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Porn addiction

answered 10:11 PM EST, Wed June 29, 2011
Rocco Tano Rocco Tano Los Angeles
I’ve got a real problem with internet porn. I used to think it was no big deal but now that I’m in danger of losing my job and my marriage, I’ve got to concede otherwise.

I need to cut this garbage out of my life. I’ve tried on my own and I keep going back to it so I know I need some kind of help but I also can’t imagine telling anyone about my problem. I’m a father of 3 teenaged girls and a fairly respected church going member of a small and close-knit community. Because of my job and because I can’t tell anyone about my problem, I can’t go anywhere else to get help and there’s no way I can talk to anyone local about it. I think the only thing worse than living this way would be living this way and having everyone around me know how I spend my days.

I will masturbate to internet porn 3 or 4 times a day, almost every day. I do it at work every afternoon and late at night in my office at home, behind a locked door. I used to be a very well thought of at work but I now spend so much work time surfing for porn that the quality of my work has really suffered and I think I’m actually in danger of losing my job. I was even caught masturbating at work once, by one of the cleaners, but he didn’t to my knowledge, say anything about it.

My wife and I used to have a great sex life but now I have difficulty performing with her and avoid sex. I think she knows what I do late at night but she prefers to turn a blind eye to it, I think. I think she may blame herself, even, for my lack of interest. Needless to say, our marriage isn’t what it once was and she has started asking me if we need to try a separation. I am too ashamed to tell her the truth. I am also very ashamed at some of the stuff that I look at online.

I can’t avoid the internet as I need to use it for work but as soon as I’m online the urges become irresistible and I can’t exactly put on anti-porn software on a work computer. How can I control myself so that I can’t get past this addiction before it costs me everything – even though I can’t see anyone for help?

Rob Weiss Says...

You have to do what it takes to get well from a problem that you have clearly identified. It is your responsibility as a husband and a father to do so.  This means getting past the excuses about why you can’t seek treatment or why you can’t tell a qualified professional about your behavior.  Your attitude is symptomatic of this kind of problem: your shame disappears when you are doing things that could get you into trouble, but reappears when you consider doing something to get well. You have been willing to risk your job and your family to masturbate to porn, so you must be willing to show the courage and commitment to get the help you need by going to a qualified therapist. If you put even 25 percent of the energy into healing that you put into indulging in masturbation and porn, miracles can happen.

I admire your willingness to write this down. It’s a great first step toward acknowledging how profound this problem is, but now you need to take it further.  You have to find a professional who is expert in the treatment of sex addiction.

If you don’t want to tell people why you’re going into therapy, you don’t have to tell them – you can say it’s for some personal issues.  But you do have to go.

There’s a national organization of professionals who treat sex addiction – The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH.net) and they have therapists in nearly every city. If you are in a rural area, you can find a therapist who will do Skype/phone sessions.   What’s most important is to find someone who is truly qualified to treat sex addiction.

There are also 12-step recovery programs with online meetings. You can use your online skills you developed looking at porn to get to these online recovery meetings. These meetings are anonymous and will allow you to find peer support.

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Page last updated Jun 30, 2011

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