Pornography Addiction - Is There Hope?

Updated: May 30

In today’s digital age, many of us are all too familiar with the addiction to watching porn.

Whether through our smartphones, tablets, laptops, or other devices, we find ourselves compulsively clicking on disturbing and sexually explicit content. According to the latest statistics, approximately 28,000 individuals are watching porn at a point in time.

In this article, we're going to discuss:

  • What is a pornography addiction

  • Pornography addiction symptoms

  • Pornography addiction treatment

  • How to overcome a pornography addiction

Table of Contents

Porn addiction problems

What is pornography addiction?

Porn addiction symptoms

How to overcome pornography addiction

Pornography addiction treatment

1. Acknowledge the issue

2. Determine what fuels your addiction

3. Figure out your goal/aim

4. Determine criteria to rate your progress

5. Assess the relevance of your goal

6. Find out what stops you from pursuing your goal

7. List the personal resources at your disposal

8. Ascertain the risks involved

9. Formulate an action plan


Porn Addiction Problems

Americans spend an average of $3,000 per second on pornographic content.

As the digital era evolves, so does the way we consume content. In the past, people would have to go to specific places or buy magazines to view pornography.

However, with the advent of the internet, pornography is now just a click away.

Most people think of addiction as physical dependence on a substance like drugs or alcohol.

But addiction also includes a psychological dependence or addiction to behaviors.

Pornography is one such behavior that can become an addiction for some people. While some of us may view this as a harmless pastime, many addiction experts believe that porn addiction can be as serious as drug or alcohol addiction.

In 2018, the World Health Organization recognized compulsive sexual behaviors as a mental disorder.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with watching pornography, it can become an addiction with negative consequences for some people.

A pornography addict’s brain activity is similar to those suffering from substance abuse. Valerie Voon, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of Cambridge, discovered that porn addicts’ brains respond to erotic images the same way a drug addict’s brain responds to drugs.

This condition can lead to compulsive viewing and can negatively affect your life.

So, if you’re addicted to watching pornography, you’re not alone. It’s a compulsion that can be tough to overcome, but it’s worth it to improve your mental health and relationships.

What is pornography addiction?

Porn addiction is a compulsion to view sexual material despite negative consequences such as decreased work productivity, relationship problems, or financial difficulties.

Experts often describe porn addiction as a form of escapism.

Most people use pornography occasionally without any adverse effects. However, some people develop an addiction to porn and start using it compulsively.

Compulsive pornography use can interfere with daily life and cause relationship problems, anxiety, and depression.

If you find yourself compulsively watching porn despite your best efforts to stop, you may be struggling with an addiction.

Although it’s not always easy to admit that you have a problem, overcoming an addiction is possible with the proper support and resources.

Watching porn can make you feel uncomfortable, even ashamed. But it can also be the key to understanding and overcoming addiction to pornography.

Compulsion is at the root of addiction, and it is essential to understand that addiction is not a choice. It is a disease that hijacks the brain and leads to compulsive behaviors.

But addiction is treatable, and recovery is possible.

The first step to overcoming addiction is acknowledgment. You have to be honest with yourself about the problem.

This step can be difficult, but it is essential for making progress.

Once you have acknowledged the problem, you can begin to take steps to overcome it. Many resources are available to help you in this process, including 12-step programs and therapy.

Recovery requires hard work and dedication, but it is possible. Addiction to pornography doesn’t have to control your life.

You can overcome addiction and improve your mental health with acknowledgment and effort.

Porn addiction symptoms

Breaking habits is never easy. The first step to quitting something is to provide sufficient evidence to the brain that a particular activity can cause us more harm than good. Therefore, the first step to breaking your addiction is to realize all the negative confluences porn brings into your life.


Experts have linked pornography use to many devastating effects, including social isolation. Withdrawing from social activity is one way addicts may try to keep their addiction hidden.

They may also develop a secret life — lying to and deceiving others to maintain an unassuming facade.

The person becomes self-centered and increasingly focused on sex and pornography at the expense of personal relationships.

In some cases, people choose pornography over real-life sexual encounters with their partners. As pornography use escalates, it can negatively affect all aspects of an individual’s life.

Mental Health

Pornography is a growing problem in our society. It is becoming more and more accessible, and its effects are detrimental.

Additionally, individuals struggling with porn addiction may feel immense shame, guilt, and self-loathing due to their inability to quit viewing sexually explicit content.

Pornography has a range of other adverse effects, all of which are rooted in the fact that it sexually objectifies other people.

Addicts start considering other people as sexual objects — judging them by their appearance and what they can do for them sexually.

This habit leads to complete disrespect for other people’s privacy and insensitivity towards sexually abusive acts.

Pornography is also detrimental to healthy sexual relationships. It promotes an unrealistic view of sex that is often violent and devoid of real intimacy.

