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Published: December 9, 2020

Am I Addicted to Porn?

Learn how porn addiction can impact you, and what to do if it is a problem.

There are many opinions on watching pornography and the effects of porn. Some believe porn is fun and harmless, and part of a healthy sex life. Others view any type of pornography as harmful to those who watch it, and to their relationships.

Like with any addictive behavior, pornography becomes a problem when it takes over your life. When it interferes with work, relationships, and life satisfaction, then it is doing more harm than good. This difference is what defines something as addictive.

If you or your partner are struggling with this issue, you’re not alone. I work with many people who’ve dealt with sex and porn addiction. There is a way out.

Although definite statistics about porn addiction are unknown, a majority of adults under 50 have used pornography. It’s not uncommon for this behavior to become less thrilling and more miserable over time. 

Use of online sexual material generally starts out with curiosity or a passing interest. However, over time the feel-good chemicals in your brain may drive you to look at porn more often. At some point, the activity stops seeming like a choice, and becomes a must.

Here’s a look at porn addiction effects, the symptoms of addiction, and how you or your loved one can get help.

Is Porn Bad for Relationships?

Couple Watching Porn | Couple Counseling | Fort Worth, TX

There are some who believe that watching porn as a couple includes some benefits. It might spice up your sex life, or lower inhibitions. However, it can also lead to using more and more over time, and to one partner becoming desensitized to sex.

John and Julie Gottman, world-renowed relationship experts, are concerned about how porn can impact a couple’s sex life. They state the following in an open letter:

“With pornography use, much more of a normal stimulus may eventually be needed to achieve the response a supernormal stimulus evokes. In contrast, ordinary levels of the stimulus are no longer interesting. This may be how normal sex becomes much less interesting for porn users ... In fact, use of pornography by one partner leads the couple to have far less sex and ultimately reduces relationship satisfaction.”

Sometimes, your partner may not understand that this is an addiction, and may blame themselves for not being enough. It may trigger their own insecurities and fears, leading to problems in the relationship. It can be difficult for them to understand that their partner is dealing with a problem, rather than making a choice.

What Causes a Porn Addiction?

Each person is unique, and there may not be one specific reason a person becomes addicted. Most professionals believe it’s a combination of things. This might include your genetic tendencies, your environment, your life stressors, or childhood experiences such as abuse. Many people with sex-related problems have endured past traumas.

How Do I Know if I have a Problem?

Like with any behavioral addiction, there’s a difference between occasional use and a serious problem. Those who aren’t addicted to porn can take it or leave it. There’s a difference in using porn and feeling compelled to use it.

Here are signs that you’re looking at an addiction:

1. An inability to cut back, stop, or control use of pornography or related sexual behaviors

2. An increased tolerance for original pornography use, leading to more extreme content to get the same affect (this can also overlap into your sex life with your partner)

3. A feeling of anxiousness or irritability when you can’t access the pornography or related sexual behaviors

4. Use of the sexual material as a way to calm yourself or regularly deal with stress

5. A preoccupation throughout the day with pornography or related thoughts or images

6. A fear that others will find out about your pornography use or sexual behaviors

7. Hiding your pornography use from your significant other, or lying about your use

8. Spending too much money, and/or hiding what you’ve spent on pornography

9. Legal problems or risks due to pornography use

10. Interference with your emotional or sexual connection with your partner

11. Negative impact on your family, social, or professional life due to use

What If I am Addicted to Porn?

No one starts out hoping to develop a harmful habit. If these symptoms sound familiar, then you may need help to overcome it. This doesn’t mean you’re weak, or a bad person. It just means you’re human.

Like with any mental or physical health problem, it may require treatment with a trained professional. Fortunately, many people do address behavioral addictions and get better.

Healing from Porn Addiction in Fort Worth

Couple Experiencing Connection After Counseling | Addiction Treatment | 76107

At Anew Counseling in Fort Worth, I’ve helped many people overcome this problem. I can help you understand the underlying issues that drive people to porn and sex addiction. In counseling, we’ll get a better sense of what’s behind this problem, and any childhood issues or trauma that may be making things worse.

You can heal yourself, your relationship issues, and build a more inherently satisfying life. Many people go on to have a happy, fulfilling life, outside of porn addiction. Visit here to schedule an appointment, and see how I can help.

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CHRIS MCMULLEN
ANEW COUNSELING DFW

1751 River Run, Suite 247
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 925-7061
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