Porn Addiction

If you’re struggling with compulsively viewing porn (when you actually try not to), you’re not alone. Internet pornography has created a whole new generation of porn-addicted men. The ease at which porn is accessible means that you could be watching porn 10 seconds from now. Having instant access to pleasure in just a few clicks gives porn the potential to be incredibly addictive. Not only that, but the mechanism which causes the cuckold fetish – deep-rooted inadequacy – can also cause porn addiction.

Many people think that if they stop watching porn, they will remove their attraction to the cuckold fetish. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen – once the association has been formed in the brain, it will always be there until you tackle the root cause (sign up on my homepage for that!). But porn addiction can be one of the things that causes distress on its own.

Addiction can be a strong word. In this context, let’s define addiction as being compelled to do something that you don’t actually want to do.

Many people watch porn more than they’d like to, and some people find themselves returning to porn time and time again even after deciding not to. There are 3 main reasons why.

1: Dopamine

Firstly, watching porn releases dopamine. That’s the chemical in our brains that makes us feel pleasure: the pleasure hormone.

Porn releases a LOT of dopamine. It FLOODS our brains with dopamine.

Over time, we can become desensitised to dopamine, leading to a compulsion to seek out progressively more shocking/hardcore content.

Dopamine is produced for survival purposes. Dopamine is released from things that are conducive to our survival: Sex, food, etc. Porn appears to be similar to sex, to these primitive parts of our brain, so it triggers the release of dopamine. When we experience something that releases dopamine, e.g. porn, our brain creates a neural pathway.

Neural pathways are our brain’s way of controlling what we’re motivated to do. Each neural pathway associates an action with a reward – e.g. going to a porn site and having the reward of the inevitable dopamine spike.

A neural pathway is what creates the desire. Once your brain creates the pathway, it learns that you can get dopamine by doing that action, and this is responsible for desire.

The more you activate the neural pathway (by doing the action and getting the reward), the stronger that pathway becomes.

Over many years of watching porn this can mean that a link between porn and dopamine gets hard-wired into your brain, leading you to be compulsively driven to regularly watch porn.

This is one way in which an addiction to porn can form; the sheer fact that it’s so easily available and chemically addictive.

2: Inadequacy

This is a topic I speak about a lot on this website. The root cause of the cuckold fetish is a deep-rooted sense of inadequacy. And yes, this can be one of the major causes of porn addiction.

One of the coping methods that we naturally develop to try to deal with this deep-rooted sense of inadequacy is called the ‘control and release’. Essentially, this is dealing with the inadequacy either by trying to control it (improve) or release (indulge).

Porn and sexual addictions are a release. They are ways to indulge in this painful sense of not being good enough. Simply put, porn feels good. And with a deep-rooted sense of inadequacy there may be very little holding you back from overindulgence in temporary pleasures and instant gratification, as a type of coping mechanism to deal with this.

In fact, a lot of other addictions form in this same way; porn is just one of them. And it’s very hard to overcome without healing the subconscious inadequacy directly.

3: Needs

One of the consequences of a deep-rooted sense of inadequacy is that we become disconnected from our needs. The process is much more complex than I can go into here, so let’s just skip the process and get to the result: we become disconnected from being able to accurately and intuitively sense what we need.

Needs are complex. The basic level is simple – we all know when we need food, water, and air. We’d die if we didn’t. We also USUALLY perceive our need for safety and security accurately. But with a deep-rooted sense of inadequacy, it’s common to perceive needing more love, attention, validation, and respect than most. If we don’t believe we’re ‘good enough’, then we won’t believe we’re truly liked, even when we are.

This fetish makes people awful receivers. We may have difficulty asking for help, or delegating to others. This inability to receive earnestly leads to chronic unfulfilment of our basic needs.

Porn gives the illusion of fulfilment: to our primitive brains it seems as if it will be able to fulfil our needs for love, intimacy, affection, closeness, companionship, etc. Our brains interpret porn as if that’s the case. In fact, it doesn’t fulfil any of our needs apart from sexual release.

The result of this is that, at times when we are experiencing needs quite unrelated to sex, we may turn to porn in a natural attempt to fulfil them. Of course, this is futile, porn does not fulfil these needs, and we are left as empty and unfulfilled as we were before. Because of this, we could then be compelled to watch porn AGAIN not long after, in another attempt to meet these needs.

This can also happen as a result of specific processes in puberty, as a way to deal with emotions. It’s a process known as ‘conversion’ where other needs become converted into the need for sex/food/money/attention. Here’s a quote from one of my favourite books about this:

“A young boy who learns never to need anything emotionally from his parents .. . is faced with a dilemma whenever he feels young, needy or otherwise insecure. If masturbating has been his principle source of good feeling .. . he may resort to masturbation in order to restore good feelings about self at times when he is experiencing needs quite unrelated to sexuality.”

The ego defense of conversion transforms any of the developmental needs into the need for something else. In this case it’s porn. This eventually results in the conversion of emotional needing into sexuality. Whenever you feel insecure, anxious or needy, the inner event might register as sexual desire. We can continuously turn to porn to meet needs that porn cannot provide.

In conclusion, the dopamine spike from porn makes it inherently addictive, but the deeper problem may be solved by something as simple as connecting with your needs. The deep-rooted sense of inadequacy also causes a compulsion to indulge in pornography, which is something I go into in more detail in my 1-on-1 coaching and my online course (I hoped you’ve signed up to my mailing list!)

By Connor McGonigal.

Porn Addiction Article Date: April 2018