How Did I Become Addicted to Sex or Pornography?

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How Did I Become Addicted to Sex or Pornography?

Many guys ask this question of themselves and me in days shortly after they’re busted by their wife or girlfriend. It’s a tough question to answer for a lot of reasons.

Usually there is some underlying sexual trauma or early sexual or pornographic exposure that accompanies an addiction. This is not something easy to talk about with anyone, let alone someone who is angry and blames you for her anger. Bringing your sexual trauma or early exposure to the relationship might scare her away, she’ll think you’re a freak, or damaged goods. I’ve heard it from guys who never want to talk about it with their partner. (You are not a freak or damaged goods. Period.)

If you never talk about it, if you never address it head-on it will continue to foster and be a consistent source of your addiction. You may not want to talk to her about it at first, but at least you need to face whatever it is so you can move past it and decide what you will tell her.

What tends to happen is that this early exposure was confusing. It felt good and shameful at the same time. You probably don’t connect the two, but at some point those good feelings were a place for you to escape some uncomfortable feelings/issues in your daily life. You didn’t choose this option consciously (probably) but it was still your choice. Then the shame comes in after the event, and you’re on to an addictive cycle.

You see, a young brain can’t put things into perspective like a fully mature brain can. Our brains don’t fully mature until our 20’s, which means early exposure (usually pre-10 years) to sex, pornography, or sexual trauma isn’t fully understood. (i.e. It feels good and shameful at the same time.)

You can’t look back with your current perspective. You need to think about what the experience was like for that little boy to understand how the addiction cycle started.

I’m not talking about some hypnotic, psychoanalytic stuff, just being able to appreciate the impact trauma or exposure has at a young age, and then begin to understand it differently at your current age and maturity.

Understanding this is a key step in recovery and beating addiction.

About the Author:

Dan Gabbert holds a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology from Avila University in Kansas City, MO. Dan is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Certified Sex Addictions Therapist (CSAT), a rigorous certification issued by The International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP).