addiction.
  • CEOP is the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command. Run by the police, it is a UK-wide site. CEOP 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. It has good resources on online sexual activities and pornography.
  • The Naked Truth Project is based in Manchester ands offers help from a Christian perspective.
Online communities

Here are some good online recovery and support forums specific to internet pornography. They are all based in the USA or Australia. The first three have online communities. These offer help from other community members 24-hours per day. They have many members from the UK.

Reboot Nation
  • Reboot Nation helps people ‘reboot’ their brains with encouragement and education. Rebooting is a complete rest from artificial sexual stimulation (i.e. pornography). Reboot Nation was 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. You will also become more aware of the potential harm caused by internet porn. Reboot Nation also runs a YouTube TV channel.
NoFap
  • rebootnationNoFap is the largest English-language self-help community. It 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.
Other online resources
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

Filters can help manage pornography use, but they can always be bypassed. We see them as a useful aid, but an addict who wants to use will find a way around them. Mostly this involves using someone else’s unfiltered phone or tablet.

*These are just some of the many software options 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, as an audio book 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.
Healthcare professionals

Doctors: Men on the recovery websites have said doctors are often unaware of the impact of pornography use. As a result they 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.

If you are a healthcare professional who would like CPD training in this field, see our range of workshops. They are accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Sex Therapists

In Scotland, referral times from GPs to sexual health centres are around 9-12 months. Sexual health clinics usually refer suspected cases of pornography addiction to a therapist in private practice. If you cannot manage to quit porn through the free online services, there are other options. You may have underlying issues or need support with quitting from a trained sex therapist.  A good sex therapist should understand pornography-related disorders and sex addiction. Contact one of the umbrella organisations in the UK:

Sexual offending

Porn addiction can escalate.  If you have been charged with a sex offence you will need professional help. Immediately seek assistance from a trained sex therapist. You will also need a good lawyer.

If you are in Scotland, we recommend you contact the free service Stop it Now!. Stop it Now is a child protection charity.  They believe that the key to preventing sexual abuse is awareness among parents and community members. It is a part of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation which works across the UK.

Stop it Now 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 with problematic sexual thoughts. This includes those who may be at risk of sexual offending. Stop it Now also helps those who have been charged with a sexual offence related to possession of child abuse imagery or the like. This includes people 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.

The Reward Foundation does not offer therapy.

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