Sexual Addiction

The worldwide web is enormous with 4.2 million websites and 12% of those websites are devoted strictly to porn with 420 million pages on those sites. There are 68 million search engine requests for pornography daily. That represents 25% of the total search engine requests on the web. There are 2.5 billion or 8% of the total emails that are sent daily that contain pornographic materials. Of all the users of the Internet, 42.7% view porn with the average of 4.5 emails daily per pornographic user.

However, not everyone is attempting to access porn. In a recent survey, 34% of individuals received unwanted sexual material. Unfortunately, we have no idea how many children stumble upon pornographic material on their own. Presently, there are 26 children’s character names that are linked with thousands of porn websites. Children are not insulated from exposure to pornography. The average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is 11 years old. Of the 8 – 16 year olds surveyed, 90% report viewing porn online, most while doing homework. In another study, 80% of the 15 – 17 year olds report having multiple hard-core exposures to porn. Of youth in chat rooms, 89% received sexual solicitations from someone online. While we have been stressing safety on the Internet with children, we appear to be failing to stress safety in their everyday lives. In one survey, 29% of 7 – 17 year olds would freely give out their home address, while only 14 % would give out their email addresses. This is a significant safety risk that we need to be discussing in our homes.

In an average month, there are 72 million visitors worldwide to pornography websites with annual sales of 4.9 billion dollars in porn sales. With there being 100,000 websites offering illegal child pornography and 116,000 daily Gnutella or child pornography requests, pornography is big business. Every second of every day, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography. Every second of every day, 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography. Every second of every day, 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines to find their desired thrill. Every 39 minutes of every day, a new pornography video is being created in the United States alone.

In a variety of studies, 20% of men admit to accessing pornography at work. Men involved in Christian organizations report that within the last week 53% viewed pornography. Of the Christian homes surveyed, 47% indicated pornography is a major problem in their home. Within the United States, there are 40 million adults who report they regularly visit Internet pornography websites and 10% of those individuals report having an Internet sexual addiction. When we break this statistic down in this specific piece of research, 72% are male and 28% are female.

Perhaps you are a little bit surprised that women are struggling with pornography addictions. Of the women surveyed, 70% report keeping their cyber activities secret with 17% report struggling with a porn addiction. However, women are twice as likely to access chat rooms than men. Of all the visitors to adult websites, 1 in 3 are women with 9.4 million accessing adult websites every month. From a work perspective, 13% of women admit to accessing pornography websites at work. However, women are far more likely than men, to act out their behaviours in real life. We see this happening in behaviours such as having multiple partners, casual sex and affairs.

How We Can Help You If YOU ARE you are struggling with pornography…

So, if you have read the information in the previous section, you will obviously recognize that you are not alone. The problems created from an addiction to pornography are ones shared by millions of online viewers as well. You may be asking yourself though, how do I know if I have a problem? The following section may help you determine the truth about your online behaviour. If you are at a place where you want to change, we can help with that. Give us a call.

How Do I Know If I Have a Problem with Sex on the Net?

Indicators of problematic behaviour include:

  1. Compulsivity or the desire to continue searching for more and more outlets for their sexual energy
  2. Individuals continue using despite the consequences or the fear of being “caught”
  3. The obsession with which cybersex takes over the user’s life.

What are the Top 10 Indicators Something is Wrong with My Online Behaviour?

What are the indicators that there is something wrong with my online behaviour? Take a look at the 10 criteria listed below and see if any of this sounds or feels familiar for you. If, after reviewing this you find that you answer yes to more than 2 of these questions, then there is a problem with your choices and behaviour.

Ten Criteria indicating your online behaviour is problematic

  1. Preoccupation with sex on the Internet.
  2. Frequently engaging in sex on the Internet more often or for longer periods of time than intended.
  3. Repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back on or stop engaging in sex on the Internet.
  4. Restlessness or irritability when attempting to limit or stop engaging in sex on the NET.
  5. Using sex on the Net as a way of escaping from problems or relieving feelings such as helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression.
  6. Returning to sex on the Net day after day in search of a more intense or higher risk sexual experience.
  7. Lying to family members, therapists or others to conceal involvement with sex on the NET.
  8. Committing illegal sexual acts online (ie. Downloading child pornography or soliciting illegal sex acts online).
  9. Jeopardizing or losing a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of online sexual behaviour.
  10. Incurring significant financial consequences as a result of engaging in online sexual behaviour.

Source: Carnes, Delmonico & Griffin, 2001

What if I can Justify My Behviour?

Yes, you probably can justify your behaviour, in your mind. However, your choices are having a significant impact on your partner as well as your own availability to be sexually active with a real-life partner.

Many individuals addicted to pornography believe it is just a game they are playing. They believe they are accessing a virtual reality and as a result, there is no harm done. They believe they are not putting their partner at risk of contracting STD’s or STI’s because there is no “actual” person that they are being sexually intimate with. You may be justifying your behaviour by stating that you “only use it occasionally” and that it “doesn’t interfere with or jeopardize things” in your life. Unfortunately, what you are failing to recognize is the impact your behaviour is having on your partner and on your ability to be sexually active with a real life partner. No real-life partner will ever be able to “match” the picture perfect images portrayed online, with all the “air-brushed” touch ups that you are viewing.

So, if you are looking for a way out of this behaviour, there are many things you can do. There are changes that we would be happy to assist you with making. Why not give us a call at 519-884-6784.

