How Do You Know if You Have a Pornography Addiction?
May 22, 2019
If your porn use is starting to take over daily thoughts and real-life interactions, you might begin to wonder if you have an addiction to pornography. Pornography addiction, or watching porn to the extent that it impacts other areas of your life, can afflict people of all ages, impacting not only you but your loved ones as well. Many individuals and couples try and convince one another that a “little porn” will help their intimacy, while teens convince themselves that a “little peek here and there” won’t hurt anyone, that is, until it does.
For those looking for a solution in dealing with a porn addiction problem, the tools and features offered by Net Nanny’s parental controls may aid you in preventing and managing the issue. With Net Nanny®, you can rely on the #1-rated porn blocker software to have peace of mind, knowing that you are well-protected. Net Nanny analyzes and filters inappropriate content in real-time and helps you block mature or inappropriate websites.
Is Porn a Problem or an Addiction?
Individuals may question and defend whether their porn use is a problem, if it’s a fetish or disabling, or even a pornography addiction. Regardless of the label they settle on, dabbling in porn can affect their personal and relational stability.
Experts in the field of sexual addiction often ask their clients if their obsession has complicated their social, relational, and occupational functioning. With the increased accessibility of online pornography, many have found it easy to access pornography during their school and workdays. Gone are the days of having to drive to adult bookstores, dance clubs, or massage parlors; much can be found online which gives parents and loved ones pause as they consider what is normal behavior and at what point that behavior becomes a problem?
Addiction specialists think of potential addictive behaviors on a continuum ranging from occasional to addictive, keeping in mind that all addictive behaviors are progressive over time. Any level of addictive behavior can cause problems personally or in relationships, regardless of the intensity of the problem. It is not uncommon for the addict to minimize acting out even if their loved one is suffering because of it.
The use of porn often begins as one partner exploring pornography on their own, often in excess, and then trying to convince the other partner to participate as well as an “enhancement” to their intimacy. Sadly, what sometimes begins to happen is an envious experience of one idealized partner against the real-life partner.
Teens and Pornography
With the continued prevalence of technology in our everyday life, teens are accessing the Internet more than ever before. In a recent report, the Pew Research Center found that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone and that 45% of teens say they use the Internet almost constantly. These growing statistics and the use of personal devices makes it easy for teens to find and consume porn on a regular basis and even more difficult for parents to even know that it’s happening.
In fact, a study in the CyberPsychology & Behavior journal reported that 93% of boys and 62% of girls were first exposed to pornography in their adolescence. Additionally, another study from the Barna group found that 57% of teens sought out porn at least monthly. There is no denying that children and teens are finding porn at younger ages, but what impact is it having on them?
If you find out that your child has seen pornography, accidentally or on purpose, the best thing you can do is to begin a conversation with them, without judgement. Teens who access online pornography dangerously enter into the world of private sexual exposure that can alter their expectations for healthy relationships and can expose them to risky sexual relationships. Regardless, the secrecy cultivates painful experiences within the pornography user.
Is Your Loved One Addicted to Pornography?
If you feel a loved one might be addicted to pornography, know that their feelings about their addiction are likely complicated. Here are some thoughtful reflections for contemplating if you or someone else is potentially addicted to pornography:
Shame and Fear
The porn user may feel tremendous shame and could fear that if those they care for find out about their addiction, they will reject them and could lose their reputation, respect, and love.
I Can Handle it Myself
Because they fear anyone discovering their addiction, they may convince themselves that they can break out of their porn use alone. They may also attempt to handle it alone because they’re convinced that their problem isn’t really that serious and that it’s no big deal. Of course, they may choose to discount or ignore the fact that they have tried to overcome it by themselves countless times and failed.
I’m Not Sure I Want to Stop
Pornography use triggers the release of powerful neurochemicals in the brain producing an instant pleasure rush, a high and an escape from the stress and pressures of life. Porn can create a chemical dependency like that found with other drugs of choice. The addict doesn’t know if they can, or even wants to give up their self-medication through porn.
