Porn Addiction: Is it a Serious Issue?

January 24, 2020
Porn addiction has increased with the rise of new technologies. Its easily accessible, anonymous, and affordable. Believe it or not, its dependence is more common than you would think.

Most people use the Internet regularly as a source of information and a means of communication and socialization. In the last decade, going online to look for pornography has become more and more common (Mayer, 2011).

For most people, the use of pornography is entertaining. However, for others, it’s a habit that gives rise to out-of-control behaviors (Gola, 2016). This, as a consequence, can lead the person to suffer from porn addiction.

Pornography is the audiovisual material that explicitly presents sexual and genital activities between one, two, or more people. Their aim is to excite the viewer.

The arrival of new technologies has given rise to an increase in their use. Thanks to this, porn addiction has certainly become more common among individuals. This is because we now have much easier, faster, and apparently anonymous access to it.

According to Joyce (2008), it’s been proven that regulating online pornography is quite a difficult task for legislators and the international community. The reason for this has to do with its volatile nature, as well as with the very changing electronic environment it resides in.

A man using his computer.

More details about porn

Peter and Valkenburg (2010) define pornography as the sexually explicit material produced professionally, whose main goal is to sexually excite the viewer.

Those suffering from porn addiction can spend long periods of time viewing images, videos, and other pornographic material. As a result, this may lead to social isolation, severe depression, neurosis, and unpredictable mood changes.

The consumption of online pornography is so widespread in Western society that many boys and girls start doing it around the age of 10. Although it doesn’t seem to be a problem in itself, the truth is that various pieces of research show that its abuse causes harmful effects on the brain.

First of all, users don’t need to sign up on a website in order to have access to it. This, of course, makes it easily accessible. At first glance, it seems that there are no downsides to porn. However, we can say it has both positive and negative aspects. For one, it can spice up couples’ sexual lives. When it comes to negative aspects, we must mention relationship issues, family problems, addiction, and loss of control.

Online pornography supports voyeurism, the visualization of any type of practice, and the use of real non-professional models. But not only that, it’s possible to spy the viewer’s behavior through IP codes of the porn website. Websites full of sexual content seem to be powered by the “Triple-A” engine: accessibility, anonymity, affordability.

When are we speaking of porn addiction?

Porn addicts eventually get the desire to practice everything they see. Actually, this happened to American serial killer Ted Bundy (Michaud and Aynesworth, 2000). Porn addicts who don’t have a sexual partner may find it difficult to relate to people of the opposite sex. They may suffer from severe depression, guilt, and social isolation.

These people generally find it hard to own up to their addiction, to the point of justifying and hiding their behavior. This, of course, makes it all the more difficult for them to get professional help. After all, they don’t think it’s a serious issue.

On the other hand, porn addicts who do have a partner may become disappointed in the relationship. This may come as a result of realizing that their partner doesn’t have the same attitudes of the actors in the scenes.

Velasco, A. and Gil, V. (2017) conducted an investigation where they concluded that pornography addiction could give rise to physical and psychological problems that are comparable with those produced by the addiction to cocaine, marijuana, and other psychoactive substances.

A man suffering from porn addiction using his computer in bed.

Are there strategies to fight porn addiction?

Some strategies that would help prevent and fight porn addiction in children, teens, and adults are the following:

  • Avoid listening and viewing explicit sexual content in audiovisual media (Internet, radio, magazines, and newspapers, among others).
  • Prevent children and teenagers from accessing the Internet in closed spaces (install anti-pornographic programs on computers and mobile devices).
  • Play sports or recreational activities.
  • Lead an active social and spiritual life.
  • In extreme cases, go to a psychotherapist or a professional specialized in sexual addictions.

In any case, the first advisable measure for people to recover from their porn addiction is to seek help from a professional (psychologist/psychotherapist). This will be the person’s best bet in order to find a solution to their problem.

“A widespread taste for pornography means that nature is alerting us to some threat of extinction.”

-J. G. Ballard-

Feregrino, D. L. (2017). Así en el porno como en las drogas. Sobre la neurobiología de la adicción al porno.

Gola, M. (2016). Decreased LPP for sexual images in problematic pornography users may be consistent with
addiction models. Everything depends on the model. (Commentary on Prause, Steele, Staley, Sabatinelli,
& Hajcak, 2015). Biological Psychology, 117.

Joyce, R. A. (2008). Pornography and the Internet. IEEE Internet Computing, 12(4), 74-77.

Mayer, M. A. (2011). La utilización de Internet entre los adolescentes, riesgos y beneficios. Atención Primaria,
43(6), 287–288.

Michaud, S. G., & Aynesworth, H. (2000). Ted Bundy: Conversations with a killer. Texas: Authorlink.

Sánchez Zaldívar, S., & Iruarrizaga Díez, I. (2009). Nuevas dimensiones, nuevas adicciones: la adicción al sexo en internet. Psychosocial Intervention18(3), 255-268.

Velasco, A., & Gil, V. (2017). La adicción a la pornografía: causas y consecuencias. Drugs and Addictive Behavior2(1), 122-130.