What is life without pornography
"Porn addiction remains a lifelong wound"
Doctors newspaper:Dr. Roth, who comes to you because he's addicted to pornography?
Dr. Kornelius Roth
Specialist for psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy in Bad Herrenalb
Specialist for psychiatry and psychotherapy
Main focus of work: Sex addiction / hypersexuality patients
Dr. Kornelius Roth: Especially "digital natives" in young adulthood. For example doctoral students who are constantly sitting in front of the computer. They are under pressure because they cannot finish their work goals, such as a doctorate. Others of this age come after their relationship breaks up because porn use is kind of exposed. A third group of digital natives are lonely, shy men who have never had sex. For them, the consumption of pornography is a substitute and at the same time prevents them from getting to know women and real, lively sexuality at all.
Another group of older men between 50 and 60 has lost sexuality in the partnership. That's why they look for what is lost on the Internet. If you also consume porn in the workplace, you put your job at risk. If you have lost it because of this, you are now under real pressure. Such layoffs are of course seen as very shameful. This often drives those affected deeper into the addiction.
Do you think this type of addiction is increasing?
Roth: I think so. A nude photo used to be exciting enough, but not overwhelming. My patients were around 50 years old and they said to me, "I always thought my wife was to blame for my dilemma, now I realize that I have a problem of my own". Today, young people come in their early twenties. For them, pornography is available everywhere, and they are accessing it. It's like alcohol: when there are fewer of them, there are fewer alcoholics. If there is more of this ...
In terms of porn addiction, is there such a thing as addictive personalities?
Roth: We know that there are definitely populations at risk. Some are almost overwhelmed by the pictures, they are more at risk of addiction. Others see the pictures casually. The receptivity is very different.
Roth: Addicts often experienced sexual assault in their childhood, had parents who themselves suffered from some kind of addiction, or the entire family of origin was dysfunctional. People with great loneliness or low self-esteem are also at risk of porn addiction and those with fragile masculinity. Religiousness also plays a role: where sex is forbidden before marriage, a substitute is sought. However, this substitute is also strictly forbidden and the person concerned is greeted with shame and guilt.
Doesn't that put 60 percent of all men at risk?
Roth: Probably not. The risk arises when several of these criteria come together.
The more functions of the ego are compensated for by porn addiction, the higher the risk. So if a man at risk cannot get a grip on a conflict with his boss, the more likely he is to sexualise the problem, and pornography then comes into play when the conflict or boss is due. The more such functions are taken over, the more at risk the person concerned becomes.
What does the therapy look like?
Roth: First of all, it is about abstinence from pornography, not abstinence from sex or masturbation. But the addictive substance has to go. Then the therapist can help, for example, to set up a study plan for a student in order to become more structured again. The addiction had dissolved his everyday life. Then he can learn better, takes an exam, which increases self-esteem and decreases the need to consume porn. Initially, the reward value of the addictive substance was so high that all other areas of life were neglected. In the abstinence, the old talents or hobbies come up again and develop their own reward value.
So is porn addiction curable?
Roth: Yes. But: porn addiction remains a lifelong wound. There is also no getting away from it without relapses. But these relapses are not as severe as in alcoholics, for example. The porn addict must understand the relapses as a learning area and, for example, find healthy activities such as singing in a choir, doing sports or the like.
How many of the people in your practice are getting rid of the addiction?
Roth: About two thirds of those affected make great developmental progress through psychotherapy and the open handling of their problem.
You can also read about this:Porn addiction: When the sex k (l) ick becomes a compulsion Changes in the reward system: What porn does to the brain
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