Sex positive Sex Therapist on Porn

Angela Skurtu Sex Therapist

Narrator: Welcome to Porn Talk with powerful Eric, end the point habit. reclaim your power, here’s your host, powerful Eric.

Powerful Eric: Hello power people, welcome back to Porn talk, this is powerful Eric. The purpose of this show is to help you end the porn habit and reclaim your power, but this is not just about breaking addictions, it’s about breaking belief systems. We are bound by self-imposed and societal chains, break the chains, get empowered now. Today we have with us Angela Skurtu, Angela is a certified sex therapist, speaker and author of two books, helping couples overcome infidelity and premarital counseling, a guide for clinicians. She also runs her own podcast, The About Sex Podcast. Welcome Angela.

Angela: Hey, thanks for having me.

Powerful Eric: You’re welcome. Angela just got back from Bangkok, Thailand, but before we talk about your trip to the sex capital of the world, tell me, how did you get into this field?

Angela: Well, actually it’s an interesting story. I come from a very conservative background where sex just, if it was talked about, it was very shamefully talked about and it was causing a lot of harm for people actually, instead of having a real positive sex view on sexuality, they had kind of a negative view. So basically, I was taught growing up, you avoid sex until your marriage or if you do, you get STDs, you’re going to get pregnant or you’re going to die, you know, some sort of big guilt trip, right. And I just saw a lot of harm, that, that that kind of mindset was causing for people in different walks. Like when people would get married, they get married too soon, it seemed, because what they really wanted was to have sex, because most people will really enjoy it, it’s kind of a big deal. And they were just struggling, they would struggle later in their marriage and sexually, this was the common thing. So, I had a bunch of girlfriends who waited to have sex until marriage and then a year later they’d all talk to me and say something along the lines of, “yeah, I’m just having sex for him, I’m not getting anything out of this, this isn’t very fun”. And I thought to myself, “well that’s a problem”. Because you’re supposed to have sex, I hear more than once in a relationship. So anyhow, I kept seeing that and then I also saw issues with, acceptance and inclusion of people in the LGBTQ population. And so yeah, like I got into sex therapy because I cared about those issues and I had a lot of compassion for people who wanted to have a good sex life. And my whole job is just how do I help people have a really positive outlook on sex and enjoy each other for like the long haul because, you know, we live a really long life now too.

Powerful Eric: So, let’s go back to your trip to Thailand, what was the highlight of your trip? Or did you see any sex workers while you were there?

Angela: Oh, of course I did, I saw the lady boys, they were great, I actually paid one for a picture. No, they were great. I had a lot of fun, I didn’t see a lot of like actual sex workers, I saw people who did massages, but they were doing the legit massages. Now there was at least one story when my friend was offered like, oh, it’s funny. So, I made friends with this gay guy and we were hanging out the whole time and one of the ladies when I went to the bathroom was trying to offer him a hand job, but he thought she was playing rock, paper, scissors with him. He’s gay and he doesn’t, he didn’t care. You know, he’s like, oh, she’s interested. And what’s funny is they thought we were boyfriend and girlfriend too. So, to me I was like, wait, so you waited until I left to go to the bathroom to offer him this. I mean, there’s some little shady that’s going on there, but he was like, no scissors, please. Thank you.

Powerful Eric: Oh my gosh.

Angela: It was a great time.

Powerful Eric: So, the lady boys was awesome?

Angela: Oh yeah.

Powerful Eric: I pulled some facts from Wikipedia about Bangkok, Thailand, that they had legal prostitution there from 1351 all the way to 1767, it was legal and taxed, and the state ran brothels. Since 1960, prostitution in Thailand has been illegal, been estimated 6.4 billion a year in revenue and that’s all a significant part portion of their gross domestic product.

Angela: Interesting, well I just think it’s interesting, you know, sex work is such a difficult topic of conversation for people, because I think you know, people have a lot of negative viewpoints on it, but you know in the United States it was actually, it was a common thing here too. It’s not just something that happened in Thailand and some of what I personally think would be helpful is if it is legal, but if it’s represented. What I found for sex workers is that if they are represented and they’re protected, like in Vegas for example, well it’s not Vegas, it is in Nevada, but in the state of Nevada it is legal for prostitution and there’s laws to protect those people so they have to get tested on a regular basis, they need to, people’s like “junk” is essentially examined to make sure everybody’s safe and there’s cameras everywhere too, to make sure that there’s not dangerous things happening. And in a situation like that, is it ideal? No, but at least the, the sex workers are protected in the people going to those places are protected. Whereas in situations like, I’m guessing sex trafficking is happening in places like Thailand or even honestly, sex trafficking is happening a lot here and those situations, there’s no legal ramifications because it’s already done under the table. So, it’s a lot more dangerous for people when it isn’t legal in the country.

Powerful Eric: There is every state in the United States, there’s sex trafficking going on. In Saint Louis, Missouri, there’s sex trafficking going on, it’s one of the things I wanted to talk about is, there is the healthy use of porn, but does that, that where’s that porn come in from?

