For Adult Eyes Only
Updated: Nov 1
You are not alone if you consume porn frequently or on a daily basis. People visit porn sites at surprisingly high rates. In fact, the three most popular porn sites are more highly ranked for monthly unique visitors than Amazon and Netflix. They are ranked even higher than the wildly popular TikTok, the work tool OpenAI/ChatGPT, and the all-encompassing Zoom.
Porn is extremely convenient to obtain. The subject matter, 24/7 availability via smartphones, and efficient website design entice users to spend time on such sites. The privacy due to working from home adds to the convenience. At the start of the pandemic, porn may even have been a coping mechanism (something that a person uses to soothe themselves) as Pornhub reported a 22% increase in traffic in April 2020 compared to the month prior. But it is easy for a coping mechanism that is unhealthy (like porn or alcohol or drugs) to become something that is relied upon. And that reliance can become quite an issue.
If you are reading this article, it is likely that there is something about your use of porn or that of a loved one that may be nagging at you. For most people, porn takes up too much of something— time, relationships, or health. For some, viewing porn during the workday has put their career at risk. Recently, the change to "back-to-the-office" has been the catalyst for many to notice something new about their porn use and to wonder if a habit is something more.
Recently, the change in back-to-the-office has been the catalyst for many to notice something new about their porn use and to wonder if a habit is something more.
"A shift in scheduling from hybrid to more back-in-the-office work can illuminate to a person that their habit is just not sustainable. This new schedule allows a person's perspective to change. So can the monitoring software on corporate laptops—the lack of productivity can be noted and now needs to be explained. These two factors can lead people to wonder, "Do I have a porn addiction?" Or perhaps, "Do I know someone who may have one?" says Beth Siegert, CPC, CPRC, ACC, CFAA, Executive Coach with a special niche in Recovery Coaching. "Often, people reach out to me on their own because they feel uncomfortable and want some help. Sometimes, employers send their valued staff to me to consult with as uncomfortable situations have come up and their employee's career is at stake."
"Often, people reach out to me on their own because they feel uncomfortable and want some help. Sometimes, employers send their valued staff to me to consult with as uncomfortable situations have come up and their employee's career is at stake."
Beth Siegert, CPC, CPRC, ACC, CFAA, Executive Coach with a special niche in Recovery Coaching
Is Porn an Addiction—like Alcoholism or Drug Addiction?
Yes, it is an addiction recognized in the DSM-5. It is not caused by another disorder or substance. Patients with such an addiction often experience:
recurrent and intense sexual fantasies
difficulty controlling the urges to consume porn despite knowledge of negative consequences
significant distress and impairment in family, social, and employment settings
Exactly like drug addiction, there is a preoccupation with porn and the typical accompanying mood swings, irritability, and severe depression. Someone who is addicted to porn is constantly chasing a high. Neurologically, the excessive pathways in the brain and dopamine produced while consuming porn leads to an inability to enjoy other areas of life.
How to Tell if Your Habit is a Problem or an Addiction
Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to assess if you have a problem or an addiction. If you have 2 or 3 "yes" answers, you are forming or already have an addiction. If you have 3 or more "yes" responses, you likely have an addiction to porn.
Do you have difficulty passing up an opportunity to consume porn?
Are your urges not contained despite negative consequences regarding time/money/employment?
Do you plan your day around your habit?
Do you think about porn or consume it while working or driving?
Is your porn consumption expanding to a more intense subject matter?
Has a loved one or friend mentioned your habit to you?
Has your employer mentioned to you that they have noticed a "change of attitude/productivity" or more directly, have they mentioned your consuming porn?
Have your children accidentally seen or heard porn as a result of your habit?
Does consuming porn interfere with your home life?
Do you have an intense desire to act out what you have seen despite your partner not wishing to do so?
People wanting to get their life back on course need trained professionals to achieve that goal. A clinician is extraordinarily helpful to talk with about the current issue's history and to explore feelings and thoughts about it. A recovery coach will help clients map out the future. Together, these two types of professionals make a formidable recovery team.
What To Do Next
Seek out a therapist who is trained in pornography addiction. Some good phrasing to use to start out the conversation might be, "I am concerned about my use of____. I would like to talk to you about this." Keep in mind that this is a common issue and won't be of surprise to your potential therapist.
Due to the intricate nature of the issue, work with a recovery coach to map out how you will be successful at recovery. A non-judgmental alliance with a trained expert on recovery can be a powerful source of encouragement, understanding, and accountability.
Commit to the understanding that recovery is a daily practice. Some days will be more difficult than others.
Recognize that you are not alone: there are over 20 million Americans in recovery from all types of addiction.
For more insight, please contact Beth Siegert, CPC, CPRC, ACC, CFAA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877.449.6393.
Disclaimer: The information in the above article is not intended to replace the formal opinions of medical professionals. For more information about coaching in relation to porn use or to assist in recovery from addiction, contact Beth Siegert, CPC, CPRC, ACC, CFAA at email@example.com or call 877.449.6393.