Tony tackles the topic of pornography today in a completely strength-based, hold-the-shame, become the person you always wanted to be way. He addresses the age-old question of whether or not pornography addiction is even a diagnosable condition...and better yet, does that matter? Tony shares his views on “the voids” in one’s life that typically lead to the brain wanting to cope, or check-out, by viewing pornography. These voids include the lack of connection in marriage, in parenting, not feeling satisfied in your career, not feeling good about your health, and feeling disconnected with your concept of faith. Tony reads from his book, “He’s a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions” available through the following links: https://amzn.to/33fk0U4 paperback https://amzn.to/38hRcx3 Kindle version https://amzn.to/2G30PDu Hardcover version


Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!


Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.


This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.


Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo


Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.


You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Is Pornography Addiction Real - 2020-09-15
[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, we're going into the world of compulsive behavior, specifically pornography or that word that must not be named. And I know for a lot of you, when you hear the topic, you're probably thinking hard pass. But stick around for a bit. And I promise you that we are going to learn something new today that will either help you or somebody that you put turning to pornography as a coping mechanism for I know you name it, stress, boredom, loneliness, anger behind them once and for all. That and so much more coming up on today's episode with the Virtual.

[00:00:39] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 223, The Virtual Couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back, an online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of pornography. If you are anybody that you know is ready to put turning to pornography as a coping mechanism behind them once and for all, and trust me, it can be done and a strength based, hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be. We then turn to path back recovery dotcom, and there you will find a short ebook that describes five common mistakes that people make when turning to pornography as a coping mechanism or trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. How many times have I said that I just got it wrong, but I was trying to go off the cuff here, no script and that's what I get for that. So head over to Path Back Recovery.com and again, download that short e-book that describes here we go, five common mistakes that people make when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. Ganpat back recovery dotcom. And you can find me on Instagram at Virtual Couch and on Facebook at Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist and stop by TonyOverbay. com, completely redone website.

[00:01:45] And you can sign up there to find out more information about actually a path back reboot that is coming up soon that I am so excited about and the magnetic marriage course that is getting close. I will have a lot of announcements coming up in the next probably one to two weeks about how you can find out more about that. But the quickest way is to go to TonyOverbay.com and sign up to find out more information about all kinds of things. And then there's all right there on the home page. Is the parenting positively in the not so positive of times? That is a free course. It's going to remain free. And I highly encourage you to go there. The feedback has been great. The a lot of people have taken the course and there's even starting to be some nice feedback within the course of things that have helped people along the way of parenting. So let's get to today's episode. And I'm going to be real.

[00:02:29] I have wasted over an hour this morning. I got into my office a little after 4:00 a.m. trying to get a podcast recorded before I started seeing clients today at six and I had the camera up. I was going to put this episode on YouTube, actually recorded about five or ten minutes and then realized that there were some parts that I wasn't recording and tried to go back in and suck some audio out of a video file and then started recording again.

[00:02:52] And at some point I just felt, you know what, I need to reboot, I need to restart. And so I'm doing this, that this episode is not up on YouTube as a video. But I always put the audio episodes up there as well. There are some people that like to consume their podcasts on YouTube, so you still can find it there on the virtual couch YouTube channel.

[00:03:08] But I wanted to talk about pornography today, and I have been I deal with it on a daily basis. This is still as far as the clients I see during a week, I see a healthy amount of couples. I also see a significant amount of women that are trying to get out of relationships with people who may be struggling with narcissistic personality disorder. So helping women recognize trauma bonds and able to break free from their little of anxiety, a little bit of depression. And then I still see a fair amount of clients each week that are trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. And the mode or model that I take is a very strength based approach. And it's one where when I was going on the road interviewing, doing some interviews for my book, he's a porn addict. Now, what an expert and a former addict. Answer your questions. I like to say that so far I am 0 for I think fourteen hundred people that I've helped in having shame be a component of recovery. And I just I want to just talk off the cuff today about pornography and compulsive sexual behavior. And so forgive me if I'm going to sound like I'm going all over the place, but I think it's significant to say that even a decade or more ago when I was starting to do this work, working with pornography and compulsive sexual behavior, that there really wasn't as much of a strength based model. There's still a little bit of a debate in the professional realm of a more of this medical model or this 12 step model, this addiction model versus a a more of a positive psychology strength based model. And I have been working with this strength based model for a very long time. And that is what gets results, in my opinion. And I can again say after doing this for almost 15 years and helping about 14 hundred individuals and then people that go through my path back online recovery program, then the strength based approach has been very effective.

