In Drugs & Addictions, Wellbeing

What is Porn Addiction: Symptoms and Treatments

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It is common for people to misunderstand the difference between a habit and an addiction. A habit is an act done by choice. The person can choose to eventually stop the behaviour, whereas an addiction has a psychological or physical component that deprives the addict of control over the bad habit. An addiction leads to tolerance, which leads to the person needing more of whatever they are addicted to. An overwhelming interest in a particular subject can become an obsession. This can begin to control you, your life and your environment. People commonly hide their addictions and may often suffer with feelings of worthlessness and shame. What is porn addiction? Read on to find out more.

 

|SEE ALSO: History Trivia|

 

What Is Porn?

Porn is the abbreviation for pornography, which is sexual material that is explicitly portrayed for the primary purpose of sexual arousal. Sexually explicit material can be presented in a variety of ways, including magazines, photographs, films, writings, sculptures, animation, sound recordings and video games. The term pornography is a depiction of the act, instead of the actual act. For example, porn does not include live exhibitions, such as the performances at a strip club.

So, what is pornography? There are four categories of porn that can be determined illegal, including indecency, obscenity, material that is harmful to minors and child pornography.

  • Indecent material is pictures or messages on broadcast television, the telephone or radio that are offensive or provide depictions of sexual activities or excretory organs. Indecent material is also known as sexual nudity or dirty words that are offensive to the general public.
  • Obscenity is graphic material with a focus on sex or sexual violence, including deviant activities such as torture, incest or group sex.
  • Material that is harmful to minors is any material that represents sex or nudity and is offensive and unsuitable for minors.
  • Child pornography is material in which children under the age of 18 are visually depicted as engaging in either simulated or actual sexual activity. This includes the exhibition of a child’s genitals.

 

Staggering Statistics of Pornography

In order to fully understand the effects a pornography addiction has on a person as well as their life, it is important to review some porn statistics. Commercialized pornography is close to a 100 billion dollar industry and some of the statistics relating to pornography can be extremely unexpected as well as extremely alarming. Not only do many sexual predators become desensitized to the material they view, but they also get the majority of their ideas for torturing and brutalizing others by watching porn.

  • From 2001 to 2007, Internet porn increased from a $1 billion a year to $3 billion and from 2007 to 2011, it increased to industry valued at nearly $100 billion.
  • It is estimated that about 90 per cent of Internet porn users will only access online material that is free.
  • Porn is a dangerous business. On the average only 17 per cent of porn performers use condoms in a heterosexual porn film, and 7 per cent of the porn performers have been diagnosed with HIV. About 90 per cent of porn stars that have been interviewed admit to drug use as a way to deal with the treatment they receive in the industry.
  • Out of 50 top selling adult films, 49 per cent of the scenes contained verbal aggression and 88 per cent of the scenes contained acts of physical aggression.
  • In a research study, it was found that 1 out of every 8 searches on the Internet are for erotic content.
  • Someone who has committed adultery is over twice as likely to look at porn.
  • 1 in 5 searches for pornography are done on a mobile device.
  • A survey in 2010 discovered that over a quarter of 16 to 17-year-old teenagers had been exposed to online nudity at a time when they did not want to see it. 20 per cent of the 16-year olds and 30 per cent of the 17-year olds have received a sexually explicit text message.
  • Around 70 per cent of teenagers hide their online behaviour from their parents, and 35 per cent of teenage boys say they cannot count the number of times they have viewed pornographic videos.
  • More than half of boys see their first pornographic image before the age of 13. 83 per cent of boys and 57 per cent of girls interviewed in a college study said they had seen images of group sex online.
  • Almost 68 per cent of adult men and about 18 per cent of adult women use porn at least once each week.
  • According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 56 per cent of the divorce cases involve one of the parties having an obsession with pornographic websites.

 

What Are the Stages of a Porn Addiction?

