11 Signs You May Be Addicted to Porn

Pornography addiction means being compulsively addicted to pornographic material despite the negative mental, physical and social effects. It is a behavioral addiction like compulsive internet use or cybersex addiction. Although diagnostic criteria does not exist for this disorder, it is seen as a compulsive disorder. Like pathological gambling or internet addiction, porn addicts see a decrease in the ability to stop, an increase in use over time, as well as adverse mental effects.

11 Signs You May Be Addicted to Porn

Internet addiction is particularly dangerous due to its accessibility and never ending supply. One survey found that of 9,265 participants, 1% of Internet users are clearly addicted to cybersex and 17% of users meet criteria for problematic sexual compulsivity.

11 Signs You May Be Addicted to Porn

According to a study on hypersexual disorders, “When this drive becomes intensive and leads to ‘out-of-control’ sexual activity despite negative consequences and risk of harm to one’s emotional and physical health, its protective and evolutionary values are diminished. Similarly, if sexual activity hinders completion of non-sex-related vital tasks, this evolutionarily positive drive has become negative and arguably turned addictive. Males often engage in sexual activity for pleasure and esteem reasons.”

So how do you find out if you are addicted to porn? Here are some signs that you may be addicted to porn.

You live a double life

1. You live a double life

Porn addiction can be hard to hide. Like substance abuse disorder, you may have to lie to make sure you are not found out by work or a partner. Eventually, every addict is revealed. So, if you’re serious about getting help, it’s important to start opening up about your issues. You can start with a friend or family member you trust or a trained healthcare professional.

Through interacting with other people online, addicts can form complex emotional attachments that can directly interfere with their everyday lives. It can manifest in prioritizing relationships with chatroom friends or falling in love with someone online.  

You Suffer From Sexual Dysfunction

2. You Suffer From Sexual Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) and delayed ejaculation are becoming more and more common in younger men. Of course some of this is a result of physical illness, physical impairment, use of SSRI-based antidepressants, emotional stress, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, etc. If it’s porn induced sexual dysfunction, symptoms may be: you easily achieve an erection and orgasm with porn, but not with a partner; sex with an an actual partner takes longer than you’d like; you prefer porn to real sex; you play pornographic images in your mind while having actual sex.

According to the American Osteopathic Society, teenage boys are the most at risk for developing ED due to porn use, “During the teenage years, brains are still developing. If a teenager views Internet pornography, it can deform the pleasure centers of their brain, making it much more difficult to recover than older males who didn’t grow up with the Internet. Dr. Weber says she sees teens and adults with erectile dysfunction because of Internet pornography, but that ED medications don’t help, because they treat the organ, not the brain, where the problem lies.”

3. You are preoccupied with pornography

You can’t think of anything else besides pornography. Like a substance abuse addict, you crave watching porn while doing other activities or working. You wouldn’t be the only person doing so, “70 percent of all online porn access occurs during the nine-to-five workday. These thoughts can preoccupy you so much that it can make even talking to a friend difficult. You are unable to enjoy what you are doing because you can’t stop thinking of the next time you can watch pornography and masturbate.

You have guilt and self hate

4. You have guilt and self hate from using pornography

This is often what stops people from seeking treatment for a porn addiction in the first place. Due to the nature of the subject, you may be afraid to talk to someone about your addiction. Also, like an alcohol or drug addict, you may have a sense of self-loathing after “using” or while in a refractory period. This psychological and emotional distress can make living with a porn addiction extremely difficult, and it can lead to depression and feelings of isolation. You may think that if you tell someone, they will hate you like you hate yourself.

5. You’ve started looking at illegal pornography

According to the American Osteopathic Association, “Studies show that those who view Internet pornography for hours each week have decreased gray matter, a major component of central nervous system, than those who do not view it. This means there are fewer neurons and neuroconnectivity in the pleasure centers of the brain. This leaves the brain craving more, while making it harder for the same images to provide pleasure. Addicts then seek increasingly deviant sexual images depicting violence or children to satisfy their craving.”

This risky behavior can lead to breaking the law and being convicted of a sexual felony. Being a sex offender can limit your access to work and housing. The stigma surrounding sex offenders will also throw you into deeper isolation and could exacerbate your addiction.

You partner no longer seems attractive to you

6. You partner no longer seems attractive to you

Watching pornography can give viewers unreal expectations of what sex is. This includes expectations on your partner’s appearance. The viewing of a small set of attractive, hairless, cosmetically altered women can make your brain crave a permanent fantasy. This ideal directly competes with your reality. This can lead your partner to become unsatisfied with your behavior and unreasonable expectations for their appearance. According to an article in Psychology Today, “Not many real women are porn-worthy ever and it’s discouraging that desire in men is seemingly being conditioned to be excited only by an impossible standard. Certainly there is cultural pressure on men compared to media personalities but women don’t usually watch movies while masturbating to reinforce the attraction.”

7. You have a distorted sense of what intimacy and sexuality are

Your expectations about sex and intimacy look more like a plot of a bad pornographic film than real life. These unrealistic expectations make you think your partner should be performing more like a porn star than a typical person. You may think there is something wrong with your partner since they don’t act that way.

You’ve become anti-social

8. You’ve become anti-social

You’ve begun retreating because you can’t be away from the internet for too long. This will absolutely impact your relationships with friends, family and your partner. If you aren’t dating currently, the likelihood of that happening before you start getting help is going to decrease. Withdrawing can lead to more depression and feelings of shame. That in turn leads you to use more porn as a means of self-soothing.

9. You’ve started paying A LOT for pornography

Like substance abuse, an addict may begin paying more and more to satisfy their addiction. If you’re starting to pay for more and more pornography, you are running the risk of suffering from financial distress. According to CNBC, “Every second $3,075 dollars are spent on adult content, more than 28,000 Internet users are viewing it, 372 Internet users are typing adult terms into search engines to find it, and every 39 seconds a new pornographic video is produced in the United States.”

If your addiction is affecting your work, this risk is increased as you could lose your job. By allowing the cycle of addiction to continue, the likelihood of participating in risky behavior in order to satisfy your addiction will be heightened.

10. Your internet use is affecting your work and home life

Nothing matters but your porn addiction. This means time with your family, friends or work just doesn’t matter as much as your need to watch porn. You may be watching pornography at work or skipping work altogether to stay home and watch pornography. You may be skipping out on family gatherings to instead stay home alone to be on the internet.

suffer from pain due to being on the computer too much

11. You are beginning to suffer from pain due to being on the computer too much

Despite this not being substance abuse, porn addicts can have withdrawal symptoms that include anxiety, fear, depression, anger, mood swings, sadness, loneliness, and procrastination. Physical symptoms can include back aches, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, dry eyes, personal hygiene issues, disordered eating and disordered sleep patterns.

Treat an Addiction to Pornography

How To Treat an Addiction to Pornography When You’re Ready to Recover

If you believe you are suffering from porn addiction, rehabilitation is essential to gaining back control and living a healthy sexual life. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to break the cycle of porn addiction. CBT focuses on minimizing dysfunctional thought patterns and actions. This is an effective therapeutic approach for those with mood disorders such as depression. The goal is to take self-defeating thoughts and transform them into positive messages. It also tries to find more positive and effective stress coping skills than substance abuse. CBT is often a short-term therapy that addresses immediate problems and includes abstinence from porn use. The resources to get you back to yourself exist. Now is the time to ask for help.

If you love someone you believe may be suffering from a porn or sex addiction, intervention services are available.

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2018-11-15T17:37:36+00:00April 26th, 2017|0 Comments

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