47. Sex And Addictions: What Is It About The Sex/Porn Industry That Fascinates So Many People?
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The sex/porn industry consists of businesses – which either directly or indirectly provide sex-related products and services for adult entertainment.
As A Relationship Therapist – This Is What I Have Observed:
As a relationship therapist, I often had to deal with the subject of sex and this included the massive topic of ‘pornography’ – which included S&M (defined as sadism and masochism which is a practice of taking or causing abuse during sex), other sexual deviances and preferences, pornographic addictions and Internet pornography.
For years the sex or the porn industry have tried to provide us with all sorts of more acceptable names and definitions in order to capture a wider audience. However, no matter what name it tries to goes by – pornography is still pornography. But what is pornography?
- the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) which is intended to cause sexual excitement.
- material (as videos, films, books, magazines and photographs) that depict erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement.
- the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse an often quick intense emotional reaction.
And why is it, that human beings display either a titillating fascination versus an absolute horror at the mere mention of the word pornography?
And why is it, that on one level sex and pornography is pronounced as evil and sinful by certain people or certain religions, yet behind closed doors we all know that the opposite of what is preached – can and does occur?
Over many years of seeing clients, what I have observed is that the main reasons why there is such a huge market for the sex/porn industry, is that it consciously or unconsciously, taps into the psyche of many who have and are generally struggling with:
1) The Oedipal Complex,
2) The Madonna and Whore Complex,
3) And it also taps into the millions of people who have unfortunately been sexually abused.
(I have written about these three topics in previous Blogs 39/40/41/44 and 46).
In other words:
– Pornography is not simply about sex or sexuality – rather it is about commercial exploitation.
– Pornography or the sex industry has grown rich often on the backs of the vulnerable children and adults, all because the methods of showing pornography has developed from brothels, postcards, photographs, books, magazines, clubs, films, videos, cinema, and now even to the Internet.
– It has also grown rich because it helps people act out many conscious or unconscious unaddressed childhood issues and fantasies.
– And pornography often captures an audience that may be stuck or locked somewhere in the various childhood developmental stages.
– This often happens if a trauma has not been addressed or if it is hidden somewhere deep in the psyche.
– The porn industry often also appeals to people whom as children felt abandoned by their parents or were sent away (often to boarding school and so on – Blog 41). This may result in feelings of helplessness, anger, sadness, powerlessness and so on. This may then lead to intimacy and bonding issues later on in life. Consequently, they may find that the only way to get ‘mummy’s gaze and attention’ is to pay for it. And at least this way they can control the intimacy – so that it feels less like abandonment when the sexual session is over.
– But also, if someone finds long-term intimacy and bonding difficult then a session of sex can at least help satisfy both a sexual need and provide a moment of intimacy albeit controlled.
– We now also know that millions of people have unfortunately been sexually abused and pornography helps people act out their trauma whether the trauma is conscious or unconscious.
– Also, if parents and their relationships are our blueprints, and if the sexual relationship between parents is not fully understood or if their sexual life was less than ‘normal’, then pornography may offer an explanation or an alternative to the usual intimate adult relationships.
– Watching pornography can for some, be a conscious or even unconscious way of trying to understand and work through their past. It is a way of trying to get to grips or even possibly heal aspects that were left unexplained.
However, pornography isn’t therapy.
And sadly, many continue to delve deeper into the world of unattainable true intimacy, as they search for that something that is missing – being unable to develop a long-term intimate relationship with another adult.
But some couples have reported that watching pornography helps their sex life, others disagree.
Pornography Can Become An Addiction:
Unfortunately the titillation, excitement and thrill of watching pornography in whatever form it may take, can also become addictive. Because the more one watches the more the psyche connects with the power, control and abuse within pornography.
Unfortunately, viewing pornography usually and eventually ends up short-circuiting the sexual process.
It usually short-circuits intimacy and it short circuits having to find a long-term relationship.
The sex and porn industry offer people an alternative:
Finding and developing a relationship is about taking a risk. Everyone fears abandonment, everyone fear rejection and everyone fears that they may not be good enough to be loved and cared for. Many find taking this risk and finding out the truth – too difficult to face. Having short-term sex often helps people deal with their fear of intimacy.
And also, sex as an addiction is a way of managing and containing emotional pain. And managing compartmentalises the addiction.
However, pornography also trains the mind to expect sexual fulfilment on demand, and to continually seek more explicit content to create the same high.
And with each next level often there is more sexual violence required. And as the observer gets sucked in – the addiction begins.
The Sex Industry Understands That Relationships Are About Power, Control, Sex and Money Only Too Well. And It Exploits This Knowledge To Their Advantage:
Relationships are about power, control, sex and money. And pornography is a combination of all 4 of these aspects.
As a result of childhood issues not being fully addressed many may feel sexually and emotionally powerless in relationships. By watching pornography, by going to strip clubs, entertaining prostitutes, and so on, the hope is to get back the loss of power, or indeed, the loss of control. This is often true for those who were sexually abused.
But looking for healing in an industry that exploits power and control, is never helpful.
