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It's just a bit of porn ... pt 3

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

You may be reading some of my relationship blogs and think … It’s just a bit of porn or most men watch it anyway ... so maybe read on ...

Well, that ‘bit of porn’ influenced every aspect of my relationship with Vincent and at EVERY level of intimacy. Of course I blamed myself until I found out how viewing of pornography can, and does, affect relationships.


Yes ... lots of people watch porn ... Ofcom statistics from September 2020 showed 50% of older men and 16% of older women in the UK accessed porn sites in this month. In the younger age groups, it rose to 75% for younger men and 33% of young women.*


No ... not every one will get addicted to porn or to sex (use porn or sex compulsively) ... It really does depend on the emotional and mental stability of the person which is linked to things like attachment or trauma history.


For anyone who is unstable emotionally or mentally, this fantasy world offers an escape. However, it is a lop sided view of reality which inevitably leads to an illusionary life of disappointment, dissatisfaction, persistent time consuming, pleasure seeking, depression, anxiety and ultimately loneliness. Not to mention possible side effects like erectile dysfunctional disorder. It is a prison for a sex or porn addict ** in and out of this fantasy trap.

' ... a world of secrecy and shame.'

It is a world of secrecy and shame. One which I had not encountered until I met Vincent. My world was all about unconditional love, acceptance and equality - funnily enough this is just as lop sided, although without the layers of secrecy and deep shame.


What I did learn is…It’s crap being a sex/porn addict (compulsive user of porn or sex) and it’s crap being the partner of one.


Vincent's addiction also created a barrier for truthful conversations as there was always the underlying emotions of guilt and shame, and I was often left with a feeling something was being hidden or unexpressed. I used to dismiss these feelings, again thinking it was me overthinking and holding onto the one-sided premise that I should always see the greatness in another. This experience, and the work I do now illuminates how unhealthy it can be to have a one-side approach, or view of anything, as it blocks seeing and exploring the full picture. It's a bit like only seeing half of someone or half an event. The law of polarity, which is what we are all governed by consciously and unconsciously, demonstrates that everyone and everything has two opposing sides. If you ever work with me, you will notice I use this principle in everything I do.


By the way, I am not against porn in an adult world - it does have some valid uses. However, I am TOTALLY against porn in a child’s world due to the long-term damaging effects on a child’s developing brain, the adoption of sexual scripts that result in performance anxiety or the possible sexual trauma that is only revealed many years later when you are struggling in a relationship - yes these are many of my clients now. (June 2023) Also children learn through mimicking and there are some scenes openly available on line that you would not want ANY child to mimic.

'An addict will always choose the addiction ...'

I now know that no matter what the consequences are an addict (compulsive user) will return back to the addiction (compulsion) without the psycho-education and specialist support to deal with ‘acting out’ and the trauma or attachment issue (love pattern) that created it. An addict (compulsive user) will return back to the addiction not because they really want to, because it is hard wired into the brain; they want the dopamine hit. The addiction (compulsion) has valid behavioural reasons like regulating emotions, soothing the pain of a childhood wound or an adult trauma. Ultimately, the addict becomes addicted to the chemicals that are released.


Example - Challenging emotional event or depressive mood = Watch porn (or drink, take drugs, gamble …), masturbate, feel temporarily euphoric to soothe, then followed by deep guilt and shame which then leads to depression. The depression then starts the cycle again.


It’s very similar with all addictions, and compulsions. The brain is really good at recreating what has been useful before as it is neurologically coded in and has clever ways to remind the body of how the behaviour has been useful in the past (only one example is needed for the brain to store it).


One way it does this is to remind the addict (compulsive user) of the fantasy thought or memory which creates a 'remembered' wave of euphoria, it's called Euphoric recall. This feeling then prompts the 'acting out' which could be scanning through porn videos to get to a specific part or spending a few hours viewing sex worker sites to plan getting just the RIGHT worker. This 'acting out' keeps the fantasy alive. An addict (compulsive user) is locked into the acting out if they don’t understand the process of addiction (compulsion) as the brain is hard wired to act.

' ... the emotion of desire clouds the beauty of love.'

Sex is often used to gain power over another and desire clouds the beauty of love. This is one of the main illusions in our society which the sex industry uses well: desire is love; love is desire. These are two totally different intentions, emotions and energetic frequencies. With desire, the intention is to get basic needs met like eating or mating and the energy center sources are based below the solar plexus with an energy frequency of around 125KHz. Whereas with love, the intention starts from the heart centre with a frequency of around 500KHz. This intention has an unconditional nature with a focus of connection and oneness. The higher the vibration the better you feel - The Beach Boys were onto it with their 'Good Vibrations' track. We are all electro-magnetic beings who are vibrating at a frequency and what we think, feel and do influences our frequency. David Hawkins spent many years calibrated energy to put together the below scale.