[00:04:54] What does that mean by a strength based approach? I like to tell the story that when I got into counseling and I was working at a nonprofit, I was working with people that were struggling with. And let me just tackle this right out of the gate. I'm going to use the phrase pornography addiction and I'm going to talk about compulsive sexual behavior.

[00:05:12] And I might or I might just say struggles with pornography and why. So one of the first questions that I get truly is, is my husband an addict? And I'm going to pull some things out of my book a little bit today, which is sounds so pretentious. I know it does, but I really am proud of this book. With that I did with Joshua Shea, it's continued to sell copies for professionals, for the betrayed and for the the betrayer. And I think it just really answers so many good questions about pornography, addiction, compulsive sexual behavior. But so here's chapter one. The first question asked is, how do I know if he's actually an addict? And here's my comment on this. So when a client comes into my office to talk about her partner, who she thinks is an addict, so usually begin to list all the reasons that she's sure he's addicted to pornography, and then she'll ask me the question, how do I really know? And so at this point, I recognize that she's doubting herself and questioning her intuition. And this usually happens for one of two reasons. Either one, she thinks that she's not qualified to make that diagnosis or most commonly, she doesn't want it to be true. And so I'll hear the client's entire monologue about her partner's behavior, a behavior that led her into my office in the first place, only to hear her say, but I'm probably wrong. And what I feel like she's really thinking is, please tell me I'm wrong. And chances are she's not wrong. But there is help and there's hope. And so there are countless definitions of addiction and each with its own little nuances.

[00:06:35] But for the work that I do, I like the definition proposed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, which is ASTM.org and it state's addiction is characterized by the inability to consistently abstain impairment and behavioral control, craving, a diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behavior and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. So like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. And so without treatment or engagement and recovery activities, addiction is progressive and it can result in disability or, according to the ACM, even premature death, because we're probably talking there of drug overdose and that sort of thing. OK, but here we go, though. But to me, the exact defining of the word addiction is largely a matter of semantics. So if pornography is affecting your relationship negatively and you suspect that it's an issue that needs to be dealt with, the labeling of addiction or not, addiction becomes irrelevant. And if it's negatively affecting your marriage or your relationship or your family, it needs to be treated whatever you want to call it. So I have couples that come into my office and one is adamant that I label the other an addict, while the quote addict may be adamant that he or she need not be labeled. So we could spend the entire session worrying about labels and trying to define addiction. But that's just wasting crucial time that could be spent on repairing a relationship and overcoming the negative behaviors that brought them there to begin with. So this need to label or not label comes up in other areas of my practice as well in my dealing with clients who may or may not be, let's say, on the autism spectrum.

[00:08:10] Some come into my office and talk about not being good with social cues or having blind spots and the like and finding out that they are on the autism spectrum or being labeled autistic is a relief to them because it's finally an answer to explain their behavior. But others walk through the door and clearly exhibit classic signs of autistic behavior, yet repeatedly expressed that they do not want to be tested or evaluated for fear of being labeled because they're afraid that people will then treat them differently. So the labeling issue is a universal concern and the label doesn't change who you are. It doesn't change the behaviors exhibited and it doesn't change what needs to happen next on the path of dealing with the behavior. But if your behavior is causing problems in your relationship, whether or not you are clinically identified or labeled as an addict, then I feel that's when you need to seek professional help. So I just go off on that tangent because I will most likely use interchangeably the word pornography addiction or pornography, compulsive sexual behavior, or trying to rid yourself from pornography once and for all. And and I doubt that anyone is paying this much attention to my intro over the last three years. But I have shifted it from pornography addiction to trying to overcome turning to pornography as a coping mechanism, because I feel like that really is at the core. What most people are struggling with is this turning to pornography.

