Porn Addiction; What Is It? How Can You Manage It?

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Porn addiction is often a loosely used term, and identification and treatment of an actual porn addiction may take months, if not years. In this article, we’ll break porn addiction down to its statistics, causes, signs and treatment options.


Here are a few statistics about porn you should know:

  • 25% of search engine requests are related to sex

  • 35% of downloads from the internet are pornographic

  • 70% of men aged 18 to 24 visit a porn site at least once per month

  • The largest consumer group of online porn is men between the ages of 35 and 49

  • One-third of all internet porn users are women

  • 88% of porn scenes contain physical aggression. 49% contain verbal aggression



Not everybody who watches porn has an addiction to it. Today, porn addiction, or problematic pornography use, affects approximately 5–8% of the adult population. People who are addicted to cyber-porn spend at least 11–12 hours viewing porn online every week, though this amount can be much higher.


The increasing exposure of children to internet porn also likely contributes to the rise in porn addiction. Age restrictions on porn sites often consist of no more than a button to click claiming to be 18 or older. The average age of first exposure to pornography is now only 11 years old. As many as 93.2% of boys and 62.1% of girls first see porn before they turn 18. Early exposure to porn is correlated with increased porn use and addiction later in life.


The interesting thing to note is that pornography has the power to alter your sexual preferences over time, and in cases of porn addiction, may make you completely unresponsive to regular sex. How does that work? It’s all about Dopamine.



You see Dopamine is a neurochemical that is released in the brain every time you perform an activity that increases the possibility of you or your DNA surviving. Dopamine is released when you exercise, eat healthy foods, inculcate healthy lifestyle habits, and also when you orgasm. The quantity of Dopamine released varies from activity to activity, and from sex, the release of Dopamine is the highest from any natural activity. The Dopamine rush is experienced when you have an orgasm, which is the peak of sexual pleasure. This is nature’s way of telling you, you’re doing a good job, keep doing it. In people addicted to pornography, this Dopamine rush is experienced not with actual sex, but with porn. Just like muscles (which bulk up if you exercise them more), the brain also works on the “Use it or lose it” phenomenon. The repeated dopamine rush from porn makes the brain strengthen neural connections that trigger Dopamine response to porn, and weaken connections that trigger the same response to sex. It is because of this unnatural conditioning of the brain to respond only to porn, that stops it from responding to regular sex.



Factors Influencing Porn Addiction

Biological

  • You may have a genetic predisposition to impulsivity or sensation-seeking behaviour.

  • You may have a predisposition to other characteristics that are associated with sexual addiction, like anxiety or depression.

  • As you might expect, higher levels of sex hormones like testosterone or oestrogen can affect libido. If you are inclined towards impulsive behaviour and have high levels of sex-related hormones, you may be more likely to engage in excessive or compulsive porn watching.



Psychological

  • Early-life environmental factors, including adverse events like abuse or exposure to sexual content, can contribute to some of the underlying traits involved in porn addiction behaviours.

  • Mental Health Issues:

  • Anxiety.

  • Depression.