How do you know if you’re addicted to pornography?
I think the answer to this question is easy but the psychotherapists struggle with it. The “Am I addicted or not?” debate involves frequency of use, impact on health and the types of life activities that are given up by the porn viewer. Some also believe that because there’s no physically addictive substance involved that there can be no addiction. Here’s my view:
If you view pornography and your fundamental values say that you do not view pornography, then you are addicted, regardless of frequency and duration. I know some will disagree with me but infrequent viewers suffer the same consequences as other viewers but just to a lesser degree.
Many of them rationalize that they don’t have a problem because they only view occasionally. That’s like saying, “I burn myself with fire every other week instead of every day. Maybe the damage won’t be so extensive or so severe but the burn damage will still be there.”
Infrequent viewers deserve the same help to overcome their viewing problem. They deserve to have their “I’m not addicted” rationalization confronted just like the everyday viewer does. If they believe their rationalization, they won’t seek help and won’t be able to leave behind the horrible and potentially severe consequences of porn viewing and masturbation (viewing and doing). Consequences that not only they suffer but their family suffers as well. They won’t be able to experience the increased ability to love and to develop and maintain relationships. They won’t experience the increased self-confidence and the rebound in their personal happiness.
Let’s lower the bar for defining “pornography addiction” so that more viewers can lay aside their “rational-lie-zations” and finally do something about their porn problems. If you’re an occasional viewer, you’re still a viewer and will be amazed at the positive change in your life when you’re porn-free.