Internet pornography is a real issue for men and women (and teenagers) with increased technology and free availability to explicit sexual erotica. Provided the triple XXX pornography on the internet, many adults are increasingly becoming consumed or even addicted to porn.
Some may argue internet pornography is not addictive, however, research has shown the brain chemicals change in the brain relating to watching porn. Many researchers have shown brain images where the brain shrinks some due to the inactivity of using their brains on much except for watching porn. Other researchers indicate this may be temporary and our brains have plenty of plasticity, when the individual quits watching pornography, their brains return to normal.
Regardless whether internet pornography is ‘addictive’ or ‘compulsive’, there are many relationships and marriages in danger due to one partner (usually males) watching pornography and not attending to their partners needs. Some individuals state “watching pornography and masturbating is easier than either getting rejected from my partner or putting in the extra effort.” The internet makes this easier for many people in relationships where their sex life has taken a back seat to life regardless of the numerous reasons.
Many couples have reported losing the spice or don’t have the energy or time for sexual relations and have resorted ‘giving up trying’ with their partner to internet porn. Partners have reported “it is easier to look at porn for sexual gratification than engage with my partner who may reject me.” Or, “my partner is tired all the time, complains about the kids taking the energy, not interested, etc.” Rather than the partner working on their relationship, and putting forth the ‘work’ it may take, they may resort to pornography.
Regardless, of the reasons, many relationships are silently suffering due to the pornography epidemic. Since internet pornography is easily assessable and majority of sites are free, this makes it even more enticing and hard to reject when their own relationship is not providing the sexual intimacy they desire. Relationships and marriages are ending due to this epidemic, and many mental health therapists are either not trained properly on how to work with these couples, and/or the couple does not reach out for help.
Although some researchers may argue pornography may enhance a couples sex life, and other researchers will debate the opposite is true. Bottom line, if one partner is bothered or ready to end the marriage/relationship due to internet pornography, has spoken to their partner about their feelings, and this partner continues to watch or use internet pornography for sexual gratification, then there is a problem. Many partners have told me “they allowed someone else into our relationship/marriage, and I feel cheated on.” Yes, internet pornography can be perceived this way. If you or your partner are struggling with this silent epidemic, reach out to a trained professional to help both of you before ending your marriage/relationship.
Written by Rochelle Long, MA, LMHC