One Monday I feel horny and decide to search for porn online. I click for images, remember to put the safe search on and think of some words that match my interest. It seems really strange and a bit wrong typing in the names of the things I want to see. But exciting at the same time. I click through to what I find. There is so much available! One Tuesday After looking at static images for a while I get a bit bored. Pop-ups appear next to the photos. They tell me film clips are available. For free. The films are great and start to satisfy a desire I didn’t know I had. One Wednesday I now only watch films. I don’t think of images as pornographic anymore. I have kept a few on my ‘phone to browse every once in a while. I might even collect a few more photos or screen grabs just in case I can’t get online. One Thursday Now I am watching films for release and know my way around the regular sites. But I’m starting to find that they just don’t give me what I need anymore. I have started to get really choosy. I’ve started to notice what types of porn imagery I like in a lot more detail. I get fascinated and fixated by some specific attributes. I didn’t know I could be this forensic and choosy. Maybe I like someone’s shape but don’t like their colour. Maybe I’ve seen better versions of what the porn stars are doing to each other in other films I’ve seen. I get bored quickly and want something a bit different. Sometimes I browse for ages to try and find the right kind of thing to get off to. Other times, I get lucky and will discover some incredible specialist sites that suggest a new interest for me. I didn’t know these existed - they just seem to pop up when I am getting bored of the same old stuff. One Friday After a while, these specialist sites get a bit stale. I’ve sorted through them and kept a few of my favourites on my phone and on a computer drive. I store things more than I used to now. I never thought of myself as a collector. I’m not sure if I have turned my privacy settings on but I expect I can delete my history if I need to. The stuff on my work computer is pretty well hidden but it isn’t much anyway. And it’s pretty tame. One Saturday Nowadays, I can spend ages searching for the right things to watch. This search seems like an addiction in itself. I’m not even sure if am horny when I do it. But I do know I get really tired by staying up browsing so late at night. I get really distracted during the day from what I should be doing. I think there is someone that likes me at work, but I don’t really have time to get to know them. One Sunday I’m still bored but I have started to notice that there are real people you can connect with now. I hadn’t really thought about chat rooms before. Some of them look like escort sites. I’m not sure about that, but I did send some messages and will see what happens. Some of the pop-ups are about to be live chats. Some of them look really hot. I’ve also noticed how some chat rooms are just for normal people like me. Maybe I’ll give those a try .....
A client once told me “the trouble with normal is it always gets worse”. I am grateful to him and for his own recovery. My client remembered some lines from a song. Whilst the song wasn’t about addiction, it was about not paying attention to changes that happen around us and to us - in the way we think, act and in our relationships. The story I told my client was about how they had stopped thinking of their behaviour as out of the ordinary. We know from the psychology of perception, attention and motivation that we get used to new things when they are meaningful to us. New ways of thinking or doing will normalise
more quickly than we might think. Stop and think about the changes you have to make to your routines when you move house, change jobs or even go on holiday. You find the new local shop for groceries, you work out where the park is, or choose a cafe you like. Pretty soon, these new places are part of your routine. They never were before. We like the novelty of new things. We get excited by the prospect of having or doing something different. We might watch a new TV show or get excited about a new series coming up. After a while, that new series becomes the old series. We really liked it, but want to watch something new. There are no negative consequences with a new TV show or a different place to buy coffee. But there might be an addiction
. If your new normal is only getting worse, why not get in touch with a professional and talk it through? Andy Cole