A New Kind of Sex Addict: Technology’s Role in Shaping Impulsive Behavior

Shaun Lotter, MA, LPC

Porn Addiction and Impulse Control

In the past, sexual addiction was often linked with issues of trauma (example: childhood sexual or physical abuse).  The typical addict was a man who had a history including such difficult issues and was living in an ongoing trauma cycle (create a trauma cycle).  However, as with many issues, sexual addiction has evolved as society has changed.  The chief driver of this shift is technology.  Never before in history has this much information been available so readily.  Quite literally, an individual with a smart phone or other device can access content of any kind at the touch of a button.  The stats are staggering, and point to an extraordinary pursuit of sexual material online.  The man struggling with sexual addiction is no longer only the individual with a traumatic past.  Instead, he is the very embodiment of an impulse control problem.

In a clinical context, we define an impulse as a sudden, perhaps strong desire to perform some kind of action.  These may be carried-out, or the person may filter them, actively deciding upon those he will act on and others which will not be allowed to occur.  In other words, he is taking action to manage or control his impulses.  In the case the “new sex addict,” his impulses are sexual, and his ability to manage of these is steadily decaying.

Impulse + Behavior= Impulsive Behavior/Impulse Control Problems         Short-Term Enjoyment

Impulse +Thought+ Alternate Behavior= Self-Control/Discipline                    Integrity

addiction

The path to sexual content, and in reality, the pleasurable experience of sexual arousal becomes well worn.  Without realizing it, the “new addict” has utilized this arousal to cope with various aspects of life which are difficult for him.  The addictive behavior get woven into the fabric of his life and like a thread, touches many aspects of his existence never intended.  The dependence on sexual arousal to cope with issues like career stress, marital troubles, parenting, and other demands of life works to “retard” the man’s growth.  Rather than endurance and perseverance which lead to the creation of character, the man begins digressing, steadily becoming more impulsive or childlike.  God’s plan is courageous triumph.  The “new addict” has left its pursuit, for sin’s empty course.

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