Overcoming Pornography Addiction
Pornography is an extremely powerful addiction. Getting hooked can happen when people spend increasing amounts of time viewing pornography and over time begin viewing increasingly more extreme pornographic material. This increase in use and shift in content usually occurs without the user realizing it is happening. Many users’ people find that their entire sex life revolves around pornography and that they are unable to be sexually involved with a real person without the use of pornography.
Signs of Problematic Pornography Use
- The use feels like it is out of your control. You make unsuccessful efforts to quit or limit your use.
- Your use of pornography is incompatible with your beliefs and values. You feel guilt, shame, depression, and/or remorse after using pornography.
- You keep your pornography use or the extent of your pornography use secret from others and worry that others will find out about your use.
- The use of pornography consumes your thinking. When you are not using pornography, you think about if frequently and anticipate when you will use it again. You spend increasing amounts of time using pornography and are often late for appointments or even work due to it.
- Your use of pornography has negative consequences in your life. For example, you may neglect responsibilities or become less effective in your job or in academics. You might spend too much money on pornography or put yourself in dangerous situations you would not normally be in due to the pornography or sexual addiction. You may have been caught using pornography in inappropriate places such as work or a campus computer lab.
- Your use of pornography causes problems in your intimate relationships, such as creating emotional distance between people you love or causing those in a relationship with you to feel neglected. You may lose relationships due to the pornography.
Any of these signs can indicate that pornography has become a problem in your life. If you are concerned that you or someone you care about may have a problem with pornography, check out the self-help resources at the end of this article or talk to a professional.
Ideas for Eliminating 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 and avoid situations that trigger your urges to view porn. Review the status of your friendships and relationships. Are they meaningful and satisfying, and contributing to a healthy lifestyle?
- 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.
- Enlist a trusted friend or peer to act as your accountability partner. It should be someone you look up to and feel safe discussing your addiction with.
The following self-help web resources have more information on sexual addictions, pornography use, treatment for sexual addictions, and help for those affected by another person’s use of pornography:
- Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) saa-recovery.org
- Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) sa.org
- Sexual Compulsives Anonymous (SCA) sca-recovery.org
- Sexual Recovery Anonymous (SRA) sexualrecovery.org
- Codependents of Sexual Addictions cosa-recovery.org
- Your Brain on Porn yourbrainonporn.com
Over the years I have read many books including several that I recommend for overcoming the effects of sexual addiction. Please check out my Suggested Reading Page for books that will help create lasting change in your personal life and your marriage. I have broken the list down into the below categories.
- Marriage & Relationship
- Self Improvement & Spiritual
- Sex & Sexual Issues
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