Coming back to desire and looking at how it relates to control. Desire puts the control outside of the person as there is a pull to gain what is desired to make them happy or fulfilled in some way. Unconsciously the person is saying 'I am not happy and I need something to make me happy'. For an addict (compulsive user), they are seeking temporary happiness or pleasure to mask some sort of deep pain that WILL NOT go away without some psychoeducation and support. So they continually have to strive to seek pleasure to be in control. This creates anxiety.

Whereas, love is an inward feeling and the control is held inside the person so they can let go of the need to control which creates personal freedom and harmony. Fantasy and desire come hand in hand as desire keeps the fantasy alive. Hence, the sex industry uses desire and fantasy as the hook. This insatiable desire for sex or masturbation can effect the addict (compulsive user) in various ways like not being able to progress with their career or gradual isolation as they retreat in secrecy and shame.

'Not For Children's Eyes'

My relationship with Vincent gave me first hand evidence of how sex and porn addiction (compulsivity) can effect relationships and personal growth. I ended up looking at porn to try to make sense of what was going on in my personal life. Some I thought was a bit cheeky and harmless. However, it is no good being a therapist looking at these scenes as I could see sexual trauma playing out in many forms. I might go as far to say I was witnessing abuse, unnecessary violence and mistreatment of some beautiful bodies. Frighteningly, it was evident it was very popular to treat women in a violent manner and the men to be in a status of stud or hero. I accessed this content easily and without any age regulation. It was available at the press of a few keys and I concluded was 'Not for children's eyes'. Although, there are now many 'ethical' porn sites, mainly you need to subscribe to these with proof of age so it is unlikely a child would. So much of the free porn available is more of the shocking sort as that gets users hooked.


It seems the easy access of pornography may have influenced school aged children. The Department of Education has had to publish new advice for schools in September 2021 in light of a sharp rise of child sexual abuse being reported so school and college staff have an understanding of what sexual violence and sexual harassment might look like. This was due to increasing evidence from national statistics: From March 2019 to March 2020, over 83,000 cases of child sexual abuse were reported. To support this, Girlguiding Girl's research data indicated 67% of girls and young women aged 13-18 years old surveyed had experienced sexual harassment at school from another student and 29% first experienced sexual harassment when they were just 11 - 13 year old. The average age of a child first being exposed to pornography was 11. Another report showed that 24% of female students and 4% of male students at mixed sex schools had been subjected to unwanted physical touching of a sexual nature while at school (The Guardian 2021).


These statistics do not surprise me. Everything a child learns is through imagery and mimicking. Imagery gets imprinted in the brains and then children re-enact. Young children don't know the difference between fantasy and reality so viewing any sort of pornography can give rise to an acting out of fantasy scenes, including violence. When I was a Safeguarding Supervisor in various primary schools and it was of no surprise to hear that the most recent training was on peer to peer abuse and how to approach misogyny.


If 50% of older men are watching porn and 75% of younger men, then there is a high probability they are witnessing violence and mistreatment of both women and men. It is no wonder that sexual crime has risen and it is now the subject of new government guidelines in school. However, to add ... porn does not cause misogyny, it creates a gathering ground for youngsters and adults who have grown up with misogyny as part of their family culture. (June 2023)


So this 'just a bit of porn' in my experience can create relationship conflict, personal conflict and potentially influence children's behaviour. If your child has a phone, they have possible access to presently unregulated pornographic sites.

'... my love for children has inspired me ...'

My relationship experience with Vincent and my love for children has inspired me to take action in two areas. Firstly, to raise awareness of the possible damaging effects of children viewing pornography, e.g. neurological imprinting, normalisation of sexual violence, sexual shame. My approach being to inform both parents and children of the advantages and disadvantages with the power tool of consent then they can use THE most powerful tool a human has ... choice. It is impossible to stop anyone watching porn due to the ease of media access. Secondly, to encourage parents to have open, regular conversations about sex with their children. It was noted that in ALL the resources to support parents this was the first step, however it doesn't always happen due to various reasons, of which most were related to personal shame.


Vincent is a pseudonym. This blog has his permission.

All red editing is from June 2023 and in response to several years of training, clinical work and personal experiences.


 

*https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jun/09/half-british-adults-watched-porn-pandemic-ofcom








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