Text Size
Smaller
Bigger

Dangers of violent porn?

answered 04:18 PM EST, Mon August 08, 2011
I look at porn on the internet pretty much every day. I don’t have a girlfriend so it is my only way to get off at the moment. I don’t really have a problem with this, but I am a little worried about how the porn could affect me.

For the last while, regular porn hasn’t really been very exciting to me. I am always heading towards sites that show more violent or humiliating and degrading pictures and movies. Sometimes the things that I watch make me feel a little disgusted with myself after the fact, but when I start looking at porn again the next time these are the kinds of sites I just seem to head back to time and time again.

Do you think that this kind of porn can affect me in some way? I do find myself fantasizing in real life by putting women I know in the kinds of scenes I have been watching. But I know that I am a good person and I would never act like that really. How can I not be excited by what gets me excited? It seems like something I have no control over?

Rob Weiss Says...

There are really two issues we need to address here:

  1. your arousal pattern as it relates to the fetish itself (sadomasochism); and
  2. your concern about how it makes you feel/how often you need to view it (have you developed an addiction).

To address the issue of compulsivity/addiction, take a week off from viewing the porn to see how you feel and how it affects you – if you can’t do it, there might be a porn addiction problem you need to address.

The other issue – the S&M– is just an arousal template/fetish – you can like that and not be addicted to porn.

In either case, you are concerned, and when you are concerned there is usual something to be concerned about.  I would suggest contacting a therapist to help you.  What type of therapist depends on what you identify as the real issue here.

First let’s talk about your arousal pattern. Some people have underlying arousal interests or feelings that pre-Internet might never have been discovered. Think of it this way: you might like Chinese food, but if you’d never been exposed to it you never would know you liked Chinese food.

Because of the depth and the breadth of the erotic material available online people are exposed to areas of sexuality they previously did not know would be arousing to them. You can find yourself interested in things you had not anticipated once you discover them on the Internet and find them pleasurable.

Some of these arousal patterns can be fetishistic or related to fetishes, and sadomasochism is considered to be a fetish.

While you state that it makes you feel disgusted, this is a moral judgment about your own arousal pattern. We don’t really know what sets these patterns, but in general, people evolve fetishes out of some life experience early in life, often unknown to them. The reality is that by the time you are in adult life, those things are set.  If you hadn’t been exposed to these types of images, you may not have ever realized it was part of your arousal pattern.

You ask how you can not be excited by what gets you excited. You can’t not be excited by what gets you excited – the genie is out of the bottle – your only option is to stop looking at it and reinforcing the reward.

Your arousal pattern is not inherently “wrong” unless you are talking about nonconsensual activities.  From a clinical standpoint, if it is consensual there isn’t anything wrong with it.  However, if you find these patterns go against your values and beliefs and it’s important you not pursue it in real life with real people, then stop looking at it.

Every time you masturbate to some form of erotica it’s reinforcing the arousal pattern.  The brain doesn’t know the difference between looking at porn and being with someone in terms of arousal.  The more you reward your brain with pleasure and orgasm around a particular thing, the more you are going to want to do it.

You need to ask yourself if you are aroused by non-sadomasochistic acts, and if you are, are you okay with dealing with the loss of the S&M aspect as part of your sexual life.

There are many people who embrace sadomasochism because it is exciting, and there are whole communities that willingly and openly (men and women) participate in this – so you do have choice. You can push this out of your life – no more looking at it and no more engaging in it; or you can keep looking at it and think about how it would be incorporated into your real sexual life.

If you keep looking at this is it going to escalate – the more you look at it the more it will escalate.

If you feel the issue is the fetish itself (you don’t want it to escalate) you should consider seeing a sex therapist - you can go to ASECT to find someone:  www.asect.net.

If you feel the issue is compulsive use of pornography (you can’t stop looking at it even though you feel ashamed and disgusted, and you think you might be addicted), then you should consider seeing a sexual addiction therapy – you can visit the SASH website to learn more and access a provider directory to find a therapist in your area: www.sash.net.

Related Expert Answers:

Email It Send this page Print It Print friendly page Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category

Page last updated Oct 19, 2011

Call Now for
Rehab Options
Insurance Accepted
(Except Medicare)

Join Thousands of Readers

who receive our weekly recovery newsletter.

Rob Weiss - LCSW, CSAT-S
Clinical Social Worker/Therapist Sexual Recovery Institute
Sex Addiction: Featured Experts
All Experts

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.