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Pornography has made major psychological impacts on men in the United States of America. Research shows that nearly 9 out 10 college males had viewed porn at some point in the past year. I work with a lot of clients who come in seeking help because of their pornography use.

There are a lot of negative effects that pornography use can have on the individual. Research has shown that excessive pornography consumption has similar effects to substance dependencies to the brain. Pornography does not only have a negative effects on the brain, but pornography use also perpetuates the shame culture with secrecy and silence.

Open Up and Talk

First, it’s important to acknowledge that sex and pornography are seen as taboo by most of society. Secondly, opening up about pornography use is hard and often ends with rejection and judgement when men do open up about it. This secrecy and silence are perpetuated even more within the church and Christian men suffering from pornography use. Research has sown that men who do use pornography are more likely to have lower levels of self-worth, identity development and higher levels of depression.

Men are usually too ashamed to open up about their pornography use, which then further reinforces the idea of secrecy behind it. This secrecy turns into guilt and shame from feeling like they are doing something that is taboo to society and their religious beliefs. Most of my Christian male clients who report pornography use also report immediate feelings of shame and guilt right after they are done watching it. One of the best ways to counteract these feelings is to open up and talk about your struggles. This is where therapy can be extremely helpful because you can open up to someone who will not judge you or look down on you for it.

Effects on Relationships

Pornography use can also have a lot of negative effects on romantic relationships. When a partner finds out that the other is engaging in pornography use, there are usually negative feelings associated with it. I have worked with many couples that come in because a partner has been caught watching pornography. There are usually feelings of betrayal, sadness or depression, and anger associated with the partner who finds out the other is engaging with pornography. These feelings are valid and should be discussed with one another in a therapy setting.

Whether you are single or in a relationship, please reach out and talk to someone about your pornography use. I work with a lot of clients who say that it was a really hard first step to just reach out for help. Please know that I am here to help and listen without judgement. Give us a call at Optimum Joy to set up your first appointment!

Written by therapist Clair Miller

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