Listen
About KGNU

Into the Darkness: Pornography, Sex Addiction and Betrayal Trauma

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction “as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations.” While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) put out by the American Psychiatric Association, does not list sex addiction as an official diagnosis, more and more therapists are reporting an increase in the numbers of people seeking treatment for addiction to sex and to pornography.

Wendy Conquest, a certified sex addiction therapist who has written extensively on the topic, says that in her own practice she has seen more and more people in their 20s and 30s having difficulty in forming intimate relationships. She says much of this can be attributed to how ubiquitous pornography is which gives a distorted view of what an intimate relationship should be.

Photo by Fancycrave from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/blur-close-up-desk-electronic-433604/

The average age of first exposure to pornography is eleven. Conquest warns that often parents have a false sense of security as they can control what online content their children have access to in their home, “however as soon as we put a smartphone into a person’s hands then they have access to that.”

 

 

Viewing strong sexual images lead an increase in dopamine levels in the brain.  “That’s going to cause a feeling of excitement and elation, excitation and so consciously or unconsciously that person is going to say “hey, I’m kind of curious about that, maybe I want to seek out more images like that, so I would say the vast majority of clients that I see that have sex addiction, they have been exposed to some sort of pornographic content very early on in life. They learn to rely on that, to regulate moods, to mitigate stress and now at a very young age they’re using this piece to work with their emotions, to work with distress and that just doesn’t stop.”

Wendy Conquest, will be speaking on pornography, sex addiction and betrayal trauma at the monthly Interface presentation Friday February 16th at the North Boulder Naropa campus, find out more at interfaceboulder.org.