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Trauma and Pornography Addiction

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The link between childhood trauma and porn use is strong, with significant physiological and psychological impacts. Children who experience trauma are more likely to develop emotional intimacy issues later in life, including porn addiction, sex addiction and x.


What is Childhood Trauma?

In children, traumatic experiences can include sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, exposure to violence, witnessing violence, divorce, deaths, neglect, a natural disaster or troubling event like a car crash or fire. In each case, children are exposed to events that are too overwhelming for them to cope with.


When traumas occur that are related to the child’s primary caregiver, such as a parent or grandparent, the trauma is particularly hard because it affects the child’s attachment relationship. When children have strong and stable attachment relationships, they are able to better process trauma. However, when the adult is controlling, abusive, inconsistent or absent (as in death or divorce), the child is forced to disassociate with feelings of hurt, pain, unhappiness, terror, betrayal and more.


How Does Childhood Trauma Affects Adult Behavior?

Some studies claim that more than 80% of sex addicts suffered from a childhood trauma. Psychologists believe that the trauma significantly affects the type of people the victims are attracted to as adults, and affects how they conduct their relationships.


Generally, the victim cannot carry on a healthy relationship based on mutual love and closeness. Instead, victims detach from emotional intimacy and develop insecure bonds. The result is an adult who has grown up emotionally unregulated, unable to emotionally attach and just focuses on physical manifestations of affection and attention. This can evolve into sexual abuse, sex addiction and compulsive porn use.


Compulsive Pornography Use

Pornography addiction, like other types of addiction, is used to keep control over emotions, reduce pain and increases over time. Compulsive pornography use feeds into the victim’s attachment disorder because it allows them to self-medicate the pain they are enduring rather than seeking out help. Using pornography compulsively makes the victim feel in control and less vulnerable.


Pornography use takes the place of an authentic relationship, because there is no need for the victim to be vulnerable, there is no significant other to trust or be intimate with and attach to. The body fills with pain-numbing chemicals without the stress of emotional attachment.


Treatment Options for Childhood Trauma

When teens and adults who have been the victim of trauma that leads to sexual dysfunction seek treatment, it is a long and involved process that means properly dealing with the emotions generation from the trauma. Psychiatric treatment for victims includes finding alternate methods of medicating through the pain, uncovering and dealing with the trauma and developing better coping mechanisms in dealing with past and present challenges. Despite painful or traumatic childhood experiences, victims can work toward a healthier life and change the circumstances that impact how they relate to others.



Tyler Jacobson is a freelance writer who specializes in family and human development issues. His recent articles include insight on pornography addiction help at adolescent treatment centers.

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