Is porn addiction real?

When does looking at porn cross the line from recreation to compulsion? More on porn addiction as a real problem, and what you can do about it.

3
minute read

When does a a “little bit” of porn lead to a “whole lot”?  Are porn addicts a type of sex addicts? We explore here, and invite your questions about porn addiction at the end of the article.

Is porn addiction a real addiction?

For a person who struggles with compulsive sexual behavior (like using online pornography) there is no such thing as a “little” bit of porn. A little bit becomes a whole lot, really quick.

Some people may scoff at the idea of the reality or validity of a porn or sex addiction, but those of us who know what it’s like to get caught by porn, know how addictive it can be. We’re not just talking the average man on the street. If you are reading this words, we just might be talking about you.  How do we know?  We didn’t just go to college and read about sexually compulsive behavior.  We have lived “the life” and gotten over it.

What is a “Little Bit” of Porn?

Why the skepticism about porn and sex addiction? Aren’t men supposed to think about and pursue sex? Don’t all men have a stash of porn or look at online pornography? What makes the distinction between a recreational hobby and an uncontrollable desire?

A porn addict doesn’t know when to say “when.” In fact, as the addict gains awareness they often realize that there is no such thing as a little bit of anything in anything they do. Once absorbed in an activity — like work, a hobby, or pornography —they stay absorbed and have a lot of difficulty in transitioning or shifting gears. All too often here at Compulsion Solutions we hear our clients talking about how they only started “peeking” at porn or had intentions of looking at porn online for just a moment or two before they got back to work. But hours later they realize that they have fallen back into a trap, that their peaking or fantasizing about other women or men has turned into more wasted time, more frustration, and more despair.

Porn Addicts and the “Addict Zone”

We are creatures of comfort and we find comfort in routines. Addicts have predictable patterns and rituals of how and when they act out — unfortunately most of us are not aware of what these are. When we meet clients, we help them to recognize the familiar patterns of how they enter into their “addict zone.”

Common themes for sexually acting out by viewing pornography include:

  1. Being alone or creating alone time
  2. Having unstructured time
  3. Feeling stressed, overwhelmed
  4. Feeling like it’s time for a reward or recognition

Make a Plan for the “Addict Zone”

Gaining awareness into the patterns is one thing, but what can you do to actually stop? Speaking to the common themes of being alone and having unstructured time, you need to put structure where there is none. In other words, make a plan. We often call this “book ending” your day with activities and other people. Most addicts isolate and create the necessary space for their acting out behavior (i.e. not following up with other people in either a social or work setting). In noticing this pattern, the addict can recognize the need to both address the need for doing something constructive and enjoyable as well as holding themselves accountable.

Exploring the Deeper Issues of porn use

Simply making plans and creating structure only addresses the surface issues of porn addiction. The feelings beneath the behavior need to be felt, understood, and investigated more deeply. Why is it that feelings like being stressed or overwhelmed trigger the need to use pornography? To self-soothe? To pass the time? To really deepen the work and change on a fuller level, a person who struggles with a porn addiction should consider working with a trained professional like a therapist or counselor who understands addictions and the recovery process.

Help is indeed out there.

Porn addiction questions

Do you have questions about possible porn addiction?  Please leave your questions below.  We try to respond to all legitimate concerns with a personal, prompt and helpful reply.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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