There are many things that a person can be addicted to, including food, sugar, and even misery. Like sugar or food, pornography is easily accessible due to the renaissance of the Internet leading many people to fall into the trap of watching it incessantly.

This article shall cover addiction to pornography and what one can do to end the suffering.

What is Pornography?

Pornography is defined as sexual subject matter such as videos, pictures, or texts that assist sexual arousal in those who watch it and create income for those who produce it.

Pornography is as old as humankind, with paintings of pornographic images found in caves from forty millennia ago. Porn is widespread and is also known as erotica, but whatever you call it, exploitation of sex is its underlying goal.

There are proponents and opponents of pornography, with the proponents stating it offers educational benefits, helps people express themselves sexually, and helps people who are alone. The opponents say that pornography is harmful and causes those who experience it not to be capable of living normal healthy sexual lives.

There is also the age-old argument over what is pornographic and what is obscene, which are often used interchangeably but have different meanings. Obscene is a legal term meaning foul, filthy, or impure, especially when done in public. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that obscenity applies to depictions of sex that are not protected by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech because they corrupt sexual desire.

Another way of stating the ruling is that obscenity is limited to material depicting graphic portrayals of sex acts or the lewd exhibition of sexual organs.

Pornography is not a legal term and has a much broader meaning than obscenity. The word pornography comes from the Greek words for harlot and writing. Porn pertains to depictions of lewd behavior that are erotic, including literary works. All obscenity is considered pornographic, but not all pornography is obscene.

Perhaps the most damaging thing that pornography does to society is to portray women (and often men) as victims or as submissive people who cannot withstand the virulence of their new partner.

There are thousands of porn sites harboring millions of videos of people engaged in various sexual activities. If the activity is between two consenting adults, proponents claim, then pornography is harmless. However, those who have been addicted to porn would differ.

Is Porn Bad for You?

Most people believe that pornography is a harmless way to have fun. While porn is not considered harmful with typical usage, there are at least five ways it is terrible for you.

  1. Porn can normalize abuse. Research suggests that one in three and perhaps as high as nine in ten sex scenes portrayed in a porn video describe acts of sexual and physical violence, with 95% of the targets of aggression responding to such treatment with pleasure. Using violence and aggression increases the likelihood that the person will see aggression and violence as a regular part of a sexual encounter.
  2. Some peer-reviewed studies found a link between the consumption of porn and mental health problems such as depression, loneliness, anxiety, lower life satisfaction, and overall mental health. The research states that these links are strong when pornography is watched as a means to escape feeling negative emotions which cause consuming porn to become compulsive.
  3. Consuming pornography harms sexual function and makes the consumer more sexually illiterate. Consuming porn makes people feel less satisfied with sex. Studies have shown that consuming pornography routinely and compulsively causes sexual dysfunction for both men and women. These people have difficulties with arousal and sexual performance, plus lowered sexual satisfaction.
  4. Sexual encounters with pornography that is sexually violent can change their attitudes and behaviors toward others. Research says that porn consumers are more likely to sexually objectify and dehumanize others and more likely to feel like they want to rape. The consumer who dehumanizes others is less likely to intervene when observing sexual assault and more likely to support violence against women. Those who consume porn compulsively are more likely to commit sexual violence.
  5. Porn negatively impacts relationships. A study tracked couples and stated porn consumption is the second strongest indicator that a relationship will suffer. Research has also shown that porn consumers are twice as likely to experience a divorce.

There are many other ways pornography addiction harms people.

Trauma and Pornographic Addiction

Most mental health professionals consider trauma, especially in childhood, the root of all addiction. Adult survivors of childhood trauma are left vulnerable to addiction because they attempt to self-soothe and push the memories of what happened away.

Self-soothing with an addiction, be it physical or behavioral, causes enormous problems for adult survivors as the wound they have been concealing will eventually fester and cause them significant problems.

Since people who have complex post-traumatic stress disorder are victims of child maltreatment, they are highly susceptible to forming an addiction. There has been little research to link CPTSD and addiction, but ample evidence suggests a relationship between the two.

Research has demonstrated that those with PTSD are 2-4 times more likely to form an addiction than the general population. More than 50% of those who form an addiction receive treatment for a substance or behavioral addiction.

Who Views Porn?

Who, then, watches pornography?

There are three types of porn viewers, one representing healthy porn use and the other experiencing sexual dysfunction associated with their use of porn.

Recreational Viewers. This title explores those who have healthy porn habits and comprises 75.5% of those who watch pornographic material. On average, these folks watch porn for 24 minutes each week, many being females or people with partners. Recreational porn watchers use it in moderation, not interfering with their sex life or causing problems in their relationships. This type of viewership does not cause distress and is viewed without compulsion or with the giving up of other interests.

The Highly Distressed Non-Compulsive Viewers. Research shows that 12.7% of those who watch porn belong to highly distressed non-compulsive viewers. This type of viewer watches porn 17 minutes per week, but they are troubled by their use, so it becomes unhealthy. Distressed porn viewers are usually single and use porn to improve their self-esteem and offer a form of self-soothing because of unsatisfying sex lives.

Compulsive Port-Watching. This third category of porn users represents a very unhealthy form of porn use. Research has shown that 11.8% of those who watch porn are compulsive viewers and mostly men, although women can also become compulsive in watching pornography. Compulsive viewing of porn interferes with relationships and impedes normal daily functioning. These viewers feel compelled to watch porn and cannot stop, watching an average of 110 minutes of porn per week. Compulsive porn watching often becomes a porn addiction for some, with most of those addicted being male.

Causes of Pornographic Addiction

There is no definitive definition of pornographic addiction in the DSM, but a porn user can be diagnosed using the criteria for substance addiction. To be considered addicted, you must meet two or more of the following criteria.

  • People use drugs or alcohol in large amounts or over a long period.
  • The addicted person desires to stop, reduce, or control their addiction.
  • The addict spends much time obtaining their substance or acting out their addictive behavior.
  • The person engaging in addictive behavior feels intense cravings to engage in their dysfunctional behavior.
  • An addicted person continues to use their substance of choice or do their addictive behavior despite its negative effect on their work or home lives or their physical health.

If you even slightly recognize yourself in the above list, it is time to consider getting help. There is no need to face getting away from porn on your own, and you have nothing of which to be ashamed.

If you recognize yourself, seek help. There are effective treatments available such as many types of psychotherapies and even medications to treat co-occurring problems you may be facing, such as anxiety or depression.

There are no addicts to pornography who asked to be addicted; addiction is the animal to blame.

Ending Our Time Together

Pornography has been on Earth as long as humans could draw on cave walls. Most people can view porn without any adverse side effects except, perhaps, believing what they see and feeling inadequate because of it.

However, for a minority of people, pornography becomes a millstone hung around their necks, and they begin to drown in videos that they forget are not accurate representations of what goes on in bed between a consensual couple.

If you recognize yourself or someone you love, there is hope. With the proper mental health treatment, the addict who prefers porn can overcome their addiction and return to reality with the rest of us.

“My recovery must come first so that everything else in my life doesn’t become last.” Author unknown

“Recovery Didn’t Open The Gates Of Heaven And Let Me In.

Recovery Opened The Gates Of Hell And Let Me Out!” Anonymous


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