It's not about the porn

During a session this week, one of my clients shared with me how he always struggles with looking at porn the moment his wife leaves him home alone with the kids. 

Knowing that having a "craving" is anything but random, I asked why he thought he was tempted in this particular situation. 

At first, he didn’t know, so I asked him what emotion he feels whenever he’s left alone with the kids.

“Trapped."

"I feel stuck."

And upon further thought, "Then my fear of being trapped turns into frustration, and then into anxiety, and from there the urge to look at porn arises and grows with my anxiety..."

“Oh, wow.”

It clicked.

He found the reason for his temptation. 

He wanted freedom and relief from feeling stuck and his anxiety, not porn.

There's a key to understanding any compulsive habit in this story, and it's that there’s always a reason for our temptations.  It doesn't matter whether the struggle is with shopping, gambling, drinking or any other relieving substance or behavior you can think of.

This man wasn’t looking for porn because that’s what he wanted to do, or because he was immoral, or weak, he wanted to look at porn because he wanted relief from the suffocating feelings of his anxieties and other emotions.

Thus, being tempted by porn is never something to be ashamed for, it’s only a signal that your heart is under some form of distress or pain and it wants relief.  Your job is to learn how to see and understand the signs and signals and to then find comfort in a way that won't hurt you or those around you over time.