Angela: There’s more control over things when it’s legalized, but when, when there are illegal markets than there are spaces where people can kind of fit through the cracks. It’s kind of like the whole alcohol prohibition thing, you know, alcohol was prohibited in the United States for a time and then it didn’t stop people from drinking alcohol, they just moonshine in their bathrooms, right? People have vices and they’re going to do what they’re going to do, but if it’s mainstream and it’s protected, that’s the word I was thinking of, protection. When people are protected, then you have a little more control over it and you have a little less of a black market because it’s more available. I’m not saying there couldn’t be a black market for alcohol, but I haven’t seen much. Whereas there is a black market for things that are illegal, and the hard thing is that people have their vices, whether they liked them or not or whether he society likes them or not. To go into your question about, is there a healthy porn usage? Yeah, there’s healthy porn usage, there’s porn where the adult stars are consenting to what they’re doing, and some of them even really enjoy their jobs, you know? And as far as in a relationship, there can be healthy porn usage as long as everybody’s like, aware and consenting to that in the relationship too. So where porn usage can be somewhat problematic is when it’s either taking away from the relationship in some way, so the person has their own sex life, but they’re kind of using it in lieu of a relationship with their partner. But many men and many women do watch porn on a relatively regular basis and it doesn’t necessarily affect their relationship. It’s when they basically have created a divide where, nope, this is just how I’m getting it and I’d never having sex with you or never really engaging in it with you. Or if it’s kind of being kept secret and this is the case for, anything in a relationship, if there’s something you’re worried about, your partner knowing, it’s likely either a behavior you probably shouldn’t be engaging in or a behavior you should talk to them about. So, like if you have that little flare in the back of your head, that’s like, would my partner get mad at me if this happened? You should probably think about it and kind of either fess up or explore the behavior. Does that make sense?

Powerful Eric: Yeah, what has your experience been with the people that you work with? I found a stat that said they interviewed all these divorce lawyers and they found, in the survey at least, that 60% of the cases of divorce, were either because of pornography or it at least had a significant contributing factor to the divorce. What’s been your experience with your clients?

Angela: So, I mean, I haven’t looked into that particular study, but I do know that I try to look at sex in a broader scope of things. So, was the porn there because they stopped having sex and porn was just being used because they had nothing else? It’s hard to say one thing causes another thing but I will say that, you know, I mean there are unhealthy versions of porn usage and, like I said, going back to, if it’s keeping you from having a sex life or, I mean in some of those cases though, it could be that their sex life had died a long ago and the porn is just a part of what they’re doing to cope with a sexless relationship. So, I don’t know if the porn specifically is what causes it, I’m sure it can be a contributing factor, but it could be a contributing factor for a lot of reasons.

Powerful Eric: Right, that’s one of the things we always talk about is that, the porn is a way of coping. A lot of the 12 step programs, for example, they focus on, you know, they count how many days you’re not doing the thing, they focus on the problem and rather than what’s behind it.

Angela: Yeah, it’s kind of like a band-aid, right? So, there are a lot of ways people cope with life, right? And ideally you don’t want to just be coping, you kind of want to be living and living a fulfilled life. And I remember talking about this when you were on my podcast, right? It’s, not about the “not doing”, it’s about what am I doing in my life that makes me really happy and feel purposeful. And it’s not that, I mean, I don’t know if anybody’s really feeling a lot of purpose masturbating to porn. I think it’s a coping strategy or it’s something to do while you’re waiting to have sex with your partner, which is fine. But as far as living a fulfilled quality of life, I mean, you need, one, you need more than one coping technique, right? Like if, if it’s one among many, the way the therapist kind of see it as like, okay, if porn is one, maybe not that I want these to be the only coping techniques, but if the alcohol is one among many, if exercise is one among many, if self-care, like getting a massage is one among many, not necessarily the happy ending kind just to be fair. Although you know, if that’s okay in your relationship, you guys do you. But just that like as long as there’s multiple coping techniques, then usually it’s a good thing, but anytime one thing becomes your “go to” coping mechanism, then that’s a problem. And going back to living a quality of life versus a coping quality of life, anytime you’re just coping with life, like I really want my clients to think about, “wait, okay, take a step back. am I just coping with all of this? “What do I need to do to make my life fulfilled”? Does that make sense?

Powerful Eric: Yeah, and that leads us to this next question. What is the debate that is going on right now about sex addiction and porn addiction?

Angela: Well, you know, it’s two camps of thought and there’s some similarities to the thought and there’s some differences, okay? So, where people are similar is that, we all believe that the combining of shame and sexuality and secrecy causes harm. We all agree with that. That like sense of like, “I’m hiding this thing and I can’t just be my full self.”. So, that is actually an area where that debate is on the same page, where the disagreement is, is in terms of like the behaviors, is this actually an addiction or is this a poor coping technique that is being used to address something like depression or anxiety? And so, with the mental health professionals that are sex therapists are saying is, no, usually this is a coping technique for some bigger diagnosis and we want to address the deeper problem that depression, that anxiety, that whatever the struggle is in life. Whereas the people on that sex addiction side are saying, no, this is really a behavioral addiction. It releases Dopamine and Oxytocin, which it does. There are some chemicals released when you’re having sex.

Powerful Eric: Oh, I know it does.

Angela: You’re aware–

Powerful Eric: All the decades of porn use.

Angela: Sure. Of course, it releases those chemicals and, yes. So, they’re saying yes, there can be a type of chemical addiction. But again, where that thing is separated is that, you know, a lot of those behavioral addictions, we as sex therapists are like, “well…”. I mean, you know, so, I’ve already explained it. Is it more of a coping technique? Yes. It releases those endorphins, but, so does exercise, so does sex with your partner, so does, I mean, really a lot of things. So, we don’t want to stop people from engaging in those behaviors that are actually somewhat healthy just in the right context. Does that make sense?

Powerful Eric: Absolutely.

Angela: Yeah.

Powerful Eric: Let’s take a little a step back.