[00:09:23] It becomes this almost robotic or zombie like impulse and then it doesn't leave anybody feeling good after that. So they do want to put that behind them once and for all. So I hope that helps. But so back to when I started working in this nonprofit, I would get men that would come in to me and most of them were not honestly, they were not coming to me and saying, I am. I have a pornography addiction. Usually it's, hey, my wife wants me to come in or I got caught or my marriage is in trouble. There are some people that come in and say, I got to get this behind me. I really do. And part of that, I think, is the shame that even has to for someone to say I have a problem and that I want help with that. And that's a big reason why I did create the path back, because I wanted people to be able to address this regardless of if they are coming into a therapist's office or if they want to do that in the privacy of their own home. Because I feel like I do not meet with people who for the most part, say that they really enjoy looking at pornography and it makes them feel better after and it makes them feel more connected with their spouse. So I got men that were coming into my office and I recognize that the traditional training is a lot of behavioral modification.

[00:10:31] So when someone is feeling triggered, for example, or wanting to look at porn, then you're treating that. You're teaching them how to, I don't know, go run outside or do push ups or call a friend or that sort of thing. And so I found that most everyone coming in was almost looking for some silver bullet or some new thing that they've never heard before that would help them immediately get rid of pornography in their lives. But I identified quickly what I like to call this concept of voids. And so I found that I could teach behavioral modification all day and the person is going to do it at times or sometimes they're not. But what I really felt like was identifying that most people were turning to pornography as a coping mechanism wherever they felt these voids and identified five key voids. And one is when they don't feel connected with their partner. And that is why I dove into the world of emotionally focused therapy and did more couples work. The second one is when they don't feel like they are connected with their kids or as a parent or they're not being the parent that they always want to be. And that's what led me to my study with the nurtured heart approach, which is the at the foundation of my parenting positively course that you can go take for free right now, going tonyoverbay.com.

[00:11:41] Another one is people struggling with their faith. And so if you look on my podcast episodes, just go to my website and search for anything that has to do with faith journey, faith crisis or stages of faith. And I have episodes there where I talk about ways to really connect with your faith, where you aren't doing it just because you think that's what you're supposed to do, where you can really tap into your own values that are connected to your faith journey. So we've got the couples peace, the parenting, peace, the faith peace. And then I found that a lot of a lot of people aren't happy with their career. And I'm talking about whether it's their career. They always wanted to be, I don't know, an attorney, but they're an engineer or if somebody is a stay at home mom and they always wanted to have a career so it can go in any of those directions where if they don't feel connected or they don't feel passionate about what they're doing on a day to day basis, that can cause these voids and then wanting to turn the brain saying, OK, I want to check out I want to turn to pornography as just the just the like a little bump, a little dopamine rush.

[00:12:43] And then and then the fifth one/void is their health. And I feel like that's one where a lot of if we want to face it, most of us, I think, anticipated that we would be in pretty good shape when we were adults. But then the stress and life and incredibly tasty food comes into play. And it's really easy to turn to food as a coping mechanism as well. And so look at those five areas. And I don't want that to sound heavy. I want that to sound no pun intended after the food one, by the way. But I want that to sound like, oh, wow, that makes sense, that if we can get your marriage dialed in a little bit more of your relationship, if you're not married, if we can get your parenting dialed in. And of course, if you're if you're young and you don't have kids, then obviously that doesn't mean that we don't worry about that one. But your career, your faith and your health. And it's not that we ignore what to do when the temptation, the siren song of temptation hits. It's not that at all, but we address that. But we also go in and we talk about how to address these voids and how to get people dialed into more of a value based life.

