While there are many definitions of addiction, at its most basic, it means that the addicts have reached a point where they can no longer control their obsession for a particular substance or activity.
At some level, they recognize the need to stop because of the negative consequences associated with it, but they feel powerless to do so even though it already affects several aspects of their life.
What is Pornography Addiction?
Pornography addiction, then, is a condition in which a person becomes so dependent on pornography materials (either by reading or viewing it) for their physical and emotional satisfaction that they no longer feel able to stop, even though they know or have seen its negative consequences.
While there are many individuals who purchase or view pornographic material on a relatively regular basis, this does not necessarily mean that addiction is present. After all, with the increase of Internet usage, pornography has become much more accessible than it was a couple of decades ago.
There are certain criteria to be met before a person can be considered addicted to pornography. If you do access pornographic material frequently and are starting to wonder if you could be addicted, then try to honestly evaluate your feelings and actions. This will allow you to identify your addiction, or at least try to get help before a seemingly harmless pastime takes over your life and causes serious consequences.
What are the Symptoms of Pornography Addiction?
One of the indicators of porn addiction is a substantial increase in the time spent on the consumption of pornography. While greater frequency is one of the things you should consider, this may not necessarily be the only indication.
If you tell yourself, for example, that you will only be spending half an hour viewing porn websites and always end up doing so for another half hour or even longer, you may already be addicted. What’s worse is that you could sometimes lose track of time completely and realize that you’ve been viewing porn until the wee hours of the morning or for several hours on end.
In the same vein, if you seem to be spending more money than you intend to on pornographic material, you should be concerned. This indicates increased tolerance, which means that that the amount or type or pornography you are viewing no longer satisfies you.
If you initially started viewing free sites, for example, but now want greater variety or more videos and photos of a particular category, then you may end up spending a surprising amount of money on a number of sites and services.
Another telling symptom of addiction is when you spend a lot of time and effort not just engaging in the activity itself, but also on preparing yourself for it. This may translate into rearranging your schedule just so you can make time for porn, as well as making excuses for not being able to engage in shared activities with family or friends.
Engaging in impulsive or risky behaviors just to get your porn fix is another indication of addiction. There are times when you may not have access to your own computer, especially if you are at work or at someone else’s house. If your urge to access porn from wherever you are is so great, you just might end up doing it anyway even if you risk getting caught by your boss or your friend.
Finally, when you tried to stop consuming porn and experienced unexplained physical or psychological symptoms (e.g., anxiety, anger or irritability, depression, or some physical signs of stress) which disappear when you go back to viewing porn, then it’s a very clear sign that you have already been addicted to pornography.
How Did You Start Getting Addicted?
Addiction to pornography can be likened to a host of other addictions and can be caused by pretty much the same things. If you are unhappy or feel a certain lack in some areas of your life, you may be more susceptible to becoming addicted, since the substance or activity of choice acts as a filler to something that you felt was missing in your life.
On the other hand, you may just have been bored and curious at the beginning, and you may not have anticipated the amount of enjoyment you would get from the activity. Once this starts, the addiction can quickly turn physiological as you become more and more accustomed to the “high” experienced by your body while watching or reading porn. It can then become increasingly difficult for you to overcome the addiction as it continues to feed on itself, and the effects can extend to other areas of your life, as well as the lives of the people around you.
The Importance of Seeking Help
Be honest with yourself and admit that you have become addicted to pornography if most of the symptoms apply to you. By admitting that you have a problem, you will be taking the first step towards addressing it.
It may be hard for you to stop your addiction by yourself, so seek professional help. There are online resources as well, like the Candeo Program, which can assist you.
It is important to have a trusted friend or a support system to assist you in your recovery efforts, because you could very quickly spiral back into the same unwanted behavior if you attempt to overcome the addiction alone.
Finally, remember that you have to want to overcome the addiction. You have to recognize its negative effects in your life and sincerely want to change. Knowing your value as a person will go a long way to help you in your goal of achieving a healthy sexual life.
Candeo Healthy Sexuality
Sexual Recovery Institute
This was originally published in PushofHope.com on 18 March 2011. The site has closed. This is ©Aleah Taboclaon and may not be reproduced without the author’s permission.
Photo is categorized as CC0, belonging to the public domain. Thanks to fabriziovasta, link in photo.