I recently read an article about Terry Crews (read it here), former NFL player and herculean actor in the TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the Old Spice commercials, and movies including The Expendables. He revealed to the public his struggle with pornography addiction. He shared that his obsession had devastating consequences in his life. It took up all of his time, objectified his view of other people, and alienated his wife and children.
As more celebrities and public figures begin to speak out about this issue, it confirms what we have seen in our office. A large number of men, and increasing numbers of women describing that their use of pornography or other problematic sexual behavior has severely impacted their life. They share it prevents them from meeting their responsibilities, gets in the way of their goals and what they value most in life. Some even report having lost their jobs and families because of the habit. Hollywood is getting into the mix as well. Movies with characters wrestling with out of control sexual behavior are being produced including Shame (2011) starring Michael Fassbender, Thanks for Sharing (2012) starring Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Jon (2013) starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Why is there becoming a greater increase in public awareness? Listen to these stats: There are 68 million pornographic search engine requests on a daily basis—that’s 25% of total requests made worldwide. There are 1.5 billion pornographic downloads per month (peer-to-peer)—that’s 35% of total downloads worldwide. 72 million worldwide Internet users visit adult sites per month. And, the average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old.* In addition, various risk factors can contribute to the development of pornography or sexual addiction, including a history of addiction and/or mental health issues in the family, abuse or early trauma experiences, and the development of other addictive behavior that might interact with or reinforce sexually compulsive behavior. Any or all of these factors can lead to compulsive behavior.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with pornography or sexual addiction, there is hope. Dr. Patrick Carnes and his team developed the PATHOS questionnaire to provide a brief and effective screening tool to properly determine whether a person would benefit from seeing a professional for sexual addiction assessment and treatment. Here is the simple set of questions that can help you assess whether to seek help.
- Preoccupation–Do you find yourself fantasizing, daydreaming, or ruminating about sexual images or experiences?
- Ashamed–Do you compartmentalize or hide some or all of your sexual behavior from others?
- Treatment–Have you ever sought help for sexual behavior you did not like?
- Hurt others–Has anyone been hurt emotionally, physically, or psychologically because of your sexual behavior?
- Out of control–Do you feel controlled by your sexual behavior?
- Sad–When you view pornography or engage in other sexual behaviors, do you feel depressed afterwards?
If you answered with a positive response to one of the questions above, that would indicate a need for additional assessment.Here at i360, we have trained professionals that can help with the issue of sexual addictionand/or any co-occurring mental health issues. There is hope for healing and restored relationships.
Written by Mitchell Isle, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist.