Medically the review by Jennifer Litner, LMFT, CST — written by Zawn Villines — updated on February 25, 2021

Porn addiction refers to a person coming to be emotionally dependency on pornography come the point that it interferes v their everyday life, relationships, and ability to function.


This kind of addiction might be rather common. Part doctors think about porn seeks to it is in a hypersexual disorder — an umbrella term the includes behaviors such as excessive masturbation.

You are watching: How to tell if you are addicted to porn

A 2019 study says that the ubiquity of these disorders may be around 3–6%. However, the rates have been complicated to determine due to a absence of officially classification.

Porn addiction remains a controversial issue, through some research arguing that the is no a real problem at all.

Keep reading to learn more about pornography addiction, consisting of its causes, symptoms, and some ways to resolve it.


*
Share top top PinterestA person with a porn addiction may find that their sex life is becoming less satisfying.
The diagnosis of pornography seeks is controversial, and not every therapists will identify it. Moreover, researchers have presented various different models the the signs.

Some healthcare professionals and counselors think that pornography in itself is not problematic, yet that it has actually the potential to come to be so, relying on the person’s viewpoint or your partner’s.

Some indications that pornography may be causing a difficulty include:

A person’s sex life becomes much less satisfying. Pornography causes relationship worries or provides a person feel less satisfied through their partner. A person engages in risky behavior to watch pornography, such together doing so in ~ work.

Some other indicators that a human may be developing an unhealthy connection with porn include:

They ignore other obligations to watch pornography. They view progressively an ext extreme pornography to obtain the exact same release the less extreme porn as soon as offered. They feeling frustrated or ashamed ~ viewing porn yet continue to perform so. They desire to protect against using pornography however feel can not to do so. Castle spend large sums of money on pornography, possibly at the cost of everyday or household necessities.

An addiction is more than simply an extreme interest in something. It is a medical problem that transforms the brain and the body and causes the person to feel compelled to proceed using a problem or partaking in an activity, even when doing for this reason may reason harm.

Most research right into addiction says that that activates regions in the mind associated with an ideas and reward. Specifically, addiction changes the body dopamine system.

When a human with addiction originally uses the problem or engages in the behavior, they receive an extreme rush of dopamine, leading to feelings the pleasure and reward. End time, their body may develop less dopamine and also rely top top the problem or behavior to feel the dopamine rush.

Sex deserve to be a highly financially rewarding behavior, in terms of dopamine. Making use of pornography may also activate the dopamine system, potentially leading to addiction.

Addiction influence other elements of the brain as well, steadily changing it, and also making it increasingly an overwhelming for the human to prevent the addictive problem or behavior.


A 2017 study of males who sought treatment for problematic pornography use (PPU) found alters in the participants’ brains that were constant with addiction. The researchers discovered that the brain of the men with PPU reacted in different ways to erotic photos — or the anticipation of lock — 보다 the brains of guys without PPU.

Use the pornography might also affect people’s relationships. For example, part research suggests that pornography create unrealistic expectation of sex.

A 2013 study discovered that amongst heterosexual male participants in couples, the usage of pornography was linked with less sexual satisfaction, when the opposite to be true for the female participants — pornography was associated with higher sexual satisfaction.

Accessing pornography is easy, and it have the right to require substantially less initiative than communicating with a partner. For some, this can contribute to one unhealthy cycle in i m sorry porn reasons problems in a relationship, top the person to rely even more heavily ~ above pornography to accomplish sexual satisfaction and escape the connection issues.

Not all study supports the id that pornography is addictive. A 2014 examine emphasizes that plenty of studies the pornography addiction have been poorly designed or biased. The writer caution that tiny evidence supports a causal relationship in between pornography use and also its purported harmful effects.

A 2015 study discovered that, amongst participants who reported excessive or problematic viewing the visual sexual stimuli, the usual mind pathways of addiction were absent.

In typical addictions, the brain shows increased activity when exposed to the addictive substance, but the entrants in question instead demonstrated decreased brain activity as soon as looking in ~ the stimuli. This argues that the usual addiction model might not apply.

