People want to feel good. In one way or another, we all want to reduce pain and increase pleasure. We stay away from situations that cause us anxiety, those who are mean to us, and relationships that cause us distress. We seek out activities that are calming, spend time with those who are kind, and increase our relationships that make us feel good. This dynamic keeps us from experiencing uncomfortable situations.
Instead of walking into a potentially awkward social situation, we don’t engage at all. Rather than trying to make new friends, we just sit back and isolate ourselves in order to not feel anxious. We don’t gain the support and friendships we want because we are too worried about looking foolish or saying something dumb. We end up suffering because we don’t have the friend group we want, but at least we are avoiding the pain of being uncomfortable.
We seek pleasure in many ways, particularly when we don’t feel good. When others are mean to us, we seek the approval and comfort from our friends and family. When we get rejected and feel isolated, we try to make ourselves feel better by doing something that feels good or surrounding ourselves with those who love us. When we are bored, we find something to do that is fun and exciting.
Pornography is a common activity people go to in order to feel pleasure and avoid pain. Rather than working through a fight with your partner, porn is an easy escape and helps you ignore the challenges in your relationship. It can be something that makes us feel good after we are rejected by someone we like. Porn can try to satisfy our sexual desires, but it leaves us feeling isolated. Porn can seem like it gives us pleasure, but more often than not, it is the source of pain.
After looking at porn you may feel guilt and shame. You enjoy the momentary pleasure but feel isolated and different from your peers. You feel you are the only one going through this and no one understands. You have tried to stop but have failed time and time again. In fact, you have noticed you have been looking at porn a lot more recently.
Porn has made a horrible impact on your relationship with your partner. You tried to talk to them about it, but they feel betrayed. Your partner becomes angry and hurt for not being enough for you. They start to mistrust you and become resentful which drives both of you further apart. You feel bad about it but continue to use porn to cope with the stress of the relationship. It’s a vicious and defeating cycle.
Porn does not have to be your go-to when you experience pain. You can learn positive coping skills to deal with anxiety and stress. You can find ways to gain the social supports you want and not submit to the fears of not being liked. You can stop porn use and have a great relationship with your spouse. You can increase your confidence and self-esteem by quitting porn. A life free from the guilt and shame of porn use is possible.
If you see the negative effects of porn use, call Jeremy to set up an appointment. Start the process to work on the challenges you face that has led you to use porn. It is possible to feel good about yourself. Porn does not have to control your well-being anymore.