Addiction Recovery Mental & Emotional Health Sexual Health

What are Sex and Pornography Addiction?

Pornography Addiction
Written by Collins Nwokolo

Pornography websites draw up to 80 million visitors per day. The exact amount of revenue the pornography industry generates is difficult for experts to pin down, but researchers estimate that the pornography industry earns more than one billion dollars per year. For many young people, a lack of access to comprehensive sex education means that the adult film industry is filling in the gap. The popularity of the pornography industry, and the way it impacts people’s attitudes and views on sex may have numerous, harmful effects on some individuals. Pornography and sex addiction can be similar to the way people abuse and become addicted to alcohol. While most people can drink in moderation and not become addicted to the substance, other people risk sex and pornography addiction with early, frequent exposure to the industry.

What are the current statistics on the pornography industry and sex addiction?

Pornography Addiction

The harmful effects of pornography and sex addiction are no longer a mystery. Excessive pornography use can significantly impact individuals, relationships, and society.

  • Pornography sites receive more internet traffic in one month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.

  • Swedish studies on 18-year-old males found that males who frequently consumed pornography were more likely to purchase sex and sex acts than their peers.

  • Researchers estimate that anywhere from 3% to 6% of adults engage in compulsive sexual behavior.

  • 83% of self-identified sex addicts report a co-occurring substance use disorder, gambling addiction, or workaholism.

  • Consumption of pornography is associated with increased verbal and physical aggression in both males and females.

  • Child exploitation is one of the fastest-growing online businesses in the world.

  • In 2018, more than 5,517,000,000 hours of porn were consumed on Pornhub.

Sexual addiction and compulsive pornography use affect both men and women. While sex and pornography addiction share some similarities to substance abuse, they are considered behavioral addictions and require a different approach to treatment. While treatment for these addictions can help, failing to address these issues with therapy and support from clinicians and medical professionals can worsen symptoms. An untreated sexual addiction or pornography addiction can increase the risk of substance abuse as a way to cope with feelings of shame and being out-of-control. These addictions can also severely impact a person’s ability to function in their daily life, and can also severely harm someone’s relationships.

What is the definition of sex addiction?

Sex and Pornography Addiction

Sex and Pornography Addiction

People with sex addiction will have an abnormally high sex drive and will experience intrusive thoughts dominated by sexual activity and arousal. These thoughts and feelings will severely impact their ability to function in their daily life. While it’s true that a person with a healthy libido will experience sexual thoughts from time to time, what separates the healthy from the addicted is when these thoughts and compulsions impact the person negatively.

Despite these negative consequences, people who are addicted are unable to change their behavior without outside intervention. People with uncontrollable sexual urges may have difficulty in social interactions. These issues can fuel feelings of shame and alienation, which can also increase the chances of someone turning to drugs or alcohol to cope.

In some people with sex addiction, they typically begin with a normal, healthy, and enjoyable sex life. But they may develop an obsession with a specific sex act or fantasy that may not be considered socially acceptable. In rare and serious instances, a person with sex addiction may have a paraphilic disorder.

Pedophilia is regarded as a paraphilic disorder, and it is a diagnosable condition. Paraphilic disorders are considered a dysfunction, and they often involve significant levels of distress.

Are sex addiction and pornography addiction recognized as diagnosable conditions?

Sex and pornography addiction have not been officially established as a medical condition, although these disorders negatively impact individuals and their loved ones. The issue with sex addiction is that every person has a different sex drive and libido than the next. IT can be easy for a partner to suspect their loved one is a sex addict because they have a higher sex drive, while that doesn’t necessarily indicate that someone is addicted and suffering from a behavioral disorder. Researchers believe that the modern rise in easy access to various forms of pornography may be the reason why this addiction has not been officially recognized as a disorder yet.

What are the symptoms of sex addiction?

  • Frequent and compulsive masturbation

  • Affairs and multiple sexual partners and one-night stands

  • Recurrent and persistent pornography consumption

  • Engaging in cybersex with different partners frequently

  • Purchasing sex

  • Exhibitionism and voyeurism

  • Risk-taking behavior and practicing unsafe sex

  • Trouble controlling sexual urges and partner’s boundaries during sex

  • Obsessed with being in love, having a new relationship, or attracting various partners

  • Unable to control urges and behavior despite adverse consequences

  • Attempts to stop or reduce behavior have been unsuccessful

  • Failing to uphold responsibilities because of sexual behavior

  • Becoming enraged, anxious, or afraid they won’t be able to engage in compulsive sexual behavior

How are these conditions treated?

Sex and pornography addiction are treated in similar ways to other behavioral addictions, such as gambling or shopping addiction. Treatment options are aimed at reducing urges and encouraging patients to engage in healthy relationships. Treatment plans will need to be customized and tailored to the individual, and may include the following types of techniques and methods:

  • Staying in a rehab center where there is access to therapists who specialize in treating sex addiction

  • Participating in cognitive behavioral therapy

  • Receiving treatment for co-occurring substance abuse and addiction

  • Participating in support groups and 12-step programs such as Sex Addicts Anonymous 

  • Taking prescription medications to treat co-occurring mental health conditions that may worsen or trigger sex addiction

Having a strong support network and encouragement from loved ones is critical to treating any addiction disorder, including sex and pornography addiction. Participating in family and group therapy may help people in recovery from sex and pornography addiction maintain sobriety and avoid the risk of relapse. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to sex or pornography, there is a help. Please reach out to an experienced therapist or counselor today to explore your options for treating addictive behavior.8

For consultation and advice, visit https://thelivinghouse.co.za/

About the author

Collins Nwokolo

Collins Nwokolo is a passionate blogger and an amazing writer. He is a health and fitness enthusiast who loves sharing helpful information to people.

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