Pornophobia (Fear of Pornography)
Pornophobia is the fear of pornography. People who have this phobia are unable to watch porn or anything close to it as it may give them an intense amount of anxiety. People who suffer from pornophobia typically withhold very strong opinions against pornography and may even become activists against it. Their distaste for porn is not only for films, but it also extends to pornographic pictures, websites, and even novels.
Pornography is not mainstream in most countries. This means that most people who have pornophobia will not be going through their day to day lives making large efforts to avoid porn. Typically, porn is something that must be searched for as it is typically not distributed out in the open.
So, unlike other phobias like cynophobia (fear of dogs) or achluphobia (fear of the dark), pornophobia will typically require much less effort to minimize symptoms of anxiety and/or disgust as opposed to many other phobias.
Pornophobia may be more common in religious groups, as well as more conservative groups as opposed to more liberal groups. Be that as it may, this mental illness can effect virtually anyone from any background or belief system insofar as they have the genetic predisposition to develop it. People experiencing the symptoms of pornophobia may believe it to be unethical to watch or be involved in pornography in any fashion.
Symptoms of Pornophobia
Those who suffer from pornophobia may find themselves being overly protective to ensure that under no circumstance will they end up seeing any type of porn or softcore porn while watching a movie or TV show. They may find themselves very nervous during romantic scenes in movies due to their fear of watching the characters have sex.
They may be inspired by their pornophobia to become activists against porn and may be making constant efforts to rid porn from society. Their strong emotional response to the porn industry may lead to them developing a deep hatred for anyone involved in the porn industry, as well as pity. However, such convictions will vary from person to person. Below, you will see some of the most common symptoms of pornophobia:
Extremely fearful of pornography
Intense anxiety upon watching porn
Irrationally hateful toward the porn industry
Strong stance against pornography
Becoming anxious when thinking about pornography
Causes of Pornophobia
The exact cause of this condition is not known. However, there are many societal reasons that could potentially lead someone to develop this condition. A traumatizing sexual experience may be enough to develop pornophobia. However, such a distaste for pornography is often rooted in the norms of the society, as well as religious influences.
Many religious doctrines, such as with Christianity or Islam look down on nudity and pornography. People who adopt these belief systems may find pornography to be unethical or sinful. Strong ideological beliefs make it very difficult to be open-minded about things that are scorned by their religious teachings. Their fear of god and/or desire to be “righteous” in the eyes of their god may be enough for them to develop pornophobia.
The wave of feminism in the US may be responsible for young women developing a fear of porn due to their negative view of the industry. Though some of their concerns about the porn industry may be valid, those who suffer from pornophobia are completely out of touch with reality and are an extreme minority.
Religion and feminism themselves do not cause pornophobia, but they may help to influence it. This is especially the case if they are already genetically predisposed to develop mental illness. Other environmental factors play a role in the development of this condition as well, such as how they were raised and the information they were told throughout their childhood or young adulthood.
Someone who has a family history of mental illness, especially with phobias may have a greater risk for developing pornophobia. However, given the specificity of this disorder, one’s environment may play a larger role. Be that as it may, both genetics and one’s environment are likely to play significant roles in the development of this phobia.
Pornophobia Treatments (abridged)
There is no direct treatment method for pornophobia. However, talk therapy and/or exposure therapy may be able to help reduce the symptoms of this condition. Anti-anxiety medications may also be able to help reduce anxiety symptoms related with pornophobia. However, you should first talk to your doctor or psychiatrist before you decide to take any medication.
There are many different forms of talk therapy that could potentially benefit someone suffering from pornophobia. One of the most popular forms of talk therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Some therapists specialize in CBT, while others who don’t specialize in this niche are free to practice it with their patients.
With CBT, you and your therapist would work through ways to help you cope with your pornophobia, as well as getting you think differently about porn and the porn industry. The goal is not to alter your opinions. It is instead meant to help you minimize your heightened emotional response to it.
In this context, exposure therapy can help reduce your symptoms of pornophobia by slowly exposing you to the porn that you are so fearful of seeing. For some people, such a treatment method would be pure joy, but for those suffering with pornophobia it is often a very intrusive and stressful thing to experience. Upon being treated with exposure therapy, the patient may experience heightened levels of guilt and shame by watching porn or by looking at pornographic videos. Nevertheless, such a treatment method may be able to help desensitize them from their fear of porn.
Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants may be able to help treat the symptoms of pornophobia. However, therapy may be more effective than just taking medication as you will need to learn how to change your behavior and your thinking patterns. Though medication can help to make it easier for you to do this, merely taking medication without therapy may not acquire you with the skills necessary to combat your illness.
Exercise for Pornophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including pornophobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.
According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of pornophobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.
There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of pornophobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with pornophobia over time.
Practicing Yoga for Pornophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from pornophobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with pornophobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.
There are many different types of yoga that someone with pornophobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with pornophobia.
If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of pornophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Reducing Caffeine for Pornophobia
It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with pornophobia to experience panic attacks.
So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.
Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with pornophobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Pornophobia
DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like pornophobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.
One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with pornophobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.
Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with pornophobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.
Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with pornophobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your pornophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Psychiatric Medications for Pornophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe pornophobia due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.
These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their pornophobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.
These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression as they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as pornophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of pornophobia.
These types of drugs are typically taken on a daily basis. They can indeed help prevent panic attacks from occurring, but they are more so used to help reduce people’s daily anxiety. Talk to your doctor to see if taking antidepressants can help to reduce your symptoms of pornophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Pornophobia
CBT is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve one’s mental health. It is a modality that is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. Someone with pornophobia may also be able to benefit from CBT as well seeing as how it would allow them to have a much better understanding as to why they think and behave the way they do in relation to their irrational fears.
CBT can be immensely helpful for someone with pornophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with pornophobia is exposed to their fear, they will almost always have an instantaneous subconscious reaction to their fear. Such a lack of introspection is likely a large part of why someone with this condition will suffer to the extent that they will. CBT can help you to take a step back and analyze your fears more deeply than you typically would.
Besides learning to be more fastidious with regards to understanding one’s specific fears, someone with pornophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Pornophobia
MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from pornophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with pornophobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.
Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of pornophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Practicing Meditation for Pornophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from pornophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimeous state. There are many different ways with which you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.
Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from pornophobia due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else that does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.
For someone with pornophobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.
To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of pornophobia, you can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen and chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands during each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.
Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you, the way your skin feels as you touch certain objects, the way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with pornophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Pornophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as pornophobia. It can be an efficient way to help desensitize the patient to their specific fears. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the therapist implementing it on their patient is very adept at doing so. For example, if the therapist were to slightly expose someone with pornophobia to their fear, then it may not be very effective as they may need a higher amount of exposure to truly trigger any sort of worthwhile change in the patient.
The same can be said for the antithesis of this scenario. If the therapist were to excessively expose someone with pornophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their pornophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with pornophobia has a very strong sense of just how severe their symptoms are so that they can know the level of exposure that the patient will likely be able to handle.