Porn addiction is becoming a growing problem in our society. Thanks to the widespread availability of Internet pornography, it's easier than ever to let a little bit of innocent fun spiral out of control. An addiction to pornography can lead to a ruined marriage, maxed out credit cards, professional difficulties, and feelings of shame or isolation.
Recent estimates suggest that there are more than 420 million pages of pornography online. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Sexual Trauma and Psychotherapy Program believe Internet porn is one of the most devastating influences on psychological health today.
Why Do Some People Develop a Porn Addiction?
There are many theories about why some people develop a porn addiction. Some experts believe an excessive interest in pornography indicates a fear of developing healthy intimate relationships. Others feel that a porn addiction develops out of a poor self-image caused by childhood trauma, abuse, neglect, or deprivation.
People of all different ages, races, and social backgrounds can suffer from an addiction to pornography. While porn addiction is more common among men, an increasing number of women are struggling with this issue. Experts believe people who are addicted to pornography have the following core beliefs:
- Sex is the most important aspect of my life.
- Other people can't be depended on to meet my needs. (My partner can't be trusted.)
- Nobody will love me the way I am.
- I am unworthy of genuine love and affection.
Signs of an Addiction to Porn
It can often be difficult to recognize when you or someone you love has developed a pornography addiction. However, most experts agree the following signs indicate a problem with excessive pornography usage:
- Spending time using pornography instead of tending to family or career responsibilities
- A change in personality or behavior that is unusually defensive and argumentative
- An insistence on engaging in usual sexual practices, especially those which make the other party uncomfortable
- A distinct change in the frequency of sexual relations (Some people who are suffering from a porn addiction may sexually withdrawal from their partners, while others discover an insatiable appetite for sex.)
While many people first turn to porn out of boredom or simple curiosity, people who are addicted to pornography view porn as a way to escape, numb, or deny their feelings. They feel as if there is an invisible force pulling them into the world of pornography.
Treating a Pornography Addiction
An addiction to pornography can be very difficult to treat since porn is easily available and images will stay in the brain forever. In addition, an addict who uses porn to masturbate causes the release of naturally occurring opioids in the brain. Chemically speaking, this makes pornography the perfect addictive substance.
The most common treatment for pornography addiction is therapy to discuss the underlying issues that are contributing to an excessive use of pornography. Many porn addicts have also found groups such as Sexaholics Anonymous to be helpful in aiding recovery. In addition, online resources such as Healthline and Pornfree.org offer articles and chat rooms for people who are struggling with their pornography consumption.