How do I know if my porn usage is a problem?

How do I know if my porn usage is a problem?

Using Porn

For many men and women, online porn is a tool for a ‘sexual release’, an opportunity to self pleasure with variety and visually stimulating entertainment or simply to indulge in personal sexual interests, and of course some integrate it into their relationship, watching it with their partner. However, for some, their porn use has become problematic or is negatively impacting them or their relationships.

It is important to remember that many people use porn in their lives for sexual pleasure and do not deem their usage of it as unhealthy nor do they feel it negatively affects themselves or their relationships. As a Sex and Relationship Therapist I work with those where it does become an issue and feel it is important for people to be able to identify that there may be a problem.

Compulsive Porn Use

When someone has a sexual desire or urgency they may use porn as a source of stimulation to release this. Once they have reached orgasm they may feel the need has been met and are able to carry on with other things. Someone who is experiencing sexual compulsivity may look at porn for long periods of time, sometimes for hours on end. They may find they have a desire to look at it repeatedly, or to a frequency that interferes with other aspects of their life. They may find they are feeling an overwhelming urge to access it at times (or in ways) that they don’t feel are appropriate or may cause harm to them (such as at work). Ultimately, they may feel their use is out of control or having a detrimental effect. For many, a sense of having a problem may come from a feeling of shame, feeling out of control or finding it is posing a difficulty in a relationship or affecting work.

 

More Extreme Porn

It is common for those with a compulsivity with porn to look for a wider variety/more extreme material over time. Some people find themselves venturing onto sites or looking at material they may previously have had no interest in. Dopamine receptors are believed to be desensitized with excessive use, resulting in the desire for increasingly stimulating material to achieve the feeling of pleasure/reward.

 

Porn-Related Erectile Dysfunction

Some people find that their porn use becomes problematic because it affects their desire or confidence around partnered sex. At times it can change their sexual template. While some people feel that problematic use can cause E.D.

 

Self Image & Physical Attraction

Many men and women and particularly younger adults compare themselves to those that are in porn. They can have an adjusted image of what is attractive both in themselves and others and comparing genitals and body shape is common.

 

Relationship Difficulties

People have different ideas on what is ok and not ok when it comes to sex and porn in general. While some have no issue with a partner’s porn use, others can feel betrayed. Inevitably where there are secrets or shame it is worth exploring why, as while for some this may indicate problematic use, for others it may be linked to views/ beliefs.

 

What Can I Do As A Parent?

Understand that in this digital age everyone can easily access porn and adolescents have increased curiosity about it as they hear about it from others, while high levels of hormone may drive interest and desire. Rather than deny, educate. Talk about it. When I talk to teenagers they tell me it is normal to look at porn. Understanding it happens and understanding when it is developing into a problem is key to supporting your child in this area.

 

What If This Is Ringing True For Me?

If you feel in reading this, that use of porn is affecting you or your relationship in some way,  then it is worth seeking help from a sex therapists, sexual compulsivity/addiction specialist or ask your GP to refer you.

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