Porn Addiction is Sex Addiction: 6 Signs That You Need Help

Women’s relationships with porn have typically been contentious; it can be misunderstood and feel like a threat to women in relationships. Pornography has evolved though and is now practically considered mainstream media, especially internet porn. It’s free, easily accessible, anonymous and unlimited. Porn is not only less taboo than it’s been in decades previous, but it’s openly enjoyed by women too.

Porn-ormalcy for Women

Amanda de Cadenet, a contributing editor for Marie Claire, explored the porn culture among women in her two-year documentary project on the subject. In her study of more than 3,000 women, 31 percent watched porn every week or so, 90 percent watched internet porn and of those women who watched porn with their partner, 54 percent also watched alone and often.

Exposing women’s desires to watch porn can feel liberating and a way to embrace modern-day female sexuality. But if women are increasingly enjoying porn (and frequently), then subsequently women are also susceptible to developing pornography addiction just like men, a common type of sex addiction.

6 Red Flags of Porn Addiction

Medical Daily defines porn as problematic “when it starts to interfere with your everyday life.” Project Know, an online resource dedicated to treating addiction, identifies this form of sex addiction as a “behavioral addiction” with an insatiable compulsion to view explicit content. You may crave it, hide it, think nonstop about it and feel your life revolves around it. Your consumption of the material has reached an unhealthy level if you experience any of the following signs. These red flags indicate that you may be developing a pornography addiction in need of professional counseling and online therapy.

1. Increasingly Withdrawn

For addicts, watching porn is a secret. You may feel guilty or ashamed; your self-esteem declines. Porn may start to consume you to the point that you become isolated — seeking more and more porn over spending time with loved ones, and then finding it harder to find pleasure in everyday life. This can lead to anxiety disorder and depression, which intensifies a disconnection from others.

Example: You decline social events to stay at home alone with your laptop and feel bad about it.

2. Choose the Internet Over Anyone/Anything Else (Including Sleep)

Your partner, friends and family have questioned the amount of time you spend online. You can’t seem to satiate your cravings and continue to increase your screen time. The obsession to watch becomes all-encompassing and your only priority.

Example: You wake up in the middle of the night to get your fix. The sun comes up and you still can’t stop.

3. Emotionally Unavailable

Addicts are so fixated on watching porn that there’s no attention left for relationships. With porn as the focus of your life, you may become emotionally absent and disinterested in anything but the next moment you can access the internet.

Example: You’re on a date night at a movie and can’t stop counting down the minutes until you can get home to your ritual.

4. Lack of Interest in Sex & Low Sexual Attraction

Porn becomes your hobby, passion, best friend and now, new lover. Watching porn stars on screen is more sexually gratifying than real sex. Porn addicts may also become critical of their partner’s body or appearance, explains Hypersexual Disorders, which causes their sexual attraction to nose-dive. As your sex drive lowers, so does your partner’s self-esteem.

Example: You and your partner’s sex frequency becomes a heated topic. You’re barely aroused and just go through the motions during sex.

5. Sexually Incompatible

Over time, you explore more explicit types of porn to meet your needs. You may find that “traditional” porn is no longer pleasurable as you cross over into other more extreme pornographic areas. This translates poorly into your (non-existent) sex life.

Example: You prefer outrageous sexual fantasies over real-life intimacy. Your partner becomes a stranger.

6. Lying & Deceit

Your porn obsession really starts to spiral out of control when you catch yourself lying — about watching it, how often and why you’re distant. Not only is your relationship dissolving, but your honesty is disintegrating too. Feeling defensive or afraid that your partner will ask you to stop can lead to this habitual lying.

Example: You leave late for work or come home early to watch porn. You lie about your work schedule and that your job is on the line.

Recovery is Possible

Recovery from sex addiction is possible. The first step is to restore your relationship and gain control over your pornography addiction — and your life — is to truly want to. Next, open up to your partner and be honest that your strong urges overcome any attempt to stop. Project Know provides a list of statements, and if you agree with any of these, then treatment may be necessary. Ask your partner to become your support system as you seek online therapy at ThriveTalk.com. Remote counseling is a convenient way to connect with a certified therapist. Make an appointment and start your journey to recovery.

If you feel that a porn addiction is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
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