In addition, it can desensitize people to violence and pain, making them more likely to engage in harmful sexual behaviors.


Pornography addiction can be highly detrimental to our relationships, causing adverse effects for our partners to deal with and leading to broken trust and a lack of respect.

Many pornography addicts often lie to their partners about their porn use, which ultimately undermines the foundation of any relationship.

These lies often cause feelings of inadequacy and jealousy in romantic partners.

Partners of addicts may feel threatened by the addiction and wonder if the addict is having sex solely for physical gratification.

Furthermore, this deception can make your partner feel sexually threatened and disillusioned by your addiction, leading to feelings of insecurity and dissatisfaction in the relationship.

Additionally, this obsession with porn can impede healthy sexual communication within a relationship, robbing it of the joy and pleasure that comes from mutual enjoyment.

A study conducted at Brigham Young University in 2013 concluded that increased dependence on porn is related to reduced sexual satisfaction in men and their partners.

Therefore, to protect our relationships from the harmful effects of porn obsession, we must learn how to solve these problems through open communication and understanding.


Many people who watch porn experience negative emotional and physical consequences.

From a psychological standpoint, porn addiction can lead to feelings of guilt and shame.

Additionally, porn consumers may begin to lose their sense of personal integrity and self-esteem as they become more controlled by their desires for sexual imagery.

Overall, viewing porn can be harmful to mental health and relationships. The effects exacerbate any underlying issues that the user may be struggling to overcome.

Personal life

Pornography has many detrimental effects on those who consume it.

Pornography consumption often leads to sleep deprivation and exhaustion as users stay up late to view it.

This practice can lead to poor self-maintenance; users may neglect their own physical needs to watch porn. In terms of family life, pornography consumption can lead to the addict neglecting their partner and children as they become fixated on the content.

A study revealed that some of the adverse effects of porn include pessimistic feelings about themselves and neglecting other areas of their lives (Manning, 2006)

For many people struggling with porn addiction, work is often the first thing to suffer. They may become more preoccupied or begin to show a lack of motivation and an inability to focus.

Finally, finances are often negatively affected by pornography consumption. Users may spend large amounts of money purchasing pornographic material or subscribing to porn websites.

This habit can deplete financial resources that the addict could spend on other things.

How to Overcome pornography addiction

When it comes to overcoming an addiction to pornography, many factors can influence your success.

First and foremost, it is essential to understand the underlying compulsions or mental health issues driving your addiction.

Whether you are struggling with feelings of anxiety and insecurity, or compulsive behaviors such as excessive shopping or gambling, these underlying factors can serve as powerful motivators for recovery.

Another important consideration is finding the right support system to help guide you through your recovery process.

This strategy may involve working closely with a therapist or other mental health professional and joining support groups or engaging in other forms of self-care.

Additionally, it is essential to develop practical strategies for finding the motivation and willpower needed to persevere over the long haul. In short, finding the resources and tools necessary to succeed in overcoming addiction requires a lot of soul-searching and introspection.

But with dedication, commitment, and determination, you will be able to overcome this destructive addiction for good.

Pornography Addiction Treatment

1. Acknowledge the issue

The first step is to recognize that addiction is a problem. This step might seem obvious, but it’s essential to acknowledge that addiction is real and serious.

Once you’ve identified your addiction, it’s vital to seek help from family, friends, or a professional.

These people can provide support and guidance during the complicated process of recovery.

Finally, it’s crucial to develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the urges and compulsions associated with addiction.

This technique might involve exercise, journaling, or talking to a therapist.

Quitting pornography addiction is possible, but it takes time and effort. However, always know the rewards of quitting are well worth the struggle.

2. Determine what fuels your addiction

To find the motivation we need to beat addiction once and for all, we need to take a closer look at ourselves and what drives us towards pornography in the first place.

We may be tempted by instant gratification, or perhaps we have difficulty dealing with negative thoughts or emotions.

So we turn to porn for distraction. For some people, addiction develops in response to trauma or other challenging life experiences.

If this is the case for you, addressing the underlying issues can be important for addiction recovery.

Therapy can provide a safe space to explore these issues and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Whatever the reason for your addiction, the first step is always recognizing your problem and committing to overcoming it through a comprehensive recovery program that addresses all aspects of addiction.

3. Figure out your goal/aim

There are many different reasons why someone may want to overcome their addiction to pornography. For some, it may be improving their mental health and well-being.

For others, it may be about regaining control over their life and overcoming a compulsion.

No matter your goal, it is vital to find out what drives you before you can overcome this addiction.

Only by understanding your motivations can you hope to achieve your goal successfully.

There is always a reason why people start watching pornography; therefore, giving up this habit is a great challenge.

It is crucial to search deep inside yourself and figure out what your goals are to find the motivation and strength needed to overcome your addiction to pornography.

