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Porn addiction in Spain: “Feeling ‘dirty’ from using, I didn’t feel like I deserved love”

Manuel * is 48 years old. You started to think that you had a problem with pornography. “In 2007”, when he was a father and realized that “he could not stop using”. His case stands out from the rest because of his age and because he did not grow up with the technological revolution. He first discovered it when he was 15 years old in the most typical and innocent way: “I rented movies with my colleagues and we watched them in groups, although then I started doing it myself.” His addiction skyrocketed with the advent of the Internet. He no longer had to exchange comics or magazines, everything was there, within reach, in the palm of his hand, all the girls in the world were willing to fulfill his most private fantasies, those that he did not even know.

93% of men view pornography during adolescence. according to the data collected by Give it a spin one of the most important therapy and psychological aid associations in our country. This data contrasts with that relating to adolescent women, whose consumption reaches 62%. If we take into account that the average age at which one has a first contact with adult videos is 11 years, which has not stopped falling in recent years, and to this we add the great boom that this type of content had during the past quarantine, the risks of a person developing a problem of this type are quite high. This is confirmed by the association itself to this newspaper, making it clear that “The number of people who have asked us for help has grown exponentially in the last year.”

The consumption of pornography soars in Spain during the quarantine

Enrique Zamorano

Among all addictions, the consumption of pornography has a very special character. First, it is not a specific substance that when ingested it destroys the physical and mental health of the patient. In second place, its ubiquity and extreme accessibility makes it virtually impossible not to be tempted if you develop an addiction; after all, there are barely two or three clicks between the person and the out-of-control behavior. Likewise, it is not an addiction that derives attitudes of extreme compulsion, as Manuel assures, “It goes in cycles of between 7 and 10 days.”

“It’s like my mind gets lost in ‘dirty’ circular thoughts even though I don’t use or actually don’t use”

“The problem is that if I use one day, I relapse after a few hours or have a ‘dirty’ mind for another two days,” he is sincere. “Maybe I don’t consume, but I think very often about doing it or wasting time, Maybe I google something that I know will return pornographic content even if I don’t click on the content. I also upload to the Instagram profile of a porn actress that I like without going any further. It’s as if my mind gets lost in circular thoughts even though I don’t consume or do them. ”

Addicts in a hypersexual world

According to this testimony, we can get closer to understanding the enormous difficulty of living and overcoming this problem and its differences with other addictions. As we can see, it is not necessary to resort to explicit pornography to trigger compulsive behavior; We live in a hypersexualized world in which the subjects on the screens pose seductively, which inevitably leads to that circular thought that Manuel talks about. But, How does the brain of a person addicted to sexual content work? both explicit and subliminal, which abound on the net?

“It can lead to unethical sexual desires, they need a greater load of excitement and that makes them increase the degree of sexual rawness”

“The peculiarity that porn has is that we are the ones who fill what we see with content trying to understand it,” he explains. Cristina Vizuete, psychologist of the team of Dale Una Vuelta, a El Confidencial. “Our brain, when it sexualizes a video or a photo, empathizes and projects into images what we or the actors think we are feeling. This releases a ton of dopamine that, since there is no external distractor, but everything flows, it makes us want and need to feel that sensation again later. In similar addictions, such as sex, these distracting agents exist, either in the change of position, in the laughter and comments of those involved … but in pornography everything flows, so the dopamine discharge is much higher and, with it, the probability of ending up hooking ”.

Effects and consequences

The consequences of addiction to pornography are varied. Obviously, as Vizuete acknowledges, “Obsessive viewing of pornography is related to compulsive masturbation”, that turns the lives of those who suffer it into a kind of constant sexualization of all daily situations. Beyond this, which can directly affect the work and family life of those who suffer from it, it also ends up causing problems of sexual dysfunction in patients. “Real sex stops satisfying them,” says the psychologist. “In porn, bodies are retouched and the actors pretend to feel a lot of pleasure, when in reality they even feel pain many times, which generates an image in the individual very different from a normal and natural sexual relationship “. In addition, it ends up perverting the relationship that one has with the subjects of desire, which in Manuel’s case have been women.

“Today sexual content is not only on web pages, but also on social networks that many teenagers consume”

“My approach to women has affected me a lot”, expresses. “By feeling ‘dirty’ from using, I didn’t feel lovable.” Fortunately, his case is not one of the most extreme and he is now happily married. The problem has not made him detach himself from important people or from his daily life, although he must always be vigilant so as not to fall into it again. that spiral of compulsive “dirty” thoughts. In fact, as Vizuete assures for his part, “for many couples it represents a real problem”, referring to the taboo that exists around masturbation, which “is sometimes perceived as an infidelity, since one of the two tends to seek and expressing your sexuality outside of marriage. ”

Photo: Source: iStock
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How to overcome and face the problem? Like all other addictions, the first step is to recognize it and call it by name. “Not being a heavy consumer, I did not consider myself an addict”, Manuel remembers. “He told me: an addict is someone who locks himself in his room from Friday afternoon until Sunday and does nothing but consume pornography or waste his savings on pornography. That has not happened to me, but the feeling of loss of control is there. Then I recognized him and asked for help. Now, much more recovered, he affirms that the psychological therapy and the team of Dale Una Vuelta were vital when facing it, as well as the meditation. The downside is that, like any addiction or mental disorder, it never goes away completely, so you must live with it and be prudent.

“You have to break taboos and talk about it. It is not normal for 11-year-old children to have their first contact with sexuality with their mobile “

“I believe that my ideal or most satisfactory sexual relationship would be one in which I would not even have to make my desire explicit, but would be previously gestating until sex, which is nothing more than the logical consequence of the understanding and attraction between two beings ”, cManuel concludes, without a doubt, a very revealing sentence about how the consumption of pornography can change a person’s life, making them prey to a desire that has been inoculated and that, as Vizuete acknowledges, “can lead to sexual desires. very toxic and unethical, because patients need a greater load of excitement and that makes them increase the degree of rawness and sexual violence that appears in the videos. ”

Porn and education

Finally, it is worth wondering about the measures, both political and social as well as family, to prevent someone from developing this type of addiction or compulsive behavior. It must be taken into account, as the psychologist pointed out, that “nowadays pornography is not only on the web pages intended for it, but also on the social networks that many adolescents consume.” Beyond the parental controls that may exist to veto the access of children and adolescents to this type of content, both the psychologist and the patient recognize that the biggest problem still resides in sex education It is offered both in institutes and homes.

After all, pornography is still a taboo, even more so in family life. However, as the data shows, it is the gateway to the sex lives of millions of people, so you should not look away from an industry that moves astronomical amounts of money and that in turn is an essential part of the formation of the individual and their conception of sexuality and, therefore, of the other. “You have to break taboos and talk about it,” says Manuel. “It is not normal for 11 or 12 year old children to have their first contact with sexuality on their mobile screen, seeing something so unreal.”

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