Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pornography And Kids

In this modern day and technologically-advanced Internet age, vast amounts of information are readily available to anyone who goes looking for them – with children and pornography serving as no exception. Though legal, pornography can have a significant and lasting impact on the quickly developing brain of an impressionable child. Exposure to sexually explicit material presents numerous threats and dangers to all kids – both young boys and girls.

Stumbling across graphic pornography by accident can be an incredibly distressing and upsetting experience for kids – especially since they are not expecting to see it, nor are they developmentally prepared for it. This confronting and complex set of stimuli is incredibly difficult for such an underdeveloped mind to properly process: at such early ages, 8 and 9-year-old children are far from possessing the necessary cognitive and emotional capacities to fully understand the particular information presented to them.

However, children at a young age are also incredibly inquisitive – their instinctive curiosity can lead them to find out more about human sexuality, often through the Internet. There, they can then be exposed to potentially harmful sexual material and scenarios. Pornography –  as a maladaptive teacher – can severely and negatively influence kids' future attitudes, expectations, and values towards safe sexual practices, healthy sexual relationships, and their sexual partners, as well as to issues regarding trust and consent.

Exposure to pornography can also lead to the untimely sexualisation of a child, increasing their chances of engaging in unsafe sexual experimentation – serious health risks such as infections, diseases, abuse, and exploitation can follow. This can also instigate problematic sexual behaviour against others – including children – as the child attempts to grapple with the sudden emergence of complicated emotions and thoughts. These unresolved issues can persist well into adulthood, hindering optimal psychosocial and sexual development, with serious consequences for future relationships.

Parents have a number of options available to them when it comes to dealing with their children and pornography in an adaptive manner – however, communication is of vital importance. It's important to listen to your child and provide emotional support, especially during sensitive times: show them you care by giving them your time in a space that's free of shame, judgement and rejection.

Being actively involved in your child's life during those important developmental stages means you can supervise them, making sure they stay protected while simultaneously fostering positive social and sexual development through an open and honest dialogue. By discussing issues such as the various types of interpersonal relationships and boundaries; rights and responsibilities; and the associated health risks regarding sexual behaviour, parents can ensure their child is kept safe and adequately informed.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


In today’s society, what was once taboo has now become widely accepted as the new norm – pornography has quickly crossed long-standing cultural borders and pervades almost every aspect of our modern lives. This proliferation of pornography – particularly within mainstream culture - has led many therapists to label it an 'epidemic'.  As such, cases of addiction to pornography are rapidly rising in number, becoming more and more frequent in Australia than ever before. Sex Addiction Australia provides a number of discreet and effective treatments for this debilitating addiction, one that affects one’s wellbeing in a numerous ways.

 With the help of our renowned sex therapist, you can put a stop to this vicious cycle – we offer specialist sex therapy, working to restore lost intimacy between partners, as well as facilitating relapse prevention and relationship recovery. Take back control of your life today.


Cambridge University in the UK has recently released a study on the detrimental effects that pornography addiction has on the human brain. Led by Dr Valerie Voon, the study’s results confirmed that sexual addiction – much like addiction of any kind – is indeed an identifiable and diagnosable neurological disorder. It also identified similarities between the behaviours of addiction in both drugs and pornography – particularly, how the effects of both these addictions target three specific regions of the brain.


Don’t be a prisoner of addiction - Sex Addiction Australia can help you break free of unwanted, intrusive and compulsive behaviours that harm you and hurt those closest to you. With many years of experience, our highly trained professional counsellors and clinical sex therapists can successfully treat addictive behaviours by:

• disrupting maladaptive thought patterns

• implementing corrective behaviours

• providing lasting cognitive strategies and therapeutic solutions to prevent relapses

Our discreet counselling sessions are specifically designed to ensure you feel totally at ease while discussing sensitive and personal sexual topics. We take an individualised and personally-tailored approach to sex addiction treatment, in order to suit our clients' needs.


Addiction to pornography develops gradually and over an extended period of time, as do most addictions. What begins as a harmless, fun and exciting sexual curiosity can escalate and develop into a destructive pattern of obsessive behaviour. A US study estimates that 56% of men and 41% of women consume pornography on a monthly basis, and an estimated 8 to 10% of the adult population are believed to be addicted to compulsive sex and/or pornography. These figures reflect that, whilst a minute subset of people exposed to pornography may develop obsessive behaviours resulting in addition, the majority of people do not become addicted. However, the ever-increasing propagation of pornography needn’t result in acute dependence in order to adversely affect one’s life – there exist a myriad of social, emotional, and cultural ramifications due to the spread and acceptance of porn.