So how does the sex/industry exploit people?
Lap Top Dancing In Strip Clubs:
The best example to use to explain how the sex/porn industry taps into the premise that relationships are about power, control, sex and money, is Lap Top Dancing in Strip Clubs.
What you see are women dancing half or fully naked watched usually by men. So who has the power? Men pay to watch whilst a woman dances or slowly strips off their clothes for money. If it weren’t for the woman the game would not commence. So initially she has the power.
By her movements and the use of her body she can get the men to become more and more excited and often this means they will either drink more or pay her more so that she will keep on stripping. So the bar or the dancer makes even more money.
The men can also throw the dancer money or they may even discretely slip money into whatever garment she may still be wearing.
By paying the dancer – the power moves back to the man.
This way the power then equals out, initially anyway.
The game will continue as she dances even more and more erotically and he pays even more.
What is however fascinating is how the men watch the dancer strip. Men never normally touch the dancers but their gaze becomes ever more consuming as he looks her up and down, as he devours her body visually.
Depending on the rules of the club, he can start asking for more, egging her on, and in this there is a certain sexual play.
Suddenly, although the dancer could stop at any time, the game becomes enticing. He gains more power and she, by dancing more erotically, tries to re-gain her power or at least equalise the power.
As she becomes more erotic, she gains more control enticing him to stare and egg her on. She knows that the more she lets him see – the more he has to pay. And so the game continues and I will leave the rest to your imagination.
What I am referring to however, is that via the man’s obsessive gaze, the control that the man suddenly thinks he has over her body or over her mind is often similar to an imaginary fantasy that finally he has mummy all to himself, that the dancer is his, and that she will do anything he asks her to do.
Yet this momentary control between two people only results in an intimacy that is false.
It is an intimacy that is paid for – often as a result of some inadequacy or feeling of abandonment or abuse somewhere deep in the psyche – possibly felt by BOTH parties acting out their pasts.
But fearing intimacy and then trying to pay for it, or trying to control another human being via sex, can become very dangerous – especially when subtle boundaries can get crossed.
In same cases, deep seated memories can be released that may be very scary and emotionally frightening.
And when these emotions emerge they may carry with them all sorts of feelings that may not be fully understood. They could be frightening – and this could result in violence as deep-seated memories, are acted out.
Worse still, if the violence is enjoyed the behaviour may be repeated.
This is why power and control often goes hand in hand with bullying or indeed torture. The bully or torturer find their prey and then uses their power against the victim.
This could happen at any time especially if the prostitute says or does something to remind the man of his past.
This is why prostitution can be a very dangerous profession. The prostitute never knows when emotional boundaries may be crossed or when the man may act out his past issues and resort to rape or violence.
Remember of course that not all men behave like this. Not all men are rapists. Rather, what should be understood is that the sex/industry taps into both the male and female psyche and what sometimes occurs is that BOTH parties, male and female, land up acting out their pasts albeit in different ways.
And this is usually why the sex/porn industry has grown rich. It has grown rich by tapping into the psyche of many who live in emotional daily pain and who find intimacy very hard to achieve – but who also get off on what the porn industry provides.
Sadly too, many men leave the clubs feeling sexually frustrated and even horny. Whether consciously or unconsciously men may also be left knowing that their inadequacies may never attract what they desire and this may leave then feeling impotent, powerless, frustrated or possibly even angry. Unfortunately, these feelings may get acted out in other areas of their lives unless it is addressed.
S&M: Sadistic And Masochistic Sex:
S&M is defined as sadism and masochism – which is a practice of taking or causing abuse during sex.
Following on from all that I have written above, S&M is a controlled form of acting out childhood abuse or deep-seated abandonment, confidence and self-worth issues.
When a child experiences a trauma and for whatever reason they feel that they were to blame or that it was their fault or that they somehow were responsible for whatever happened – often they carry a need to be punished for the dreadful deed that they feel they partook in.
S&M is therefore a perfect vehicle for many, who wish to act this out.
Sigmund Freud recognised this too: In 1905, Sigmund Freud described sadism and masochism in his “Three papers on Sexual Theory”, as stemming from aberrant psychological development from early childhood.
S&M usually involves the giving or receiving pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain and humiliation. Practitioners of sadomasochism may seek sexual gratification from their acts. While the terms sadist and masochist refers respectively to one who enjoys giving or receiving pain, practitioners of sadomasochism may switch between activity and passivity.
Here too, power and control issues are acted out as the Dominatrix whips their victim, who often has to crouch on all fours.
The ‘victims’ can be tied up, strung up, hung up and the sexual pleasure reaped can be enormously addictive especially as the adrenalin released as a result from the ‘fight or flight’ moment, can last for many hours.
Sadly however, some have died as a result of things going wrong. Death being the ultimate form of punishment.
I urge anyone who having read this Blog and who may be affected by what they have read to please seek help. There are many support groups out there as well as therapists who specialise in the area of sex.
Deep-seated child issues can be hard to address but the relief can be enormous.
Please do not suffer in silence. There is help. You just have to ask.
© 2017 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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