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Pornography is seemingly everywhere. You can access it from your work computer or your personal laptop. Smartphones have entire apps dedicated to it. And still, there are non-internet porn options like magazines and DVDs. With all of this access, there’s a lot of opportunity for porn use. But what is porn addiction? 

There are many factors to consider when it comes to porn addiction and porn addiction treatment. This post will help you better understand what porn addiction is, including its signs, causes, and treatments.

What is Porn Addiction?

Porn addiction is a hypersexuality disorder. Hypersexuality disorder is an excessive preoccupation with sexual fantasies or urges. These urges are difficult to control and cause a lot of distress to the individual experiencing them. It negatively affects their health, job performance, or personal relationships. It makes it difficult for them to function in their daily lives.

Hypersexuality disorder encompasses many behaviors, such as masturbation, having sex with mulitple partners, paying for sex, and the use of pornography. These actions on their own aren’t necessarily signs of a hypersexuality disorder. But, when these behaviors become a major focus of a person’s life and are difficult to control to the point where they become disruptive or harmful, they may be a diagnosable problem.

Signs of Porn Addiction

Porn addiction, like other addictions, develops as a response to unresolved trauma. In an attempt to cope with trauma, some people may use pornography as a way to feel better in the moment. When watching pornography, the brain feels a rush of dopamine, which is a signal that the experience is pleasurable. This causes the person to continue to seek out pornography to achieve the same feeling. For more information on how this works, read this blog post on why porn is addictive.

Signs of porn addiction include:

  • Porn becomes a central part of your life
  • Your sex life becomes less satisfying
  • You watch pornography in inappropriate places, like at work
  • You can’t quit watching, even if you don’t enjoy it
  • You become less interested in social or personal relationships

A person who can healthily use porn feels in control of their desire to watch pornography. A person addicted to porn feels ashamed of their behavior and inability to control it.

Causes of Porn Addiction

There is no one cause of porn addiction, but it is believed that there are many factors that might play a role. And while these factors don’t guarantee a person will develop porn addiction, they are often present in people with porn addiction.

Mental Health Issues

Underlying mental health issues, like unresolved trauma, can be a precursor to porn addiction. When someone experiences trauma and can’t process it, they develop coping mechanisms of their own. In some cases, people may turn to pornography use to get a dopamine release, bringing a temporary feeling of relief. 

Relationship Problems

Some people may turn to pornography when they experience relationship problems. Whether they are struggling with sexual issues or dissatisfaction with their relationship, they may become reliant on porn to mitigate their feelings.

Cultural Expectations

Other people may use pornography due to unhealthy cultural norms. Some people may feel drawn to pornography because they believe that sex should look a certain way or that people should behave a specific way during sex.

Changes in Brain Chemistry

There are also biological causes of porn addiction. To cope with trauma, a person will seek out ways to produce dopamine. But while that person seeks ways to trigger a dopamine release, their brain’s dopamine receptors are shutting down. That’s how trauma can affect brain chemistry and leave someone physically less able to process feel-good activities. Understanding how the brain works can help explain porn addiction. 

Loneliness and Isolation

The COVID-19 pandemic is increasing porn addiction. Sex and porn addiction are coping mechanisms for trauma, so the stress and anxiety brought on by the uncertainty of the pandemic causes more porn use. Also, the need for connection with others created by social distancing results in people using porn more often as a way to cope.

Porn addiction word highlighted on the paper with black font color

Treating Porn Addiction 

There are many options for treating porn addiction. The key is finding the treatment method that’s right for you.

Gain Control on Your Own

Some people can gain control of their porn usage on their own. Some “at home” treatment options for porn addiction include discarding all hard-copy pornography. Installing anti-porn software on the devices you use to access porn also is a good idea. If you have someone you trust to help you, ask them to do this so you don’t have access to the password. You can also find a new activity to help take your mind off urges.

Seek Professional Help

Therapy is also an option. If you think you have an addiction, it’s worth seeing a mental health professional. And depending on how porn impacts your life, your therapist may recommend a specific type of counseling to help you understand what caused your compulsion. Your therapist will also work to help you develop healthy coping mechanisms to change your relationship with pornography.

Secure Accountability

Some people prefer to turn to support groups. There are likely groups that meet in your area. You can ask your doctor or mental health professional about them.

Similarly, you may prefer to find an accountability partner. Find someone you can speak openly and honestly about your porn addiction without judgment. Ask them to keep you accountable.

Medication 

Your doctor or mental health professional may decide that medication is a good option for you, especially if you have co-existing conditions, like depression. Your doctor may also choose to explore several of these options for you, depending on your specific needs.

How Begin Again Institute Can Help

Begin Again Institute helps men heal sexually addictive behaviors and rebuild their relationships with their partners. Our 14-Day Men’s Intensive for porn and sex addiction helps you stop destructive sexual behaviors, find the root cause of the addiction, and create a solid foundation for lasting recovery.

When it comes to porn addiction, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Reach out to Begin Again Institute if you think you might be suffering from addiction or if you’re ready to get help.

  • Category: Pornography Addiction
  • By John Squires
  • January 6, 2022

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