[00:13:42] And and this is where I love acceptance and commitment therapy. So when someone's figuring out their unique set of values based on their life experiences, all of that nature, nurture, birth, order, DNA, abandonment, rejection, those sort of things, when someone figures out their value and then they're more likely to live this more purpose filled life when they're turning to their own value. I have a big value of authenticity. And that sounds clichéd. I know, but it's something I really didn't figure out until I was probably in my 40s, because up until that point, I really was a pretty big people pleaser. And so there were times where I would not speak my truth or my mind because number one, I felt like it would be abrasive or that it would be a negative thing. And number two, I just felt like I couldn't I felt like I needed to be so nice and that I couldn't be authentic and open. But once I recognized that value of authenticity, then I realized that, man, I feel so much more empowering to deal with that need to be authentic than it did to be a people pleaser and try to avoid conflict, because there's so much I could I could do whole episodes on those last two sentences that I said. But so treating the voids in someone that is struggling with pornography addiction is absolutely the way to go.

[00:15:00] Now, the problem is that people often say, OK, they've been caught or they want help. And so it is go and sin no more, never do it again. And the big problem with any kind of addictive behavior is that the person that is struggling with that addictive behavior has had so many go and sin no more moments in their own life so many times where this is the last time. And then when they have not necessarily dealt with these other areas of life and dealt with them over an extended period of time, then they find themselves falling again to the siren song of temptation and then beating themselves up and. Thinking what's wrong with me and often going on a bender and realize that when I talk to clients, sometimes they don't know what a binder is, a binder is just borrowed from the world of alcoholism. And it's where someone has a relapse with acting out with pornography. And then they just feel today shot. And if it's a friend on a Friday, they're like, there goes the weekend. And if it's the 16th of the month, they say there goes the month. And if it's August, they say there goes the year. And I'll work on this next on Monday or next month or I'll start on in January.

[00:16:07] And all of those are these experiential avoidance components where it's kicking that can down the road where, you know, absolutely to get control of an addiction or an addictive behavior. Let's not wait till Monday. That's just a story my brain is trying to tell me. Is that all right? We'll wait till Monday. Well, we need to deal with it right now, as a matter of fact. So I hope that makes sense when we talk about the concept of addiction in general and where I come up with these voids that we're trying to work on each one of those voids. And I think that does lead right into again, I'm going to read out of the book where the next question was, is there a difference between pornography addiction and sex addiction? And so I said similar to the answer to the first question, this one comes back the labels and whether or not they are relevant. So to be clear, until recently, there wasn't anything in either the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is called the DSM, or the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases, which is the ICD that talked about sexual addiction or pornography addiction. Now, recently, the WHO updated the ICD to include compulsive sexual behavior disorder, which is CSB D How about those four acronyms as a mental health condition?

[00:17:18] And so while this designation doesn't exactly meet the standard for addiction, it is definitely the strongest statement made by a body of experts in the field of sexual mental health. So I say, let me share a very 30,000 foot view of what's happening to the brain with doing pornography. So when a man and I'm going to say, man, it can be a woman as well. When a man is watching viewing pornography, when he watches porn, his brain releases the feel good drug dopamine. And there is some fascinating research and I've got some very early episodes that I realize now are almost three years old. So they're hard to find in the archives, but fascinating research around what is called the Coolidge effect. So the idea is that a male will mate with a receptive female once and then he can experience a period where he is not interested in mating. However, if you bring in another receptive female, he will then mate again and so on and so on until he, in essence, can no longer move almost to the point of death. So this phenomenon has been observed in many different species in the animal kingdom. So what's happening is that this, quote, lower brain or reactionary brain was designed to see a female who could possibly help the male bring forth kids to assist in tilling the land and harvesting food so his brain pours out dopamine in order for him to hyper focus on her, to do whatever it takes to convince her that he is her man.

[00:18:33] So what research now shows is that the lower brain can't differentiate between the real woman in front of him or the pictures and videos that it's seeing on a computer screen. So it will see another, "willing female" on the screen and pour out dopamine saying I got to get her to. But so now with this endless supply of willing females and you can probably see where I'm going here, the brain continues pouring out dopamine, basically creating this dopamine binge, which actually kills off many of the dopamine neural receptors of the brain. So this causes the brain to need to see more and do more to get that same rush as there aren't as many dopamine receptors there to receive that feel good drug. So the addict will start looking for more, sometimes shocking or twisted or taboo things to get the rush.

