Saturday, June 15, 2024

If you’re spending hours watching porn, you may have a problem. This group can help

The Virginia Beach Christian Counseling Center provides a recovery program and support group for men with porn addiction in Hampton Roads. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)
The Virginia Beach Christian Counseling Center provides a recovery program and support group for men with porn addiction in Hampton Roads. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first story in a two-part series about porn addiction.

Addictions come in all shapes and forms, but as the internet becomes more and more accessible one addiction is also growing: Porn. 

“Our society is very lonely, it makes sense that cyber sex would become such a big part of people’s lives,” said Chuck Carrington, a counselor with the Virginia Beach Christian Counseling, “With the availability of porn online, you can get all you want for free.” 

Carrigton started an Internet Porn Addiction Support Group with VBCC five years ago and now has a regular group of approximately 30 men who come to seek support and recovery from the addiction.

The interest in porn addiction for Carrington came after doing research on game addiction, he said. When learning about game addiction he found that porn sites use the same addictive qualities, such as sporadic rewards, as gambling.

But when he looked for resources, he found that porn addiction was lacking the counseling support necessary to address a growing issue.

Carrington said this is an addiction that mainly occurs in men because they are more visually stimulated than women. About 80 percent of men younger than 30 visit porn sites once a month, he said, and while that might seem harmless there are individuals who take the interest even further.

“A porn addict will stay online for six to seven hours,” he said. “Their relationships breakdown and they start blaming other people. It’s the same pattern as with alcohol.”

Carrington decided to start a coaching program and support group to provide a safe place where men can work through their addiction and find ways to recover.

Many of the men come to the group after being confronted, Carrington said. When a man’s girlfriend or wife finds out about the addiction, many of them threaten to leave their partner if it doesn’t stop. That leads these men to Carrington’s resources where they not only learn how to fight the addiction but how to repair relationships.

“We work with teaching men that this is not a victim-less crime,” he said. “They are harming their wives and family, or people in society by supporting the industry.”

He said it’s important that people know porn addiction is not the same as sex addiction and has different causes.

For many men, the addiction started in adolescence where they were drawn to the porn by curiosity. But eventually it will grow into a coping mechanism where, when combined with masturbation, there will be a jolt of energy that creates a high. This high can help with stress relief or loneliness, Carrington said.

Fighting the stigma

When men come to Carrington for support, he said the first thing he addresses is that they should not feel ashamed. 

“It can be uncomfortable for people to talk about,” he said. “I explain to them that shame is an enemy we don’t embrace; it holds them in self-loathing and that’s part of what makes people hate themselves in the first place.”

Carrington’s coaching program, which lasts 12 weeks, involves a multi-modal approach where he helps the men try to think about their porn addiction differently.

In addition, men can attend the optional support group which Carrington said tends to provide them with a community to help keep them on track before, during or after the program.

All of these techniques are combined to fight off something Carrington sees as “insidious” because of the way it destroys relationships. 

He said those addictions can be complicated and people deserve to have resources to help them.

“People think porn is not a big deal, but it’s how it impacts the relationships that truly matters,” he said. “And we want to bring them to success and deliverance.”

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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