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Gudrun Zomerland, MFT, CCPS
Licensed Marriage
and Family Therapist
MFC #27617
405 Chinn Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707-575-8468
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Articles by
Gudrun Zomerland:

Addiction and
Co-Dependency:

shame as a defense mechanism Shame as Self-Care
internet pornography addiction The Dangers of
Internet Porn
teen drug alcohol addiction Non-Violent Communication and its Relevance for Codependents
teen drug alcohol additction Teen Addiction:
An Open Letter
prescription drug abuse Prescription Drug Abuse
windsor alcohol and chemical dependency treatment The Core of Co-Dependency
santa rosa counselor for depression and anxiety Co-Dependent Characteristics
childhood trauma and post traumatic stress support H.A.L.T.: A Self-Care Tool
family and couples counseling in sonoma county The Family Member in Denial
 

Relationships:

treatment for trauma from domestic violence and spousal abuse Non-Violent Communication and its Relevance for Codependents
attachment disorders in adult relationships Attachment in Adult Relationships
healthy communication skills in adult relationships and marriage Getting to Know Your Emotions
sonoma county marriage counselor Communication Skills for Couples - 101
treatment options for alcoholism and drug addiction in marin county Differentiation, or What Makes Relationships Work
santa rosa psychotherapist treating depression and anxiety John Gottman's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
 

General Topics:

narcissism Rapunzel, Daughter of a
Closet Narcissist
psychotherapy for trauma Trauma: The Shaking Of A Soul
shame as a defense mechanism Shame as Self-Care
narcissistic parents and conarcissistic children Narcissism and Co-Narcissism
counseling for sexual abuse trauma in northern california Sexual Abuse Guidelines
rohnert park PTSD post traumatic stress disorder therapy Book Review:
"Stop Gaining Weight"
The Body Never Lies by Alice Miller and Hidden in Plain Sight by Barry Grosskopf Is Forgiving Our Parents Necessary for Mental Health?
overcoming fear and phobia through psychotherapy Fear of Fear
counseling for gay and lesbian couples in sonoma and marin county Living with the Light and Dark Sides of Life

 

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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 himself.

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 entity.

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:

Patrick Carnes, the pioneer of looking at sexual addiction, has co-authored a powerful book on internet porn, called "In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior", that is an invaluable resource. Mark Kastleman has written two books, The Drug of the New Millennium - The Brain Science Behind Internet Pornography Use" and "Pornography 500mg: Drug of the New Millennium", that are very helpful. For more publications on internet addiction, or more general sex addiction, please go directly to http://www.amazon.com.

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 http://www.cosa-recovery.org. 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 it?

  • 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.

 
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