The Problem With Porn Addiction

Growing research suggests that addiction to internet pornography shares some of the same basic brain mechanisms of other serious addictions, such as gambling or substance abuse.
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Addiction to pornography is a somewhat contested issue. ‘Porn addiction’ is not an official diagnosis recognised by the American Psychological Association (APA). It therefore has no definitive diagnostic criteria guide mental health professionals can use to officially diagnose it as a behavioural addiction.

However, there are some common signs that viewing pornography may be becoming a problematic addiction.

Porn addiction is affecting your relationship, work, or productivity

If viewing porn has become a compulsion, it might be affecting your relationship. Obsessive thoughts can make you withdrawn and uninterested in those around you, which can alienate a partner, friends, or family.

If thinking about porn has begun having detrimental effects upon your ability to concentrate, your productiveness, and your work or personal relationships, then it may be becoming a serious issue. Excessive porn viewing can also be linked to risky behaviour, such as watching porn in inappropriate settings like workplaces.

You have unrealistic expectations

Porn is essentially fiction; sex in porn is rarely realistic in comparison to the real thing, and can give its viewers unrealistic expectations of what sex should be like.

Viewing porn may give expectations of normal sexual behaviour that is neither healthy nor realistic. Porn also has a tendency to be very male-centric and can promote significant issues such as misogyny and violence against women. 

You are losing sexual interest in your partner

Habitually watching porn may make you begin to lose interest in your partner if they do not match up to the unrealistically high standards pornographic content sets, of both physical attractiveness and sexual performance.

You may begin to feel less attracted to your partner, or feel drawn to watching porn in lieu of having sex with your partner. Excessively viewing porn can indicate sexual dissatisfaction in a relationship, which may cause relationship strain or a breakup.

You have tried to quit, but been unsuccessful

If you know habitually viewing porn is having a negative impact upon your life but you feel unable to stop, that is a sign it has become an addiction.

Studies have demonstrated that watching porn produces similar addictive chemical effects in the brain as other addictive substances, such as drugs. If you feel unable to stop viewing porn without experiencing withdrawal, it may take some extra effort to quit.

While occasionally watching porn is usually nothing to be concerned about, if it crosses the line into addiction it could have a negative effect on both relationships and quality of life.

Porn addiction often coincides alongside other mental health issues, such as loneliness, depression, anxiety, or other psychological disorders.

If you or someone you know is struggling with porn addiction, therapy can help you to work through both the cause of the addiction, and how to break it.

If you’re thinking of booking an appointment you can contact Safe Space Therapy here through our Facebook page.

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