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5 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Have an Unwanted Porn Habit

762shares There’s an ongoing debate right now, and even in academic circles, over whether compulsive porn use is truly an addiction. It’s a question because it is…

By March 15, 2020March 15th, 2021No Comments

There’s an ongoing debate right now, and even in academic circles, over whether compulsive porn use is truly an addiction. It’s a question because it is very difficult, even for scientists and therapists, to define what addiction is and what behavior falls under that category.

Let’s get something straight: not everyone who watches porn is addicted, and not everyone who’s seen porn will even become addicted. In fact, in the scientific community, the issue of pornography being labeled as a certified addiction is still being discussed. Even so, porn is widely accepted in the academic world as something that can be harmful to individuals, relationships, and society.

Related: Why Isn’t Pornography Addiction An Official Diagnosis?

Still, we don’t intend to diagnose anybody on whether or not they are addicted, obsessed, or compulsively watching porn. However, compulsive porn viewing is without question a growing problem in our society, and more and more evidence is emerging about the addictive nature of porn. It seems that every day, new research is being released, further proving the harmful effects of porn.

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Not every person who watches porn is or will become addicted. There’s a sliding scale and spectrum of how involved someone can be with their own personal habit. For some it’s casual, infrequent consumption, for others, it’s uncontrollable and compulsive. Either way, it’s possible for someone to get so buried in their porn habit they aren’t able to quit, even when they want to stop more than anything.

The signs

Hear us out: we don’t intend to diagnose anybody on whether or not they are addicted or compulsively hooked to porn with this post. Reach out to a local licensed mental professional, if that’s something you want to explore.

So how do you know if you have a problem with porn? And how do you know if you need help? It’s not always easy to tell.

We created five questions that any porn consumer can ask themselves. Even if you feel like porn is not a problem for you, it can still fuel unhealthy views of sex and love, and relationships.

RelatedIs It An Overstatement To Label Porn A Public Health Concern?

Even still, it can be a good thing to assess your own porn habits and check-up with yourself. And even if you feel like porn is not an addiction or compulsive habit for you, it can still cause you to have unhealthy views of people, love, and relationships.

Check out the questions below, especially if you watch porn but don’t necessarily want to. This is not a diagnostic tool, or anything close to that. This is simply an opportunity for you to use these questions to learn more about yourself and the influence porn may have in your life.

Note: diagnosing an actual addiction or compulsion to pornography can only be made through in-depth interviews and with a certified counselor or psychologist.

1. Is the porn you watch now more graphic, extreme, and explicit than when you first started looking at porn?

For a lot of people who watch porn, they can find themselves progressively looking for more images, more often, and in a more hardcore version.

If you find yourself in the process of viewing something arousing, then becoming bored and moving on to something else again, and again, and again, then that could be a sign that your porn habit is escalating. If you find yourself looking at more extreme material than when you first started, this is a sign as well.

Related: Why The Opposite Of Porn Addiction Isn’t Only Sobriety—It’s Real Human Connection

2. Do you spend a lot of time looking at porn?

When you look at porn, do you end up viewing for much longer than you originally intended?

Those who are obsessed with or have a compulsion to view porn can have a difficult time controlling their urges. They may find themselves on porn sites for much longer than they plan for, too. If watching porn makes you late for school, work, or other activities, this could mean that a porn habit is getting to be more problematic.

3. Do you think about looking at porn even when you’re not looking at it?

If you find yourself frequently thinking about the next time you are going to watch porn, this could be a sign that things might be getting more difficult to control.

Related: Porn, Addiction, And The Brain: 3 Misunderstandings Corrected By A Neurosurgeon

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4. Do you feel remorse, cloudiness, anxiety, or depression after looking at porn?

If you get any of the above negative feelings after looking at porn, it’s a solid bet that you already believe porn isn’t improving your life and well-being. Ask yourself what it would take to truly decide that porn isn’t benefitting your life and helping you become a healthier person in any way. Know that you are not a “bad” person for looking at porn, and shame from others or yourself is rarely ever helpful to taking steps to get rid of an unwanted porn habit.

5. Have you promised yourself or others that you’ll never look at porn again, only to keep looking at it?

The fifth and final question might be the most telling of all. If you’ve ever told yourself you were done with porn and promised to never look at it again, only to end up viewing it again, this could be telling. If you have told yourself or others, “I could stop if I wanted to,” but quickly found out otherwise, it might be time to consider getting some extra support.

Consider our friends at Fortify who have developed a science-based recovery platform that also has an empathetic and supportive community that can help you in your journey of getting rid of a porn habit for good.

Related: 4 Ways A Porn Habit Might Disconnect You From Reality

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How we can help

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with an obsession or addiction to pornography, you are not alone, you are not a “bad” person beyond helping, and there is hope.

We’re not a recovery organization, but as an awareness organization, we want to help as many people understand the harmful effects of pornography as possible. We also want to help inspire those who are already struggling to live their best life. After all, you deserve better than porn. If any of the above questions have made you reconsider how healthy your porn habit is, we can help.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your unwanted porn habit, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

Fight the New Drug may receive financial support from purchases made using affiliate links.

Citations

[1] Lewis, M. (2017). Addiction And The Brain: Development, Not Disease. Neuroethics. 1-12. Doi:10.1007/S12152-016-9293-4; Hall, P., (2014). Sex Addiction—An Extraordinarily Contentious Problem. Sexual And Relationship Therapy, 29(1) 68-75. Doi:10.1080/14681994.2013.861898
[2] Hilton, D.L, & Watts, C. (2011). Pornography Addiction: A Neuroscience Perspective, Surgical Neurology International 2, 19. Doi:10.4103/2152-7806.76977
[3] Meerkerk, G.J., Van Den Eijnden, R.J., & Garretsen, H.F. (2006). Predicting Compulsive Internet Use: It’s All About Sex!, CyberPsychology And Behavior, 9(1), 95-103. Doi:10.1089/Cpb.2006.9.95; See Also Korkeila, J., Kaarlas, S., Jaaskelainen, M, Vahlberg, T., Taiminen, T. (2010). Attached To The Web—Harmful Use Of The Internet And Its Correlates. European Psychiatry 25(4) 236-241. Doi: 10.1016/J.Eurpsy.2009.02.008 (Finding “Adult Entertainment” To Be The Most Common Reason For Compulsive Internet Use.)
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