Porn Addiction

A porn addiction is a condition in which an individual develops an unhealthy relationship to explicit sexual material; this can include magazines, films, books, but most often relates to online pornography.

Like any addiction, long-term abuse often leads to desensitisation within the brain. Meaning an addict will often have to engage in more stimulating forms of pornography to experience the same highs as before. These types of pornography may go against their moral values, and can thus sometimes lead to feelings of shame.

Can any form of pornography use be healthy?

Some experts argue that any activity related to porn will have adverse effects on the viewer, whether it’s unrealistic expectations for sex or replacing human contact with virtual pleasure. Still, some believe that, like alcohol or gambling, people can enjoy pornography in small amounts alongside a healthy life with no detriment to the user. The level of tolerance to porn and the ability to use it alongside a healthy sex life depend on the user.

Signs a person may have a porn addiction

As mentioned above, the boundaries of addiction differ from person to person. People’s likelihood for developing addictions, their lifestyle, and their mental health will all play a role in how much pornography consumption it will take to cause negative effects on their lives.

Signs a person may be suffering from a pornography addiction can include:

  • More time spent watching porn or they need more stimulating forms of porn to induce arousal
  • Time spent watching porn interferes with normal activities of daily life
  • Becoming irritable, hostile, or even angry when unable to watch porn
  • Sexual dysfunction or difficulty maintaining a normal sex life
  • Repeated attempts to stop or cut down on watching porn
  • Experiencing strong urges to watch porn
  • Feelings of shame or guilt after indulging
  • Watching porn to relieve stress or alter mood

How to stop a porn addiction

However minor or severe the addiction, there’s no denying that pornography can skew a person’s ability to define what is and isn’t appropriate sexual behaviour. To begin porn addiction recovery, an addict must first realise they have a problem. Whilst anyone is susceptible to developing a porn addiction, teenage boys are at the highest risk.

To aid recovery and be successful at stopping a porn addiction, a user needs to have support alongside treatment. Addicts attempting to self-withdraw may get into a dangerous, self-destructive cycle of shame, temptation, and relapse.

It is important for an addict to identify what triggers their cravings or relapses; this may be pornographic magazines in the house, old browsing history, or computer bookmarks. It’s important that an addict includes proper treatment, alongside lifestyle changes, in their course for recovery.

Studies show that pornography addicts are susceptible to higher levels of depressive symptoms. Whilst there is no drug for porn addiction recovery, addicts can use medical treatment to help with symptoms of a pornography addiction, such as anxiety or depression. They can then use talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, to help identify irrational thinking and behaviour around their relationship to porn and sex. This helps the addict to deal with their temptations without relapse.

For more information on the treatments services offered by Charterhouse Clinic for porn addiction recovery, please visit our sex addiction treatment page.

If you suffer from a porn addiction or fear a loved one may be suffering, you’re not alone.

Do not hesitate to contact us to arrange treatment and rebuild a healthy relationship with sex and prevent further feelings of guilt and shame.