Is internet porn damaging your love life?

Internet pornography has been a focus of government this summer, with David Cameron announcing that soon every UK household that is connected to the internet will have to ‘opt-in’ to access porn online. The changes are expected to be brought in by the end of 2014, according to a report in The Guardian, and ‘extreme pornography’ – including simulated rape – will become illegal, as is already the case in Scotland. As a result the damaging effects of sex addiction – so well depicted in the 2011 film Shame, starring Michael Fassbender – is being brought into the spotlight.

 

While an article on the BBC website claims that there is no evidence for a link between violent porn and violent behaviour, “what is clearer is the relationship between escalating extremity of the images, and addiction” (BBC News website, 14 August 2013). The BBC article cites a webcam performer, Victoria, who says that: “It is addictive, it has the potential to be addictive, it’s easy, it’s friendly and it’s warm and a lot of these clients know when they log on, I have a rapport and relationship with them. I think they forget how much money they spend and how much time they spend on me as well. Do I think it’s damaging? Yes, but I don’t think it’s my place to tell them to stop.”

 

An article on the Men’s Health website, discussing the issue of addiction to pornography, refers to the breakdown of Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen’s marriage reputedly due, in part, to his addiction to internet porn. Tiger Woods has also sought therapy for his sex addiction, as has comedian Russell Brand. The prevalence of online sites, and the increased options for browsing, has made it easier to access pornography than ever before, and also to become reliant on virtual relationships and internet sex than on the real thing: a fact that such websites exploit in order to drive traffic and increase their revenue.

 

At The Grove our counsellors and therapists have experience of working with addiction to sex and online pornography, and we also have specially trained sex and relationship therapists on the team. We understand the nature of non-substance addiction, and know how hard it is to break the cycle without support. We also understand how difficult it can be to ask for help, and appreciate how huge it can feel to take that first step.

 

If you are worried that you may be addicted to sex or pornography, let’s talk. At The Grove we will provide a non-judgemental space in which we can explore what is going on for you, and develop ways to help you manage your web usage. We can work to uncover the roots of your behaviour, so that you can get a handle on what is going on underneath the addiction and learn how to start managing impulsive feelings, rather than them managing you.