First and foremost, it is important to note that not everyone who sees porn becomes addicted. In fact there is much debate among experts as to whether porn addiction actually exists. None the less, people may come away with toxic ideas about marriage, sex, children and women. Not all people who feel like they may be addicted to porn actually are. Research has shown that people who are religious are particularly likely to believe that they are addicted to porn despite not viewing it very often. However, others will experience an emotional opening that allows addiction to begin. It has been suggested that addiction to porn is divided into separation stages:

infographic what is porn addiction What is Porn Addiction: Symptoms and Treatments infographic 1

  • Early Exposure – This means the porn addict began viewing porn when they were very young. Many people who are addicted to porn did begin seeing it at an early age, often as young as the age of 10.
  • Porn Addiction – This means you keep coming back to the porn, because it has become a regular part of your life.
  • Escalation – This means you are starting to look for more graphic porn. What is porn that contains more graphic matter? It is the porn material that used to be difficult for you to view, but is now thought of as mild or typical porn.
  • Porn Desensitization – This means you have begun to be numb to the images you are seeing; even explicit porn does not excite you any more. You are desperately seeking the original thrill, but are unable to find it.
  • Acting Out – This is the point where an addict begins to act out the images they have seen. You attempt to simulate the acts you viewed with real people and in destructive ways.

 

Teens and porn? Explore how the two are connected.

 

Signs and Symptoms of a Porn Addiction

Porn addiction is typically defined as a behavioural addiction. It is characterized by the compulsion to view pornographic materials to such an extent that it damages the life of the addict. The growth of the Internet has provided unlimited access to pornography and at all levels of explicitness. Unlike magazines or video tapes, the Internet allows an addict to store and view porn without leaving any evidence, which also makes it more difficult for others to detect the addiction.

The signs and symptoms of a porn addict are similar to the signs and symptoms of an addiction to drugs or alcohol. For example, someone with a porn addiction may begin to replace or neglect their relationships because of the obsession with porn, just as an alcoholic will replace these things with alcohol. This is particularly an issue with porn addiction when it comes to romantic relationships. The signs and symptoms of a porn addiction vary depending on the person and their availability to pornographic material. Some signs of an addiction to porn may include:

  • An inability to stop using porn or the behaviours associated with porn, despite numerous attempts to quit.
  • Becoming angry, hostile or irritable if asked to stop.
  • Hiding or attempting to keep the porn use a secret from friends and loved ones.
  • Feeling powerless at resisting the urge to view porn.
  • Continuing to use porn despite the obvious negative consequences, such as job or relationship loss.
  • Neglecting family, work or social obligations to view porn.
  • Feeling as though they are living a double life because of the porn use.
  • Losing track of large chunks of time due to being absorbed in viewing porn.
  • Becoming stressed, anxious or irritable if unable to access to porn.
  • Frequently spend more time or money on porn that was initially intended.
  • Passing up opportunities in order to have more time to view or use porn.
  • The more often porn is viewing, the more the need is to take risks in order to gain the same thrill or satisfaction that was originally achieved.
  • Trying unsuccessfully to stop or limit the time viewing porn.

 

Effects of Pornography

The effects of pornography can lead to significant negative outcomes. Some research has shown that viewing or using pornography has an influence on domestic violence, sexual dysfunction, rape, difficulties with a sexual relationship and child sexual abuse. Those who are addicted to pornographic material become tolerant to the images, which may ultimately have an impact on their view of what is right or wrong in sexual behaviours. According to several studies prolonged exposure to pornography will lead to a belief that promiscuity is natural, the belief that marriage is sexually confining, a lack of attraction to family as well as child raising and a cynicism about the need for affection with sexual partners.

Porn addiction is private behaviour and is carried out secretly and in isolation. There are no people involved, simply the porn addict and the computer, photos or videos. If a porn addiction is left untreated it can result in a range of negative effects, including broken relationships, feelings of shame and guilt, financial troubles, legal problems, divorce, problems with work or school and may ultimately lead to a high risk of engaging in dangerous or unhealthy sexual activities.

 

How to Stop Porn Addiction

One of the most important aspects of learning how to overcome porn addiction is to first admit there is a problem. Learning how to break a porn addiction requires honesty and the ability to reach out for help. It is crucial that the porn addict arrives at his or her own conclusion to make a change.

There are private and publicly funded treatment facilities available that offer porn addiction recovery and rehabilitation programs. In the majority of severe situations, in-patient treatment is recommended in the early stages. In-patient treatment ensures that you will receive 24-hour support and counselling as well as monitoring for the use of porn.