[00:19:18] And so sometimes this can lead to people experimenting with things that are outside their relationship or people outside of the relationship because they simply want that dopamine rush. And so typically there is a period of time before pornography, quote, addiction becomes a full blown sex addiction where the individual will begin to explore what it would take to actually find a partner to have sex with. It's like they become addicted almost to the hunt. The dopamine rush comes from that hunt or the exploration. So sex addicts aren't necessarily are not necessarily they are not looking for long term relationships. They just want a quick fix. And so I've had so many clients in my office explaining that the progression from just viewing pornography or even just images to then viewing pornography to exploring sites that will allow you to connect virtually with someone online and then ultimately finding ways to meet up with a real individual for the sole purpose of a sexual encounter. And again, this is that just trying to get that dopamine rush, whether it's only pornography or both pornography and sex, the outcome for the individual is the same that it's all about. It's all about satiating the evergrowing desire and obtaining the requisite dopamine rush that the user needs to feel satisfied. So much like the move from pictures and a magazine to videos or Internet pornography to strip clubs, to massage parlors, to meeting up with an actual partner, the addict is looking for the next rush of dopamine and keeps needing to push the bar higher in order to feel.

[00:20:38] Sexually gratified so with other types of addictions, you often hear the term gateway, so an example would be marijuana as the gateway drug to harder substances. But while your partner may not be there yet and may never get there, I have seen too many situations where pornography was the gateway for acting out sexually. So anecdotally speaking, I have never had a sex addict that hasn't been addicted to pornography. And I have also had clients with severe addictions to pornography that have never acted out sexually. And again, I realize that I'm using the term addiction, even though I already identified that we could even challenge that word addiction rather liberally. And I want to continue to read. I did not realize I would be reading so much from my book and I really would encourage you to get a copy, especially I know a lot of mental health professionals. Listen to the virtual couch tonight that is so flattering and it contact me for a discount on a copy or something, but or it's on Amazon. It was just on sale. But to get the book, the stuff that Josh Joshua Shay is addressed from the answering these questions from the addict perspective is phenomenal.

[00:21:42] And so we we get a question and we both answered it and we had no idea what the other person was saying. And I just really am grateful for the flow of the book. So let me there's a quote. There's a paragraph I want to get to here. And so the question the next one I wanted to address was, was he this way when we first got together? So my answer was, typically spouses ask this question because they want to know one of two things. Number one, how did I not see this until now? And number two, did I somehow drive him to this behavior? And I just say this. The first is a loaded question of how did I not see this until now? If you've been together for many years, there are so many ways that you're both different from each other in so many ways in which you have both changed over the years. And I'm not saying that is a bad thing. Is he the same person you fell in love with and married? Probably not 100 percent, but neither are you. And again, saying that in a very straight face, the hold the shame love you kind of way. And I can tell you, based on seeing hundreds of individuals and sitting with them collectively for thousands of hours, that this is not an addiction that pops up overnight.

[00:22:38] However, it is an addiction that is steeped in this is so key: guilt, shame, secrecy and isolation, all of which are developed over time as the addiction progresses. So if this addiction was there prior to when you met and were dating, then your partner probably hoped that the sex life that you would eventually share would be enough to take away any desire to view pornography. And unfortunately, unless addicts begin doing serious recovery work, simply getting into a monogamous relationship is often not enough to address the addiction. Now, again, I'm not trying to paint this just broad stroke, brush canvas, all these other art analogies. If you can tell that I'm not an artist, that is, if someone has struggled with this, then they are not. They will continue to do so in marriage. This is that thing where everybody's relationships are different, everybody's personal experiences that lead them to their relationship is different. And so, unfortunately, where I'm going with this is is the acting out sexually, whether in a committed relationship or a one night stand, won't satisfy the addictive nature of pornography. So if the person is actively trying to put this past them actively in recovery or and again, this is where it gets a little bit cloudy, but even if they're aware and trying to work with this, if they've admitted that there is an issue or problem, then we're on the right path. So I believe here's the paragraph I really wanted to get to. I believe that the addiction has very little to do with the spouse, although I can understand how difficult that might be for the spouse to accept.

[00:24:10] So this addiction began with the husband's early exposure to pornography, to him then becoming, quote, sexualized young, where the wiring of the brain began to view a lot of his life through a sexually charged lens and addiction. As I mentioned earlier, springs from this well of unmet needs and this lack of connection. So, again, he's most likely feeling disconnected from his work or his school or his health or his relationships and his faith and his brain is turning to pornography whenever he's not feeling good about himself or the situation. And so over time, turning to pornography has become habitual and instinctual. So sometimes I share with clients that no one typically picks up something like smoking in their 20s or 30s. And the concept is similar. With pornography, there is early exposure that leads to an addiction of turning to porn for stress relief or to numb out or to cope with problems. And by the time an addict is married, looking at pornography is how they may react to any and all of some of the above stressors. So and I'm not trying to paint this as a negative thing. I want to continue to have this conversation. And I want people to feel people that are hearing this. They're going to be men and women that are hearing this episode that I want them to recognize right now that you are OK, that you are normal, that early exposure to pornography is not your fault. No 10 year old or now the average age of first exposure is somewhere between 8 and 11. That is not something that that is that.

[00:25:35] I know you didn't wake up in the morning and say, I think I want to find some porn. It's something that has been put in your place to put in your way, it is something that whether it is by advertisers, whether it's too easy to access it on the computer, whether cousins or older brothers or dads or mom, I've heard every version of this that has left pornography up on the screen or people at school or showing things on phones or long gone is the day of IF a person sees, its WHEN, especially as youth. And so it is so important to have the conversations about not if I've seen pornography, but I would always bring up in our family nights. Hey guys, when's the last time you saw something pornographic and almost saying, how did they get that through? I would hear about people posting things on Pinterest or on Instagram or those sort of things. And I want you to know, parents that are listening to this, I just I plead with you to not have the reaction of an immediate. Oh, my gosh, give me your phone. Where's the hammer? Let me bust this up. You will never have that thing again because it is introducing this filth into the home, that sort of thing. We want to be able to have the conversations because your kids are going to be out in the real world, whether under your watch or down the road. And what we really want to do is give them these coping mechanisms. These tools or these safe places to be able to go to and talk to you about seeing pornography or if they have a hard time putting it behind them once and for all, or if in hearing this episode that you can help them feel their voids, that you can help them recognize that they are enough or they do have worth or you can find very productive activities for them to engage in.

[00:27:16] I've had people have their kids join individual sports. I've had them and somebody do competitive Pokémon. I've had people do chess. I've had people, do you name it, crocheting, artwork, teaching kids, tutoring kids, volunteering at an old folks home, learning to play music for the first time. Those are things that can be done to start to build this confidence and fill those voids and raise their emotional baseline up to a place where they can turn away from the siren song of pornography. So I hope that is something that is not as scary, but that I'm I want you to know that. Yeah, it's I wish it wasn't here. I really do. But we'll note that one of the first things in the book, The Road Less Traveled that I loved by him. Scott Peck says that life is difficult. And as soon as we recognize that life is difficult, the fact that life is difficult no longer really matters. Because once we've embraced that, OK, life is going to be difficult, then we can transcend the fact that life is going to be difficult. It no longer gets becomes a big giant wall in front of us.

[00:28:17] We know that's coming. That wall is coming. So now we're going to prepare for or going to run through the wall. We're going to climb the wall. We're going to go around the wall. Are we going to get some tools to break down the wall? Because the wall is going to be there. So we're going to run into that wall.

[00:28:30] We're going to run into those situations where our kids are going to have struggles or challenges with pornography. And we're going to look at that and say, hey, champ, thank you so much for telling me about this. Let's do this. What can I do to help? I'm we're on it. Not oh, my gosh. I was so afraid of this day. Now here it is. And what am I supposed to do? And I'm a horrible parent, because that's not the case. And there's a wonderful talk by a person named Dieter Utchdorf, and he talks about he's a pilot. He loves to tell stories about flying. And he talks about if you and I'm going to butcher this quote from the talk, but he talks about if you take off and then a plane is one degree off course, then over the span of, I don't know, hours or thousands of miles that you it will be so much further away from its intended destination. And so I liken that to early exposure to pornography. So when someone has seen pornography, let's say at 10 years old and I often give this example and I'm really thinking of one of my teachers, Mrs. Anderson, I don't know where she is these days, but I remember sitting in a class and I can remember the individual right now, real life example. I won't say his name, but I remember him saying basically, look at this Mrs. Andersen's figure, look at her shape. And I remember thinking, I can see Mrs. Andersen. She's annoying. I think she's got long hair.

[00:29:45] She's really mean. And I look back on that. And I learned later that he had he had definitely been exposed to pornography early. And so to him, Mrs. Anderson was a female that he saw, just like he saw the women that he saw on pornography. And I'm so old. That was probably a magazine that he saw, I don't know, maybe a filmstrip or something like that. But I look back on that now and it makes so much sense. So to me, Mrs. Anderson was an annoying teacher. To him, She was a sexualized being. And so that's what early exposure to pornography does. And that's where I feel like that now, where a few degrees off. And so at some point when someone then is exposed, then it's almost like the world changes a bit for them. And I don't want that to feel like, oh, my gosh, the world's changed. It's OK. That makes sense. And so now from that point forward, that person, that teenage boy, for example, who is a normal, teenage boy, he's going to have all those female hormones are coming, to procreate, replenish the earth, that's a built in part of a factory setting. And so then and seeing and having these sexual desires and that sort of thing, that it's almost OK that's been unlocked. It's been unlocked early. And so now that is going to frame a little bit of their experience to live a little bit, a lot of their experience from that day moving forward. I buried the lead in one of the reasons that I really wanted to talk about this, and I'll end with this story and I have so much more I would love to share on this, but I do want to try to keep these episodes somewhat short, short ish.

[00:31:10] But a couple of weeks ago, I was asked and I alluded or I talked briefly about this on an episode a couple of weeks ago, but I had been asked to come on a national radio show and talk about pornography in the pandemic. And the truth is that the use of pornography use has skyrocketed since people have been sheltering in place. And when people have been around their computers and they're bored and they have just too much time on their hands, because I really do believe the biggest trigger that leads to pornography use is not, oh, some guy sees a hot chick, that old cliche, it's boredom. It's I call them crimes of opportunity. It's where somebody nobody's home or they're by themselves. And there's the computer. And their brain is so used to saying, hey, I know what we can do. And then they turn to pornography. Then they feel bad. Then they say, I'm not going to do it again until the next time. And then they think, what's wrong with me? And it's just this continuing shame spiral. But I was asked to go on this national radio show and I really didn't know a lot about the host and turned out the way we traded some emails.

[00:32:10] And he was very complimentary. And on his own Facebook page, I said that I'm a friend of the show and he said, I'm a brilliant author, so I love that. I appreciate that. But when I went on and I totally I really I can understand where he was coming from, but he brought me on to talk about it, and then he just jumped right in and said, hey, I don't think pornography is a problem. And so I think that was supposed to rattle me. And then on my first time to that rodeo, not even my tenth time to that rodeo. And so I said, hey, that's fantastic. And if that's not something that you think is a problem or struggle with, then my I can't I'm not going to try to convince you of that. And I talked about the concept of psychological reactance, which is that instant negative reaction of being told what to do. So if someone doesn't feel like they have a problem or someone doesn't feel like something is a problem, me telling them that it's a problem is actually going to, you know, trigger this psychological reactance. The person is actually going to dig in a little bit deeper. And I disagree. And so I got a sense that was where the conversation was going. So I just said that if that if he didn't feel that it was a problem, then that's wonderful for him. And I said, but for the fourteen hundred or fifteen hundred people that I've worked with individually that have decided that they did not like pornography as a component in their relationship or that it was something that they were turning to far too often.

