The Key to Overcoming Pornography Addiction for Good

Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 5:38 PM

It is difficult watching men who have been struggling for years to get themselves free of pornography. I remember going through the challenge of erasing porn from my life and the feelings of frustration and hopelessness each time I failed. Today, as a Christian counselor I get the opportunity to walk with men as they take up the battle against pornography and it’s heartbreaking to hear their stories of endless attempts to get sober only to succumb to temptation over and over again.

“I have tried everything that has been asked of me in the past,” said Larry. “The Internet security, support groups, accountability partners, you name it and I have done it. And don’t get me wrong, they certainly help for a while but it never fails as time goes on the same hurtful feelings start coming back and I find myself using once again. Sometimes I feel like I have done nothing but put a band-aid over my sexual addiction. It stops the acting out until it falls off.”

As Larry spoke, I knew right away what he was struggling with in his quest to be porn free. He had never gotten to the root of his sexual addiction problem. You see, at the heart of all addictions is emotional pain. Addictive behaviors are used in an attempt to conceal the hurt we feel by serving as a distraction. And they do an excellent job at keeping our emotional pain in check – for a brief time. But once the “high” of our addiction has worn off, we find ourselves right back where we started.

Now you may be saying to yourself “I don’t feel any emotional pain. I use pornography simply because I like it.” This is not unusual. What that means is you have done an excellent job in suppressing troubling emotions. In fact, you may have a difficult time in expressing any emotion beyond anger, happiness or sadness. But lying at the core of your addiction is a rationale for why you abuse sex. And that is exactly what you’re doing – abusing sex.

The emotional pain that leads to sexual addictions can take on many different forms. Over the years I have identified numerous reasons men abuse sex including: an overwhelming need for affirmation; a sense of entitlement; the need for control; the hunger for attention; feelings of weakness; inability to emotionally engage; early sexual stimulation or abuse; and a stress buster. It is not uncommon for men to deal with two or more of these emotional troubles.

Behavior modification has its place in treating sexual addictions and is extremely valuable. But a key to freeing yourself from abusing sex is learning to identify and manage your emotional pain. And that requires getting to the root.

Look for Eddie Capparucci's new book entitled "The Making of a Sex Addict: 9 Reasons Why Men Abuse Sex due out in late 2017.