Viewing pornography can become compulsive and develop into an addiction. Pornography has become increasingly accessible and is used widely among college-age students. Up to 65 percent of young adult men and 18 percent of young women report watching porn at least once a week.
People who develop an addiction spend increasing amounts of time using pornography and often progress to more extreme material despite negative consequences. Negative consequences can include, but are not limited to, inability to be sexual with a real person, self-injury, relationship problems, adverse impact on one’s finances or occupation and infidelity.
Signs of Pornography Addiction
How would you determine if pornography use is harmful to you? The following are signs your use is problematic:
- The use of pornography feels out of your control. You are unsuccessful in your efforts to limit your use or stop.
- You experience a cycle of excitement and stimulation before and during use, followed by intense shame, guilt, remorse or depression.
- You go out of your way to hide your use from others, frequently delete your internet browsing history, or lie about your use.
- You spend considerable time thinking about pornography when you are not using it, as well as taking time to plan when you will use it again.
- The time you spend watching pornography increases to the point of taking precedent over other responsibilities, hobbies or relationships.
- Your use of pornography has negative consequences in your life. For example, you may participate in increasingly risky behaviors that may cause you or others physical or emotional harm. Your use may negatively impact your academics, job performance, or even place you at risk to lose a job if caught.
- Your pornography use or other sexual behaviors cause problems in intimate relationships, create emotional distance between you and others you care about, or cause people in relationships with you to feel neglected or distrustful.
Any of the signs above could indicate your pornography use is a problem. If you are concerned you or someone you care about may have a problem, please view the resources below for professional help or recovery meetings.
Ideas for Changing Pornography Usage
- Change routines and environments that lead to pornography usage. Avoid high-risk situations.
- Make a list of the positive and negative consequences of using versus not using pornography.
- Spend less time alone. Review the status of your friendships and relationships. Are they meaningful and satisfying? If not, what would make them more fulfilling?
- Learn new ways of coping with strong feelings like anxiety, loneliness, anger, depression and boredom.
- Identify activities that can help you relax, enjoy yourself and feel refreshed.
If you think you may have a problem with pornography or sex addiction, contact the Student Counseling Center for further assessment with a professional.
The campus-based Center for Students in Recovery has meetings to help those struggling with pornography or sex addiction.
The following meetings in the Dallas community can be helpful for those with a pornography addiction, or those who are affected by another person's use: