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Porn and Teen Sex Addiction

Porn and Teen Sex Addiction-Paradigm Malibu

It might be a disturbing experience to learn that your child is watching porn. It’s often upsetting because in general sex is a topic that continues to be taboo.

 

However, it is often the forbidden nature of sexuality that promotes secretly becoming obsessed with porn, excessive sexual activity, and fantasy. Teen Sex Addiction and porn addiction often develop when sex is regarded as shameful, secretive, or abusive. The addiction with sex turns into compulsive behavior where there is a loss of control and an adolescent spends large amounts of time engaging in sexual-related activity to the point where he or she is neglecting social, academic, or familial responsibilities.

 

Signs of Teen Sex Addiction

 

You might find that a teen sex addiction is present if you see the following behavior in an adolescent:

  • Obsessive thoughts about sex that disrupt functioning at school, home or at the work place.
  • Inability to refrain from viewing pornography or engaging in sexual behavior
  • Avoiding time with friends or other typical teen activities to instead spend time on the computer or have sexual encounters.

 

The American Psychological Association (APA) now recognizes almost any behavior that becomes compulsive and that initiates the cycle of the brain’s reward system can be diagnosed as an addiction. According to the APA, certain behaviors, such as gambling and shopping and forms of sexual activity, can produce the same high, or rush in the brain, which is similar to the use of drugs. In that way, addictions can resemble the physiological symptoms that the use of drugs and alcohol might create.

 

The activation of the brain’s reward system is the key to the problems. Although drugs and alcohol can have a physical and psychological addiction, it is possible to develop an addiction to other behaviors and any activity that become the sole focus of one’s life to the exclusion and detriment of other life-activities. Exposure to these behaviors, just as exposure to rewarding drugs, facilitates that process, or cycle, of addiction. For this reason, behavioral addictions, such as shopping and gambling, are also known as process addictions.

 

As mentioned earlier the fact that sex is seen as shameful can contribute to an addiction in some adolescents. At the same time, the fact that sex is taboo can make it challenging to talk to teens about it, especially if there are signs of a sex addiction.

 

Talking to Your Teen About Sex Addiction

 

Fortunately, most teens will switch to another website or not engage in a conversation for too long with an online stranger who exhibits sexual interest. Yet, for others, addition to sex and pornography is a problem. In order to have a conversation with an adolescent about a sexual addiction, Dr. Lynn Margolies of PsychCentral recommends the following:

 

Talk to your teen in a calm and mature tone so that you can meet them where they are in order to instill trust regarding this conversation. Avoid using your parental, authoritative voice. An adolescent might feel shameful about his or her activity. In order for him or her to open up and feel remotely comfortable about the topic, there must be a level of trust.

 

In your conversation, be honest and upfront. It’s important to explain the dangers, such as the addiction cycle above. What happens is viewing pornographic images can trick the mind into feeling pleasure and trigger the brain’s activation cycle, which contributes to the addiction. Once the addiction is in place, it becomes more and more challenging to break the cycle.

Talking With Your Child

 

Another danger is the growing feeling of shame. Since the behavior has been a secret, likely your teen continues to feel embarrassed, shameful, and guilty about continuing to watch porn despite the brain’s activation cycle and the need to continue.

 

A third danger is that porn and unhealthy sexual activity can have a poor influence on healthy sexual development. The images can contribute to not knowing what is normal sexual activity and what is healthy.

 

Furthermore, there are predators online who are hungry for sexual interaction with teens and younger children. They too likely have an addiction and are participating in the same unhealthy sexual dynamic. Once an adolescent has a developed sexual addiction, meeting online predators might feel familiar because the relationship to sexuality is the same. Which is unhealthy, shameful, and dysfunctional.

Conclusion 

 

If you see that your teen is experimenting with sex and showing the signs of an obsession, getting treatment is important! Excessive sexual activity can lead to unexpected pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and the intensifying of any unresolved emotions. Seeking professional mental health treatment is important if the above signs are evident.

 

 

Reference:

Margolies, L. (2010). Teens and Internet Pornography. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 12, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/teens-and-internet-pornography/0002812

Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.

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