Porn Addiction

Pornography simply known as porn, has been around just as long as me and you and it has always been controversial. There are some who are interested and then some who are deeply offended by porn. Some of us partake in it, some of us watch it and some like to see some porn every now and then. It all boils down to personal preference and personal choice. Porn addiction, yet just like other substances or “things” that people can become addicted to, can be understood through principles of “operant conditioning.” Porn addiction is when a person is experiencing an uncontrollable compulsion to view porn, it can be as problematic for some people as other behavioural addictions. Since people may be reluctant to talk about it, it’s difficult to know how many people enjoy porn on a regular basis, or how many find it impossible to resist, but it is known that 9 percent of people who watch porn have successfully tried to stop.

You can access porn via the internet and streaming services, magazines, tv or many other ways, and this easy access makes it more difficult to stop if watching porn has become a problem.

It is known that pornography shares the basic mechanisms with substance addiction, but it is known that watching or having the urge to watch a lot of porn is more of a compulsion that an addiction. Due to the accessibility of sexually explicit material on the internet, porn addiction is becoming a growing concern in teenagers. With the click of a button they can be exposed to endless pages of adult content.

When to know if you’re addicted to porn?

Viewing porn or enjoying it does not make you an addict, nor does it mean that you need help. An addiction is lack of control, so if you feel like you can’t control your urge to watch porn, this could turn into a significant problem. It’s hard to say why viewing porn can sometimes escalate into an out-of-control behaviour. You may start looking at porn because you like it, and watching it doesn’t seem to be a problem, but then you could find yourself not able to control that urge. You may then need to seek help. If you try to stop, you may find that you simply can’t do it. That’s how behavioural addictions sneak up on people.

Your viewing habits can start to become a cause for concern if you:

  • Starting to figure that the amount of time you spend watching porn keeps extending
  • Feeling as though you need a porn “fix” 
  • Feeling guilty about the consequences of viewing porn
  • Spending endless hours on end perusing online porn sites, even if it means neglecting responsibilities or sleep
  •  No longer interested or have the energy to be intimate with your partner
  • are unable to enjoy sex without first viewing porn
  • are unable to resist porn even though it’s disrupting your life
  • Porn has got in the way of activities you used to enjoy

Lots of different things can be reinforcing, and the influence of our behaviour, but porn can be especially reinforcing because the reward taps into a very basic instinctual drive–sex. Therefore, it is very easy to become addicted to porn, any many people don’t speak about it –it is accessing a fundamental (and very enjoyable) natural drive for some and it is also much easier to obtain than going out and finding a “mate” to fulfil this drive.

Should you seek help for porn addiction?

Some people are able to gain control over addiction to porn themselves. You can try to delete any bookmarks, history and links on your devices as well as discard any hard copies. You can have someone install an anti porn software  such as Covenent Eyes that won’t allow you to access without a password, or you can seek professional help. Remember to consider anything that may trigger the urge also and have a plan. It is important to seek treatment or support if you feel that you are struggling with an addiction to porn or an addiction to sex. Pornography addiction does not only affect the person. It can also negatively impact the wellbeing of the individual’s wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend.

You may be able to gain control over your porn viewing on your own, but its okay if not you can seek help from a professional, and if you can, consider seeing a porn addiction therapist to discuss your concerns. They can come up with an individualised treatment plan to help you work through the addiction/urges and future withdrawals.

If you believe you have a compulsion or addiction, it’s worth seeing a mental health professional for evaluation. Depending on how porn is impacting your life, your porn addiction therapist may recommend individual, group, or couples  counselling. It’s difficult to “specialise” in a disorder that lacks a professionally agreed upon definition or uniformly outlined diagnostic criteria; but there are counselling sessions to help you. Many people find strength in talking to others who have first hand experience with the same issue.

The first step is to develop effective coping mechanisms to change your relationship with pornographic materials and learning how to cope on a daily basis with this. The treatment that is available for behavioural addictions generally involves talk therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. It is always recommended to speak with a healthcare professional if you are seriously concerned about your behaviour. A healthcare professional will be best suited to help you understand your behaviours and treatment options.

What happens if porn addiction is left untreated?

If your porn addiction is left untreated, just like any addiction it could be destructive on your life, relationships, work and sex life. Porn addiction can easily lead to poor relationship quality, lower sexual satisfaction, lower self-esteem, career or financial problems and poor life quality.

Use of pornography can negatively affect your relationships, for example:

  • It is more difficult to become aroused by your partner.
  • Romantic or sexual behaviour between you and your partner changes (e.g., emotionally disconnected).
  • Can lead to visiting brothels, massage shops or online hook-ups.

There is open nonjudgmental communication for porn addiction. A trained porn addiction therapist can help you overcome unhealthy behaviours and improve your quality of life. Call John today on 0418 720 176 for a free chat about your porn addiction today.

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