5 Surprising Side Effects Of Porn Addiction You Didn't Know

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Why Porn Addiction Is A Health Concern

While porn can be a means of education or an outlet for sexual urges, addiction can affect one's daily functioning. It can trigger intense feelings of guilt, shame, or despair, eventually leading to depression, seclusion, and low self-esteem. It can affect sexual relationships and the quality of one's sex life. It can also indicate sexual addiction and lead to risky sexual and professional behavior.

Signs of porn addiction

 

  • You feel unable to stop using porn. When you’re not watching porn, you’re thinking about it and when you’d indulge next.
  • You try to hide or cover up your porn usage.
  • Your organize your life to accommodate the porn viewing.
  • You feel you have to watch porn even at the cost of your work and relationships.
  • You feel excited initially; then you feel guilty, remorseful, and ashamed.
  • You get feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem, or despair.1

Whether or not you believe in the power of erotica, the American Psychological Association says porn consumption rates are upward of 30% among women and 50% or more among men.2

While for some it is a means to educate themselves, for others it is a vent for sexual fantasies. But if this fascination turns to an addiction, you may be in trouble.

Watch out for the signs that could indicate a transition from a habit or “interest” in porn to an addiction.

Here’s a look at the 5 possible side effects of porn addiction.

1. Depression

One of the big problems with porn addiction is that it could be contributing to a more deep-seated problem that needs attention and medical care – such as depression. As one piece of research found, those who used sexually explicit media had higher depressive symptoms as well as diminished mental health days and reported an overall poorer quality of life compared to those who did not use such media, better known as porn.3

One way to combat any addiction is to identify the triggers. First find out what makes you want to indulge in porn. Is it stress? Loneliness? Then find a way to avoid the triggers.

If this depression and the porn addiction are not addressed, the individual could suffer far graver health consequences both mental and physical. In fact, one feature in a men’s health magazine says that “at-risk users” may even be using porn to escape their pre-existing feelings of loneliness or stress. And as you’ll well know, that can’t possibly end very happily.

2. Low Self-Esteem

You may not be able to quit porn at one go. But if you are able to check yourself from giving in even when faced with a trigger, your self-esteem will rise.

Before and during porn use, an addict is likely to feel a rush of excitement. Unfortunately, after the consumption of sexual media, negative feelings begin to set in. These could manifest as intense guilt or shame. The user may feel remorse or even sink into depression. All of these combine to hit their self-esteem and eventually turn them into a recluse.4

3. Relationship Issues And Poor Sex Life

When you indulge in porn too much, it can make a dent in relationships with your real-life sexual partners. For one thing, viewing porn for masturbation, which is a solitary exercise, can draw you away from your sexual partners. For another, porn sets up unrealistic expectations for women to live up to.

Confide in someone who will not judge you – your partner or a friend. Report to them your daily successes and lapses. Just make sure you are completely honest and pay for each lapse by doing what you don’t like – say doing the dishes or mowing the lawn.

And that’s precisely what one survey found when they interviewed female college students who thought their boyfriends’ consumption of porn was excessive. The relationship quality was perceived to be poorer. The women also had lower self-esteem and they said their sexual satisfaction was below par.5

Another study found that for men too, quality of sexual life dropped when they indulged in porn use.6 Men in relationships who are addicted to porn may also become emotionally withdrawn and distance themselves from their partner. They may become more secretive and less intimate in a bid to cover up their habit.7

Interestingly, studies have also found that when couples watch porn together, the quality of sex life goes for both partners.8

4. Risky Behavior

There are broader social repercussions of porn addiction too. If an addict goes unchecked, they could begin indulging in potentially risky behavior. They may put their education or job on the line. Some may go so far that they actually lose their jobs or suffer financial losses to fund their porn addiction and to make time available to indulge in porn at the cost of their job and responsibilities.

5. Sexual Addiction

If sex addiction is the underlying cause for your porn addiction, it’s best to consult a certified therapist. Like every other addiction, this too has withdrawal effects.

For some people, porn addiction may just be the tip of the iceberg. Sexual addiction could be an underlying cause of this porn addiction. And if that’s the case, then they stand to also put themselves at risk of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. That’s besides being faced with potentially failed marriages, declining performance at work, or other negative consequences in their lives as a whole. Porn consumption actually becomes an easy outlet for the sexual urges of those with an addiction to sex itself.9

There is also a debate on whether excessive porn viewing can lead to sexual violence. Several studies have found a link between rape or domestic violence and porn addiction. Others have argued that it is difficult to point to a clear causal relationship given that most people watch porn but do not resort to such behavior.

While you can enjoy the occasional indulgence, make sure porn doesn’t become a habit that rules your very existence.

References   [ + ]

1.Pornography Addiction. UT Dallas Student Counselling Center.
2, 7.Is pornography addictive?. American Psychological Association.
3.Weaver III, James B., Stephanie Sargent Weaver, Darren Mays, Gary L. Hopkins, Wendi Kannenberg, and Duane McBride. “Mental‐and physical‐health indicators and sexually explicit media use behavior by adults.” The journal of sexual medicine 8, no. 3 (2011): 764-772.
4.Pornography Addiction. UT Dallas Student Counselling Center.
5.Stewart, Destin N., and Dawn M. Szymanski. “Young adult women’s reports of their male romantic partner’s pornography use as a correlate of their self-esteem, relationship quality, and sexual satisfaction.” Sex Roles 67, no. 5-6 (2012): 257-271.
6.Poulsen, Franklin O., Dean M. Busby, and Adam M. Galovan. “Pornography use: Who uses it and how it is associated with couple outcomes.” Journal of sex research 50, no. 1 (2013): 72-83.
8.Bridges, Ana J., and Patricia J. Morokoff. “Sexual media use and relational satisfaction in heterosexual couples.” Personal Relationships 18, no. 4 (2011): 562-585.
9.Cassidy, Tabitha. “Pornography Addiction and Mental Health Disorders.” (2013).

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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