10 Questions to Determine if You Have a Porn Addiction
Many experts will help others consider their pornography use as a difficulty if it impairs their social, emotional, or occupational functioning. With that said, here are 10 questions that families can ask of themselves regarding any addiction, including the addiction to pornography:
- Does your porn use feel out of your control?
- Do you have trouble controlling when you will look at porn and limiting the time you spend? Have you made unsuccessful attempts to quit?
- Do you feel angry or irritable if you are confronted about your porn use or asked to stop?
- Do you feel like there is another person or force inside of you driving you to pornography?
- Do you keep using porn despite negative consequences?
- Do you get lost in porn use? Lose track of time? Spend more time than intended? Neglect work, school, relationships, or other responsibilities?
- Does pornography consume your thinking? When you’re not viewing it, do you think about it and anticipate when you will indulge again?
- Is your porn use in conflict with your values and beliefs? Do you feel guilt, shame, remorse, empty and/or depressed after viewing porn?
- Do you keep your porn use a secret and fear that others might find out?
- Have you ever promised yourself that you would never use pornography again?
If you answered “yes” to more than a few of these questions, there is a very strong probability that you have a significant relationship with pornography and that it can be causing difficulty in your family and love relationships, along with your relationship with yourself. Guilt, shame and fear can all accompany a pornography addiction but there are ways that you can address a porn problem.
What Can You Do About Porn Addiction?
Porn addiction can be just as tough as other vices and admitting a problem and seeking out help can feel uncomfortable. It might feel as though it is impossible to alter this behavior, but know that there is porn addiction help available and that this issue is more prevalent than you might think. Seeking professional help is a good place to start, but finding accountability via trusted friends and family members or using porn blocker software can act as a safety net as you work through your porn addiction.
Help and Support
There are many therapists and 12-Step programs that can help you identify the origins of and nature of the problem, as well as the maintenance of sobriety. Also encourage your loved ones to seek out help and support as there are many 12-step groups for partners and parents of those who are having difficulty coping without pornography use.
Understand Your Vulnerability
Think about when are you most likely to seek out pornography. When lonely, angry, or sad? Find other ways to meet the needs you are feeling whether within yourself or within your relationship.
When you identify your triggers, whether that be online media, print media, or social clubs, initiate hurdles that keep you safe. Online acting out can be one of the easiest ways to cultivate an addiction because it’s often quick, anonymous, lonely, frequent, habitual, and toxic. Try to identify social clubs and networks that are tempting and dangerous.
Use Porn Blocker Software
Installing a porn blocker software and learning how to block porn sites can help you prevent yourself from even accessing the sites that you deem inappropriate. Using a porn blocker takes the control out of your hands so that you can find success even in weaker moments.
Regardless of where you find yourself on the continuum of pornography use, ask yourself honestly if pornography use adds to your intimate relationships and personal well-being. If it is becoming a problem, seek some help from a trained professional where you can begin to distinguish healthy intimacy from unhealthy obsession.
Parental control software, like Net Nanny, does the work for you, whether that’s holding yourself accountable or making the Internet a safer space for your family. Net Nanny’s porn blocker filters out inappropriate and adult content in real-time on each page you or your family visits. It helps you avoid content you’d rather not see, as well as safeguarding your children from stumbling upon accidental exposure to pornography.
Recognizing that you or someone you know has a pornography addiction is the first step in working towards a healthier mindset. Porn addiction not only impacts the addicted person, but also their loved ones in very painful ways, thus learning how to stop porn addiction is vital in beginning the healing process.
Dr. Bernell Christensen - Guest Blogger from Candeo
Charlene Underhill Miller, PhD
Dr. Charlene Underhill Miller, a psychotherapist in Southern California, working with parents, couples, and families. She is a frequent and popular speaker to community groups, a professor, a wife, and mother. www.underhillmiller.com