[00:33:26] So they weren't as productive as they could be at work or it made them less of feeling like a connected parent, then that's a problem. And I don't think he was prepared for that, because then he continued to say, I watch it with my wife. And I said, man, then you guys would not need my help. And that is fantastic. But for the people that I work with, the people that are turning to me that want to put that behind them, that feel like it, it has made them less present in their relationship than I can. I can help people with that. And and he was pretty funny at that point. And he said, I turned to cake. I think that with frosting is a coping mechanism. And I said that, my friend, I can help with that. If that is a coping mechanism you want to put behind you, then I can work with that. So I appreciated that. But it was really I really enjoyed getting on and talking about that. If someone is saying it is not a problem for them, then I will tell you it can be difficult to work with. So that's the hard part about if somebody is being told to get help, but they really don't feel like it's a big deal or they feel like they have it under control, then Number One, they're probably going to have a little bit of that psychological reactance.

[00:34:27] They're going to double down and say, well, it's not really a problem. Or and here's the part that I really wanted to end with. And I had a podcast I did for a group called Leading Saints, and it's talking to ecclesiastical leaders and I highly recommend it. It's called Taking Shame out of the bishop's office. And it's a way that when people are struggling with pornography, addiction or compulsive sexual behavior, they don't feel good about it. They don't. And I again, I know that's the case. And so when they come into my office, the last thing that is helpful is for me to say, man, do you know what this could turn into or do you know how bad this is? And we just have a tendency as humans that when a teenager or a spouse or somebody comes and confesses or gets caught, we don't say, hey, thank you so much for coming in or I appreciate you dealing with this because we've got this and I know that you're going to be able to make it through this. And that is the response we need. We need to be able to win again if our kids come to us honestly with any issue or problem, do some mindfulness work like crazy so that when they say, hey, I wrecked the car or I'm struggling with pornography addiction or I'm failing a class. That school that our reaction is, hey, I am so proud of you for coming to me.

[00:35:42] I really appreciate that that takes guts. And so we're going to figure this out. Let me know what I can do to help. Let me know if you need me to be an accountability, buddy. If you want some professional help when the world of the school, if you need a tutor, whatever you need. I am just so proud of you for coming to me. And we've got this because it takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to go to somebody and say, I'm struggling with anything. So that's my ultimate goal when dealing with pornography. Is it a bad thing? And it objectifies women and it warps sexuality and it's it's a component and well over half of divorces. Now, according to I think it's the American Lawyers or Attorneys Association. Yes, all of those are true, but it's individuals that are struggling with this. And so we need to treat them like individuals as well. And if you're hearing this and you are struggling and you've tried to put this behind you and have been successful, it's not too late. And there are so many people that I've worked with that have spent a fair amount of time literally like coming into my office and saying I didn't do the homework or relapsed again or so. And it's as if they want me to say, Oh, man, yeah, you're like super broken. Go ahead. You can go and just act out like crazy. And yeah, I guess I couldn't help. No, it's not the way it works. It can be a little bit of a journey.

[00:36:57] It can take more time than one would anticipate, but that's just the way that it works. The old cliche of it is what it is. But just being aware and seeking help and trying to put distance between thought and action, those are the things that are going to get you back on this path back to that person that you always wanted to be or a person that you dreamed you could be. And that is somebody that isn't turning to compulsive sexual behavior as a coping mechanism. So I appreciate you taking the time to stay with me. If you have questions I would love to do, I'm going to start now. Here's a sneak preview of the new revamped Path Back program is I am going to be doing some Facebook lives. I am going to be doing some Q&A. I am going to be doing as part of the Path Back program, some weekly calls and answering questions and working with individuals. And so I would love your questions. You can send them through my website at Tony Overbay.com. Just go to the contact page and just send me any questions you have about pornography, compulsive sexual behavior, any of that. And I'll try to get to those on a future episode or a Facebook live. Those are going to be archived. And I'm just grateful for you spending this time with me. And I look forward to seeing you the next time on the virtual couch and have a wonderful, fantastic day.

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