Let’s talk about in­ter­net porn

Se­ries dis­cusses im­pacts on our men­tal health in dig­i­tal age

Metro Canada (Halifax) - - NEWS - Yvette d’en­tremont Metro | Halifax

Por­ta­ble and eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble in­ter­net porn has the po­ten­tial to im­pact our men­tal health and we need to start talk­ing about it.

That’s the mes­sage a group of men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als are shar­ing through a se­ries of pub­lic talks across the province in­tended to shine light on “prob­lem­atic use” of in­ter­net pornog­ra­phy.

“It’s so easy to just cre­ate many tabs and you click through the tabs so you’re ex­posed to that many novel stim­uli the whole time you’re mas­tur­bat­ing. So you get dopamine surge, dopamine surge ev­ery time. You won’t have that with a part­ner,” ex­plained Sonja Svens­son, one of the or­ga­niz­ers of The Porn Diet talks.

“If you’re only able to get an erec­tion to pornog­ra­phy and then you try in a re­la­tion­ship to get an erec­tion and you’re not able to, the shame as­so­ci­ated with that would lead you back to pornog­ra­phy which per­pet­u­ates that cy­cle un­til you’re not re­ally able to have a func­tional sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a part­ner.”

In ad­di­tion to more men ex- pe­ri­enc­ing re­la­tion­ship prob­lems linked to in­ter­net porn ad­dic­tions, cases of erec­tile dys­func­tion are now on the rise and im­pact­ing younger men and ado­les­cents.

“I work at the foren­sic sex­ual be­hav­iour pro­gram and we of­ten get calls from peo­ple in the com­mu­nity. Case work­ers, some­times peo­ple who have clients and some­times peo­ple specif­i­cally call­ing in be­cause they have is­sues with in­ter­net pornog­ra­phy,” ex­plained Svens­son.

“It’s not within our pro­gram man­date to work with peo­ple who are not convicted of a crime, so un­for­tu­nately we don’t re­ally know where to send them. But this is clearly a big prob­lem.”

Svens­son is one of six men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als who have col­lab­o­rated to de­liver a se­ries of talks about in­ter­net pornog­ra­phy across the province this fall. The first Porn Diet talk hap­pens in Dart­mouth later this month.

“In­ter­net pornog­ra­phy is this huge thing in so­ci­ety now, but peo­ple aren’t re­ally talk­ing about it. When it’s not talked about, it be­comes more prob­lem­atic,” she said.

“Peo­ple need to know that ad­dic­tion to in­ter­net pornog­ra­phy es­pe­cially can be dam­ag­ing with prob­lem­atic use and that there are re­sources avail­able for them.”

Svenn­son stressed they aren’t anti-porn. The talks will give par­tic­i­pants a chance to ask ques­tions anony­mously and a list of lo­cal avail­able re­sources will be pro­vided.

“There are healthy uses of pornog­ra­phy. As long as it is not an ad­dic­tive, in­ter­fer­ing­with-your-life prob­lem, then it can be OK,” she said.

“With how mobile tech­nol­ogy is now, it has be­come more of an is­sue be­cause you can be look­ing at porn on your phone at all times. You could be on the bus look­ing at porn, in class look­ing at porn in­stead of pay­ing at­ten­tion, or sit­ting at a din­ner ta­ble look­ing at porn on your phone rather than en­gag­ing with fam­ily.”

Peo­ple need to know that ad­dic­tion to in­ter­net pornog­ra­phy es­pe­cially can be dam­ag­ing with prob­lem­atic use and that there are re­sources avail­able for them. Sonja Svens­son

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