Neurological studies have discovered that the brain is capable of significant sexual plasticity: that is, acquiring new tastes and sexual desires depending on the stimuli – both sexual and non-sexual – that it is presented with. The overwhelming volume and sheer ease of access to both softcore and hardcore pornography carry with it an inherit danger. This stimuli – one of instantaneous, sensual gratification – can serve to manipulate the brain into craving more pornography, even if the viewer does not enjoy watching pornography itself. In today’s Internet age, children are accessing and being exposed to more mature adult content than ever before. This is an especially alarming concern, considering the dire and lasting consequences that premature sexualisation in adolescents and prepubescent children can have on their psychosocial and sexual development.


Men of any age and background can become addicted to pornography – addiction is also three times more likely to happen to men, compared to women. This is believed to be because the male system of sexual arousal is predominantly visually-oriented. Thus, addiction to pornography is commonly seen as strictly a ‘male issue’.

However, women are not immune to the ills of pornography addiction. In fact, the number of women suffering from this addiction is steadily increasing. This may be the result of a variety of factors including: society’s de-stigmatisation of sexuality – particularly female sexuality; the wider acceptance of pornography as a cultural product, rather than a shameful ‘dirty secret’; ever-increasing sexualisation within the media; as well as the anonymity and permissive nature of the internet.


Due to the nature of addiction, an addict’s tolerance is routinely set and reset as they seek to push past the ever-widening threshold of gratification – this causes a dependency to rapidly develop through chasing a stronger ‘high’. In terms of pornography, this dependency is based on fleeting yet intense physical gratification – sensual rewards often relating to senses of possessing and objectifying – obtained from watching porn. Common signs of pornography addiction include a development of increased tolerance to pornographic material and a desensitisation over time to sexual stimuli: for example, watching more pornography, deriving less satisfaction, and needing to increase the frequency of usage as well as the intensity of the material, in order to achieve the desired level of satisfaction and validation.


When an addict is denied pornography, a number of symptoms can surface:

• ever-present or constantly returning cravings

• compulsive and intrusive sexual thoughts and desires

• feeling a lack of control or agency with regards to one’s actions

• failure to permanently stop the maladaptive or unwanted behaviours, despite serious attempts to do so

• Anxiety and mood swings before and after emulating pornographic scenarios

• Regrets and shame after acting out the aforementioned scenarios

• Lengthy recovery periods after masturbating or emulating pornographic scenes

• Mixed volatile feelings of self-justification, low self-esteem, and anger

• Interrupted sleep patterns, difficulties concentrating, general physical malaise, illness, or gnawing discomfort

• Increased difficulty with developing and maintaining intimacy, desire, and affection in relationships. Research conducted in 2014 by the Max Plank Institute in Germany found that some men may even develop Pornography Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED).


Individuals who develop addictions, such as those addicted to pornography and sexual intercourse, undergo significant neurological changes – sensory stimuli physically alters the brain’s functioning and chemical output. A 2011 study conducted by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) confirmed that addiction is primarily a chronic disease affecting the brain, influencing reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry centres.

This signals a clear shift in focus from past conceptualisations of addiction as a choice – rather than offering much-needed understanding and rehabilitation, this view often contributed to stigmatisation and relapse. The ASAM research study also typifies addiction as a neurological disorder, highlighting the fact that clinical treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy are necessary steps that need to be taken in order to ensure sustainable, long-term recovery from this crippling addiction.


Sex Addiction Australia offers discreet and professional inter-personal, relationship, and marriage counselling services. Contact our Sydney office and speak to our sex therapist Heide on (+61) 02 9380 4486 or email to book a confidential face-to-face appointment or online consultation.

You’re not alone – Sex Addiction Australia can work with you to reclaim your life and loved ones. We’re here to help.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Psychology has made great inroads towards the treatment of sex addiction over the last few years and what was previously seen as an untreatable addiction, now has specialist care and treatment plans available.

In the past, society saw sex addiction as a moral issue, one that showed a person’s failure in willpower towards their libido and desires. But as research became more available, it became apparent sexual addiction disorder is not gender-specific, and can occur in men and women from all types of socio-economic backgrounds.

