Porn addiction is a compulsive behavior that can do harm to relationships, work, and your own well-being.
The emotional toll that porn addiction has on a person can be severe, with feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt, and low-self-esteem. The shame that accompanies this addiction may cause people to keep their problem a secret, which is never a helpful idea when dealing with an addiction.
Depending on how you define the word “addiction,” obsessive use of pornography can be as distressing to one’s life and relationships as drugs or alcohol. Some say it is worse, because few of us wish to abstain completely from sexual expression.
This private activity essentially has no victims and no lives are at risk, and many people/couples enjoying moderate use of porn for enhancing their sex lives, educating one another, etc. However, for some, it escalates to the point of an addiction, meaning they feel they are out of control or powerless to stop, they have an increasing need for a larger amount to get their “fix,” and it is disruptive to their daily lives. Scores of people have felt betrayed, relationships have been ruined, and jobs have been lost because of porn addiction.
You are not alone! The adult industry is a multi-billion dollar one. The number of websites on the Internet that are sexual in nature are staggering. Just Google the word “sex” and you will see a virtual tsunami of porn sites. One study found that porn is a problem in the home for 47% of families. A divorce lawyers’ association found that about 68% of divorces involve one partner meeting a new sex partner on the Internet, and 56% involve a partner who obsessively uses porn.
Further, a recent study showed that 42% of tweens and teens (ages 10 to 17) have seen Internet porn in the last year. Some of this is accidental due to XXX-rated spam or mass email from friends or bullies. Intervention is crucial, so that your kid has a healthy attitude about sex. Avoiding it can lead to porn addiction or other intimacy issues.
It seems natural that hypnosis successfully treats porn addiction, because pornography (and sex in general) in and of itself can be very hypnotic. The constant reinforcement by the computer, the DVDs, the music, the overwhelming availability of pornographic material can lull one into this addiction at little or no financial cost. Yet the cost to the addict’s life can be enormous.
Therapeutic hypnosis (“hypnotherapy”) for porn addiction focuses on these five major issues:
- Shame & Humiliation. Whether one is caught by a boss, a spouse, a child, the embarrassment and loss of self-respect can be devastating to the individual, the workplace, the family unit.
- Loss of intimacy in relationships. Hypnosis works on restoring intimacy (emotional connections) vs. sex. Sex portrayed in pornography is vastly different than that in a typical healthy relationship.
- Sexualization of people and / or objects. Many come to view computers, TVs, DVD players, a host of other objects, and of course people as sexual stimuli…things strictly for one’s own sexual gratification. Behavioral modification, or reconditioning, with hypnosis can change the stimulus-response cycle.
- Restoring balance, productivity and time management. Many people with porn addiction invest up to 10 hours per day watching porn, visiting porn chat rooms, etc., needing more and more (and sometimes more graphic porn) to feed their addiction. Some have even experienced genital rawness and/or bleeding due to excessive usage. Some feel they absolutely “cannot turn it off and get back to my life.”
- Overcoming unrealistic expectations about sex. Excessive exposure to “perfect” bodies who seemingly promise “sex anytime, anywhere” set one up for failure in the real world. Anything less than “the porn star look” can become boring to the porn addicted.
Recovery from this addiction is possible. Hypnotherapy, or clinical hypnosis, works to “undo” the negative underlying thoughts and beliefs that drive the unwanted behavior. The five points listed above are the main targets; some addicts have more resulting issues, some less. Yet, again, freedom from this addiction is possible. Hypnosis essentially got you into this cycle; it can get you out of it. It starts with asking for help.
Signs of pornography addiction
The diagnosis of pornography addiction is controversial, and not all therapists will acknowledge it. Moreover, researchers have presented various different models of the signs.
Some healthcare professionals and counselors believe that pornography in itself is not problematic, but that it has the potential to become so, depending on the person’s viewpoint or their partner’s.
Some indications that pornography may be causing a problem include:
- A person’s sex life becomes less satisfying.
- Pornography causes relationship issues or makes a person feel less satisfied with their partner.
- A person engages in risky behavior to view pornography, such as doing so at work.
Some other signs that a person may be developing an unhealthy relationship with porn include:
- They ignore other responsibilities to view pornography.
- They view progressively more extreme pornography to get the same release that less extreme porn once offered.
- They feel frustrated or ashamed after viewing porn but continue to do so.
- They want to stop using pornography but feel unable to do so.
- They spend large sums of money on pornography, possibly at the expense of daily or family necessities.
- They use pornography to cope with sadness, anxiety, insomnia, or other mental health issues.
Causes of pornography addiction
Due to the controversy surrounding the idea of pornography addiction, researchers have yet to identify a clear set of causes.
A 2015 study found that believing oneself to be addicted to pornography, not actual pornography use, was the more significant cause of associated distress.
This suggests that the very idea that porn addiction exists could be a major cause of the anxiety that some people experience when viewing porn.
Meanwhile, experts and advocates who endorse the existence of pornography addiction argue that, like other addictions, this is a complex issue with a range of possible causes.
Some of these causes may include:
- Underlying mental health conditions: A person might use pornography to escape psychological distress.
- Relationship problems: Pornography can be an outlet for sexual dissatisfaction.
- Unhealthy cultural norms: Ideas about how people should look and behave during sex, the types of sex that a person should enjoy, and similar norms may draw some people to pornography.
- Biological causes: Certain biological factors, including changes in brain chemistry when a person views porn, may increase the risk of addiction.
Viewing pornography excessively can cause serious problems, whether or not it is addictive in the traditional medical sense.
Although there is disagreement about the causes of pornography addiction, treatment usually involves addressing an underlying issue, which could relate to mental health. For some people, simple lifestyle changes can help.