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TweetChat with Dr. David Ley - Is Pornography Use Healthy?

David Ley  |  May 14

TweetChat with Dr. David Ley - Is Pornography Use Healthy?

David Ley, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Ole Miss, and his Master's and Doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the University of New Mexico.

He is also an author, known for his critical stance regarding sex addiction. His first book, Insatiable Wives won a Silver Medal in the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year in 2009. #LetsTickle @DrDavidLey

Q1: Is pornography addiction real?

A1 Not really – when people say they are addicted to porn, they’re actually saying “I feel ashamed and afraid of my sexual thoughts and feelings, and especially about masturbation. Those folks deserve support.

Q2: What does it mean when a person says they can't stop watching porn?

A2 What it means is that they are ambivalent, about both porn & masturbation. They like watching porn, it feels exciting, stimulating & sexy to be turned on and pleasure themselves to electronic fantasies. 

But then afterward, they feel guilty & hate themselves. So, they try desperately not to think about porn or their sexual fantasies. And, what happens when you try not to think of an elephant…? 

So the more they try to stop themselves from thinking about sex and porn and masturbation, the more they think about it. It becomes a very challenging spiral of shame, where they hate themselves more and more for failing to be abstinent.

Q3: Why do some people watch porn instead of having sex with their spouse?

A3 Most often it’s because their partner doesn’t want to have sex with them, as much as they would like, or in the way they want.

Sometimes it’s because the couple is fighting, or they have an unresolved conflict about sex. In those situations, masturbating to porn is just easier, less emotionally conflicted.

When I see couples dealing with this issue, there are ALWAYS unresolved conflicts and issues about sex between the couple. It’s far too easy to blame the porn, rather than helping the couple to learn to deal with the real issues.

Q4: When someone is struggling with their porn use, what kind of help should they get?

A4 There are currently only two treatment models with scientific evidence for effectiveness: one is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the other is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Both treatment models treat the behavior, porn watching, as a neutral behavior, and address and explore the thoughts and feelings and conflicts connected to the behavior.

In treatment, we don’t try to stop porn. Instead, we try to increase other positive behaviors, such as using other coping strategies for anxiety for instance.

Q5: What should I do, if my child is watching porn?

A5 Recognize that your child is developing sexual curiosity and needs your help, guidance and wisdom. If you shame them, you are planting seeds of future sexual struggles. 

Kids are going to porn to learn about sex, because we aren’t providing them good sex education. That’s our fault!. They learn bad lessons about sex from porn, because it’s not meant to be educational. 

There’s a great website (SFW!) called http://thepornconversation.org to educate parents on how to talk to kids about porn. Even more important is to create an open-door conversation with your child about healthy sexuality, at age-appropriate levels. 

Start a dialogue with your kid about love, sex, relationships. That’s how you create healthy sexuality in them! Make sure they can ask you for questions, help, and advice. DON’T SHAME THEM!

Originally went live @TickleLife on Twitter, on February, 26th '21.


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