This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Pornography, commonly known as porn, is far from a new phenomenon. It has changed drastically in the past twenty years, however, with the rise of the internet. Now, thousands of lifetimes’ worth of erotic content is just a few clicks away.
Accompanying the rise in online porn consumption, however, is an increase in pornography addiction. Do you or someone you know possibly have a porn addiction? You may be unsure, and that’s okay.
Like other modern addictions, pornography addiction can range from being relatively mild to completely ruining your life.
So, read on to learn more about pornography addiction, including signs you may be addicted, how it can negatively impact your life, and how you can recover from it.
Signs That You May Be Addicted to Porn
If any of the following signs ring a bell, it’s possible that you have a porn addiction. The more of them that are true for you, the more likely it is that you’re facing a real addiction.
You Find Yourself Watching Porn All the Time
Have you ever caught yourself watching porn at an inappropriate time? In class, on the bus, in the Dr.’s office, etc.? If so, it’s quite possible that you have a porn addiction.
While many people consume pornography, it is usually not more than once per day or a few times per week (or even month) and done in complete privacy. If you find yourself compulsively watching porn even when you aren’t alone, it’s likely that you’ve become addicted to porn.
You Cannot Masturbate without Porn
If you cannot successfully masturbate without porn, this is a sign that you’ve conditioned yourself to needing porn in order to orgasm. While it’s true that porn—with its audiovisual experience—replicates real sex more than just using your imagination, it may lead to problems in the bedroom as well.
If you find yourself dependent on porn to masturbate, it may be time to consider that you have an addiction (or, if nothing else, a dependency).
You’re Neglecting Real-world Relationships for Porn
If your relationships have been affected due to your porn habits, this is a strong sign that you have an issue. After all, we should be valuing our real-world relationships more than a digital experience that doesn’t provide us with any real love or companionship.
So, if any part of your real life is suffering—work, studies, relationships—because of porn, you should consider adjusting your habits to be living a healthier life.
What are the Dangers of Porn Addiction?
As covered above, porn addiction can lead to your relationships suffering. You may lose a partner over your addiction if you can’t accept that you need to make a change. You could even potentially lose your employment and other important relationships if you keep choosing porn over your responsibilities.
Fortunately, there’s help out there, including lots of useful advice online nowadays: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/pornography/
How to Fix a Porn Addiction?
If you feel you or someone you know may have a porn addiction, don’t worry. Here are a few ways that you can work on overcoming the addiction.
Substitute Healthy Activities
The urge for porn when you’re addicted may be really strong. What you want to do is try to replace porn with healthier activities. For example, you could work out instead. Exercise will also help boost your mood and may give you better self-esteem.
Any kind of hobby, especially where you can find a community in-person or online, will help you immensely.
Work on Your Relationships
Porn addiction is (generally speaking) a solitary activity. Instead of being by yourself with your porn, try focusing on the relationships in your life. Call your grandparent. Hit up a friend to hang out. Go for a walk with your roommate.
Spending quality time with people you care about is a much better use of your time than porn and will help you forget about it, too.
If there’s someone in your life who you can confide in, like a school counselor, religious leader, or trusted family member or friend, that may be what you need to help get you through your porn addiction. If you’d rather talk to a mental health professional, that’s an option as well.
Licensed counselors are experienced in helping people overcome a wide variety of issues, including addiction.
Porn addiction can be a sad and lonely place to be. But you’re not alone, and help is out there. You can overcome your porn addiction and become a healthier, happier person, so long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort.