Asking Yourself, Am I Addicted to Porn? Here’s How To Know

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    Very few men ever ask themselves – “Am I addicted to porn?” Even in a counseling session discussing the ways porn is causing problems for them it’s extremely hard for men to link porn and addiction together, and then apply that concept to themselves.

    Most people believe there’s nothing wrong with porn. And since it’s harmless and normal for guys to watch you certainly can’t become addicted to it. Yet many men are addicted to porn and don’t even know it.

    DON’T KNOW HOW TO STOP WATCHING PORN – CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT

    It takes a professional like myself to ask the question,

    “Could you possibly be addicted to porn?”

    The typical response to my asking that question is an immediate,

    "No.”

    Then when I point out the length and frequency of their history viewing it, the typical pattern of stopping and starting again and again, and the broken promises to their partner that they’ll stop and I usually get,

    “Really? You really think I’m addicted to porn?”

    My response is,

    “Yes, shouldn’t you think so too?”

    When Porn Becomes An Addiction

    Let’s start by defining addiction. An addiction is the repetitive or compulsive use of a substance or participation in an activity despite the damaging effect to yourself or others.

    The key part of this definition is repetitive. But this doesn’t have to mean frequent, such as daily. You can have an addiction that repeats every 6 months.

    The other important element is that it’s damaging. However, this doesn’t mean you recognize the damage. In fact, a common element of an addiction is that you either don’t see the negative effects or deny them.

    Why am I addicted to porn when I have it all? Young wife, great kids, new promotion at work... (and on my work phone). Why do I risk it all?” -Colin

    A man I’m counseling right now is willing to admit he’s addicted to porn. Despite the jeopardy it’s put his marriage in, he’s not sure he wants to give it up. Part of his response is understandable and common when you consider the appeal porn can have and its addictive nature.

    Nearly all men don’t want to give up looking at porn, but most after getting caught are at least willing to consider how they may need to change the behavior in some way.

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    What makes this guy a bit unique is that he’s vocalizing the inner thoughts most men have but won’t admit – preferring porn over sex with their partner. And he’s weighing whether he wants to stay married and live without porn to satisfy his wife, or get divorced and keep porn. At the moment, this is a difficult decision for him.

    I may just prefer masturbation over sex.”

    Difference Between A Porn Addict And Sex Addict

    Being addicted to porn is extremely common among men today. What has become accepted by many as “normal guy behavior” is actually often an addiction.

    As we discussed above, the definition of an addiction has two key elements – repetition and damaging. Most guys will admit, at least to me, that there’s a repetitive pattern to their porn viewing. But they’ll down play it with a statements like,

    “It’s not every day.”

    “I can stop any time I want.”

    What they won’t admit and usually don’t see is the damaging effects porn has on themselves, their partner, or others they love. This lack of knowledge and denial is a big part of how porn viewing becomes an addiction and yet is justified as normal.

    So, what’s the difference between a porn addiction and sex addiction?

    A man’s attraction to seeing a woman naked is normal. A porn addiction takes this appeal and puts it on steroids, multiplying it 10-100 times. A sex addiction is a porn addiction on steroids, multiplying it 10-100 times.

    FIND OUT IF YOUR PARTNER IS HAVING A MIDLIFE CRISIS

    Here’s an example of how a porn addiction can begin to grow into a sex addiction:

    From the outside looking in we look like a perfect pair. However, 2 years ago I had noticed a huge distance in my husband. By looking through his phone, I uncovered a "sexting" app where he was having conversations with women and exchanging pictures. I immediately confronted him and he confessed to being "addicted" to porn and that it got out of hand. With work on both of our parts, we have gotten through it, or so I thought. However, the other day we had an issue with him going over our data usage on the phone bill. I confronted him and he confessed (after I threatened to go through every piece of his phone) that he had looked at porn a few times. I obviously don't believe him. My question is can a porn addict watch porn casually or will it eventually turn into a problem again?” -Liz

    Sexting has become extremely common today. While sexting isn’t a healthy behavior, or wise, it in and of itself doesn’t indicate a sex addiction. But it can be a step towards one.

    What Liz’s husband illustrates is the progressive nature of a sex addiction. Porn isn’t enough anymore, so he starts sexting. If he truly is developing a sex addiction, then sexting won’t satisfy after a while and he’ll seek out more, such as having actual sex with someone other than his wife.

    Here are a few common sex addiction symptoms from an article I wrote about it (read more sex addiction symptoms):

    • Preoccupation with sex.
    • Sexual thoughts and behavior that is compulsive, secretive, inappropriate, and even dangerous.
    • Using sex to cope with uncomfortable feelings or life.
    • Feelings of happiness or self-worth are dependent upon sex.
    • Feeling shame, anger, or self-hatred about sexual behavior.
    • Feel powerless to stop, and often having a history of failed attempts to stop sexual acting out.

    A porn addiction typically is a secretive, individual activity that is mostly just about the solitary viewing of nudity and sex acts. Although chat and webcam interaction are possible, neither one is a primary format. Masturbation while viewing porn is common, but porn doesn’t involve sex with another person.

    A sex addiction on the other hand involves others. Strip clubs, massage parlors, prostitutes, hookups, swinging or threesomes are common elements. The focus is on having sex and actually engaging in various sex acts, not just viewing sex as with porn. It is even more self-focused than a porn addiction, as others are directly used and their purpose is viewed solely to satisfy one’s own sexual pleasure (even more so than with porn).

    Are You Really Addicted To Porn?

    If you’re reading this because you’re asking yourself, “Am I addicted to porn?”, what do you think so far? You’ve read the stories about other guys who are, so what parts fit for you?

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    You’ll likely not know the answer to this question for certain without having an assessment done by a porn addiction specialist like myself. It can be really hard to see some of the patterns and elements that make it an addiction when you’re looking at yourself.

    Even though we may not know for sure whether or not we truly have an addiction, we do have a sense of whether viewing porn has become a problem.

    • Have you fought with your partner about watching porn?
    • Do you feel some level of embarrassment or shame about it?
    • Does porn rob you of time that could be better spent?

    If we’re truly honest with ourselves, we’ll have at least a sense that porn has either become a problem or even possibly an addiction.

    What To Do When Your Partner Won’t Admit They’re Addicted To Porn

    A lot of readers of this article are likely not going to be the person asking about themselves, but rather be a partner or loved one asking for someone they care about.

    Just like I just said above to the person asking this question about themselves, you may see some of the signs in your loved one, but also be uncertain for sure if he’s truly addicted to porn.

    One of the most common situations is believing your partner is addicted, or at least has a serious problem with porn, but he won’t admit it. So, what do you do then?

    Here’s an example of how challenging this situation can be:

    I have been dating and engaged to a man for four years who is addicted to porn in my opinion. In his words he has been watching it in every conceivable way since he was 12 or so. When we started dating I didn't know he was doing it until he let me use his computer for school and I decided to look at some of his pictures, there I found a plethora of porn type pictures and sites. I was floored and hurt beyond compare!! I let it go for some time but was consumed by the fact that it was there so I mentioned it. He told me it was no big deal and that all guys do it and I was being ridiculous. Through out the next four years we have had countless arguments over it and broken up so many times over it and gotten back together, him always promising that he's stopped and won't do it again. I always end up finding it again in the end. I would look on his phone and find it constantly so as a result he has locked his phone up saying he has stopped and won't unlock his phone till I learn to trust him. I respond by saying I don't know how to trust him when he has lied about it for years and has the phone locked. In my opinion if he has stopped then he should not be locking his phone up. I should be able to check and see if it is still there. I should mention that without the porn and bikini type nonsense he looks at he is a wonderful man. He makes me laugh and is great with my kids and very active with all of the household chores and goings on. Since he has started a new job recently the men he works with are all porn perverts. It is all over the wall of the shop and they constantly show him web sites and pictures he should look at and go to. He continuously says its just a guy thing and doesn't understand why I can't grow up and learn to deal with it. He has recently yelled at me and said he doesn't care how I feel about it and that he will look at it anytime he wants. This is a problem I do not trust him that he has stopped and that he won't do it because of the men he works with and his past actions. I have in the past also found an additional phone that he has looked at porn on most likely to hide it from me and keep his main phone clear of it. I'm devastated and very hurt. It has made me feel ugly and not worthy, being a very attractive woman I don't understand why he needs it. I have a very healthy sex drive and give it up and want sex whenever he is interested so why does he continue to do this to me?? He says I have way too many rules about it and that it should not be a big deal but it is huge!! It affects me everyday. It's all I can think about. I am consumed with trying to find his password out to get into his phone and see if he is still doing it and it’s just ridiculous I want my life back!! I want him to stop but he doesn't think he has a problem and will not get help. Is he addicted to porn? What do I do? Do I just end this long relationship over porn and bikini garbage or try and convince him we need counseling. Help me please, I feel like I am developing depression over this and I do not want to live this way and also don't want to give up on our love, but it's been a long four years of lies, disrespect and secrets that I do not see an end to." -Alesha

    What should Alesha do? One thing is she should remember that every day she makes a choice to either stay or leave. And each day she can make a different choice from the one she made the day before.

    But what else? She’s decided to stay for now. Here are 5 things she can do to start (and you can too):

    1. Don’t use labels like “porn perverts.” Or “porn addiction.” Or “sex addict.” Labels that people view as negative can trigger defensive responses. No one likes to view themselves negatively, so rather than get him to admit he’s an “addict” let’s just work to get him to acknowledge he could change his behavior.
    2. Stop nagging him to stop looking and get help. Acknowledge to yourself that this approach hasn’t worked and stop.
    3. Don’t force it. He needs to ask the question, “Am I addicted to porn?” for himself, and not have you tell him the answer. For him to properly and effectively deal with this problem he needs to come to this conclusion himself. Most often this requires speaking with an expert like myself and hearing it from an authority figure, and then getting help in learning how.
    4. Focus on describing the negative effects“You never want sex anymore.” “You never touch me.” “You’re grumpy and angry a lot” (Yes, porn can cause anger, particularly for men who feel guilty about it). “We don’t trust each other anymore.”
    5. Read the other articles I’ve written on porn and the in-depth article I wrote on the different elements of porn addiction. Getting yourself better educated on the problem can make you better equipped to respond.

    It’s important to note that even though everything I’ve wrote has been about men, the same applies for women too. Both men and women are capable of becoming addicted to porn.

    Although it’s much more common among men, it’s possible that you could be a woman reading this article wondering also, “Am I addicted to porn?” If you’re a woman, read about another woman’s real-life porn addiction.

    LEARN FROM OTHERS WITH THE SAME PROBLEM – FIND OUT WHAT WORKED FOR THEM

    Asking if you could be addicted to porn is difficult to do, and finding the honest answer is even harder. So, congratulations for having the courage to at least ask the question. Next comes getting to the truthful answer. And then if the answer is, yes, what are you going to do about it? Remember, even if you aren’t addicted, porn can still be a problem that needs your attention.

    Are you wondering if you’re addicted to porn? Do you wonder if your partner is? Share a little about your story and other readers will likely respond.

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