PMO and Social Anxiety
What is social anxiety?
Social unease is something that nearly everyone deals with at one time or another. It’s normal to feel a little nervous when interviewing for a job, speaking in front of an audience, or meeting your boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents for the first time. There’s nothing wrong with this tension, and it can actually be quite helpful. It can keep you sharp, and help you give a great first impression.
But what about when that tension becomes overwhelming? Maybe speaking to the cashier at the grocery store is much more difficult than it used to be. Or maybe the butterflies you once felt when speaking to an attractive member of the opposite sex have been replaced with a crippling fear. These intense feelings are no longer normal, and no longer healthy – they are symptoms of social anxiety.
What causes social anxiety?
There are many theories that attempt to explain why people develop social anxiety. They range from excessive social media use and watching too much television to early childhood trauma and bullying in school. And to be honest, there is likely an element truth to most of these explanations. However, there is one possible explanation that is rarely discussed: P.M.O.
Does P.M.O. really cause an increase in social anxiety? It is a well-established fact that pornography (nearly always accompanied by masturbation and orgasm) is fueled by an unquenchable desire for novelty. Even without the benefit of scientific research, it is easy to see this simply by understanding the sheer volume of the porn industry. There is more porn freely available online than any one person could view in their entire lifetime. Yet porn is still being produced, and people are still paying exorbitant prices to see what they want. People want novel pornography.
Addictions that are fueled by the desire for novelty fall under the heading of “arousal addictions.” Rather than pushing the user to increased doses of the same “fix” (as occurs in substance addictions), these addictions require a constant stream of new varieties of material – thus requiring the consumer to spend increasing amounts of time attempting to find material that fits his or her ever-evolving tastes and preferences. Sounding a bit like porn? Both porn and video-gaming are the two best examples of arousal addictions, and unfortunately both of these addictions are only just now becoming recognized as real issues.
The research on these activities and the effects on the individuals who engage in them is relatively slim, with researchers often having to resort to anecdotal evidence to draw their conclusions. However, at least one study exists that addresses arousal addiction and its affect on social anxiety (Mehwash). Researchers at Nottingham Trent University in the UK conducted a study on one hundred and twenty three university students and compared their online gaming habits with their rates of various mental disorders – social anxiety being one of these. The study found a significant association between the addiction to video games (which we now know is an arousal addiction, exactly like porn) and increased rates of social anxiety. It is easy to extrapolate from this research and apply its findings to the other primary arousal addiction (porn). Obviously, there is a strong link between pornography addiction and abnormally high social anxiety.
How to cure social anxiety?
If you are finding yourself more and more anxious, it is worth reviewing your P.M.O. habits. Do you ever feel lonely after a session of viewing porn? Do you ever choose porn over chances to meet real women and the pursuit of meaningful real-life relationships? If you are, then chances are good that your porn usage is at least partially to blame for your increasing levels of anxiety. There are several things you can do that will help improve your situation.
The first thing to do is quit your P.M.O habit entirely. Removing this habit from your life will help you in nearly every way, but it will especially help reduce your social anxiety. Second, do some self-reflection and determine how to best avoid things in your life that might contribute to your “arousal addiction.” These things may be video-games (in some cases), or junk food, or even just using the Internet too much. These activities only make it more difficult to abstain from P.M.O., and at the same time they contribute to your social anxiety. So get rid of them! And lastly – go out and start talking to people! The absolute best way to improve P.M.O. induced social anxiety (other than removing the P.M.O.) is to step out and prove to yourself that you are no longer anxious. If you take these suggestions and apply them to your life, you will definitely see improvements in your social anxiety.
Mehwash Mehroof and Mark D. Griffiths. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. June 2010, 13(3): 313-316. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2009.0229
TED. (2011, August 5). Philip Zimbardo: The demise of guys?
. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMJgZ4s2E3w