When untreated sex addiction is defined by the inability to control sexual impulses, escalations of sexual acts, thoughts, and cravings, and by the addict's inability to curb their behaviour, despite them knowing that negative affect their addiction is having on those around them.
Initially, treatment for sex addiction usually focuses on two main issues and then deals with the individual’s personal history.

The first step is to often move you away from the potentially harmful sexual behavior, just like an alcoholic should be moved away from alcohol, or the same way drug addicts need to be separated from drugs.

The second and sometimes, most difficult issue for many addicts, is facing the damage done and the guilt, shame and depression that goes with their compulsion. It can take time to learn to trust your therapist to be able to work through these emotions. In some cases of sexual addiction, other psychiatric disorders may underlay. A dual treatment approach is recommended in such circumstances, and can include treatments with specific prescription medication to alleviate symptoms of mood disorders, anxiety and depression, and a specialist sex addiction counseling and psychotherapy program involving trauma treatment, healing the past, short term and long-term relapse prevention plans, and developing relationship and connection skills, and healthy boundaries to intimacy and sexuality.

There are several treatment options for sex addicts. There are traditional treatments such as:

12-Step Program
Twelve-step programs, such as Sex Addicts Anonymous, uses principles like in other addiction programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Sex Addicts Anonymous focuses on abstinence, from destructive sexual behavior that can put you and others in danger. There is a focus on God in this treatment but you can replace God with whatever higher power you may believe in.

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy
This is a type of therapy that looks at what triggers and reinforces your behaviour around sexual addiction, and helps you to seek other ways stopping the process or train of thought that leads you to action. By teaching addicts to stop sexual thoughts by thinking about something else; and substituting sexual behavior with some other behavior, such as exercising or working out; it can prevent relapse of sexually addictive behaviour.

Group Therapy
Group therapy usually consists of a trained professional working with a group of between six and ten patients, all of whom have the same addiction. Sharing your experiences, successes and worries with the group can help you see you’re not alone


At Sex Addiction Australia we choose a clinical approach to treating sexual compulsive behaviours, based on modern international brain research findings. We combine sexual health therapy with sex therapy and sex addiction counselling,  trauma counselling,  cognitive behaviour therapy, and selected forms of psychotherapy. We provide intensive relapse prevention plans that are adapted to our clients personal circumstances. Furthermore, we offer caring counselling to spouses of sex addicts overcoming their emotional pain and sex addiction induced trauma, and we offer healing though sex addiction focused relationship and marriage counselling; all conducted in our friendly outpatient private practise setting as intensive one-on-one sessions, without disrupting normal life unnecessarily.

Interpersonal Therapy
Sex addicts can often have a traumatic early childhood history, leading into their teen years and young adulthood, which have influenced their sexual addiction development. Specialist sex addiction counseling, including trauma counselling, is helpful in alleviating emotional pain and increasing self control and self awareness, and in treating any mood disorders and effects of past trauma.

In some cases of sexual addiction disorder, counsel from a psychiatrist and treatment medication may be considered. Some people may develop addiction disorders due to other underlying and unrecognised psychiatric problems. A dual treatment approach is recommended.

There has been much research into antidepressants and their effect in treating sexual addiction. Not only does it help mood disorders, which are common among sex addicts, they can help reduce sexual obsessions and thoughts. And there are modern therapies, which are a mixture of proven counseling techniques, sex therapies and adapting to the specific needs of the recovering sex addict

It is important to remember that throughout any treatment process, the goal is to be able to live a normal life, with a normal sex life. Clients develop the tools needed to understand their compulsion and triggers for acting out, and to set healthy boundaries, working toward genuine self-esteem and stable intimacy with their partner.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015



Sex Addiction Induced Trauma or SAI-T, is a specific type of psychological trauma that results from the direct impact of having a sex addicted partner and has lasting effects on their mental health, physical well-being.

Sex addiction-induced trauma is particularly acute around discoveries (finding out about sexual acting out, deception and relational violations), disclosures (being told about sexual acting out, deception and relational violations) and around the continued traumatic incidents that result from the presence of sexual addiction in an intimate relationship and family system. 

Partners often present with a set of symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), including re-experiencing of the trauma, social and emotional isolation, constant triggering and reactivity of old issues, significant anxiety, hyper-vigilance, dissociative symptoms, and sexual trauma symptoms.

