Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Pornography Addiction


What Is Porn Addiction?

To different people, pornography means very different things. One person may think pornography is as natural and common in life as breathing or walking. They feel this written or visual material should be viewed freely and openly alone or with others.

Another person might believe pornography is a terrible product created and distributed by devious characters with the goal of corrupting young minds towards a life of crime, sin, and amorality. These people do not believe anyone should consume any pornography in any form.

A third group might see pornography as something that is somewhat taboo but still safe, legal, and acceptable – as long as it is in moderation. This group would tell you that a little bit of porn is okay, but too much porn can be a problem.

Comparing Porn to Alcohol and Gambling

Thinking that something is okay in moderation but problematic in excess does not only apply to pornography. This view is common among many other substances and activities like:

  • Food.
  • Gambling.
  • Alcohol and other legal substances.

People are quick to note that some alcohol, when consumed safely and responsibly, is fine and could even have some health benefits rather than risks. Gambling could be a great way to blow off some steam after a long week of work, and many people have amusing anecdotes about winning big or losing it all.

Everyone needs food to live, but some people develop tremendously negative relationships with food. For these people, food becomes something different than a means to fuel their body or a remedy for hunger, and it becomes the cause of and solution to many emotional frustrations.

The point here is that pornography’s controversy is not that unusual. It is probably not as dangerous and negative as some people think it is, and it is probably not as safe and positive as other groups may think.

What Are the Effects of Porn? Benefits and Risks

Pornography, like food, alcohol, and gambling, is not a “cut and dry” topic. Because of this, the material has some benefits and risks.

People in favor of pornography will tell you that this content has its place in society as a way for people to explore their sexuality and connect with their sexual partners in new and profound ways. Someone who struggles to form relationships in real life due to poor social skills, physical disabilities, or mental illnesses can utilize pornography as a way to avoid the loneliness of isolation. Pornography can be used as a tool to enrich and enhance lives and love.

Pornography has the power to create good, but as you know, powerful people, places, and things can be used for evil as well as good. Pornography has various risks.

Some people may be completely enthralled with pornography and enter a world where porn is the most important aspect of their life. The sun rises and sets around porn.

Worse, porn might begin to distort the relationships people have in real life. They may view something in pornography, believe this act is common, normal, or expected, and reenact it with their partner.

Perhaps, the behavior was unexpected and unwelcomed leading to hurt feelings, a damaged relationship, or a sex addiction. Some would argue that pornography is based on disrespect towards women, so men will be prone to treat their female partners in cruel ways.

Porn and Addiction

The most significant danger associated with porn is addiction. Whether it is linked to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or porn, addiction is a terribly unwanted and unwelcomed state of being.

With addiction, the person’s entire life is centered around that specific substance or behavior. The heroin addict will wake up in the morning and only think about heroin, how to get heroin, how to pay for heroin, and where to do heroin.

The same is true for porn addiction. Part of the problem, though, is that:

  • Porn is readily available with only a few clicks of the mouse or flicks on the touchscreen of a phone
  • Porn is often free, which means it will not use or exhaust any of the person’s resources
  • Porn is legal – assuming it does not cross the line into inappropriate or illicit content – so the is no risk of serious repercussions for viewing the material or getting caught by the law
  • Porn is widely accepted and viewed as an allowable outlet

With these factors in place, more people are exposed to pornography, and when more people are exposed, more people will struggle with moderation. Addiction will have the opportunity to take hold.

Not every person who views porn will become addicted to the material, just as not every person who uses alcohol or even heroin will become addicted. The people with the great risk of addiction are those who are using pornography to fulfill some type of need in their life.

If someone is chronically unhappy, depressed, anxious, or socially awkward, they may see porn as a path to happiness. For them, porn, which has the ability to be a positive coping skill, becomes nothing more than a negative coping skill. When used as a form of self-medication, pornography carries a greater risk of addiction.

Next page: Learning the signs and symptoms of a porn addiction, and the stages of porn addiction. 

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