are important. But the problem is not a simple one and a simplistic approach will not address the pervasive nature of porn addiction. Instead, the pastoral counselor must recognize that pornography addiction is something that pervades the spheres of the spiritual realm, the psychological, and even (perhaps especially) the physical, all of which intermingle.Based on these three spheres, what follows is my best efforts at presenting a simplified(though not simplistic) framework approach to counseling those who are addicted to porn,specifically as it relates to men.
My conclusions are not only gleaned from some excellentreading materials but alsof rom interviews with recovering sex addicts
, family therapycounselors, an experienced pastoral counselor, and leading an accountability group for recovering porn addicts. But lest it seem like the matter is settled, “conclusions” may not be the best word. Instead, I hope the reader finds this paper as an initial primer in counseling andwalking alongside others in recovery. There is much still to learn.
Our culture is a “pornified” culture.
Never before has a society had so much anonymous,accessible, and affordable
access to pornographic materials, primarily through the wonders of instant internet access. Moreover, mass-market entertainment is more saturated with sex thanever before, and lest one think that is merely hyperbole it is easy to quantify with statistical
There are a growing number of women who are addicted to porn, though still significantly lower in number thanmen. A lot of what is discussed in this paper is true for these women also, but there is enough distinction betweenhow women and men become addicted that this paper will focus on men, for the sake of simplicity.
The distinction between a sex addict and a porn addict is that the porn addict is only dealing with the “building blocks” of sex addiction (porn, masturbation, and fantasy) while the sex addict has moved on to include other kindsof sexual behavior. A porn addict is a sex addict, but a sex addict is not merely a porn addict.
Mary Eberstadt and Mary Anne Layden,
The Social Costs of Pornography: A Statement of Findings and Recommendations
(Princeton: Witherspoon Institute, 2010), 13.
Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction,
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 32.