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Parents often ask me what makes their child look at porn or chronically masturbate. The answer isn't as simple as some people think. On one end of the spectrum you have those who suffer from serious trauma that don't feel that they're important or that they matter. Their number one need is focusing on themselves and they believe they are the only ones who can meet this need. This belief can be the result of abuse, neglect, adoption, or other circumstances. For them, feeling good is important because people around them aren't. They have not benefited from having others meet their basic needs to give and receive love at important developmental stages. This is a devastating faulty core belief that takes considerable time and effort to help change.
On the other end of the spectrum are those that come from healthy families who were excited and aroused and learned that porn and masturbation is a kind of "quick fix" when feeling bored, lonely, tired, or disinterested in life around them. It's not necessarily deeper or more serious than that but is very powerful when those feel-good chemicals are released in the brain. Simple exploration with porn and sexuality creates a cycle of guilt and shame that leads to more desire to feel good again. Working with individuals like this means learning new coping skills as we work on helping them understand and meet their primary need of giving and receiving love through relationships.
There are also those who have a combination of factors. Either way, as long as someone has the desire and motivation to make a change and they are willing to be honest, open and willing with others, they can turn their lives around. Remember, this isn't something that can be forced and they have to want it for the right reason or it will lead to chronic frustration. To help someone you love prepare for this kind of change might be simpler than you think. Make them more important than the problem, show unconditional love and be as positive as you can. This kind of environment is the best place to invite and encourage them to consider changing. And remember, there is no worse case-scenario as they are loved by a Heavenly Father who knows them and what they need. Don't act out of desperation!