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'It took real guts' - sex therapist applauds Kiwi Olympian Willis for porn addiction confession

A leading sex therapist has applauded Olympian Nick Willis for breaking his silence on his obsession with porn, saying "it took real guts to do it".

Sex therapist Mary Hoson says the Olympic runner’s public confession could help others come forward for help. Source: Breakfast

Willis, a 1500-metre silver medallist at the Beijing Games, revealed on his Facebook page that he had struggled with a pornography obsession earlier in his life.

The 32-year-old, who will compete at this year's Rio Games, returned to Facebook yesterday to react to the publicity around his revelation, which was posted on his page last week.

"I want to affirm that breaking the silence is worth it, if even only one person succeeds in winning his/her battle," he said.

Sex therapist Mary Hodson told Breakfast the real problem was whether the person suffering from their obsession with porn was having problems in their personal life, and whether they could manage it.

She also said there were a lot of Kiwis seeking help, and Sex Therapy New Zealand was concerned about that number.

"Most people feel they're addicted for six to 10 years," she said.

"They've made efforts to stop, but it's the shame and guilt that makes it even harder."

Willis's admission is a step forward that could encourage people, suffering from the same problem, to get help, she said.

Willis said he had been porn-free for two-and-a-half years and that he had made his admission to make a public stance against the growing accessibility of porn in society.

"Porn makes you think you are having sexual needs met, but really they are hollow and leave you feeling empty and lonelier than before," he wrote.

He said he had started watching porn when he was a teenager and it "had been a rollercoaster ride of shame and justification".