Some mental health professionals carry a dangerous belief that porn addiction is not a real condition. You may have experienced this at some point if you went to a mental health professional for help with your out-of-control behavior. Occasionally a therapist will suggest that your problem isn’t porn addiction but a high sex drive and encourage you to take medication for that problem.
Now as you read this, remember that I’m not a doctor and therefore cannot provide legitimate medical advice. I can only speak anecdotally about my experiences and the experiences of the men I’ve worked with over the years. At the same time, a lot of therapists who recommend medication aren’t doctors and cannot provide prescriptions, either. They also don’t have the same level of knowledge about and experience with pornography addiction. So keep these things in mind.
This recently happened to a brother in our group and he brought up a great question. He said,
“My counselor says that I have an exceptionally high libido that interferes with my life, and recommends that I see someone for medication to lower it. I used to take Wellbutrin to help with impulse control but stopped taking it a while ago. Is anyone in the group doing this along with their reboot, or does anyone have experience with taking medication specifically to help you control your behavior?”
Before I dive into my response, I want to share an incredible response from another brother in the group. He responded before I had a chance to and provided an incredibly well-thought-out answer. He replied,
“I also have an exceptional libido, but libido itself has never been the issue for me. Rather, the issue has been my refusal to feel what I feel and know what I know, and my pattern of using sexual indulgence to escape my own experience. Temporarily taking medication or supplements to reduce libido may help you out of a crisis and through withdrawals, but I recommend against them as a long-term strategy of self-control.
“My ultimate objective is the integration of my libido and my integrity without suppression or indulgence. I personally experienced a dramatic reduction in libido for several weeks after minor surgery, and I haven’t noticed anything else in my life that obviously reduced libido.”
I believe this brother hit the nail on the head. Regardless of the “cause” of your out-of-control behavior, I don’t believe that medication is a long-term solution for anything. In my experience, medication often serves as a bandage rather than a true method of healing. It covers up the problem for a short time but eventually, you need to deal with the true source of the issue.
People who take medication for long periods typically become dependent on it. If you choose to take medication for a “high sex drive”, there’s a chance that you’ll eventually have to deal not only with your out-of-control behavior but also with getting off of that medication.
I noticed another red flag in our brother’s original question. He mentioned that his counselor jumped straight from diagnosing him with a high sex drive to offering medication. If this is truly how the process played out, that therapist missed a lot of opportunities to consider and address other important factors at play when it comes to compulsive sexual behaviors.
I’ve found that many therapists don’t truly understand how porn addiction works. While some take the time to learn about the reality of the condition, many dismiss it as not a “real” problem. Occasionally brothers find themselves under the care of these dismissive therapists and that’s a dangerous place to be. These therapists aren’t familiar with the complexities of out-of-control sexual behavior and often neglect to consider alternatives to medications.
They likely don’t understand the importance of anchoring your day. They probably don’t encourage you to find an accountability partner. They might work with you on developing emotional awareness or boundaries, but not through the lens of compulsive sexual behavior. They often don’t understand factors like time of day or specific environmental triggers either. They just want to stick you on medication and call it a day.
Another thing to think about is therapists who suggest that porn addiction is really a high sex drive often neglect to take a blood work panel before recommending medication. How can they possibly know the cause of your supposed high sex drive if they don’t have any data or numbers to back it up? I always recommend taking a blood work panel before making any decisions like that.
I don’t want this to turn into an anti-medication rant. I’m not at all anti-medication; in fact, I think it’s a helpful tool in certain situations. But I do not believe that medication is an effective long-term solution, especially for brothers struggling with compulsive sexual behavior. I think there are many alternatives that therapists and doctors often neglect to recommend before jumping straight to medication.
I think there is a checklist you should run through before deciding to take medication for your compulsive sexual behavior. First, determine whether your therapist is knowledgeable about porn addiction in the first place. Second, get a blood work panel and find out what your total testosterone and free testosterone levels are. Third, identify whether there is any childhood trauma at play that may fuel your behavior. And finally, after checking all of these boxes you can make an informed decision about whether a short-term medication plan is right for you.
I know medication wasn’t necessary for my situation and it often isn’t for the brothers that I work with. We learn to control our out-of-control behaviors by working with our biology to rewire our brains. We don’t need to use medication as a crutch; we lean on each other during tough times and lift one another when we’re on an upswing.
The Porn Reboot program is designed specifically to help you end your out-of-control sexual behavior. We don’t push meds, therapy, or psychiatry on you, nor are we opposed to using those tools when they’re necessary. We simply encourage you to identify the approach that works best for you and take the appropriate action to end your behavior with porn for good.