Angela: Alright.

Powerful Eric: We have a mascot. You saw the picture of the mascot?

Angela: Oh yeah. Is that a penis with eyeballs?

Powerful Eric: Eyeball.

Angela: Oh, I guess one eyed willie, so, that makes sense. It goes together.

Powerful Eric: And so, that’s something that we’re putting online, we want people to submit their names. And I love that one-eyed willy, there you go.

Angela: That’s already a name out there.

Powerful Eric: Yeah. But that could be his name. Some of the other ones. I mentioned some of this last time, but here’s a new one. His name could just be Dick.

Angela: Oh yeah. Or Dick Junior.

Powerful Eric: Junior, yup. How about Richard Head? Now, believe it or not, I had this job, there’s a client list and there actually was a guy’s name on the list. His name was Richard Head. What parent would do this to their child? You really named your child dick head?

Angela: I don’t know. They didn’t think about it, I guess. I don’t know. You know, I do suggest people name their penises, but I want it to be usually a positive thing. So, I would go for kinder, Dick names.

Powerful Eric: Oh my God, I haven’t thought about this, just till now, since you mentioned it. High school, I had some girlfriends and not that they ever played with it, but–

Angela: Never played with your dick?

Powerful Eric: For whatever reason I named him Jackson Brown.

Angela: Jackson Brown? See, I tell my client ladies, I’m like, you should name it, then you become friends, you can hold hands. It’s going to be a great experience. I know it’s silly, but like I’ve noticed that people have some, I don’t know, like sometimes women can feel like a disconnect from the penis. And so, I want to find ways to help people really feel connected and loving towards each other, including each other’s genitals, believe it or not, I think that’s a part of a healthy sex life, is feeling safe and connected.

Powerful Eric: So, are you saying embrace the penis?

Angela: I’m saying embrace it. Yeah, absolutely. But, I mean in more ways than one I suppose. But no, I just, a lot of what I work on with all my couples is how can you have a really healthy, positive relationship with each other’s bodies? And that includes your sexual body, right? And so, that includes a man’s penis, that includes a female’s genitals. I think men tend to actually have a really positive view of female bodies, but it can be women and I don’t think they do it on purpose by any means. I think sometimes we’re socialized as women to kind of, we’re allowed to be, we call it like the Madonna whore complex. You’re allowed to be either like this perfect pristine, you know, like model of I’m not sexual at all or you’re like the whore, you know, and there’s no in between. And I think that’s an unfair way for women to be sexually. We can be anywhere in between. You can be an intelligent woman and still like sex and enjoy naming a penis. It’s all allowed.

Powerful Eric: Right. How does a sex therapist treat sexual acting out problems and, do you tell them, do you believe that it’s a disease?

Angela: So, yeah, I mean, I even framed it that way on purpose. So, we don’t have a specific diagnosis for it. We call it sexual acting out behaviors. And the way we do it is by treating the illness, which is, whether it’s depression, whether it’s anxiety, whether it’s bipolar, it could be OCD. Thinking about OCD, so OCD is a more extreme version of anxiety, but it involves compulsive thoughts and behaviors, right? So, think of porn from that perspective. Porn could be an OCD, a form of coping with OCD, that’s very compulsive. Think of like, you know, the compulsive of like, “I have to go look at this porn, I have to go do this next thing or I have to act on this.”. And so, the treatment for OCD is mindfulness, which is why I love that you’re in a mindfulness program cause it’s to slow people down, it’s to get them back in their body, it’s to get them to make– to actually make a decision consciously, not just react. In OCD, sometimes people are reacting impulsively and not thinking before they act. And so, the act of mindfulness is slowing that process down and giving the person the option essentially to make a decision that makes them feel good at the end of the day, especially if this person is like engaging in porn and at the end of it they feel completely guilty, or like a worthless person. I don’t like, that’s actually not even a great coping technique if you feel that way in the end, right?

Powerful Eric: That was me unfortunately.

Angela: I mean, that’s why you’re doing this, you recognize there was this cycle of unhappiness at the end and you wanted more for your life and so, we do a very similar thing, which is how do we create a quality of life? How do we really address that illness, whatever it is? And a big part of my treatment would be as well, how do I get the couple to have a good, healthy sex life too? Now, I always come from a very sex positive approach because I have seen some people, I don’t know if you experienced this or not, but just some of what I’ve experienced from people who’ve been in some sex addiction programs is, they will kick the habit, but they will struggle to re-include a positive sex with their partner.

Powerful Eric: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Angela: You’ve seen this. Exactly, and so, one of the pieces that’s super important for me is a sex positive approach, healthy sexuality. How do we have a great sex life that if we don’t want it to include porn, that’s fine, but how do we still engage with each other and grow in our sex life so that we’re happy and healthy? Because to me, just cutting a habit is not a full quality of life, you know?

Powerful Eric: Absolutely. And that’s the thing I love about what you’re saying is, you don’t just address the symptom and that’s the programs that I was in prior to the mindfulness program, was it was just all about the symptom, addressing the symptom. How many days did you not do the symptom, you know, so, I love what you’re saying. That’s awesome.

Angela: Well, great.

Powerful Eric: What is the difference between a porn problem and working on infidelity issues in your practice?

Angela: Well, now that is a good complex question, isn’t it? So, an infidelity can be defined very broadly. So, first I just want to define infidelity, infidelity is anything you do that’s outside the boundaries, the agreed upon boundaries of your relationship. Okay? And why that’s broad is that for some couples watching porn isn’t an infidelity. They both think it’s fine, so, long as they’re both aware of it, right? But in other relationships, if somebody finds out that you’re watching porn, it does feel like cheating. So, it can be in some relationships, it may not in other relationships,

Powerful Eric: A lot of guys out there, you know, their wives are very upset that their husband is watching porn, that was not the case with mine. She was actually, she was okay with it, but it was the effect that it was having on my life. And she didn’t realize the effect that it was happening on the relationship. So, I just wanted to throw that out there, that if you’re one of the guys that your wife’s okay with it, but your life is in shambles, you know, it’s all about how it affects your life. But anyway, continue.

Angela: No, actually, I mean I can throw in the diagnosis stuff on that, right? So, like in the DSM, which is how we diagnose people and actual illness isn’t a problem, unless it’s affecting your personal life in some way. So, your work life or your family life, right? So, you’re describing that first one, where like, okay, maybe your family doesn’t, they’re not bothered by it in and you’re still going to work. But if you personally are feeling like a wreck as a result of your behaviors, that’s enough of a reason to go in for some help. Absolutely. Yeah. So, it may or may not be porn, that is an infidelity, back to the original question. It may or may not be, like some people will fish around on Facebook for example, and like each other’s posts and other people, if their partner knew about that, they’d be hurt by it. And so, why it’s really important to clarify some of this is that I’ve noticed that couples, monogamous couples are not having really direct conversations about where those lines or boundaries are. And there’s so many different ways now that we can cross boundaries with social media, with porn, with even flirting. Not that I think people are constantly flirting with each other, but what’s the line between friendly, being friendly and flirting? And even, if I ask a couple that question, they’ll have very different interpretations. But everybody in monogamous relationships seems to assume that their partner is on the same page about where that is. So, when it comes to infidelity, it’s really important for couples to have honest conversations about, well, this is where it feels like we’re crossing the line so, that there is not only clarity but intentionality around here’s how I’m intentionally protecting our relationship, I didn’t know that would affect you that way. I never want to do this to hurt you. And so, that could be an a lot of arenas. But if there’s no clarity then, in some ways people could feel as though they’ve been cheated on when nobody’s kissed another person, when nobody’s touched another, you know what I mean? Like, it doesn’t always have to be a sexual act. It could be as simple as you had a lot of emotional conversations and you didn’t share any of this stuff with me. Why were you sharing this part of our marriage with somebody and I was not– I was clueless?

Powerful Eric: So, what is healthy sex or a healthy sex life?

Angela: I put these questions out of there, like really boggling myself. I’m like, what are you thinking? No, no, I know the answer. So, this, so I mean, first off, a healthy sex life does involve both an individual sex life and a couple of sex life. It’s fine for people to masturbate and have their own sex life. So long as people are aware of what that is, and the boundaries are defined clearly. Okay. A healthy sex life is defined by a couple in terms of what they want out of their lives. But I was thinking, you know, when I think about this, I think of several factors. I think of sexual chemistry, that feeling of I want to have sex with you and when we do have sex, I feel a connection between you. Part of healthy sex life is the emotional connection, not just the sexual connection. That feeling of I like you, I enjoy spending time with you. I want to go on dates with you and actually see you sometimes outside of like the work of a relationship. A healthy sex life includes affection and different ways that we show love. Many people are aware of the love languages, right? I think is healthy sex life includes the ability to both give and receive all five of the love languages. I know in the book it mentions people having one or two, but like really when people are only sharing love and one or two ways, then they’re missing the other three. So, to be honest, I think it’s a level or degree of how much people want each of those love languages. But I wouldn’t want to live even though gifts. So, there’s the five love languages are time, touch, words of affirmation, acts of service and gifts, right? So, gifts for me is low on the spectrum, but if i lived i a relationship where I never got gifts, where I never got roses, I think I’ll be a little unhappy, like, why you never give me things. Like, why don’t you not think about me in this way? You know? And I’m, I know that other people do too. So, a good sex life includes the ability to both show and receive love and all of the forms. And that includes affection too, and that includes sex. And in terms of communications, this why it’s so complex and I have a job, it’s great. It’s the ability to communicate what you want and desire and to be able to take that feedback from each other and do something about it. And all of those areas are different ways that I might have to assess and help couples to adjust their sex life so that it can be more fulfilled and connected. Because if you think about it, all right, say you have you, okay, you’re having sex, but like maybe you’ve got a kink you might want to try. We have to be able to communicate. I’m kind of interested in this thing. What do you feel about it? And then there has to be able to be a dialogue about that. Well, I might be open to this, but I don’t know how I feel about this aspect of it. And if there’s not that, then you know, then there’s no ability to grow and the sexual relationship. And that’s another piece is that it’s growing and it’s evolving in some way throughout your lives. You’re not having the same sex that you were having at 17, that hopefully you’ve developed some mechanical skills, but even the mechanical skills aren’t as important as some of those other factors.

Powerful Eric: Great, what would you say to somebody that is struggling that, you know, isn’t this something kinky? But if they feel bad about it, what would you, what would you tell them?

