Quitting Porn Addiction

Compulsive use of Pornography

Porn is a normal part of the sexual lives of some couples. So, pornography, as such, doesn’t have to lead to addiction or cause problems in a person’s everyday life and relationships.

But, like with anything else, too much pornography may be problematic, especially if your porn habits start causing difficulties in daily activities.

Pornography Addiction

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a complex condition that affects a person’s cognitive functioning and physical, mental, and emotional health. Like any other addiction, porn addiction may have negative effects on one’s relationships, career, education, and overall quality of life.

Addiction To Pornography

Addictive substances and behaviours activate the reward and reinforcement pathways in the brain.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends messages between neurons and helps control attention, motivation, learning, and emotional responses. When activated by addictive behaviour, this “feel good” hormone floods the brain and bloodstream, making you feel good, creating the feeling of being “high,” and motivating you to repeat the pleasurable behaviour.

Research shows that you may become addicted to this physical reaction in the same way that you become addicted to alcohol and drugs.

Over time, the body gets used to these addictive highs, just like it does with drugs. So, as your threshold for pleasure increases, you will feel anxious and depressed when you are not engaging in addictive behaviour.

And you’ll have to do more extreme porn to get the same effects. This turns the original “high” feeling into porn addiction.

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Healthy Use vs Pornography Addiction

Some couples use pornography as a healthy sexual habit pleasurable for both partners, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Your pornography habits are healthy if you and your partner both enjoy watching it. Also, porn can be good for your relationship if it makes you feel more sexually satisfied, helps you explore your sexual fantasies, and improves your relationship.

However, when you become too dependent on pornography to the point where it interferes with your daily life and relationships, this might be a sign of porn addiction.

Porn Addiction Symptoms

Excessive use of pornography might lead to addiction. Here are some common signs that your porn habits are becoming unhealthy and addictive:

  • You watch porn secretly when your partner is not around
  • Your sex life has become less satisfying
  • You feel ashamed or guilty after viewing porn, but you can’t stop doing so
  • Your porn habits cause relationship issues
  • Over time, you need more explicit or taboo content to feel satisfied
  • Porn habits are causing problems at work and in social life
  • Your porn habits are becoming a financial burden
  • You neglect self-care (eating, sleeping, etc.) to watch porn
  • You engage in risky behaviours to watch porn
  • You use pornography to cope with mental health challenges such as stress, anxiety, or sadness.

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Porn Addiction Treatment: How Couples Counseling Can Help

Stopping any addiction is difficult without support. Individual therapy or couples counselling can be a safe place to understand the reasons for your porn addiction, address unmet sexual needs, and learn strategies for dealing with emotional distress and overcoming addiction.

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In addition, psychosexual couples therapy can be a great way to understand each other on a deeper level, discuss your values and sex desires, build trust, and feel better about yourself and your relationship.

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