Symptoms of Pornography Addiction

porn addiction

No exact diagnosis and set of symptoms is recognized as pornography addiction by a consensus of the medical community. However, there is a useful standard that may apply.

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In a ruling on an obscenity case in 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Steward famously said, "…hardcore pornography" is hard to define, “but I know it when I see it.” Pornography addiction is hard to define, but it seems an apt description for some of the behaviors.

With this in mind, these are the common symptoms that lead people to seek help:

Secretive actions
The use of pornography requires a secretive, hidden set of actions that would cause difficulties if discovered. This isn’t just seeking privacy for masturbation, but includes concealing the amount and type of pornography viewed.
Money problems
Financial difficulties, such as maxed-out credit cards or secret accounts.
Changes in sleep patterns
Sleep schedule changes in the pursuit of more, or a specific type of pornography.
Neglecting family
Neglecting loved ones or obligations (to spouse or family) because of pornography.
Guilt
Strong and disturbing sense of guilt at amount or type of porno.
Risk motivated
Risk taking to procure ‘forbidden’ images.

The key element that separates addictive or compulsive behavior from simple excess is the demonstrated harm. This can be harm to the individual or those around them. Often, the wakeup comes in the form of a spouse or girlfriend who senses the withdrawal and lack of intimacy that a porn addiction creates.

Currently, the idea of tolerance and increasing dosage is controversial. Whether porn addiction progresses into more graphic or ‘disgusting’ images to achieve the same level of arousal is disputed. Simple boredom with the standard set of sex acts or curiosity may explain why some users venture into areas they once thought “over the top.”

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