Angela: I’d spend a lot of time exploring why the Kink, they feel bad about the kink because a lot of kinky stuff isn’t that big of deal. To me, I would want to do any sort of harm reduction if it’s something that’s dangerous or unsafe in any sort of way. But really, I mean, I as a sex positive therapist, any kink is fine that people want to explore so long as both people are consenting to it and it’s not causing any sort of mental or emotional harm and any sort of way. But like say if somebody has a foot fetish, well, there’s nothing wrong with incorporating a foot fetish. I mean, all right. In what ways would you be able to engage in that in a way that feels good to you? All right, maybe I’m willing to wear heels, but I’m not wearing those boots, you know, like have a negotiation around it. But the reality is none of the fetishes or kinks are necessarily evil. Some of them are really fun ways to spice up our love life. The only thing that’s important to me is that there’s consent for both parties and it’s adjusted for each person’s comfort level. So, say foot fetish, right? Some people are open to wearing shoes, but they might not be as open to their partner sucking their toes. And if that’s a part where they throw it, yeah, I just don’t feel comfortable, then we respect those boundaries. But there’s different levels of engaging in each kink too that sometimes people aren’t aware of. And so, you know, I think going back to that, one of those factors of just being able to communicate and negotiate for something that feels good for both parties is a really important skill for having a healthy sex life. Because there’s plenty of ways to engage and kinks where both people can get something out of it.

Powerful Eric: Right. And what would you say to a listener that hasn’t sought any help that is in the, you know, is searching right now that feels like through, they’re addicted to porn or they’re addicted to compulsive sex. What would you tell that person?

Angela: Well, I mean I hope you get help, but be very cautious about the help you get. Any shame based, or fear-based training is really harmful for humans. Like shame is a toxic emotion and it actually ends up causing people to behaviorally act out in worse ways then if they’re deeply accepted and using like a form of self-compassion. So, whoever you pick somebody who’s taking more of an acceptance, compassionate approach. I love the mindfulness approach because obviously that’s more of that acceptance and compassionate side of things. But—

Powerful Eric: But 12 steps, are you good on that?

Angela: To be honest. I’m not a big fan of the 12 steps in any of the capacities. That doesn’t mean they’re not, I don’t want to like shame them because like I’m not ashamed person. So, like for some people the 12 steps have been very good for them and if they’re helping you then all power to you, use them. But I personally am more of a fan of the harm reduction approach because it takes the, it takes a mindset of, we understand that people have different devices. We accept that that’s going to be a part of your life. How do we look at your life and reduce the harm around these vices rather than saying, you’re a terrible person for wanting these things like sex? Why would you be a terrible person for wanting sex? Oh, why would you be a terrible person for wanting to see a naked person? Naked people are very delicious and wonderful to see, you know? And so, there’s got to be a lot of normalizing, like I would want you to find somebody who’s very normalizing and sex positive is super important to me because, yeah, in the end, a healthy sex life makes people happy. That’s why I’m in the job that I’m in. I love getting a person to that or a couple to that space where they’re feeling fulfilled again. And I’ve got to say it like, from what I’ve seen in terms of people who have a healthy sex life, they’re the happiest people you’ll ever meet because they, they’ve learned to advocate for themselves in a very vulnerable and difficult topic. And so, once you learn, advocate for yourself, they’re telling you can rule the world.

Powerful Eric: Awesome. Tell us about one of your books that you think might be helpful.

Angela: Well, I think all of my books are helpful in different ways. So, the premarital counseling book is good for people who want to know what a healthy relationship looks like, yes, it’s covering like what to do in the beginning stages, but it also just talks about five habits for healthy relationships and how to keep the spark in a relationship. So, at any time and your relationship reading that would be helpful. The Infidelity book is good for people in crisis. People who recently felt like their partner has cheated because again, it’s still covering that healthy relationship aspect of things, but it’s talking about how to heal when it feels like somebody has lied or betrayed your trust. And so, I’d say both are great just in different circumstances.

Powerful Eric: Great, and how do listeners get a hold of you?

Angela: You can reach me at wwwd.therapist@saintlouis.com. That’s my website. Or you can check out my podcast at www.aboutsexpodcast.com.

Powerful Eric: Awesome. Thanks for listening to porn talk. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit. Aristotle stays powerful. My friends.

Narrator: Thanks for listening. If you’re struggling with porn or sex addiction, then contact eric@powerfuleric.com remember, you are powerful.

Listen to this Episode https://www.spreaker.com/user/10565137/porn-talk-ep2

How I Cured My Porn Addiction (and you can to)

Powerful Eric was addicted to porn for decades.

Announcer: Welcome to Porn Talk with Powerful Eric. End the porn habit. Reclaim your power. Eric has been in twelve step programs for almost twenty years with little success. Then one day he stumbled on the science on mindfulness to combat addictions. Powerless Eric died and Powerful Eric was born. Learn from Eric’s mistakes and get empowered now. Let’s join Powerful Eric.

Powerful Eric: Hello, powerful people. Welcome to Porn Talk. This is Powerful Eric and I’m with William Duffin aka Happy Medium Will. The purpose of this show is to help you end the porn habit and reclaim your power. It’s not just about breaking addictions, it’s about breaking belief systems. We are bound by self-imposed and societal chains. Break the chains. Get empowered now. Welcome, Sir William.

Sir William: Thanks, Eric. I’m happy to be here.

Powerful Eric: William and I have known each other for a long time. We’re great friends, and I like to call him Sir William of Duffin. My son even, he’s turning four. I’m sorry, he just turned four.

Sir William: Yeah.

Powerful Eric: And he even calls William Sir William. It’s funny. But Sir William, what are you a knight of?

Sir William: What am I a knight of? Well, I guess you could say I’m a knight of metaphysics. I have practiced and taught concentration mindfulness for over twenty years. I even teach class called The Will to Change is the Power to Heal, which teaches that you can change your thoughts and heal your own body. So I have to ask you, in turn, how do you get away with calling yourself Powerful Eric?

