How to Tell If Your Porn Habit is Out of Control

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Like many other so-called “bad habits,” pornography isn’t a problem unless it is causing problems in your life.

If you eat a big bowl of ice cream every night and can’t get your weight under control, maybe you need to cut back on the ice cream. If you are watching so much fantasy sex that it is affecting your real sex life with your real-life partner, that could mean you are watching too much.

The secret habit

In the old days finding pornographic films took a lot of effort. Today, every imaginable type of porn is available online and usually free. It makes up 13 percent of Internet traffic. So while there is still a stigma attached to the practice, a lot of people are watching pornography. We just don’t talk about it. Some consider it shameful, while others think it shouldn’t exist at all.

For most people, porn is an occasional, somewhat guilty pleasure. If all that happens is you orgasm and get some new ideas for techniques or positions, I call that healthy. The trouble comes when you cannot control the habit, you feel bad about it, or think you need professional intervention to stop.

Pornography and sexual dysfunction

Research has connected pornography to problems with arousal, attraction and sexual performance. Internet porn in large quantities can dull the brain’s reward response, similar to how narcotics affect our brains. So the more porn you watch, the more you need to feel satisfied, and the less satisfied you are with normal-people sex.

An estimated 3 to 6 percent of people have a sex addiction, and pornography is thought to play a role.
You may be watching too much porn if…

  • You aren’t satisfied with an hour or two of porn
  • You look at porn at the office or in the car
  • You use porn as a stress-reliever
  • You prefer video porn to sex with a ready and willing partner
  • You use porn when you are in a bad mood, anxious or lonely
  • You stay up late watching porn when you need to be sleeping
  • You turn to porn when you are mad at your spouse
  • You look for ever more edgy videos, or look for types of sex that can only be found online
  • You can’t get an erection without porn

Many of these behaviors could indicate that you are using porn to self-medicate instead of dealing with issues that need your attention.

Getting back to moderation

Figuring out why you are watching so much pornography is a good first step to curbing the habit. The next step is to replace the porn with something healthier. If you turn to porn when you are stressed, for example, you can’t just take away your stress reliever. But you can replace it with something more productive, like working out, meditating or talking with a therapist.
Real connections are ultimately a lot more satisfying than internet ones, so making plans with live humans is a great way to stop defaulting to porn.

Blocking your device with FamiSafe or another app can also be effective. Just like with the ice cream; if it isn’t in the house, you are a lot less likely to get up from the couch, get in the car, and drive to Dairy Queen. Let someone you trust set the password on the app.

When it’s time to see a sex therapist about your excessive porn habits
If none of the above tactics work, you might need professional help.