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Why Porn Is Not An Addiction with Dr. Cameron Staley

Porn is one of the most common traps for men to fall into. Many of us think it’s harmless but the fact of the matter is porn use will steal the number one precious commodity in our life and that is our time. My guest today gives us a deep dive into the emotional and psychological impact that porn has on our brain, our lives, relationships, and even productivity.

A passionate and faithful promoter of mental health, Dr. Cameron Staley is a clinical psychologist dedicated to counseling and teaching psychology courses. Creator of the “Life After” series where he helps people improve their mental health by learning about the therapeutic approaches and research available.

He gave a TEDx talk, Changing the Narrative Around the Addiction Story, where he shared the details of his research and counseling experience on helpful ways to talk about sexuality and how to effectively reduce the viewing of unwanted pornography through mindfulness. He developed a self-directed online program called Life After Pornography, which is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) concepts.

He co-authored a chapter on Personality Disorders for an Abnormal Psychology textbook and has published several research studies on sexuality.

https://youtu.be/T–8C143hvY

What You’ll Learn

25:42 Porn Studies

After Larry shared his story about his first approach to pornography, Dr. Cameron Staley says that for him it was more of a research topic to find out what the statistics were on pornography addiction. Seeing that there were no studies at all, he decided to do one. For him, pronography has more to do with an issue of compulsion patterns than addiction. One of his discoveries was to realize that emotions play an important role as people turn to pornography as a means to deal with their emotions, it is a temporary escape.

30:54 Addiction vs. Compulsion

Dr. Cameron Staley mentions the difference between addiction and compulsion. Addiction is generated at the brain or biological level, there is something there that makes you behave in a certain way and that generates changes in your metabolism, that if you don’t get it, it somatizes, which means that there is a dependency. And compulsion has to do with emotions, you are feeling something you don’t want, so the mind looks for moments of relief to avoid that negative emotion. But by evading it and not facing it and not resolving it, the emotion or emotions come back and the compulsive behavior goes on and on.

40:06 Having Urges (analogy for porn)

Cameron Staley says you should evaluate what you want to spend your time on, watching pornography or dealing with your emotions. He makes an analogy with a candy, it’s quick and tasty to eat a candy bar but preparing a meal that is healthy requires more work and effort, but you also get more benefits. Pornography is the candy bar and bonding emotionally and sexually with your partner is the health food.

He also mentions the importance of seeing and recognizing that we have urges and once we identify them we can begin to act and control them.

55:46 What to do about porn?

This could be like a conclusion about what to do with a compulsive behavior like watching pornography, you should keep your mind busy but not thinking about what not to do, but recognize the urges, deal with your emotions and move on, keep your mind busy with something else.

56:34 On Shame

For Cameron Staley, shame has a lot to do with struggling with some compulsive behavior, whether it’s eating a candy bar or watching pornography, you must free yourself from judgment and accept that you are human, not a machine, and that you are vulnerable. Instead of avoiding emotions, we must choose to connect with them and with another human being so we don’t avoid the quickest way.

Dr. Cameron Staley’s Links


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