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How We Can Help You, If SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY is addicted to pornography…

If you are the partner of someone addicted to pornography you probably have so many questions going through your head right now. Understanding what the attraction is to porn may help you realize that “it’s not about you” or anything you may have done or not done, said or not said, nor looked in a certain way. This is an issue that your partner has created through the choices that he or she has made. One mistake that partners frequently make is believing the lie that “they are not good enough”. Everyone has imperfections in their appearance and as an adult there are always things we might not like about ourselves. However, no one can compete with the perfection that photography can create. Air-brushed images create the illusion of perfection which most adults are unable to attain. This is NOT your fault if your partner has chosen to view porn.

However, if you have a better understanding of why your partner may be making the choice to use porn, it can help put the responsibility for change strictly in his/her sphere of influence.

Why cybersex?

Cybersex provides the ultimate in an anonymous pseudo-connection with another person. It allows the user to objectify the other person and allows for cyber-dissociation. Consequently, the user can separate him/her self from the reality of engaging in sex online with another person. Yet, at the same time engage in a fantasy world but remain detached from the “realness” of the situation. This detachment has the potential to be that “step apart” or gateway into acts of infidelity


What are the core beliefs of a pornography addict?

Individuals addicted to pornography tend to believe that they are basically bad and unworthy people and that no one loves them as they are. They tend to believe their needs are never going to be met if they depend on others and that sex is their most important need. Consequently, they take this need into their own hands to ensure they are not left behind.


Who is responsible for changing?

Recovery from any addiction is the responsibility solely of the addict. It is not your responsibility to “make” him/her change. While you may be able to influence their decision through clear and firm boundaries that you establish, the decision to change must be completely their decision.


Struggling with the impact on you?

Frequently partners are left with the feelings of betrayal, worthlessness, inadequacy and pain. If this is how you are feeling, you need to be talking to someone about these feelings. There is help for you whether your partner chooses to change or not. You are important and the impact of this will affect all other areas of your life and confidence, unless you get the help you need right now. Give yourself the gift of taking care of yourself. We’re here to help.


What does the addictive cycle look like?

Individuals who become addicted to online porn begin to develop a pre-occupation with their online behaviour. Next, they will begin to ritualize what happens and in a predictable manner, they “act out” their online activities. Then, as the addiction progresses, their sexual behaviours become compulsive, meaning they believe they have no other options than to act out these behaviours. Finally, their behaviours become unmanageable for them and they enter into a cycle of despair and hopelessness.

As this addictive cycle progresses, you may have noticed a change in the sexually intimate behaviour of your partner. Frequently, partners report noticing a decrease in sexual activity in their relationship or an inability of their partner to perform sexually, which is not medically related to erectile dysfunction.


How he/she can rationalize their behaviour? I don’t understand!

Unfortunately, many individuals addicted to pornography believe it is just a game they are playing. They believe they are accessing a virtual reality and as a result, there is no harm done. They believe they are not putting their partner at risk of contracting STD’s or STI’s because there is no “actual” person that they are being sexually intimate with. They may justify their behaviour by stating that they “only use it occasionally” and that it “doesn’t interfere with or jeopardize things” in their life. Unfortunately, they do not recognize the impact their behaviour is having on you or their ability to be sexually active with a real life partner.

If you decide to confront your partner with the knowledge you have of their online sexual behaviour, be prepared for the potential of a wide variety of responses. Some individuals will respond in anger and rage, others with shame and embarrassment while others may indicate they do want to change and grow the relationship with you.

Long-lasting change takes time. It does not happen over night just because of one or two confrontations. There are changes that your partner will need to make and are not your responsibility to make. Your partner will need to make these changes for HIM/HERSELF in order to begin the long-lasting change process. You CANNOT do it for him/her. In fact, if you attempt to facilitate this process, experience has shown us that your behaviour will actually inhibit the process of change for your partner. Please give us a call if we can be of assistance to you in this process of change

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How We Can Help You, If YOU EMPLOY SOMEONE WHO is addicted to pornography…

There are many things you have the ability to do to assist your employee to want to make changes in their online behaviour. I would strongly suggest you read the preamble section on pornography to have a clearer understanding the impact pornography has on business. Seventy percent of all online porn traffic occurs Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM. Remember, it is not just males who struggle with pornography addictions. Women struggle as well. About 40% of all pornography addicts are women.

As an employer, we are able to assist you with developing policies and procedures around the prevention of pornography use with your equipment. Please contact us and we’ll help you develop these policies.

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How We Can Help You, If YOU ARE THE PASTOR OF SOMEONE WHO is addicted to pornography…

Presently, pornography is the issue that most churches do not want to face or even speak about. It is the “elephant in the living room” that individuals want to believe will go away if we do not pay attention to it. Unfortunately, that is not the case with pornography. We need NOW to be speaking up about the impact pornography has on people’s lives. Pornography is destroying the lives of the addicts, their partners, the families they have created and the individuals who are exploited in the process of producing the materials in the first place. Pornography and human trafficking are closely intertwined and as long as there is a market for the pornographic materials, the cycle will continue to harm women, men and children who become the victims.

You have a vital role with these individuals, couples and families. Spiritual leadership and pastoral care are essential to the healing and well-being of your congregants. However, please remember that if you have been called into “pulpit ministry” that your training and expertise will reflect that calling. It takes years of specific training, both educational and clinical experience to be able to hone an expertise in this area. At ACT Associates we have both the educational training and clinical experience to provide the care that your congregant or parishioner requires. Give us a call, even if it is only for support for yourself while you journey this road with the addict.