The Dangers of Internet Porn
Gudrun Zomerland, MFT
In recent years, the obvious and hidden dangers of internet porn have risen to the
surface as more and more partners complain, more addicts come forward and talk honestly about
their experiences, and as more research into this phenomenon have taken place.
On-line Pornography is Speedy:
Unlike pornography viewed in magazines, which carries its own potential dangers, pornography
viewed online is exponentially more dangerous because of the speed with which images can be
accessed and enter the mind, and because of the endless supply during any individual sitting.
Internet Porn Addiction is Unlike Relationship Addiction:
Internet porn is a predominately male behavior. Because women tend to be more relationship
oriented, they abuse the internet for the romantic aspects of relationship. They find someone in
a chat room or online dating service and get carried away in a fantasy relationship that has no
basis and no trials in actual life. But this online relationship carries so much weight with its
demands for time and its seemingly heartfelt involvement that the woman loses contact with real
people, loses productivity and exists in a perpetual state of desire that leaves her vulnerable to
making foolish and potentially dangerous decisions.
The Methamphetamine of Pornography:
In contrast, men, because their drive for connection is governed more through visual attraction,
abuse the internet to satisfy these visual urges. When men expose themselves to habitual, frequent
sessions of online porn their hormonal responses can change to such a degree and with such speed
that online porn has been labeled the methamphetamine of pornography.
Internet Porn Disturbs the Hormones of the Sexual Desire Phase:
Internet porn changes the desire phase of sexuality. The man becomes used to certain rituals,
such as taking time to go online after work as a reward, waiting for everybody in the household to
be in bed, listening for sounds, having his computer environment set up in just the right way, and
on and on ad infinitum. But over time these rituals become powerful predictable stimuli that can
override the established rituals the man has had with his partner. He loses the desire to engage
with his partner because he has less control over the outcome and it seems just easier to be by
The Secrecy of Internet Porn Stimulates the Adrenals:
The secrecy of engaging in any behavior that is questionable, looked down upon, deemed forbidden
or unlawful evokes in itself a strong physiological response. Heart rate and blood pressure
increase and muscles tense up. These changes are the same ones that drive the beginning of the
excitement phase of sexuality. In addition, fostered by the pornographic images the eye takes in,
blood converges in the sexual organs. The visual stimulation coupled with secrecy is a powerful
combination that is difficult to achieve through sexuality with an actual human being (with the
exception of affairs), especially in a long-term relationship where the partner is a well-known
The Speed and Endless Supply of Internet Porn Alters Brain Chemistry:
But above all it is the speed with which images can be called forth and the endless supply and
variety that alters brain chemistry. No actual human encounter can match the intensity with which
these chemical changes take place and alter the hormones that drive arousal. With repeated
exposure over time, the man will find that his body is no longer responding to the often slow
progression of arousal with his partner.
Books About Internet Porn:
12-Step Resources for Sexual Addiction and Co-Addiction:
In addition, for men who want to free themselves from pornographic addiction, there is SAA (Sex
Addicts Anonymous), at http://www.saa-recovery.org
. And for family members who are struggling, there is
. Since many counties do not have C.O.S.A. meetings, family members
could try AlAnon meetings. Even though designed to cope with alcoholism, most AlAnon meetings
will welcome those who are struggling with a different addiction in their midst.
If you wonder whether you might have a sexual addiction or if you think you are living with
someone who might be sexually addicted, please feel free and give me a call at 707-575-8468 (Sonoma County) or 415-446-5532 (Marin County). Help is available!
Internet Porn Self-Assessment|
(adapted from http://www.sexhelp.com/isst.cfm)
- Do you have some sexual sites bookmarked?
- Do you spend more than 5 hours/week on online sexual sites?
- Have you searched for sexual material using internet search tools?
- Have you paid for some online sexual sites?
- Have you spent more money for online sexual sites than you planned?
- Has internet sex interfered with other aspects of your life?
- Have you participated in online sex chat rooms?
- Have you masturbated while on sexual sites?
- Have you accessed sexual sites from other computers?
- Do you assume that no one knows about your online sexual activity?
- Have you tried to hide your online sites?
- Have you tried to hide your online activity?
- Have you stayed up past your usual bedtime in order to continue online sexual activity?
- Have you made promises to yourself to restrict or curtail the time you spent on sexual sites
only to find that you fail?
- Have you used online sexual activity as an excuse for a number of reasons: rewarding,
relaxing, celebrating, alleviating boredom, being angry/anxious/sad, or avoiding your partner.
- Have you inadvertently endangered a/your child because you keep online sexual material?
- Have you come across illegal online sexual material and not reported it?
- Has a loved-one complained about the online activity itself or about the time you spend on
- Have you made promises to others that you would restrict or stop your online sexual usage but
broken your promise?
- Have you had any thoughts yourself that you might be addicted to online porn?
If you have any questions about your use of internet porn or if you suspect that a loved one might
be addicted, please feel free to give me a call at 707-575-8468 (Sonoma County) or 415-446-5532 (Marin County) to set up a consultation.