Parts I and II of this series laid the groundwork and described the sexual-spiritual split. Part III examined the mechanics of the addiction cycle. Here I’ll provide that exploded assembly diagram I promised at the start of this series.

The sexual-spiritual split has a precursor, which is sexual shame. The collision between the ‘good’ (god, family, love) and ‘bad’ (sex, sex, sex) aspects of the child’s being gives rise to a deep sense of shame about the latter. As already described, the child handles this shame by splitting off and rejecting the negative aspect of themselves. This creates the sexual-spiritual split within their psyche and a fragmented adult personality. This in turn produces a sense of alienation from both the rejected sexual aspect of the psyche and from life in general.

This process is illustrated in the flow chart below.

The key inputs in the child’s environment affecting both their level of shame and the impact of that shame are:

  • The sexual restrictions of the child’s parents and/or caregivers
  • The sexual restrictions of the child’s wider environment
  • The child’s innate level of sexuality
  • The child’s innate level of sensitivity, i.e. its awareness that its sexuality transgresses the restrictions of its immediate and/or wider environment

Outcomes

When all four inputs—familial and societal restrictions, innate sexuality and sensitivity—tend toward the low (i.e. liberal) side, the child grows into an adult who is comfortable with existing socio-sexual mores.

If the restrictions are few then a child with a high level of innate sexuality has the freedom to be who they are without experiencing any sense of shame. The result is an adult whose sexuality may be unorthodox but they are confident in themselves and are able to express that sexuality in consensual and non-destructive ways.

However, when the inputs tend toward the high side—significant sexual restrictions coupled with a high innate sexuality and/or sensitivity (the two usually go hand-in-hand)—the result is a profound sense of shame. This dooms the emerging adult to the sexual misery that porn addicts experienced throughout adulthood.

The extent to which a child feels sexual shame determines the depth of their sexual-spiritual split and the level of sexual alienation they experience as an adult. This in turn affects their behaviour. The number of people sufficiently alienated to commit severe sex crimes is small. However, many experience the misery of porn or sex addiction or, more frequently, the constricted sex life of a conventional marriage. For others any kind of sexual relationship is too shameful. This dooms them to the dull nothingness of lifelong sexual alienation.

Final judgment

Yet even sexual shame is not the flashpoint that begins the emotional chain reaction leading to porn addiction and other sexual dysfunctions. The shame itself arises from the division of experience into good and bad. Here at last is the real monster in the closet: judgment.

The unconscious judgment of experience described by Michael Picucci—“God, love, and family are good while sex is dirty”—begins the domino effect as it spawns shame, creates the schism of the sexual-spiritual split and results in feelings of sexual alienation. These manifest in the myriad forms of sexual dysfunction seen—or not seen, when these feelings are successfully repressed—in our society.

Porn addiction recovery can thus be reduced to a simple mantra: The path out of porn addiction is the path of non-judgment

Porn addiction recovery can thus be reduced to a simple mantra: The path out of porn addiction is the path of non-judgment.

Recovery

To break the cycle of porn addiction, refrain from all negative beliefs and emotions around it. Stop beating yourself up for viewing porn. Stop feeling guilty for your natural sexuality. Instead, focus on embedding the following thoughts into your conscious belief system:

  • I recognise that my porn addiction is a benevolent message from my conscious
  • I accept the message
  • I accept that my sexuality is a natural, wholesome aspect of my being
  • I accept all of the above without judgment

The contents of your unconscious cannot remain there when you deliberately recognise them and, without judgment, raise them into your consciousness. It does take time and it does take practice. But by understanding the mechanics of porn addiction you too can walk out of the cycle of addiction.