What takes place between the ears totally controls the feelings between the legs. It is this phenomenon which makes internet sex and sexual addiction possible.
Addiction occurs when a person feels compelled to perform behaviors which they recognize are interfering with their well being but still feel compelled to perform. Internet addictions in general (which fall under the general classification of Process Addictions) are becoming a pandemic. Several documented deaths have been reported of persons who neglected themselves gaming, gambling and participating in pornography on the computer.
It would be safe to guess that of the sexual addictions that we treat at C.A.R.E., more than ninety percent involve computers. Rationalization is the hallmark of any addiction. In the case of computer involved sexual addiction, the most common rationalizations are that “it is not real" I am not hurting anyone” “ I can not catch a disease”. This may be true.
It only becomes a problem when the activity becomes compulsive, and consequently damages the addict’s life. Our experience shows that like with alcohol addiction 10% of the population consumes 90% of the product. Understanding an addiction helps to explain why sexual addiction and using the computer is so prevalent.
In addictions we speak about addiction potential. The quicker the brain reaction and the more available an addictive substance is, the higher the potential for addiction. In the case of computer addictions the response is immediate and the availability is not further than the computer. It is available 24/7 and you can access it without leaving your home and/or work environment.
Rationalization is easy. Anonymity often keeps initial consequences and confrontation to a minimum. It is the view of C.A.R.E. that persons who are involved in any addiction are using that addiction to fill a need in their lives. More often than not, the addiction is a way to escape reality. With the anonymity of the computer, the proverbial 90 pound weakling can become Mr. Universe. The nerdy wimp becomes the stud legend of his/her own mind.
In short, the computer allows the building of fantasy worlds. In most chat rooms we can be whomever we wish. Pornography does not even require a brown paper wrapper. These worlds kept in check are fine. When they get out of hand, they require treatment.
This requires several steps.
- Recognition that it is causing a problem.
- Finding the underlying causes. (How does the sex addict benefit from his/her addiction?)
- Finding better ways to address the problem.
- Implementing the new strategy and practice in life changing issues.