Extra Chapter: Detoxification

07/30/2008

This material forms one of two extra chapters, this one being added as of September 23, 2009.   I’m not sure where it fits in to the finished work, so there’s no chapter number.

They say guys think about sex constantly.   I would concur.   It starts early in life and from what I’ve seen, doesn’t seem to wane, even when physical capacity diminishes or is gone.  (I’ll let you know on that when I get there, okay?)   Some have said that men think about sex at least four times per hour.   Some say four times every five minutes.

I heard it said that younger men think about what they want to do while older men think about they wish they could do or can’t do.   That means the idea that once a person is older their thought patterns will shift from sex to other interests may not in fact bear out in practice.

One thing I can say for sure is this:  Exposure to internet pornography changes how men think about sex.   It changes the substance of their thoughts.   It shifts abstract thoughts about sex in general to specific images or to types of sexual acts that they may not have considered.

I have found this to be true personally.   While the book was written ‘clean’ after the one-year mark, there were occasions where I felt that follow-up for this resource required me to return to some forgotten places — and I really do mean forgotten, I had to dig to find them — or to investigate some new use of internet technology that wasn’t discussed in the book.   (I’ve since closed the door on worrying about keeping the book ‘current.’)

But in those cases I would also be sure to get out and get free once I was satisfied that I’d seen all I had wanted to investigate.

It was at that point that I began to notice how just a day or two later, some of the internet images had vanished from memory.   That doesn’t mean that I’m forgetful or that if pressed I wouldn’t be able to recall something.   It simply means that given 48 hours, many of the images and associated ideas that were stored in short-term memory — usually including the names of the sites themselves — had faded completely.

Given the mentally toxic nature of those images, I started thinking of this in the same terms that we would use to describe some forms of physical addiction, and realized that with just a few days absence there is a period of detoxification that takes place.

This puts me in a rather conflicted position, however.   On the one hand, I’ve written about the power of internet pornography to change the way way men look at females, including women and girls who might be part of their immediate family or neighborhood.  I’ve stated that exposure to internet pornography changes one’s worldview or even one’s personal morality.

But on the other hand, although it was subjective, there was no denying that in the absence of the internet’s mental stimulation, those changes would undo, to the point where it was almost as if no internet pornographic exposure had taken place.

I’m not saying that this will be true for everyone.   And I’m not saying that this changes what I said in the first paragraph, that men do indeed think about sex a great deal.   But I believe very strongly that internet pornography injures the brain, and once one is able to escape  what is causing this injury, the brain will want to right itself, it will want to heal.

And I believe it will heal.   I think there will be scar tissue as well.   And if a person ‘acted out’ during that time that they were immersed in pornography, those scars may be very consequential, both for them and anyone else who was implicated in that acting out.

But I think a significant measure of healing can take place, and it can begin within just a few days of having victory over the addiction.   Then, the individual can return to more healthy attitudes and thoughts about sex because — for guys at least — I think a certain amount of thinking about sex is actually normal.

Want to see this work in your situation?   Offer to work together to not only track responsible internet usage, but to keep a logbook or record of days and weeks free.    People in the AA program do this to mark progress and celebrate key anniversary dates.    Volunteer to be partner in the healing and detoxification process.

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