There is a range of therapy options to help people stop using porn. Individual and group therapy for a porn addict is often combined with family therapy as well to help strengthen the recovery process for both the addict and their loved ones.

Individual therapy is designed to evaluate your emotional and mental health. This type of therapy is extremely important in the early stages of porn addiction recovery, because it is often difficult to talk about the behaviours you have engaged in to satisfy the compulsion. Part of individual behavioural therapy includes the education required to teach you how to make healthier choices in life and how to replace your previous negative behaviours with positive ones. Most porn addiction treatment programs include a 12-step recovery program as a part of the behavioural therapy. A 12-step recovery program is typically done in a group setting, because it is more effective than attempting to do it alone.

Group therapy is crucial to the recovery of a porn addiction. Being involved in group therapy is a way to know that you are not alone in your thoughts, actions and behaviours. Group therapy sessions are supervised by a therapist and include other people who are also battling porn addiction.

When did porn come to existence? Learn about the history of porn.

 

Porn Addiction Recovery Success Tips

Due to porn addiction being an addiction that is based on habit, secrecy and the thrill, it is often difficult to recover without outside help. To successfully recover from an addiction to porn there are several things you can do:

  • Have someone else install a block on all electronic devices to prevent use.
  • Talk about your addiction in detail with a friend or therapist that you trust.
  • Develop a relapse prevention plan to help you prepare for the times when you feel tempted to use porn.
  • Install tracking devices on the phone, television and computer in order for someone you trust to monitor your online behaviour.
  • Be aware of the stages and the signs of porn addiction, including general signs as well as signs that are unique to you.
  • Make good use of all available porn addiction resources including 12-step group meetings, sex addiction therapy and online support groups.

 

Myths of Porn Addiction

It is extremely important to understand that one of the biggest myths surrounding an addiction to porn is that there is a cure. Treatment is not intended or designed to provide a cure for an addiction to porn, but instead to teach the porn addict the various methods and behaviours that are necessary to replace their unhealthy behaviours. An addiction to porn is similar to an addiction to drugs or alcohol in that in order to recover from the addiction, the addict must abstain from the use of porn. It is common for a drug addict or alcoholic to relapse by simply seeing someone else take a drink or use a drug. The same concept applies to pornography; it only takes one image to relapse into a full addiction again.

One of the most overwhelming myths is that a porn addiction is caused simply by the need for sexual gratification. This is simply not true. Sex addiction is not about the euphoria achieved from masturbation or orgasm resulting from viewing the porn. It does however contribute to the role in reinforcing the behaviour. A porn addiction is more about the taboo and the novelty of the pornography itself. A porn addict typically gets a certain type of thrill or a sense of excitement from viewing the pornographic content and feeling as thought the actors are putting on the show specifically for the viewer.

 

Negative Triggers

A trigger is what urges you to seek out the behaviour. Sometimes it is simply a habit that occurs at a certain time of the day, but in most situations the behaviour is caused by a negative trigger. For example, if you are feeling lonely, stressed, angry, anxious or other type of emotions, if the computer is on and your recent history is a porn site, your emotions will fuel the need to view the porn. In other words the previous ability to overcome these emotions by watching porn encourages your mind to believe that viewing porn is the only way to recover from your emotions. You have developed a link between the porn and a way to deal with the emotions. This is classical conditioning.

Seeking help and admitting that you have and are battling an addiction to porn is embarrassing and often humiliating, but to overcome the addiction, these feelings must be ignored. Taking the first step to recovery is the first step to regaining control of your life. Regardless of what someone is addicted to, the addiction itself begins to control all aspects of your life. So choosing to admit to the porn addiction and recognizing the need for help is a step towards the path of living a life with positive behaviours.

Understanding the risks of pornography, and the definition of porn addiction is essential for you to fight porn addiction before it escalates. If you have any views on porn  addiction, please feel free to share it with us below. Let us define what is porn first so that we can educate our teens on what is porn addiction and why they shouldn’t be watching porn.

 

Learn how to block porn out of your life here!

 

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1 Comment

  • Stephan Baker
    Oct 15, 2015 at 03:32 pm

    This is a great article. Very informative.

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