According to the most common definition, addiction to pornography is a type of compulsive sexual activity involving the use of pornographic material, despite the negative consequences of such behavior for physical health, mental health, relationships with other people or for the financial situation of the person affected by this addiction.
Pornography has always been present in our civilization. And always controversial. Some people are not interested in it, others feel disgusted by it, others watch it from time to time. Finally, there are those who do it regularly. But where is the border beyond which the interest in pornography turns into compulsion or addiction?
Compulsion and addiction
Compulsion is repetitive activity done by a person who does not want to do it. It can be a simple action (e.g. picking, rubbing clothes) as well as more complicated behaviors (so-called rituals, for example a certain way of checking that all doors or windows remain closed). Compulsion does not have a rational justification, but often it reduces stress. Addiction is also characterized by the inability to stop specific behavior, even despite the negative consequences. The difference between compulsion and addiction may seem thin. What connects them is lack of control.
When pornograpghy addiction begins?
Watching porn and enjoying it does not necessarily mean addiction. Addiction means there is a lack of control over this behavior. And this is followed by negative consequences. So how can you tell you are addicted?
1. You can’t stop. This is the effect of the lack of control. A man addicted to porn cannot stop even though he wants and tries. However, the will to stop and making such an attempt is an important moment when a person realizes that he is actually addicted.
2. You want more. Addiction can take more and more time. Intervals between watching pornography can be less frequent. It can also be harder and harder to stay away from doing it. All this causes the negative consequences to intensify. Negative consequences impact physical and mental health, as well as relationships with loved ones.
3. You lose interest in sex. Pornography addiction reduces the desire for real sex. What’s worse, in the eyes of an addicted man, his partner loses attractiveness compared to porn actresses. This, in turn, can cause complexes, lower self-esteem of the partner and create further barriers in intercourse. On the other hand, excessive use of pornography also causes unrealistic expectations towards intercourse. An addict can expect that intercourse in the real world will look like in a movie, and when it turns out to be unrealistic, he will sink into his addiction.
4. You lose time. Pornography takes more and more time for the addict. Time that could be devoted to other activities and which is then lacking. The addict often plans to use his time in a different way, but he still gives in and start watching pornography. A frequent symptom of addiction is the use of pornography in risky situations (threatening to be caught), e.g. at work. Often addiction also has negative effects on the course of a professional career, making it difficult to achieve its goals.
5. You feel angry. Negative consequences of addiction for the psyche or for relationships with loved ones cause anger. On the one hand, it can occur in situations where the addict would like to reach for pornography “now”, but for various reasons he can’t do it. On the other hand, it can be anger aimed at the addict himself. He can be angry that he can’t stop. Often the addict unloads this anger on people around him. This further enhances the vicious circle of the negative consequences of pornography addiction.
How to fight the addiction to pornography?
First of all, it’s worth trying to fight your addiction yourself. There are some helpful ways you can do:
- remove pornography and links to pornography from all your devices,
- create a plan for yourself what to do if you feel the urge to reach for pornography,
- remember – especially when you want to reach for pornography again – how devastating impact on your life it has,
- try to determine what factors can affect reaching for pornography – and try to avoid them, or deal with them in other ways (e.g. stress).
Of course in many cases addiction to pornography is so deep that it is very difficult to cope with it yourself. Then it is worth going to a specialist, that is to a psychologist-sexologist. First of all, the sexologist will determine what is the basis of your addiction, and then he will work with you on methods of dealing with the urge to reach for pornography. If you want to stop, you tried to stop but you can’t, it is definietly worth going to a specialist for help.
Read more: Sexologist Warsaw