Am I Addicted to Porn? 6 Symptoms of Porn Addiction

“Am I addicted to porn? I like porn, but feel like I can stop anytime, so am I addicted? What are the signs and symptoms of porn addiction?

Many people who struggle with pornography use wonder if they might be addicted to it. Most porn addicts experience a predictable set of signs and symptoms. Here are six common symptoms of porn addiction. Do any of these describe how you feel?

Am I addicted to porn? 6 symptoms of porn addiction

6 Symptoms of Porn Addiction

The following symptoms of porn addiction are best identified by the person using porn. So for those who wonder, “Am I addicted to porn?” try your best to be honest as you read through the symptoms of pornography addiction below.

Related: 10 Signs of Porn Addiction–Do these describe your husband? 

Feeling High: “I feel great when I use pornography”

Many people consider pornography use as little more than “harmless adult entertainment.” However, pornography is often used to ease or avoid deep emotional pain. Often people have carried this pain for so long they don’t realize it exists anymore. However, deep down, they have come to use pornography as a way to escape their pain. Because the effects are temporary, they need to go back to it over and over again to keep their pain at bay. This is where an addiction can develop.

Related: Brain Chemicals and Porn Addiction

Due to this “high,” porn addicts often find that they can spend significant chunks of time watching pornography. It’s as if hours go by in a matter of minutes. Although a porn addict might fall asleep in church on Sunday morning, he or she has no trouble staying up until 4 a.m. watching pornography. The neurochemical cocktail emitted during porn consumption seems to accelerate time and also highten the senses. It’s a rush like no other. And, one that can be fueled with click after click of novelty and fetish.

Feeling Tolerant: “A little bit of kink or violent stuff is fine”

As with many addictive substances, after a while a tolerance develops. A little isn’t enough. A stronger form of the substance is needed to achieve the desired effect.

At this point, “soft porn” may be no longer satisfying. The viewer will seek out more hardcore and deviant forms of pornography. This can include fetish, violent, homosexual, and even child porn.

Related: Porn–A Gateway Drug

The amount of time viewing pornography will also increase. Instead of just a few minutes, the viewer may spend several hours viewing pornography.

For some, a tolerance develops to the point where viewing it is no longer satisfying. They want to experience what they’ve viewed in pornography live. This can lead them to frequent strip clubs, prostitutes, anonymous sexual encounters, and extramarital affairs.

Feeling Angry: “I get upset if I can’t watch porn”

Many compulsive porn users report becoming angry, hostile, or irritable when asked to stop using porn. Porn addicts may deny their porn viewing or be upset when loved ones request that they stop.

Related: Why is my husband so angry? It all comes down to shame.

Here is where the viewer becomes physically and emotionally dependent on viewing porn. Physically the brain has become so accustomed to operating at such a high level of neurochemical stimulation, triggered by the pornography use, that it must maintain those levels just to function.

As stated above, the viewer has also become emotionally dependent on pornography to keep painful feelings at bay. This draws the viewer back to pornography over and over again. Without a regular “fix,” a person can experience withdrawal symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, headaches, etc.

Feeling Risky: “I’ll do anything to watch porn”

For many addicts, the need for a regular “fix” leads them to take great risks to view pornography. This can include risking the loss of a job by viewing pornography on a work computer. For others, it could be risking their marriages by viewing pornography at home. In addition, some will spend thousands of dollars and amass great debt because of their addiction to porn.

A related statement might be, “I pass up fun opportunities with people I love to have more time to use or view porn.” This includes ignoring family and friends. Porn does not share. It monopolizes your attention. Compulsive porn users often neglect social obligations, even family events, just to get one more fix.

Feeling Like a Slave: “The urge to watch porn consumes me”

There are many ways that people who are addicted can use pornography. For some, there is a need to view it daily. They may even view it several times a day. Others are frequent users who may view it once or twice a week.

Still others may go weeks or months without it and then spend several hours viewing it. These are known as binge users. Altogether, there is continued use of pornography, and usually in a predictable frequency.

Feeling Helpless: “My life is out of control”

Many people who are addicted will try to stop, but have little success. They may be able to go a few weeks or even month without viewing it; however, they eventually fall back into it. Their sobriety is little more than white-knuckling it. Often they feel their lives are out of control because of the pornography. It has control over them.

Related: Why Can’t I Stop Watching Porn: 3 Reasons It’s So Hard to Quit

Am I Addicted to Porn?

If you struggle with any of these symptoms, you may be addicted to pornography.

However, don’t be discouraged. Breaking free from porn addition won’t be easy. But, it is absolutely possible.

Effective recovery programs are available to help you experience victory over pornography addiction. A good recovery program is a multi-faceted approach, including a healthy relationship with God, professional counseling, and a strong community of men or women who will support you and keep you accountable. The next step is to seek the help you deserve!

Related resources: