Book Review: He’s a Porn Addict… Now What?

Answers for partners of men with pornography addictions

He’s a Porn Addict… Now What?: An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions by Tony Overbay and Joshua Shea is written to serve as a resource for partners of men with pornography addictions. It’s a unique combination of viewpoints — Tony is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and Josh is a former porn addict who’s now in sustained recovery.

Each chapter of the book has a specific focus, and includes questions that partners often ask. Each question is answered by Tony and then Josh.

The book is written in a very conversational tone. It’s very honest and straightforward, and there’s no skirting around issues. It is not prescriptive, and different angles and potential strategies are explored. The book is very practical, giving very reasonable suggestions that could be implemented in the real world.

Some of the questions addressed in the book:

  • Isn’t it normal for most guys to like pornography?

Throughout the book, there is consistent messaging that both recovery and repair of the relationship are possible as long as the addict is willing to put it the effort and commit to a recovery program. When suggestions are made for how the partner might address their own issues related to betrayal trauma and trust, this is done gently and respectfully. There is repeated reassurance that the partner did not cause the porn addiction.

The authors do not take sides; instead, they acknowledge what the issues may be from both the addict’s and the partner’s side. Rather than urging a partner to stay simply for the sake of staying, both authors suggest allowing time to see how the recovery process does or does not progress. They also acknowledge that the relationship may not be salvageable, and there is no judgment attached to that.

The book touches on subjects like gaslighting, lying, setting boundaries, and how to address the addiction with kids, family, and religious community. There is an anti-pornography stance, but the pornography itself isn’t really the focus; instead, the emphasis is on navigating the relationship.

The authors take the stance that strictly defining what is or is not addiction is less important than recognizing that there’s a problem that’s interfering with the relationship and needs treatment. I thought that was a smart approach, especially since pornography addiction isn’t (yet) a formal diagnosis.

The problem with a lack of an established diagnosis is that it can translate into a lack of reliable, readily available information. This lack of information doesn’t just affect laypeople; many mental health clinicians don’t have training on how to manage this disorder. On top of that, pornography is not something that often makes it into polite conversation despite it being a massive industry, and pornography addiction is not something that’s generally socially acceptable.

All of this can mean that people are struggling in silence, and this book goes a long way towards knocking down that silence and talking about a complex issue in a very human, non-judgmental way.

I also appreciated that the book makes space for all the difficult feelings a partner may be struggling with. The authors aren’t here to judge partner or addict; their goal is to help both find healing, and as such, I believe it makes an important contribution to the field.

I previously reviewed Josh’s first book, which focuses on his personal experience with pornography addiction.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Originally published at https://mentalhealthathome.org on December 2, 2019.

Mental health blogger | Former MH nurse | Living with depression | Author of 3 books, latest is Managing the Depression Puzzle | mentalhealthathome.org

Mental health blogger | Former MH nurse | Living with depression | Author of 3 books, latest is Managing the Depression Puzzle | mentalhealthathome.org