Author: Peter C. Kleponis, Ph.D.
Reprinted with permission.
Tom was noticeably upset as he described his frustration with pornography use. It seemed that every day at work he would end up going online and viewing pornography. No matter what he tried, he always seemed to fall into the same pattern. For Tom, the root causes of his internet porn use were boredom, isolation, and access to the internet.
As a sales rep for a large chemical company, Tom worked mainly from his home office. He also traveled a lot. While he enjoyed meeting new people, Tom was bored with his career. He had been selling the same products for over five years. While the money was good, he was tired of repeating the same sales speal over and over again. In his company, there did not appear to be much room for advancement for Tom or the opportunity to sell other products.
Tom was also bored with his life. It seemed there was no excitement in it; nothing to look forward to. He loved his wife and kids, but it felt like he was on the same treadmill day after day.
Not only was Tom bored, he was isolated. When he wasn’t on the road, he spent most of his days in a small home office making phone calls to current and potential clients. Other than the people he spoke to over the phone, Tom had no social interaction all day long. When he did talk to people, it was strictly business. This left him feeling very lonely. His home office started to feel like a prison cell. As Tom looked out the window, he couldn’t help feeling that life was just passing him by. When he traveled, Tom always ended up alone in a hotel room at the end of the day. This was also very isolated and lonely.
It’s not hard to understand how his boredom and isolation could lead Tom to crave excitement in his life. This is where Tom turned to the internet. At first he would surf the web reading news and watching movies. However, they too became boring. This led him to internet pornography. The shot of dopamine his brain received gave him a thrill which helped get him through his day. However, Tom knew this only created more problems for him. As he became addicted to it, Tom spent less time working and more time watching porn. This affected his work performance. It also affected his relationship with his wife and kids. Instead of spending time with them, he chose to isolate himself with the internet. Thus, what initially seemed like a solution to his boredom and isolation only created a bigger problem for Tom.
For Tom, the real solution was making changes in his career, and his life, to relieve the boredom and isolation. He found a new job where he worked in an office every day with other people. There was also more room for advancement in his new job. While still in sales, he didn’t need to travel as much. At home, he made an intentional effort to spend more time with his wife and kids, and less time with technology. All of this eased his boredom and isolation and helped him to eliminate his pornography use.
If you are struggling with pornography use, consider how boredom and isolation might be driving you to the internet and pornography. By making small, and big, changes to your life, you can dramatically reduce your boredom and isolation. This can lead to a happier, more fulfilling life without porn.
Peter C. Kleponis, Ph.D., SATP-C is a Licensed Clinical Therapist and Assistant Director of Comprehensive Counseling Services in Conshohocken, PA. Dr. Kleponis has over 18 years of professional experience working with individuals, couples, families and organizations. He specializes in marriage & family therapy, pastoral counseling, and pornography/sexual addiction recovery. He works with individuals and couples from around the United States and internationally in-person, by phone, and by Skype. For more information see his website, www.peterkleponis.com
Header image: Matthew T Rader on unsplash.com
(n.b. image source correct as of 5-8-2019)