Powerful Eric: Well, before I answer that question I gotta state that a lot of people online don’t like that I call myself Powerful Eric. I get a lot of negative social media comments like, you know, “You’re just an average guy. You’re not even average. You’re not powerful.” And really negative comments. People are generally angry about me calling myself powerful. I thought to myself, what if I called myself Pitiful Eric?

Sir William: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Powerful Eric: Or Powerless Eric. I bet you I would have zero-

Sir William: Problems?

Powerful Eric: … negative feedback. But to answer … going back to answer what your question was, there’s a story behind why I call myself Powerful Eric. I had problems with pornography since I was very little, but I’m gonna start much later in life; about when I had got back to see a friend of mine who had cancer. She was in remission. I was traveling at the time. Her name is Heather. I had been gone traveling for my job and when I got back I made a lunch date with her to see how she was doing.

Powerful Eric: The day that we were supposed to meet, I was acting out with pornography all morning and I lost track of time. So I called her and I said, “Hey, Heather. I’m sorry, something came up. I’m really sorry. Can we reschedule?” She said, “Well, sure.” But I never called her back to reschedule. Soon after that I ran into a mutual friend. The friend said, “We tried to get ahold of you. Heather died.” I was like, “What are you talking about? I just talked to her.” She’s like, “Yeah, she died.”

Powerful Eric: I chose to act out to pornography rather than being with my dying friend. There was a lot of big red flags along the way that said, “Eric, you have a problem.” But this was one that was like, I’m never gonna see my friend again because I was acting out to porn.

Sir William: Well, can you … would you mind telling me a little bit about what led up to that?

Powerful Eric: Leading up to that? I have spent countless hours acting out with pornography. I had wasted days. I call it burning days.

Sir William: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Powerful Eric: I have burned days, weeks, months, years acting out with pornography. I have recorded in a journal a day that I had woke up, started out acting out to pornography, did not eat, and literally acted out all day long. The kicker was that it was an absolutely beautiful day. It was a gorgeous summer day, and I’ll never get that time back.

Powerful Eric: You know, what could I have done with the time and the money? When I was acting out, I would feel almost catatonic when it’s going on. When I burn a day, I would feel lifeless and dead and worthless. Burning days feels like a dear friend gave me a priceless gift and I just flushed it down the toilet.

Powerful Eric: Then there’s the money. If I had invested the money I wasted on porn, who knows what fortune I would have today.

Sir William: What’s in-between there? What I’m really getting at is what led you to where you are now? Between the wake up call of your friend dying and you missing out on big chunks of your life. So how did you get from there to now wanting to help other people?

Powerful Eric: One day I woke up in a padded room.

Sir William: Literally?

Powerful Eric: Yeah, I was … I woke up kind of dazed for a minute. Like, where am I? I’m like, “I’m in a mental ward’s padded room.”

Sir William: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Powerful Eric: I was in there voluntarily. That’s another story. So they needed the room and a nurse came rushing in. She said, “We got a live one! You gotta get out.” I wish I could say that I was speaking metaphorically, but I am not. I was literally in the mental ward’s padded room. I felt completely and totally hopeless and worthless. The psychiatrist said that, “You will be on heavy antipsychotic drugs the rest of your life.”

Sir William: Wow.

Powerful Eric: I felt numb. Like, “What the hell is happening?”

Sir William: Okay, so that was the nadir of your … very low point of your journey. How did you climb up out of that whole and end up here?

Powerful Eric: I saw a therapist. I was on some serious antipsychotics. I was on antidepressants, antianxiety drugs; I even was on a drug to help alcoholics stop drinking. I was not an alcoholic, but it helped mildly with the porn addiction. I had a spiritual cleansing done. I had a kind of exorcism done. I tried a new therapy called EMDR, the Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing. That was kind of helpful, actually, with some limited success. I saw a sex addiction specialist that I saw on Oprah.

Powerful Eric: So I did paid phone consultations with that specialist. He said that I needed to go to twelve step meetings for sex addiction. I told him, I said, “I will do anything you’re asking me, but I’m not gonna go and talk to a group of people. In front of a group of people and talk about how I masturbate to porn all the time.” He said, “I’m sorry to hear that, because I’ve never met anyone that’s been able to overcome an addiction to sex or porn on their own.”

Sir William: Really?

Powerful Eric: Yeah. So I went.

Sir William: Wow. Then how did you end up with this new program?

Powerful Eric: Unfortunately, I took the long, hard road to get there.

Sir William: Yeah.

Powerful Eric: I, unfortunately, listened to the specialist. He said I needed to go to twelve step meetings. So for the next twenty years I went to SCA, Sexual Compulsive Anonymous. Then I went to … that wasn’t working, so I went to SLAA. That’s Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. That wasn’t working, so I went to SA, Sexaholics Anonymous. I was having some challenges with money, so I went to DA, Debtor’s Anonymous. I went to CoDA, Codependents Anonymous. I’m not an alcoholic, but I used AA meetings when I couldn’t be there … or my other meetings weren’t available. I went to Al-Anon. I did ninety meetings in ninety days. I had numerous sponsors.

Powerful Eric: I gotta say, you know, I’m forever indebted to those people and those programs, because they got me through some serious times; but I was still acting out with porn.

Sir William: What have you learned since then? What enables you to help others?

Powerful Eric: Well, one day, thanks to my friend and mentor, Craig Perra, I discovered how to use the science of mindfulness to break addictions. I tried it and it worked. No, it was not immediate. It actually was a lot of hard work.

