Pornography is rampant in America. Why?? Access, affordability, anonymity, contact. It is believed that 2/3 of American teens look at pornography while they study for school. There are 1.3 billion porn sites on-line. Sex is the number 1 topic for internet searches! This tidal wave has hit our culture, and it is impacting families by the millions. What about women...do women view porn? YES.

According to the 2008 Internet Pornography Statistics, 30% of pornography consumers are women. One study showed that 17% percent of the women surveyed admitted to struggling with some sort of porn addiction. Women can become addicted to pornography just like men. They now have easier access, can remain anonymous, and continue to present as the "good girl" in society, while maintaining a secret lifestyle on-line.

So, why is pornography SO addicting?

A Biological Component: According to the Coolidge Effect, men, and to a lesser degree women, gain renewed sexual interest once they are introduced to a new stimuli. Whereas the brain's satiate mechanism typically says "stop, I've had enough", pornography's images overrides this mechanism, leaving the brain to continue to stay "turned on". The neurotransmitter Dopamine, the "gotta get it" drug that motivates craving for pleasure, continues to surge, leaving individuals, men and women, seeking a continued rush from superficial images.

Psychological Component: Along with this, over 70% of individuals with porn and sexual addictions came from dysfunctional childhoods where there was substance abuse, physical, sexual, emotional abuse and/or neglect. Many people that turn to pornography and sex as a means of alleviating shame, guilt, emptiness, and pain. The "thrill of the rush" becomes the addiction more than sex. Viewing porn is a "safe" way, according to the addict, to get their sexual needs met without the risk of being rejected or abandoned. But at what cost?

What are the consequences of porn, particularly for women? Like men, viewing pornography can affect women's relationships. The thrill of the hunt to create a live fantasy from the image on the screen can strain relationships, while creating sexual scenarios that women may regret engaging in afterwards.

Along with this, since no one can compete with the images on the screen, we have seen an increase in plastic surgery over the last 15 years among female high school and college students. Women as young as 16 are asking their fathers for breast implants. It has become the norm rather than the exception for women of all ages to spend millions of dollars on plastic surgery, botox, make-up and clothes in an attempt to compete with the "ideal" porn star.

Nowadays, more and more women are engaging in more sexually risky behaviors in an attempt to alleviate feelings of emptiness, stress, and emotional pain from childhood trauma. Cheating, indiscriminate partners, one night stands, jumping from relationship to relationship, chat lines, participating in creating one's own porn, are some examples of risky behaviors that need to be addressed.

So what can be done? If you are a female and believe you have a pornography addiction or a sexual addiction, there is help. You may contact me today for an assessment. Individual and group therapy, 12 step work, education, abstinence,and a strong support network are key in relieving you of the pain of your past, and creating healthier lifestyle and relationships, free from pornography and sexual addiction.

Start your healing today. Call Candice Christiansen, LPC to schedule an assessment: 240-257-6463.