No, You Can’t “Just Watch Soft-Core” If You’re a Porn Addict

Since I’ve been asked this question on more than one occasion, I figure it’s time to address it out in the open: “Can’t I just watch ‘lighter material’ and still be okay?” My answer, and honestly the answer of any sex addiction therapist, is a firm NO! Much like it would not be acceptable for an alcoholic to “just drink light beer,” or for a drug addict to “just switch to pot,” someone struggling with an addiction to sex and porn should not be exposed to any pornographic material, regardless of how it’s shot, framed, or branded.

You already know you have this addictive tendency; it’s precisely what you are working to overcome. Addicts often experience relapses and setbacks, but you can’t call it a relapse if you never stopped watching porn in the first place. Simply changing the kind of porn you watch is not helping you get healthier. You are not in control when this is happening – your addict is.

Same Harmful Stuff, Different Branding

When you’re able to step back and think about this objectively, the concept of “regular porn” is silly. Porn is porn is porn. It all has the ability to trigger you to act out sexually, and to keep you firmly in the grasp of your addiction.

There is this concept out there right now being pushed especially hard by porn sites called “female friendly porn.” This material is supposed to be more passionate or sensual in nature. It doesn’t have the crude, degrading language or imagery you might see in more hard-core material, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Why?

Because it is still tying sexuality to a screen rather than a real person. It is still wiring your brain to only be stimulated by actors in professional makeup, under professional lighting, performing acts that are downright acrobatic in nature. It doesn’t look the way true intimacy looks. It doesn’t look the way your bedroom and your partner look. It doesn’t look like actual sex. It looks like porn, because that’s exactly what it is.

Not to mention the fact that even the most romantic, sensual material is still objectifying. Who are these people? What is their backstory? Are they anything more than body parts on a screen to you? No. Not if you are in the grip of the porn addiction.

Just because something is branded differently doesn’t make it any better for you.

Now, all this being said, I don’t necessarily blame people for wondering if soft-core porn is somehow healthier or less harmful. Certainly, there is an array of material out there that ranges from candlelit romance to terrifyingly degrading violence.

Which brings me to my next point…

Porn Addiction is Still a Progressive Disorder

Those who find themselves truly addicted to porn often follow a predictable path. They start out with material that is pretty straightforward, but after a while they move on to more extreme, shocking, degrading, and dehumanizing content. It’s just like a drug addict needing more and more of the same drugs to chase the same high. So, while I don’t want to reinforce the idea that soft-core porn is somehow better, I do want to validate the fact that a compulsion seek out to more and more extreme content is a sure sign that your addiction has gotten worse.

When you have reached this stage in your addiction, you have also reached the highest point of objectifying women. They are on screen to be used. Who they are as people, or the fact that they even are people, becomes completely irrelevant in the content, and that’s how you begin to form dangerous and destructive connections in your mind.

However, I hope that my readers can catch the message I’m broadcasting here. While certain types of pornographic content are definitely more dangerous than others, there is no amount of porn that is safe to an addict.

Now, if you are struggling with that message a bit, understand that you are not alone. Porn is a multi billion-dollar industry, and make no mistake, it is working very hard to make sure that porn is normalized and made more mainstream. They want you to think that it’s okay to watch porn on the subway, at work, or while your kids play in the other room. And they definitely want you to think that you don’t have a problem, even as porn consumes your life and ruins your relationships.

If you have been trying to “step down” your addiction, or perhaps get things under control by watching lighter content, but still find yourself struggling, this is your official invitation to get in touch with us. We can give you the tools to take back control of your life the right way, without your compulsion making little excuses or allowances for itself.

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