In this new technological age, pornography consumption has become a relatively common pastime. Studies estimate that between 86% and 96% of men and women regularly consume porn. However, while watching pornography regularly can be beneficial for self-exploration, sexual education and even improving relationships with your partner, getting into the habit of this practice could be problematic for your well-being, in the long term. How pornography affects your daily life. In this article, we tell you what porn addiction really is, how to recognize it, the mental health effects of such addiction, and how to get help.
What is pornography addiction?
A general definition of any addiction is a behavior repeated again and again despite negative consequences for oneself or others. Once a person becomes addicted to an activity, behavior, substance, or feeling, they will usually need some form of intervention to stop the addiction. Thus, pornography addiction is a type of addiction like any other based on increasing urges to constantly want to see sexually explicit images.
What are the risks of pornography addiction?
The consequences of porn addiction can be serious. One of the most common reasons people seek treatment for pornography use disorder is the impact of pornography use on their intimate relationships.
Frequent consumption of pornography can reduce relationship quality in several ways. For example, it may be more difficult for men to feel arousal in response to sexual stimuli other than pornography. It can also cause couples to experience a steady decline in sexual and other types of intimacy. Pornography use significantly increases the risk of infidelity and loss of long-term relationships.
Moreover, research has revealed that pornography and sexual satisfaction are closely linked. Recreational users, who have healthy porn viewing habits, are more sexually satisfied and less compulsive. There is less sexual dysfunction and avoidance among them.
Very distressed compulsive users, on the other hand, present less sexual satisfaction with a lot of dysfunction and avoidance. Compulsive viewing of pornographic films has a clear negative impact on sexual satisfaction. Worse still, the additional effects of porn addiction can include money problems, and in extreme cases lead to job loss.
What are the signs of pornography addiction?
As with all other addictions, there are signs that pornography is a problem. The most common signs of pornography addiction are listed below.
Excessive viewing of pornography
What is considered “excessive” can vary from person to person. However, there may be a potential addiction to pornography if:
- time spent watching pornography continues to increase
- the person watches more and more in-depth types of pornography
- she acts despite her misdeeds on her personal life and her relationships.
Reduced sexual satisfaction
Being addicted to porn can lead to a loss of interest in real sex due to unrealistic sexual fantasies seen in these films with completely fictitious situations. People who suffer from pornography addiction may also experience reduced sexual satisfaction with a partner when pornography is not involved.
Engaging in risky behaviors
A person may adopt risky behaviors to view pornography, such as watching it, irrepressibly, in a place where it is inappropriate (workplace, school, social situation where the person could be seen, etc.).
Feelings of guilt and shame
A person who suffers from pornography addiction may feel frustrated, guilty, or ashamed about viewing so much pornography. But despite the serious harm and feelings of guilt, these people continue to engage in addictive behaviors around pornographic material.
The inability to stop
We can try to stop using or watching pornography, but we often fail. After a failed attempt, the person may notice more and more time spent watching porn despite others’ attempts to communicate.
How to stop being addicted to pornography?
Despite the lack of clinical consensus or widespread acceptance of porn addiction as a diagnostic category, there are many options for the treatment of pornography addiction.
The main method of treatment is therapy. Thus, people experiencing internal conflict between their faith and their pornography use may benefit from faith-based treatment, while people whose pornography use is negatively impacting their relationship with a Loved one can benefit from couples counseling.
The first step toward healing is often realizing that pornography misuse is not a source of shame, but a widely shared condition and a sign of inner pain in need of healing. Often, pornography addiction is linked to other mental health issues and addictions, including substance use disorders. Fortunately, integrated care plans can help people deal with multiple conditions as part of a single path to recovery.
How to Get Help for Pornography Addiction?
It is important to understand that although pornography addiction is not officially diagnosable, these effects do exist and often present with very harmful consequences and high levels of distress, guilt and emotional turmoil.
If you can relate to the symptoms mentioned above or know someone who meets these criteria, don’t hesitate to seek help. Speak to a specialist (via teleconsultation – remotely – if you feel more comfortable) and get support, as well as more information. Very attentive and responsive, the health professional will be able to provide you with tailor-made assistance to help you escape the abyss of pornography.
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 to turn directly to a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a sexologist or an addictologist. He will know how 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 put in place, with the prescription of anti-depressants or even substances prescribed to limit “cravings” linked to alcohol dependence, for example depending on the situation.