There are lots of theories about addiction and what causes it, how it forms, and how to beat your addiction to sex or pornography. There may be no way to be 100% sure of which theory accurately explains what’s happening within an individual, so let’s not try. Instead, let’s consider a model of sex and pornography addiction that describes what is happening, not the causes.
The model of addiction that many clients find helpful to conceptualize what is happening to them goes like this:
Imagine the scales of justice. On one side of the scale are the uncomfortable things and feelings that happen in everyday life. These include stress, depression, loneliness, tiredness, anger, frustration, embarrassment, deceit, rejection, disrespect, and much more.
When one side of the scale feels that heavy, it’s natural to place something on the other side to put life back in balance. Some people learn that what works to balance their life is alcohol. Others find drugs help to create balance. Still others find pornography or sexual behaviors create a sense of balance.
Notice we’re not addressing the etiology, or cause, of the addiction. We’re not talking about WHY someone reaches for sex or pornography to balance their life, only that they do. And many people do – estimates are that 6% of the population struggle with sexual addiction. That’s approximately 18 million Americans, and the 6% number is a bit dated.
There is obviously much more to understanding addiction, but the “scales” model is a start. The root of the addiction may lie somewhere in the uncomfortable things and feelings that are on “the other side” of the scale creating a heaviness in your life or the life of someone you love.