The prevalence of pornography addiction in my practice has increased dramatically over time. More and more, clients identify with the effects of pornography addiction and the difficulty associated with stopping. Here are six surefire signs that indicate a possible addiction to pornography…
1. Hiding, minimizing and lying about pornography use with a partner or spouse. People hide, minimize and lie about their pornography use so that they can continue without judgement from others. Pornography users already judge themselves and often feel embarrassed and like a failure.
2. Experiencing sexual issues with sex IRL (in real life). Pornography addicts often experience difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection; have difficulty achieving climax; replay pornographic scenes in their minds during sex as a means of functioning; and/or fantasize about sex acts they have seen and would like to do with their partner but feel he/she would not be willing.
3. Pornographic use becoming more frequent and darker than before. Like every other addiction, pornography use is not a steady state. It takes darker and more hardcore pornography to achieve arousal as time goes on. People find themselves using types of pornography they previously would have identified as disgusting or repulsive.
4. Difficulty stopping. Stopping typically leads to relapse and the realization of the need for support. Pornography is a biochemical addiction to the brain chemicals dopamine and oxytocin which flood the brain during pornography use. People become addicted and experience withdrawal symptoms. This chemical addiction together with easy access makes it difficult to stop without the support of professional counselling.
5. Using pornography despite negative consequences. Addicts experience shame, embarrassment and loss. Sometimes loss of a job, friend(s), spouse, partner, lover, belief in God, self-respect, self-esteem, etc. and yet they will continue using.
6. Acting out sexually. Left untreated, addicts often engage in risky sexual acting out which, if not controlled, typically worsens over time. Such things as voyeurism, explicit conversations, chat rooms, strip clubs, erotic massage parlours, prostitutes, emotional affairs, sexual affairs, masturbating in a car or in public etc. are not uncommon.
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If you think you or someone close to you has an issue, call Life 360 Counselling today for support - 705-791-5376.