What is Pornography Addiction?

shame, addiction

Pornography addiction is a conduct, behavioral, or process addiction where the using individual has urges and impulses to use pornographic content. Resulting from its use, the addicted person has noticable problems in his or her life. 

Even though Pornography Use Disorder is not currently in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, problematic pornography use is a dysfunction that is experienced by the general population. Pornography use is a problem faced by enough people in the United States that more than ten US states have declared pornography as a public health crisis.1

A dependency to pornography use can lead to harmed relationships, sexual dysfunction, and depression or anxiety.

Addiction is addiction.

The following are symptoms that I am hypothesizing will appear in an upcoming edition of psychiatric manuals.

Symptoms of problematic pornography use (or Pornography Use Disorder) include:

  • Inability to reduce or stop use (loss of control, unmanageability) 
    • You have tried to stop before but have been unable to reduce use or stop use. You are interested in stopping, but you do not know how to make it happen.
  • Causes harm to relationships
    • Your Significant Other says that you are not emotionally available because of your preoccupation with internet pornography. Your habitual use of internet pornography is linked to the development of your erectile dysfunction. 
  • Failure to meet work, school, or home responsibilities
    • You have been late to work because you were watching pornography before work. You forget to pick up the kids from practice because you are preoccupied with pornography use. Your pornography use distracts you and you neglect to complete your chores.
  • Withdrawal symptoms
    • When you discontinue use, you feel depressed, lonely, or anxious. When you are unable to use, you are emotionally unstable. When you do not use, you feel bored or unengaged.
  • Tolerance to pornography use
    • You use more pornography each day and week. You progress to more violent and taboo forms of pornography. You view pornography where the individual who is getting penetrated is dressed up to look like an adolescent. 
  • A significant amount of time is spent on using pornography
    • You do not engage in your hobby anymore. You do not have enough time for it because all your free time goes to pornography use. Your living space is messy. You do not have enough time to clean because you are constantly consuming pornography.
  • Leads to or exacerbates underlying psychological or physiological problems
    • Your use of internet pornography worsens your anxiety or depression. 
  • Compulsions to use (compulsivity)
    • Every day after work, you feel like using pornography. Your spouse leaves for the day, you watch pornography. You see a sexy picture on social media and then you watch pornography.
  • Justifications and rationalization of your use (irrational thinking, cognitive distortions)
    • “I work really hard, so I deserve the right to watch porn. My uncontrollable porn habit is okay because I pay my bills on time. My ex-partner screwed me over, so I can watch porn all day.”
  • Used pornography dangerously
    • You have viewed porn while operating a motored vehicle. You have engaged in autoerotic asphyxiation while viewing porn. Your genitals are sore because of excessive masturbation and pornography use.
  • Continued use despite experiencing negative consequences
    • You continue to use despite the negative consequences that are occurring to you. 

Do any of these sound true for yourself, your partner, or your child? 

If you have two to three of the criteria, you have a mild form of compulsive pornography use; four to five points is a moderate dependency and six or more of the criteria is considered as a severe form of problematic pornography use.

If your child struggles with pornography use, please buy my book, Break Free of Chains: How to Assist Your Child in Overcoming Pornography Addiction and Live the Good Life. It is a guide on how to address and assist your child in overcoming problematic use of pornography. 

Conclusively, pornography addiction is the state where a person compulsively uses pornography and his or her use is detrimental to his or her psychological, social, and physiological wellbeing; pornography addiction is when a person habitually uses pornography and loses interest in other activities because of his or her preoccupation with consuming pornography.

Did I leave out any other symptoms? If so, please share in the comments below. Comment with your experience with pornography addiction. Has pornography use harmed an aspect of your life? If so, how did it harm your life?

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  1. Whitehurst, L. (2019, May 09). A growing number of states call porn a public health crisis. Retrieved September 29, 2020, from https://apnews.com/article/9c91cfd28a7b461b87948f36117a432e

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