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What is Porn Addiction?

Are You a Porn Addict?

If you’re a porn addict, you’re struggling with an ongoing, escalating pattern of porn use that’s causing problems in your life. Your addiction is best identified based on the following criteria:

  • You are obsessively preoccupied with pornography. Your use of porn has become a central life activity. When you’re with family and friends, even at fun events, you may want to leave so you can look at porn. The same is true with work and school.
  • You have lost control over your use of pornography. You say you’ll only go online for a few minutes, but then you’re on for hours. And it’s likely that you have tried to quit porn altogether, probably multiple times, only to find yourself back at it a few days later.
  • You have experienced negative consequences related to porn use – an inability to form or maintain healthy romantic relationships, problems at work or in school, loss of self-esteem, loss of interest in real-world sexual activity, social isolation, depression, anxiety, loss of interest in hobbies and other previously enjoyable activities, financial woes, legal problems, etc.

Trying (and Failing) to Quit

It is likely that, feeling shameful and remorseful, you have told repeatedly yourself, “This is the last time I am going to use porn.” You probably deleted your stash of porn, deleted memberships to porn sites, and canceled credit cards used to cover porn-related expenses. But then, a few days later, you were back at it, scrambling to reassemble your collection. It’s possible you’ve been spinning in this ‘delete and reassemble’ cycle for months on end, maybe even years.

Not All Porn Addicts Are the Same

Recently, Dr. Robert Weiss identified two distinct categories of porn addiction.

  • Traditional Porn Addicts. Many traditional porn addicts self-identify as sex addicts who struggle with porn as part of the addiction. These individuals tend to have underlying trauma issues that drive their behavior – neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, covert incest, etc. This puts traditional porn addicts in line with alcoholics, drug addicts, compulsive gamblers, and the like. In fact, there is a large body of research identifying unresolved childhood trauma as a huge risk factor for addiction (of all types).
  • ‘Digital Age’ or ‘Conditioned’ Porn Addicts. This new and rapidly expanding category of porn addicts easily meets the criteria for addiction but lacks the underlying early-life trauma that typically drives an addiction. Typically, digital age/conditioned porn addicts are individuals who start using porn at a young age (often before puberty hits) and don’t move beyond it.

Unfortunately, many (if not most) mental health and addiction professionals encountering porn addiction are unaware of these differences, thereby treating all people with porn problems using the same approach and methodology. At Seeking Integrity, we recognize that different categories of porn addiction require different approaches in treatment. To date, we are the only porn addiction treatment facility that approaches treatment in this differential way. So please, if you are struggling with porn, let us help you.

If you think you or a loved one might be porn addicted, we suggest you take this anonymous 25-question screening test. You can also contact us with questions via email or phone us at (747) 234-4325 (HEAL).

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