When someone learns that their partner is a sex addict, it causes extreme distress. The trust between the couple is broken and the partner often wonders if they can possibly have a future.

The shame and embarrassment in the couples might be something so significant that they can’t confront the damage that has been done to their relationship.

In the sex addict, feelings anxiety, guilt, isolation and loneliness can occur, often all at once, and fear and panic can arise, about the state of their health, since they may have exposed themselves and their partner to sexually transmitted diseases.

Naturally, this has a detrimental effect on the relationship, since the emotional and physical trust has been damaged.

The communication between the couple is damaged once the sex addiction is disclosed, and the world which the partner once knew has been blown part, to the point their relationship may not feel real anymore.

The disclosure can also cause a variety of physical reactions triggering of eating disorders, alcohol binging, depression, weight loss or weight gain, vomiting, shaking, hair loss (sometimes extreme), defecation, insomnia and sleep disturbance, psycho-emotional dissociation, crying episodes, physical expressions of rage, hyper-vigilance, muscular constrictions, stomach sickness, aversion to physical or sexual touch and many more.

There is also the actual practicalities that the disclose may affect, such as partner’s moving out of the shared house, or children being involved and the partner wishing to protect them. In some cases, the sex-addicted party may leave the home, leaving the partner to have to hold down the fort, and thus become more stressed from the pressure.

Ongoing anxiety and the overwhelming need to check on your partner can also occur, with it often becoming hyper vigilant in trying to ‘catch your partner out,’ again. This is a form of trauma where the mind continually revisit the disclosure and you relive it over and over, as you’re waiting to find out about the disclosure again.

Being continually lied to, and being told you’re paranoid, or the problem with you is called ‘gaslighting’. It is a process in which the addict intentionally manipulates a partner’s reality in order to protect reality and the truth from becoming known or discovered by the partner.  This is a form of psychological manipulation and can slowly erode the confidence and intuition in a partner of a sex addict.

It is important for the partner of a sex addict who may be suffering from SAI-T, to recognise that they are important and deserve to get help to work through any physical and psychological impacts by the consequences of the sex addiction and find ways to help yourself through this difficult time.
Treatments include one-on-one therapy, and group therapy, with your partner, to help them and yourself understand the trauma and how to best move forward.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


At Sex Addiction Australia we have always supported the notion of sexual addiction as a treatable disorder of the brain.

Unfortunately, the belief sex addiction is immoral and reckless behavior is still a widespread stigmatizing belief, preventing many suffers to seek appropriate therapy. It is not uncommon for sex addicts to remain undetected over decades, and only step forward when their lives have spiraled out of control, families are threatened to break up, or jobs and money may be lost due to sex addiction.

The encouraging new research by Dr. Valerie Voon, Cambridge University, UK marks a step forward to universal acceptance of sexual addiction as a diagnosable and identifiable disorder of the brain.

Dr. Voon and her team researched brain involvement in a particular area of sexual addiction, pornography addiction, using fMRI, establishing pathological responses to explicit sexual material shown to study samples with pre-excising compulsive sexual behavior (CSB), and comparing to a control group without CSB. This research revealed changes in three significant regions of the brains of individuals with CSB;
  • Dorsal anterior cingulate, (anticipating rewards)
  • Ventral striatum, (processing rewards) 
  • Amygdala, (processing the significance of emotions and events)
These brain responses were found to be compatible to previously researched brain responses in drug addicts. Drug addiction is a confirmed addiction, and is included in the DMS 5.

Dr.Voon's research supports the 2011 definition of addiction, released by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), stating 'addiction is a primary chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry, and not simply a behavioral problem involving too much alcohol, drugs, gambling, and sex'. The affected individual pathologically pursues reward and/or relief by sexual behaviors, substance behavior, and/or other behaviors.

Much more research is needed to fully understand the nature of sexual addictions, and why some individuals addict, and others do not.

It is encouraging to know that sexual addiction gains recognition and acceptance. Sex Addiction Australia provide effective, holistic and proven treatment for sexual addiction since 2005. We include;
  • Psychotherapy 
  • Sex therapy 
  • Trauma counseling
  • Professional sex addiction counseling and therapy
  • Relapse prevention
  • Partner counseling and support
  • Specific Relationship counseling after sex addiction
Thanks for taking your time reading. For more information about sexual addiction and treatment options please visit our two website or

Article by Heide McConkey, Director Sex Addiction Australia. and