Sir William: Right.

Powerful Eric: But I did finally stop acting out with porn. I still have challenges. In this mindfulness program, you do not label yourself. At twelve step meetings, you introduce yourself like this: Hi, my name is Eric. I’m a sexaholic. Then, you go on to describe one of your worst behaviors that you’ve done.

Powerful Eric: Then I was creating a screen login for the mindfulness program. For twenty years, I’d called myself a sexaholic or a sex addict, and various other disempowering labels.

Sir William: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Powerful Eric: When I was creating my screen login, I was kind of pissed off and excited.

Sir William: Right?

Powerful Eric: I was kind of excited too at the same time. I’m like, “You know what? I’ve been calling myself powerless for twenty years.” I put Powerful Eric as my screen login. In that moment, Powerless Eric died and Powerful Eric was born.

Sir William: So that was one of those moments of epiphany for you? An awakening.

Powerful Eric: Absolutely.

Sir William: Okay, well I appreciate you sharing your personal story. Convince me this is a problem that’s out there that a lot of people have.

Powerful Eric: A study that was done at the University of Montreal. They were gonna do a study on the effects of pornography, and of course you need a control group-

Sir William: Right.

Powerful Eric: … when you do that. They had to abandon the study. Why do you think they had to abandon the study?

Sir William: Because they couldn’t find any college students that weren’t already looking at porn?

Powerful Eric: That’s right. They couldn’t find any-

Sir William: Oh yeah, of course.

Powerful Eric: … that were not actively using porn. That’s just one stat. Another sad stat is the average age of someone viewing porn was, at the time, ten years old. Now there moving that back even further. That just makes me really sad, because you know … William, I don’t know about you-

Sir William: Right.

Powerful Eric: … but I think to myself, when I was a kid if I got ahold of a Playboy. Oh my gosh. I really thought I had something.

Sir William: Right.

Powerful Eric: But now these poor kids, really young kids, are getting exposed to hardcore porn.

Sir William: Because of the internet.

Powerful Eric: Because of the internet.

Sir William: Right.

Powerful Eric: We all carry … we’re actually carrying-

Sir William: Right.

Powerful Eric: … a library of porn around with us-

Sir William: Right.

Powerful Eric: … in our phones.

Sir William: Well, then that leads me to ask how can your program help people? Especially young people?

Powerful Eric: Well, we use the science of mindfulness. I mean, there’s a lot of tools that we use, but we use the science of mindfulness. In a nutshell, mindfulness is a large umbrella term. Under that umbrella you’ve got things like meditation, martial arts, focusing, being present. One of the new ones that I’m certified in now is tapping. It’s the emotional freedom technique. It’s were you tap on pressure points. Of course, you’re a pro on this topic.

Sir William: Well, I am. One thing I wanna say is that what you’re saying is kind of exciting because it sounds like we’re gonna be doing some more shows.

Powerful Eric: Oh, absolutely.

Sir William: Okay. Tapping and all those other things. So I’m looking forward to learning about these techniques. But that is true that I practice and teach
mindfulness. It has literally changed my life to be able to hold my attention in a present moment.

Powerful Eric: Like with meditating.

Sir William: Well sure, with meditating. I’m a minister and so I help people change their lives. I may not call it mindfulness in the … I may be helping somebody and not saying, “You’re gonna be practicing mindfulness.” But I say, “Hold your attention in the moment. Observe your thoughts. What is it you’re really doing. Where does your attention go?”

Sir William: I remember one time you and I were talking about this and ideas were formulating and I said, “Eric, I got it. Every moment’s a choice. Meditate or masturbate.”

Powerful Eric: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Sir William: Then that makes me wanna ask, I mean, you have said a little bit about your experience and what brought you here, but what qualifies you to be the person to help me?

Powerful Eric: I, for years, had tried to fake it ’til I make it, you know? I would look myself in the mirror and say I like myself or I love myself or I’m learning to like myself, I’m learning to love myself. I never really believed it.

Sir William: Sure.

Powerful Eric: But one day I looked in the mirror and I could honestly say that I like myself. And I started to tear up, because for so many years I tried to fake it until I make it by saying those affirmations to myself. But for the first time in nearly all of my life, I looked myself in the eye and I said I like myself and I meant it.

Powerful Eric: So, to answer your question, is I have personally been there. If you go to a traditional route, most likely the person that’s helping you has not been in your shoes. I’ve been in your shoes and now I’m actually a paid employee of the mindful system. I’m also now a certified mindful habit coach. A mindful habit coach is specific for sex and porn addiction. Yes, we do all addictions, but that’s our specialty is sex and porn addiction.

Powerful Eric: I’m kind of like the hair club for men president. You know that he says … I don’t know if you remember those old commercials-

Sir William: Oh sure.

Powerful Eric: … he’d say, “I’m not only the president, I’m a member.” Or something like that. So, you know, I’ve used the program and I’m now a certified mindful habit coach. I know what does not work. I know what does not work. And I know what does work. To add on top of that, I’m certified as a emotional freedom technique coach as well; that’s EFT or the tapping. That’s what qualifies me to coach someone.

Sir William: Well, that kind of answers my next question that I had in mind, and that is: of all the things you could do, you chose this. Why is that? What is it you’re passionate about?

Powerful Eric: Well, I kind of feel like it chose me. Meaning that, you know, I didn’t wish to be addicted to pornography. What I’m passionate about is helping people. Because I know how devastating this addiction can be, or call it whatever you want. I know how it feels and I just wanna help people. That’s what I’m passionate about is helping people. My goal is now to positively impact and help one million sex and porn addicts to break the habit and create a great life for themselves and to make the world a better place to be.

Sir William: Wow, thank you. I appreciate that. Eric, what would you tell listeners who are struggling with addiction to porn or any other substance? Alcohol, drugs, overworking.

Powerful Eric: I would say this: that you can’t do it alone. You can’t do it alone. Ask for help.
< strong>Sir William: Really?

Powerful Eric: I do agree with the one guy that I saw on Oprah that said, you know, he’s never met anyone that was able to overcome this addiction on their own. So definitely, absolutely get help; whether it’s from your parents, from a teacher, from a minister, from a therapist, or a coach like myself. I do personal coaching for men that are addicted to porn.

Sir William: How do people get ahold of you?

Powerful Eric: They can reach me at powerfuleric.com.

Sir William: Well hey, speaking of which, I noticed on your website Powerful Eric there’s that little character, that little guy, your little mascot. What’s the deal with that?

Powerful Eric: Yeah, the mascot is basically a little … he’s a little-

Sir William: Phallic?

Powerful Eric: … wiener. He’s a little wiener with arms, holding a smart phone, and he’s got a big red eye. You could say he’s the one-eyed monster. We’d like you to submit, if you could, to name our mascot. Some of the names that I came up with was El Porno, The Porn Monster, of course The One-Eyed Monster.

Sir William: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Powerful Eric: It reminds me of a show, believe it or not, for kids. My son watches. It’s called Captain Underpants. His nemesis is Professor Poopy Pants.

Sir William: Yes, yes, I remember that.

Powerful Eric: We are definitely in the right place for potty humor here, but if you could help us name the mascot. If you could submit that online on my Facebook page at Powerful Eric Coaching, or on my website powerfuleric.com. Or you can email me at Eric@powerfuleric.com.

Powerful Eric: One thing about the mascot is we’re joking about this, but this is to show that everything now seems to be sexualized. I created a word, or coined a word: the pornification. It’s the pornification of the world. It’s the normalizing of the viewing of pornography. Because when I was a boy, that wasn’t a normal thing. It wasn’t accessible like it is now. It’s the pornification of the world.

Powerful Eric: The program is not just about quitting porn. It’s about B.E.A.R. It’s an acronym, B-E-A-R. It’s about becoming enlightened about reality. It’s about being mindful about your life, mindful about your thoughts.

Sir William: Excellent. Now as you’re describing your experience and the things you learned and the things you’re teaching … and it’s been true for me when I teach and practice mindfulness. It’s gonna affect a person’s life in a lot of other ways, other than just quitting porn.

Powerful Eric: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a lot more than porn. In fact, that is just the tip of the iceberg. We do a … a part of the program we track our thoughts. We call them self-deprecating thoughts or sexual thoughts. We want to minimize those as much as we can. And we find with most of the guys that really the problem isn’t so much the sexual thoughts as it is the self-deprecating thoughts. By self-deprecating, you know, I mean, “I’m a piece of shit. How the hell did I do that? I’m such a dipshit.” I gotta say the most common one is, “I’m a piece of shit.”

Sir William: Really?

Powerful Eric: Yeah. So yeah, it’s a lot more … the porn is just a symptom.

Sir William: Yes.

Powerful Eric: Whether it’s alcohol, drugs-

Sir William: Got it.

Powerful Eric: … porn. That’s just the symptom and that’s the challenge that I found with most of the programs that I was in. They were addressing the symptom. How many days did you not do the thing?
Sir William: Right.

Powerful Eric: Whereas in this mindful program we concentrate on adding in positive thing into your life. For example, instead of counting how many days you’re not whacking off to porn, we count how many days did you do a yoga pose in a row. Something like that. Yoga is mindfulness.

Sir William: Really?

Powerful Eric: Yeah.

Sir William: Interesting. Before we go, I want to make sure that I mention something I saw on your website is this audiobook. Well, the title that got me was Everything You Know About Sex and Porn Addiction is Wrong. I thought, well, that’s a pretty bold statement, because there’s a lot of information out there about sex and porn addiction.

Powerful Eric: Yeah, it’s Everything You Know About Sex and Porn Addiction is Wrong: the Twenty-One Myths About Sex and Porn Addiction. Basically, you can learn from me what took about twenty years or so, you can learn in about twenty minutes. It’s actually less than an hour. If you go to my website powerfuleric.com you can get it for free.

Sir William: Well, I really appreciate you having me here today. I’m happy to be a part of this new adventure.

Powerful Eric: Well, thanks for being here William. Can you tell listeners where they can find you online?

Sir William: Oh, I’m at mediumwill.com, I’m on Facebook as Happy Medium Will, and helping people focus and change their lives.

Powerful Eric: Fantastic. Thanks for listening to Porn Talk. Join us on our next episode when I interview Angela Skurtu, a certified sex therapist. You will love Angela. She is a lot of fun.

Powerful Eric: And I’ll close with Zig Ziglar, who says, “You are designed for accomplishment. You are engineered for success. You are endowed with the seeds of greatness.” Stay powerful, my friends.

Speaker 3: Thanks for listening. If you’re struggling with porn or sex addiction, then contact Eric at powerfuleric.com. Or call 314-717-0377 for a free no obligation consultation. You are powerful.

Listen to this episode https://www.spreaker.com/episode/16661991