In the category of behavioral addictions, dependence on pornographic content is increasingly common among the population. A study carried out by a group of several foundations, for example, revealed that nearly 10% of 14-24 year olds watch porn every day, and sometimes several times a day (men in a greater proportion than women).

But where is the limit of addiction? What could be the consequences? Here are some key elements that allow us to see more clearly about this addiction to virtual sexuality.

How to detect a porn addiction?

Sometimes used synonymously with sex addiction, porn addiction actually has a slightly different definition. It is an addictive behavior, in which an individual excessively consumes images and videos of a sexual nature, generally involving masturbation. The consumption of pornographic products is not a problem in itself, but it becomes one when one becomes addicted.

But how do you know if you are addicted to pornography? Today, despite the increased consumption of porn, facilitated by free and unlimited access to the Internet, there are few methods to precisely diagnose this addiction. However, several signs can and should alert you:

  • viewing porn content in particularly unsuitable contexts, in the office for example;
  • viewing porn sites several times a week, or even several times a day, accumulating several hours of weekly viewing;
  • inability to control a desire to view pornographic images;
  • putting porn before other important aspects of one’s life (work, social relationships, physical activities, etc.) and continuing despite the negative effects it can cause.

We therefore find symptoms similar to other types of addiction : repeated and abundant consumption, which is difficult, if not impossible, to stop despite the harmful consequences that this can have.

What are the risks of pornography addiction?

While heavy consumption of pornographic images and videos may seem harmless, it can in reality have serious consequences on physical and mental health, social relationships, etc. It is important to be aware of this to prevent the risk of addiction.

What is pornography addiction?

The trivialization of sexual behavior

Like any addiction, pornography affects the brain. An addicted individual unconsciously “trains” their brain to seek sexual pleasure in porn content, thus neglecting sexuality in real life. This can lead to a drop in libido, as well as erection problems in men, when they find themselves faced with “natural” sexual situations. And it goes without saying that this can cause difficulties in a relationship or an inability to form intimate relationships with others.

Furthermore, as is the case with drugs, porn addiction leads to a need to consume more and more, to rediscover the initial pleasure. The brain in fact needs an increasingly large dose, and this is the vicious circle of dependence. This can lead to extreme, even dangerous, practices and to trivializing behaviors that are not insignificant.

Without forgetting that the habit of consuming porn can also make unprotected sex commonplace. The danger is then real, with the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

Withdrawal and depression

In our societies, although the consumption of porn is very widespread, it remains shameful. And this is all the more true when a real addiction is diagnosed. However, we know that feelings of shame and guilt can be factors in a depressive state.

No longer finding pleasure outside of the virtual world can also be a real source of boredom and deep sadness.

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In addition, the very phenomenon of addiction can create anxiety, irritability, isolation, and even cause depression. While many people think they can treat their depressive state by consuming porn, which stimulates the production of dopamine, the reality is quite different. Being dependent actually leads to social cuts, feelings of unease, altered emotions, etc.

Association with other addictions

Porn addiction is often linked to other behavioral addictions: to screens, video games and/or sex. It can also be coupled with the consumption of psychoactive substances. And when several problems of this type combine, the effects are even more devastating: academic failure, depression, suicidal desires, etc. Fortunately, it is possible to escape the twists and turns of addiction to pornography and adjacent behaviors.

How to get out of addiction to pornographic content?

As porn addiction is not yet officially recognized, it is quite complicated to set up a typical therapeutic course. However, there are solutions and specialists who can support porn addicts and help them get out of their addiction.

The first step is of course to be aware of your addiction problem. The few warning signs mentioned above are a good way to self-diagnose or to identify a disorder in your child or spouse. From the first doubts, it is important to consult your general practitioner or turn directly to a psychologist, psychiatrist, sexologist or addictologist. He will be able to find the appropriate therapy or redirect the patient.

Depending on their needs, several monitoring methods can then be considered: CBT-type psychotherapy, discussion groups, etc., with the aim of achieving weaning.
In some cases, the partner also undergoes therapy, in order to support the addicted person, but also to help them regain their self-esteem and regain control of their sex life. On the other hand, there are no medications designed to specifically combat this addiction. Medication treatment is still sometimes implemented, with the prescription of anti-depressants or even substances prescribed to limit “cravings” linked to alcohol dependence, for example depending on the situation.

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