The Porn Problem + Sexual Addiction

by Joshua Hoe

Todd Weiler is making arguments for the regulation of pornography.

Lets get one thing out of the way first, even if regulations or laws are passed because of State Representative Todd Wieler’s crusade against pornography they will be struck down by the Courts.

Because First Amendment.

But, a good deal of what he is trying to say is important.

It is troubling that so much pornography is available to anyone at the click of a mouse, no matter how old they are or what problems they are struggling with.

And, often, you don’t even need a mouse. Even reputable newspapers and online journals have click bait displaying very racy pictures all over the online page.

There number of people becoming desensitized to intimacy through pornography is a HUGE number.

Millions of people are borderline or fully becoming addicted to online porn (as has been reported by experts for years).

I have a friend in the cable industry and he says, by far, the biggest amount of pay-per-view activity is around porn.

And it is not just on cable.

Most browser histories in the world would reveal the same thing after a simple search.

And, what about just normal everyday internet behavior, look at the click bait in the article I linked above (ironic?).

And, as Whitney Cummings did such a great job explaining in her recent HBO special, male expectations of women’s behaviors are often driven by porn (often starting at a young age).

There are certainly many people who have no problem dealing with porn, and for many it can be a healthy expression of sexuality. I am not pro-censorship at all.

But, for lots of people, it is a problem.

Trying to avoid triggers is a constant effort for all sex addicts. Very hard to manage when every publication and every poster depicts women as sexual objects (either explicitly or as a click bait tease).

The Best Answers We Have

So, people struggling with these issues do have answers, although I really doubt that laws will ever be changed to limit pornography to a greater degree.

So what can we do?

1) Socialize boys to appreciate that women are more than sex objects

I am approaching this from a hetero perspective because I am not educated to how porn functions with young gay men and women (or trans).

Porn is partially attractive because it allows us to imagine women that fulfill all of our sexual desires without demanding respect or requiring intimacy from us.

I believe if we socialized sexiness to encompass subjectivity, this would be less of a problem.

I think the answer is in removing the fallback where it occurs to us to think of people as anything other than people.

I believe very strongly that we should object verbally whenever a woman (or man) is depicted only as an object and not as a subject.

If we are raised to be turned off by women who are not at the same time both subjects and objects, fantasy images based in objectification will have no power.

When they are shown as sex parts or not given a voice, we should say something.

I try to do it every single time.

I even type it out on social media when I see offensive memes.

Even if and when people get mad.

Reducing people to manageable docile bodies is a huge part of the problem in our brains. The more we see people as active and with a voice in their own lives, the harder it is to create fantasies of people as docile and easy-to manipulate objects.

People to know, not bodies to use for sex.

2. Remember, The Goal Should Be Intimacy Not Sex

Intimacy and sex are very different things.

Sex, when the purpose is connecting with and celebrating a connection with a partner, can be very much about intimacy.

But, when the sex is more about release. When you are with someone mostly because their body excites you. When you could, aside from how they look, substitute any other body or any other face and not change the importance of the sex. Those are probably not intimate sexual encounters.

Unfortunately, we are raised to think that sex is about the physical act MUCH more than it is about finding intimacy between two particular people.

For me, it has been very helpful to be suspicious of my own motives when I am thinking about WHY I am trying to get to know someone or trying to look at pictures or a movie.

Sex for sex’s sake has become much less important to me over time and with age.

It also helps to try to think of the person in the picture more as a person and less as a sexual object.

I usually start by asking myself questions about other things the girl in the picture might be interested in or hobbies that she might have.

By doing this, I start making myself see each image as a person more than as a sex aid.

Finally, I remind myself that beautiful people are not beautiful for ME.

Part of my problems are based in narcissism, the more I remind myself that the world does not exist for me. That I am not the center of everyone else’s universe. The better I feel (strangely enough).

3. Practice Avoidance When Possible

Whenever you can avoid porn, avoid porn.

I don’t even watch movies that might trigger or agitate me.

When I am surprised in movies or on television, I literally close my eyes.

I try to find articles without click bait if possible and try to enter into a discussion with myself about my specific research goals whenever I do encounter click bait.

It requires discipline, and sometimes I have to call someone and talk. But, practice helps.

4. If you Are Struggling, Find Places You Can Discuss Your Struggles

Yes, many people can handle click bait and porn, but for those that it causes problems. There is a reason most major Western traditions focus on sharing.

Therapists want you to talk.

Priests want you to confess.

12 Step Programs want you to share.

The reason is that isolation is the enemy. We don’t do well in our own heads. We don’t do well when we are keeping our feelings inside.

Find a community of people you can share your struggle with. There are a large number of “S” programs available.

You can also find therapists who specialize, or have been trained in, sexual addiction.

In my experience, finding a specialist can make a massive difference when it comes to sexual issues.


3 thoughts on “The Porn Problem + Sexual Addiction

  1. Josh – Glad to meet you over twitter and read this article and be introduced to your site.
    This is on point. I’ve never heard it called ‘click bait’ before, but I’m constantly put off (and turned on) when I read from simple internet sites. Some of it is grotesque to, and advertises very bizarre brands of voyeurism.
    I struggle with porn. In that, I don’t want to be ‘a guy who watches porn.’ I want part of my recovery to (as you say) avoid porn. My sponsor tells me it changes me as a husband, and he’s right. I can’t watch that stuff without being fundamentally changed in how I few intimacy, sex, and women.
    As a teacher at an all boys high school, I try to bring the topic up. Out of 70 or so students, 9 of them said they were giving up porn for Lent. That’s a lot!
    I had hoped it was because I bring the topic up frequently. Although an English teacher, I try to engage my students in life as much as possible.
    I’m following your blog, and I put in my ‘blog roll’ so your new posts show up on my site. I look forward to getting more insight!


    1. Thanks for the insightful comment – In my experience the key is constantly negotiating and renegotiation with the photo and real images of women we see. For me, it has been a process of retraining in which I try to always question my first reaction to seeing a beautiful woman – you cannot allow yourself to see women ONLY as objects.

      In other simpler terms, when my eye and brain do a wolf whistle I have gotten good at recognizing that she is a person, that I know nothing about her (and realizing that there is much to know about her), and that she is not looking that way for me.

      This discipline has been very helpful for me, even with imagery.

      Thought your response was great! Thanks for writing!



  2. I’m sharing this one on my FB page. Sex addiction isn’t something that I am trained to treat but I have work with many sexual compulsive people who also have substance addiction.


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