Identifying Porn Addiction

Porn addiction occurs when an individual loses control over whether he or she views pornography, the amount of time he or she spends with pornography, and the types of pornography that he or she uses.

Porn addicts typically spend at least 11 or 12 hours per week searching for and looking at pornography. Some porn addicts devote double or even triple that amount of time to their addiction.

Porn addicts often couple their porn use with compulsive masturbation and other compulsive sexual behaviors, such as webcam sex, sexting, anonymous sex, casual sex, affairs, prostitution, exhibitionism, voyeurism, etc. That said, porn addiction can be and often is a standalone form of addiction.

“Not Porn” Can Still Be Porn

For porn addicts, “not porn” is imagery of people who are not nude and not actively engaged in sexual activity – i.e., not pornography – that is nevertheless used the same way the addict uses porn. In other words, a porn addict can use “not porn” to escape into a la-la land of sexual fantasy – a “bubble” in which stress, boredom, shame, fear, and other forms of emotional discomfort disappear – just as he or she previously used actual pornography.

Healing From Porn Addiction

Sadly, porn addicts are often reluctant to seek help, usually because they don’t view their solo sexual behaviors as an underlying source of their unhappiness or because they’re too ashamed of these behaviors to talk about them, even in therapy. When they do seek assistance, they often seek help with their addiction’s related symptoms—depression, loneliness, and relationship troubles—rather than the porn problem itself. Many will attend therapy for extended periods without ever discussing (or even being asked about) pornography. As a result, their core problem can stay underground and untreated for years.

The good news is that when porn addicts do reach out for help with their addiction, that help is available. Sex and Relationship Healing offers numerous free webinars and discussion groups that porn addicts may find helpful. Seeking Integrity offers both residential treatment and low-cost online workgroups specifically geared toward porn addiction sobriety and recovery.