Today, I’ve transcribed a clip in which Dr. Trish Leigh distinguishes two model types of pornography addiction–classic and contemporary. The classic model posits the presence of some trauma or emotional discomfort as a motivating force, typically owing to some early onset familial dysfunction, which “pushes” the user to seek out pornography as a form of escapism. On the other hand, in the the contemporary model, there is no trauma; however, the super-stimuli and widespread availability of pornography in a high-speed internet environment routinely “pulls” the user on to the screen.
In cases where there is trauma or emotional discomfort, addressing the underlying root cause is fundamental to recovery. In the same way, where trauma and emotional discomfort are not a factor, taking special steps to protect oneself from the super-stimuli of pornography can be a sensible step. Pornography use increases feelings of emotional disconnection. It can make it harder to deal with unresolved issues, and create emotional complexes in places where none preceded it.
Check out the complete video and transcript below!
Now, of course, the way out is through being able to use an approach that digs into the dysfunction of the past, the discomfort of the present, rebooting and rewiring your brain by using new routines and new habits, new thought processes, being able to figure out what you’re feeling, and being able to move through that discomfort, so that you can rewire and hardwire in a new brain pattern.Dr. Trish Leigh
For more, see the complete archive of transcripts.
Transcript Of Dr. Trish Leigh On Classic And Contemporary Pornography Addiction
The two main types of pornography addiction and what to do about it. I’m Dr. Trish Leigh, let me tell you.
So, we know that there are two main types of compulsion, or addiction, or drive back to the screen. And, typically, these two types are divided by a Mason-Dixon line of sorts, by age. And what happens is there are different root causes for the pornography addiction. And, honestly, they’re very intertwined and wrapped up in each other, but we’re going to use this age delineation, just to make it easier for you to understand what might be going on with you, because that’s what I care about.
So, for older people, and we’re going to say middle-aged, and older–and, yes, I fall into that category–and I’m acutely aware of it, but for people who are 40 or older.. They may have found pornography in the form of images or magazines before the era of high-speed internet pornography. And so, that animal develops differently. And we know from the science that many times, for people who are older, that there’s childhood trauma at the root of a pornography addiction.
And it usually goes something like this, at the age of 10 or 11, or sometimes earlier, a child is exposed to pornography, usually by someone else, and at the same time, they have traumas or dysfunction happening in their life that makes it so that the real world is an uncomfortable place to be. And they see these images, and their brain is flooded with dopamine, giving them pleasure, and making them seek more pleasure in those image. But it’s vital for them, and it becomes a safe haven for them, because of the chaos in their family, and the discomfort that is happening in their real life. So real life is hard, and fantasy is easy and is pleasure-giving, and pleasure-seeking. And that’s how a classic pornography addiction begins and then perpetuates.
Now, that’s differentiated, on the other side of the line, by a contemporary type of pornography addiction. And what happens there for younger people in the era for high-speed internet pornography is that it’s available everywhere. It’s available on your phone, in your pocket, at your schools, unfortunately, and so then what happens is you get exposed—and we know now the way that the internet works—it might just be served right to you. You don’t even have to look for it. And, when you’re exposed to it, your brain gets this massive dopamine flood.
Now here’s another differentiating factor for people who are younger, is that the younger that you are when you are exposed, the more your brain is hijacked, and the harder it is to break that hijacking. So, if you are 6, 7, 8—the new average age for pornography exposure, and you stumble upon it, and it shows up on your phone, and your brain becomes hijacked, you keep going back to high-speed internet pornography.
And we know it’s so different than just a still image. I won’t even go into that, because I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. But it’s much more dopamine-producing, and it hijacks the brain at new intense, higher levels. And it becomes more difficult to leave behind.
Now, unfortunately, when we’re talking about a classic pornography addiction, it also has the contemporary component. Classic means they’re older, they might have trauma, discomfort, dysfunction, as a driving force. And then, high-speed internet pornography comes along and it keeps instilling and driving and burrowing in those neural pathways through frequent, consistent, and more intense use.
But, I wanted to share that with you, because some people don’t resonate with the message on trauma, and so I wanted to be able to tell you, if you’re younger and trauma isn’t a major motivating factor, it may be that you’re brain is just hijacked by the consistent use in a high-speed-internet-pornography manner. But many people have trauma and discomfort as a driving force back onto the screen.
There’s also the pull back in because it’s a super-normal stimulus. And so, for any given person, the push might be stronger than the pull, or the pull might be stronger than the push. And that’s what I wanted you to know in today’s video. And so, there’s two main types—classic and contemporary—and for many people it’s wrapped together. I hope that helps you understand what’s going on with you.
Now, of course, the way out is through being able to use an approach that digs into the dysfunction of the past, the discomfort of the present, rebooting and rewiring your brain by using new routines and new habits, new thought processes, being able to figure out what you’re feeling, and being able to move through that discomfort, so that you can rewire and hardwire in a new brain pattern.