General remarks

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Submitted by Marnia on
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Advice for mates: If your partner is hooked on porn, understand that at a neurochemical level, addictions are surprisingly similar. The issue isn’t dirty pictures; it’s a physical compulsion. Blame and threats will achieve little in comparison with your conviction that your partner can get informed about his true circumstances and seek support. (At that point it is up to him.)

Also keep in mind that your partner’s porn use is not about you, or your attractiveness. To a porn junkie, a thirty-second orgasm is more appealing than an actual lover, because of the instant neurochemical shift he is seeking. While your partner is deciding whether or not to address his addiction, and even while he is recovering, spend lots of time nurturing yourself in the company of supportive friends. The suggestions above in “What if I don’t have a partner?” may also be useful.

Do not compete on pornography’s terms (by abandoning bonding behaviors in favor of hot foreplay or rough sex). You may actually worsen your mate’s post-passion projections onto you, as you will be more closely associated with his post-orgasmic feelings of sexual satiation.

Meanwhile, keep in mind that your partner is fundamentally innocent and just doing what biology intended: pursuing new mates above all else. Due to a weakness in our design, the primitive part of the human brain reacts to virtual mates as well as real ones.

One reason that "stimulation-on-demand" (gambling, internet porn, TV, video games) is so compelling is that it can instantly distract your mate from bad feelings and dispel boredom—at the press of a button. Indeed, your partner may be convinced that the world will feel empty without these enticing distractions. It will indeed—but only while his perception is distorted by unusually low dopamine (and unusually high dopamine, when porn cues light up his reward circuitry).

When your partner chooses to recover, he must venture into this unnaturally gray world and cope with feelings of despair and boredom to regain his freedom. He will also have to cope with intensely uncomfortable physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. If you feel inclined to support him, use the bonding behaviors. They are his best mood medicine, even though he may not be very sensitive to their pleasures while he is recalibrating his inner compass. It will take time for him to become fully sensitive to affectionate touch. Gradually he will see that it is possible to feel sparklingly alive and sexy, without the rushes of excitement associated with artificially induced dopamine surges.

Woke up very clear, as though I’ve been in a dream. Porn has become a temptation, rather than the overriding compulsion it was. Yesterday I met an adorable woman. If I could look into her clear and gentle eyes each day I would never need to look at porn again...because the beauty of actual magnetism that is felt with another goes so far beyond anything a cheap and nasty orgasm in front of a PC can give. I am feeling like I’m reclaiming my life.—Kurt

Recovery from a sex addiction can be an effective, if excruciating, way for your partner to become an even better person than before. It’s also good preparation for karezza, because to escape porn your partner has had to recognize that orgasms were not an unqualified source of wellbeing. He has also developed sexual self-discipline. You can help by never shaming him. It will simply kindle his craving for temporary oblivion in the form of a “fix.”

If you would like to see fewer men trapped in a world of sick, misogynistic images, then help men move right past their shame feelings so they can rediscover their true self-worth. The sooner they're back in the boat, the sooner they can throw a life preserver to the next guy.

I believe that the powerful receptive yin energy of fully realized womanhood is the most exquisite, beautiful solution to the ravages of our unrestrained, out-of-control yang maleness....Let there be balance!—Max