The American association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and also Therapists (AASECT) argue the there is little evidence of one of two people sex or pornography gift addictive and that the idea the pornography addiction is rooted in outdated and also potentially harmful cultural norms.

It is crucial to note that some civilization who case that pornography is addictive might oppose its visibility altogether or have an extremely rigid ideas about healthy sexuality. For example, lock may believe that a monogamous heterosexual connection is the only proper sexual outlet.


Due come the debate surrounding the idea the pornography addiction, researchers have actually yet to determine a clear collection of causes.

A 2015 study uncovered that believing oneself to be addicted come pornography, not actual pornography use, to be the more far-reaching cause of linked distress.

This says that the really idea that porn addiction exists could be a significant cause the the stress and anxiety that some civilization experience when viewing porn.

Meanwhile, experts and also advocates that endorse the visibility of pornography addiction argue that, like other addictions, this is a complex issue with a selection of feasible causes. Few of these causes may include:

Underlying mental health conditions: A person can use pornography come escape emotional distress. Relationship problems: Pornography have the right to be an outlet for sexual dissatisfaction. Unhealthy cultural norms: Ideas around how world should look and also behave during sex, the varieties of sex the a person should enjoy, and comparable norms may draw some world to pornography. Biological causes: specific biological factors, including transforms in mind chemistry when a human views porn, may rise the danger of addiction.

Research walk not assistance any particular treatment for pornography addiction.

Indeed, due to the fact that many researchers execute not believe that pornography addiction is a real clinical condition, some doctors and counselors might feel the no treatment is necessary.

Some people seeking treatment for pornography addiction might instead benefit from addressing other issues, together as relationship problems, sex-related shame, or depression. Therefore, if a human being opts for therapy, it is important to select a therapist who understands and can regulate these issues.

Some therapy strategies may involve:

Psychotherapy: This can assist a human understand their partnership with porn, recognize unmet sex-related needs, and also develop tactics for handling psychological distress. Relationship counseling: Couples’ counseling can assist partners talk about their values, recognize whether porn has actually a location in their relationship, and also cultivate depth trust. Medication: sometimes a human uses pornography to cope with one more condition. Medication may aid treat the basic issue. Lifestyle changes: Some civilization use pornography the end of boredom or exhaustion. A an ext healthful lifestyle may involve spending fewer hrs on the computer.

A human being should view a physician if:

They have trouble orgasming indigenous sex with a partner. They experience rise in sexual dysfunction, such together trouble preserving an erection or lubricating before sex. Sex i do not care painful. Lock experience, or have experienced, various other addictions. They suffer symptoms that anxiety, depression, insomnia, or another mental health condition.

A therapist may be maybe to assist with pornography addiction and also other sex and also relationship issues. It may be a an excellent idea to see a therapist if:

Pornography reasons relationship problems. A person feels guilty around their pornography use. A person wants to reduced down on your pornography use however feels can not to do so.

Therapists organize varying views on pornography — part may believe that all pornography usage is harmful, if others might think the it is never addictive.

Anyone seeking therapy should pick a therapist whose values align through their own. Interview the therapist around their beliefs and philosophy before committing to treatment.

AASECT sell a perform of certified sex therapists and counselors that endorse sex-positive treatment and also research-based support.


Viewing pornography excessively can reason serious problems, even if it is or no it is addictive in the timeless medical sense.

See more: How To Know When Grilled Corn Is Done, Best Grilled Corn On The Cob Recipe

Although there is disagreement about the causes of pornography addiction, treatment usually requires addressing an basic issue, which can relate to mental health. For part people, simple lifestyle changes can help.

Receiving treatment from a sex-positive therapist who can identify underlying problems and also offer evidence-based treatment techniques can aid a human improve your relationships and regain a sense of manage over their pornography use.


Medically the evaluation by Jennifer Litner, LMFT, CST — composed by Zawn Villines — to update on February 25, 2021