Is Pornography "Really" Addictive? You Decide

Is Pornography "Really" Addictive? You Decide




There has been much argue about whether pornography is addictive or not. This billion dollar business is changing our society. So what is your take? Is it addictive or not?

After sitting in my chair as a marriage and family therapist, I have heard too many stories from clients to not consider pornography as something that can be addictive.

So what exactly is the criteria for calling something addictive? The following comes from my book, “Treating Pornography Addiction: The basic Tools for Recovery.”

Criteria for Pornography Addiction

  • Recurrent failure to resist impulses to view pornography
  • More extensive/longer viewing of pornography than intended
  • current, but unsuccessful, efforts to stop, reduce, or control behavior
  • excessive amount of time spent obtaining pornography, and/or being sexual
  • Feeling preoccupied with fantasy, sexualized thoughts, and/or preparatory activities
  • Viewing pornography takes meaningful time away from obligations: occupational, academic, domestic, or social
  • Continuation of behavior despite consequences (e.g. losing a job, marital problems)
  • Tolerance–more frequent or intense pornography is needed over time to acquire the desired consequence
  • Deliberately limiting social, occupational, or as a hobby activities in order to keep time open for finding and viewing pornography
  • Distress, restlessness, or irritability if unable to view pornography (withdrawal symptoms)

observe: This criteria was alternation from Dr. Patrick Carnes work on sexual addiction.

After reviewing this list, do think that if someone was involved in these behaviors they would have an addiction to pornography?

Here’s what some direct quotes from individuals who have taken my online test “Assessing Pornography Addiction.”

Question: Do you feel that you are addicted to pornography. If so please explain your answer.

Yes, I know that I am but I don’t do anything about it because I fear the consequences of bringing it into the light. I have had varied times of what I would call victory in breaking my addiction to porn and acting out but I often go back to these things when life becomes overwhelming for me.

I use hours seeking it out or downloading it when I am alone…I’m a collector-I would fill up 250g of porn on my computer just to have a collection. It’s mostly habit in addition I enjoy the orgasms better after viewing it for extended periods of time. I feel like it is addictive because I find reasons to justify it like its normal when I know it is not.

These are just two of hundreds and hundreds of responses I have received over the past two years. Is pornography addictive? To these individuals there is no question about it.

Perhaps the issue isn’t whether pornography is addictive or not, rather how much of one’s life is spent viewing pornography or seeking out sexual activities. With this idea in mind, I wrote “Assessing Pornography Addiction” an online test that evaluates individuals involvement in pornography. I produced seven levels to describe how much pornography in influencing a persons life. I believe by using levels based on a continuum format we can more precisely describe someone’s level of involvement.

So what can a person do if they feel like they have an addiction to pornography? Here’s three suggestions:

  1. let in the problem–talking with someone about what is happening is a very good beginning. Many people are afraid to seek help because they feel that they will be judged. My experience is that when you are open about the problem, the healing course of action begins. Regarding this idea Dr. David Viscot said, “If you lived honestly, your life would heal itself.”

  2. Get knowledge–People who succeed in overcoming any addiction have to learn the skills. They read books, attend counseling, talk with others who have conquer an addiction. basically they learn themselves out of their addiction. Did you know that most people conquer addictions? For a reference on this see Dr. Stanton Peele’s book “7 Tools to Beat Addiction.”

  3. Get a sustain group around you–Perhaps the most powerful tool you will find in overcoming any addiction is a good sustain group. As a therapist I have observed that my clients who succeed have a great sustain group around them. I cannot press this enough. sustain can be family, a religious leader, a friend, sustain recovery group, a sponsor, etc. My belief is that the more sustain you have around you the more likely you are to succeed.



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