For some, this means a healthier mind and body. In contrast, for others, it may mean being able to have better relationships or improving their mental health overall.

At the heart of addiction is the compulsion to give in to our impulses and desires, no matter how destructive they may be.

4. Determine criteria to rate your progress

Knowing what you want is one thing, but attaining it demands cautious planning.

Once you have identified that you want to reduce or get rid of your addiction to pornography, it is essential to set goals to better stick to your plan.

These goals may look different for everyone, but some people might find it helpful to set a goal of watching less porn each week or quitting entirely for a set time.

Others might want to focus on talking about their addiction with someone they trust or avoiding any compulsions that bring them back to watching adult films.

No matter your goals, recovering from an addiction isn’t something you can achieve in a single try.

Recovery is a long-term state of being.

That’s why it’s crucial to set measurable targets to ensure you’re aware of important milestone achievements.

Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s crucial to find ways to stick to them.

That might mean throwing away any magazines or DVDs that contain pornography or deleting any websites that lead you back to it.

It might also mean avoiding places where you know you’ll be tempted to look at pornography, such as certain types of stores and neighborhoods.

If you do relapse, don’t beat yourself up —get back on track and continue working towards your goal.

With effort and perseverance, you can overcome your addiction and improve your mental health. So be patient with yourself, and be sure to celebrate any progress along the way.

5. Assess the relevance of your goal

For many people, the motivation to overcome addiction comes from a desire to improve their work, social, and emotional lives.

Even though giving up on porn addiction is no easy task, the benefits it will bring to your life are significant and far-reaching.

While examining the extent of this impact can be daunting, it can also serve as a powerful motivator during addiction therapy.

Eliminating your addiction improves your work and social life. It will also help you overcome mental health issues and improve your overall emotional well-being.

Overcoming addiction can improve your mental health and emotional well-being by reducing feelings of shame and guilt - freeing you from negative thoughts and destructive behaviors so that you can focus more on yourself and your loved ones.

Beating an addiction can also profoundly impact your professional life by enhancing productivity, strengthening communication skills, and improving decision-making abilities.

Additionally, quitting addiction can positively affect your social life by improving interpersonal relationships with friends and family. It’s easy to form new connections with others and bolster self-confidence when you have a clear mind.

6. Find out what stops you from pursuing your goal

When it comes to overcoming porn addiction, many people struggle with various obstacles and setbacks that prevent them from fully committing to recovery.

For some, it may be challenging to let go of old habits and behaviors. For others, it may be challenging to find the motivation and support they need to overcome their addiction for good.

Regardless of what’s holding you back, there are several key steps you can take to understand these challenges better and develop effective strategies for overcoming them.

One helpful approach is to start by identifying the triggers or events that tend to lead you back into addictive behavior.

By understanding what specifically triggers your addiction, you can work on developing strategies for avoiding those situations or addressing your reaction when they do occur.

For example, suppose you struggle when alcohol is present at bars or parties.

In that case, you might try finding new hobbies or social activities that don’t involve alcohol.

Similarly, suppose spending time on the internet tends to pull you back into thinking about using porn.

In that case, you might consider cutting down on your screen time overall or downloading a monitoring software to block specific sites.

7. List the personal resources at your disposal

One of the most critical steps in recovery is assessing all of your resources. This act helps to create a clear mental image of your support network.

It allows you to formulate an accurate and comprehensive plan for overcoming addiction.

Frequently, patients underestimate their available resources and, as a result, set themselves up for failure.

By taking stock of all the people and resources in your life, you will be better equipped to overcome addiction and improve your overall well-being.

This list should include key people in one’s life who support recovery and addiction treatment professionals and other activities or pursuits that promote mental and physical health.

Addiction to pornography steals time, energy, and attention away from these things, so it is essential to make them a priority in early addiction recovery.

In addition to attending therapy sessions, take some time each week to schedule activities that bring joy, peace, and relaxation into your life.

These activities might include hiking with a friend, taking a dance class, or simply sitting in nature and savoring the silence.

As you create this list and stick to your addiction recovery plan, you will feel more in control of your life and addiction.

8. Ascertain the risks involved

When it comes to addiction and recovery, there are always risks involved in giving up something to which you are addicted.

The most significant risk for many people addicted to pornography is the fear of the unknown.

Will I be able to overcome my addiction? What will my life be like without pornography?

These are valid concerns that can often contribute to a person’s decision to continue using pornography despite the negative consequences it may be having on their life.

There are many risks associated with giving up porn addiction.

The most immediate and obvious ones have to do with addiction itself. Addiction is a powerful force, and giving up an addiction can be incredibly difficult.

These difficulties can include physical risks (withdrawal symptoms) and mental risks (such as relapsing into old behavior patterns).

Finally, there’s the risk that, without addiction, other problems that the addiction has hidden will come to the surface.