What is Porn addiction?

Internet Porn Addiction has some very specific characteristics. It is not about the type of porn being viewed, but more about the frequency of viewing, and the compulsion to access the material. Once logged on compulsive users subsequently stay on line much longer than intended, often for hours at a time. Individuals report an inability to self-regulate the behaviour despite repeatedly feeling regret at the amount of time ‘lost’. Viewing excessive amounts of porn can interfere with the natural levels of dopamine in the brain, since it is generally agreed that porn is a ‘super-normal stimulus’. Clients struggling with excessive porn use have often made many attempts to stop using it, and often report feelings of low-self esteem, low mood or depression, social isolation and a negative impact upon work/time efficiency and their intimate relationships as a result. Ironically those with a compulsive porn addiction will often be enjoying less actual physical sex with their partners than the couple would like, or they may be experiencing surprising sexual difficulties such as erectile disorder.  More often than not the compulsive behaviour has escalated and it becomes increasingly difficult to hide the activity from loved ones. The effect on Partners, once discovered, is devastating. Partners feel that hidden porn use is a sexual betrayal, often wondering why their partner doesn’t want to have sex with them, but prefers to ‘act out’ alone whilst looking at others having sex. They can sadly be left feeling emotionally rejected, not attractive enough and not sexy enough. For many women the pain is no different to discovering that their partner has had real life ‘flesh and blood’ sex with another person. Lying about porn usage leads to a lack of trust in the relationship and can put the couple under a great deal of stress.

The good news is that porn addiction is treatable and even if the problem has persisted for many years – perhaps starting in adolescence – it really is possible to follow a structured treatment programme that will enable you to fully recover and to rebuild the trust that has been lost.

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