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5 Signs that Indicate You May Have a Problem with Porn

By September 25, 2020September 29th, 2020No Comments
Photo by Brooke Cagle. This Post Was Written By Diana Baldwin, LCSW, A Licensed Therapist With Elevated Recovery. 3 minute read.
Tell-tale Signs of a Struggle with Porn

By Diana Baldwin, LCSW

How do you know if you have a real problem with pornography?

There are a lot of opinions on what designates a pornography addiction and if it is even a real thing. Research continues to show us however, that there are an increasing number of people reporting they are struggling with obsessively watching pornography and that it is impacting their life in a negative way.

Related: This 5 Minute Test Might Tell You If You’re Addicted To Porn

As a therapist, I’m less concerned about how we want to label it, and more concerned about helping people get control back over their lives and habits. Here, I’ve identified 5 of the top signs I see in clients that signal you may be struggling with a more serious porn habit and could use some support.

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1. You are obsessively watching

Not everyone who has seen porn is an addict, or will become one. Watching porn once, or even a handful of times does not necessarily signal a habit or addiction. Watching obsessively, being preoccupied with watching, frequently having thoughts and urges consume your mind and planning for or justifying ways to watch, may indicate a bigger problem.

2. You’ve tried to stop but you can’t

This is the one that signifies you have crossed over from an unhealthy habit to a real problem. You have tried many times to quit, but are not successful. Maybe you have tried multiple different avenues and have strong intentions to quit, but inevitably you relapse and are watching porn again.

The psychological impact of this can be devastating, you feel out of control and full of shame.

3. You’ve escalated in the type and frequency of porn you consume

Porn is like many other addictive substances in the way that we need more and more to get the same “high.” You will likely be watching more frequently and increasing the intensity in the type of porn you are consuming. This can be especially difficult for some people because they will find themselves watching things that they could have never imagined they would. They end up feeling intense shame and guilt but still struggle to quit their habit.

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4. You may have difficulty engaging with partners or in social situations

You may have turned to porn because you had difficulty engaging in social situations or you may find it even more difficult after you started consuming porn. Porn is a fake, secretive world and requires no real-life effort or vulnerability. Continually feeding this non-real-life brain pathway can be particularly damaging to those already struggling in social and dating situations.

If you are already in a relationship you may find increased strain on the relationship, difficulty connecting with your partner and erectile dysfunction.

5. You experience worsening depression, anxiety and difficulty focusing

You may have already had difficulties with depression, anxiety, and motivation before, but have found it increasingly worsening as your porn habit increases. You may also be finding that some of these issues have set in since you started watching. The guilt and shame that also comes with this habit can make all of these worsen and leave you feeling incredibly down and bad about yourself.

If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, it may be time to get some support. There are many options including therapy, support groups and programs, both in-person and online. I am always happy to help support individuals, partners and families on these issues, so if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out. There is hope!

FTND note: this blog post is not intended to replace a psychological evaluation by a licensed professional. Talk to a therapist if you have questions or concerns about porn obsession.

About the Author

Diana Baldwin is a licensed clinical therapist specializing in relationships and sexually compulsive issues. She has worked in treatment centers and clinics all over the world and is passionate about helping people live a happier and more fulfilled life.

You can find her work at www.elevatedrecovery.org and at this youtube channel.

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