Counseling for Seniors With Pornography Problems

Older man looking at screen

You Didn't Retire to Watch Porn

I'm specifically writing this page for people in Atlanta on the more "mature" side of life who find themselves struggling with pornography use or other sexual behavior that goes against their commitments, values or self-control. If you've achieved a certain degree of success in your liife you want to be able to enjoy the benefits of your efforts without unwanted sexual habits sabotaging your happiness.  That's where I come in.

Porn can be called "an equal opportunity destroyer".  Many young adults have been watching porn since a young age.  Some seem to do ok with this but many are having a dificult time controlling their use. In my metro Atlanta therapy practice I regularly counsel clients in their 20s who are having a range of difficulties because of their level of pornography consumption.  Men in their 20s with porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED) are not uncommon.  I have a separate section about excessive pornography use so I won't repeat myself here.  

But excessive pornography use is not at all limited to the "Millennial" or "Gen Z" generations.  I frequently consult and counsel older men to address their overuse of pornography.  It's no longer unusual for people who have successfully reached retirement to find that too much of their time and attention has been siphoned off by frequent consumption of pornography. 

Today's Internet Porn Makes Yesterday's Magazines Seem Innocent

If you "came of age" in the 20th century, today's pornography is a very different animal from anything you saw in your younger years.  Until the advent of the Internet the primary sources for sexual images were pornographic magazines and venues such as "adult" book stores, movie theatres or arcades.   Now it's possible to watch more pornograpy in a weekend than a person could feasibly do in his life just a few decades ago.  Even though nobody plans for it to happen, once the habit of looking at this level of hardcore porn gets to a certain level it can be very difficult to stop or control.  Bit by bit things go a little further until you end up far from where you intended.  

Internet pornography has been called the "Triple-A" engine of addiction since it is so very accessible, affordable and anonymous.  Many people find out after it is too late that easy, free and anonymous access to explicit pornography removes many of the major inhibitors of sexual excesses that were in place before the online era.  

Pornography Risks Rekated to Retirement

Again, as I have explained elsewhere on this site, the easy availability of hard-core pornography is so desensitizing that even highly moral people can spiral downward into the thrill of endless sexual stimulation.  In addition, since just about every variation of pornography can be located in just a few clicks it is inevitable that even the slightest curiosity or fetish a person has can be intensely stimulated, amplified and reinforced.  These simple factors set the stage for an unhealthy reliance on pornography to develop and deepen. 

Even beyond the generic drivers of unhealthy porn usage, some risk factors are exceptionally relevant for people nearing or past retirement age. 

"Men of a Certain Age" May Try to Use Porn to Jump-Start Their Libido

It's not uncommon for more mature men to experience various erectile dysfunctions.  Some use pornography to 'jump-start' their sexual arousal.  The risk here is that some people develop an increased reliance on sexual imagery to develop and sustain erections.  It's not uncommon for such ongoing pornography use to escalate in frequency and/or intensity so that it becomes difficult or even impossible for some people to penetrate a sexual partner. 

Intimacy Difficulties in Lengthy& Relationships May Induce Some People to Use Porn 

It takes work to keep relationships alive and vibrant over many years.  Intimacy challenges of all sorts may take a back seat to children and careers.  For some people porn can fill (as well as cause) intimacy voids without seeming to require anything in return.  This creates a powerful "false intimacy" that can distort and erode a person's ability to put in the work of real-world mutual connection with a life partner.  It can be very confusing and even destructive to a relationship if one person is using porn without the other's knowledge. 

Some Retirees Use Porn to Replace Loss of Status and Performance Esteem 

For some people, one of the effects of retirement involves leaving behind long-held sources of affirmation and self-esteem.  If people are no longer seeking your knowledge, advice and skills, what's going to fill that void?  Porn can be the equivalent of eating junk food in place of real nutrition.  

An Experienced Atlanta Therapist Available for Consultation

As is evident throughout this website, I've helped people in Atlanta address these kinds of sexual concerns for decades.  Entering my 60s has deepened my appreciation and understanding of the special concerns of more mature folks who struggle with pornography use as well as other forms of problematic sexual behavior patterns.  You can see a therapist half your age, or come consult with a male therapist of similar age who can provide a safe and valuable perspective to address your struggles and goals in an effective manner.

Because of shame, fear and sometimes a "go-it-alone" mentality, many educated, successful, and moral individuals at the back-end of their career don't address their problems with pornography until some event forces the issue.  Often it is a discovery by a partner, which can create terrible betrayal trauma that can take skillful assistance and dedicated efforts to heal.  The good news is that I've helped many couples (including those marrried for decades) recover trust and intimacy and even grow stronger and closer as a result of the healing that happens.

In many ways, booking an appointment with a therapist doesn't have to be much different than seeking the services of a dentist, accountant, lawyer or other advisor based on your personal needs and goals.  I'm available to provide an informed assessment and present a range of options and recommendations based on your specifc situation.  I'll help make awkward conversations easy and productive, and I will work with you to help you change you behavior and keep it changed, bringing you to a new level of peace and success.  

I hope these words have helped you feel comfortable seeking help. Let me know if you'd like to schedule an appointment with me.  

Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT