Sexual Obsession? Step away from the porn.
We’re not talking about the old Playboy or Penthouse
from years ago. That stuff of yore is tame in
comparison to what is more easily and readily
available without the embarrassment of taking it off
the store shelf. We are talking about the effortlessly
accessible material from the Internet, ready for the
asking within the comfort of your own home.
With the accessibility and availability of porn from
the Internet there is no filter like the neighbor or
grocery clerk looking over your shoulder to cause
any embarrassment or discomfort. Without these kind
of natural filters, anything goes. And apparently,
anything does go.
More to the point, the more obscene, the more
counter culture, the greater the audience as
the material appeals to voyeuristic tendencies. What
starts as a sneak peak, turns into a long gaze followed
by the hunt for more graphic and more outlandish
material. The titillation of simple and softcore
pornography wanes and the voyeur come viewer,
come consumer, eventually seeks material that is
increasingly disturbing as a deeper obsession like
desire develops for extreme forms of erotica.
Trailing behind is the partner of those persons
obsessed by ever increasing extreme forms of erotica
and sexual gratification.
In the context of an intimate relationship, the partner
is subjected to greater demands for sexual
experimentation. Eventually the request goes beyond
the partner’s comfort. A conflict develops with the
partner feeling blamed for not meeting the sexual
needs of the one whose secret passions are fueled by
an undisclosed obsession with far more outlandish
forms of sexual behaviour brought on by exposure to
material from the Internet.
For the one seeking the more outlandish forms of
sexual behaviour, their time on the Internet has
desensitized them and shifted their thinking in terms
of more usual forms of sexual expression. Further,
the more usual forms of sexual expression are now
minimized or dismissed as too simplistic and
When couples grappling with a conflict of sexual
behaviour are seen in counselling, the issues may be
disguised as a myriad of other conflicts. If the issue is
raised, it is often done sheepishly, particularly with
one being blamed a prude with the other whose
sexual preferences has shifted being presented as
normal and reasonable.
From a gender perspective, this is most frequently but
not exclusively seen with the woman presented as
prudish and the man as normal. There is the air of
controlling or power and control issues as typically
the fellow seeks to meet his needs for sexual
gratification over the needs and comfort of the
woman. Careful exploration of this dynamic may
show other indicators or power and control issues,
some as precursors to the sexual issues.
Counselling is aimed not only at facilitating
communication between the couple with respect to
mutually acceptable sexual behaviour, but is also
aimed at addressing any coexisting power and
In addition to counseling, it may be necessary for the
sexual adventurer to step away from the porn to
reduce the impact of sexual exploration from the
Internet. In other words, controlled access to the Net.
Monkey see, in this case, is not monkey do. It is not
likely that your partner will want to participate in the
sexual behaviour you see on the Internet. Don’t push
it and address what has become your own sexual
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario,