The Harms of Pornography Addiction
Mere decades ago, saying porn in public might have resulted in sideways glances and quieted conversations. Now, porn is a mainstream pastime—and it ushers in several real-world problems.
According to Men’s Health, the World Health Organization now recognizes porn addiction as a behavioral disorder (1).
Dubbed Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD), the condition is defined as “a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in repetitive sexual behavior.”
Health professionals may disagree on the exact parameters porn addiction should take. However, many experts understand the need to help people who are watching porn to the detriment of physical health, work and personal relationships.
Despite the new WHO classification, clinicians say they’ve been helping people with porn addiction for years, reports Self magazine (2).
That suggests that many people view their porn-watching as problematic. If these patients are actively wanting to overcome porn addiction, shouldn’t healthcare professionals be prepared to help them?
Defining the problem and creating diagnostic criteria are steps in the right direction. However, other organizations in the United States haven’t yet classified this as a condition, states Men’s Health.
Because of that, there stands a hole in available treatment for overcoming porn obsession.
Problems with Pornography
While health organizations play catch-up on this disorder, both men and women are taking in high amounts of porn content.
The famed explicit site Pornhub recently stated that its site received over 30 billion hits in 2018, reports Esquire (3). Of those hits, the United States was the biggest consumer. Americans stayed on the site longer than any other nationality, and their time spent viewing porn increased from the previous year.
According to Covenant Eyes, an Internet accountability software company, roughly 28,000 users are watching pornography every second. Users are also spending around $3,000 on porn every second. For mobile Internet users, 1 out of every 5 mobile searches is for porn (4).
Women aren’t excluded from this heavy porn-watching either. Pornhub released information in 2017 that revealed women spending more time watching porn than men, reports anti-porn advocacy group Fight the New Drug. Women were also more likely to search for harder versions of porn than men (5).
Many people argue that these numbers suggest a natural need for humans to gratify themselves through porn. However, allowing porn as a social norm could have far-reaching consequences.
Covenant Eyes states that 56 percent of divorce cases involved a partner’s obsessive interest in porn sites. In addition, 64 percent of Christian men and 15 percent of Christian women report watching porn at least once a month. This is a departure from the teachings Christians adhere to in their worship.
These statistics show that many people are watching pornography at the expense of their loved ones and religious beliefs.
Next, people undergoing sexual recovery often identify porn with addiction symptoms, says sex addiction expert Robert Weiss to Self. Weiss is a certified sex addiction therapist (CSAT). According to him, these patients often mention obsession and negative consequences in relation to their porn habits.
Then, there’s the potential for damaging a person’s health. Of course, those neglecting hygiene, diet and personal relationships could experience mental and physical health problems.
But the consequences can go even farther, stifling arousal and erection (in men) during real life intercourse, says Men’s Health.
If nothing else, viewing pornography gives both men and women an unrealistic expectation of the human body. Users can lose pleasure in intimacy with their partners.
If viewing porn might not even accomplish its own purpose, then people should seek pleasure in other activities.
For those already steeped in porn addiction, you can overcome the problem—but you’ll have to reach out for help.
- Hayes, A. (2019, January 1). The Signs and Symptoms of Porn Addiction. Men’s Health. Retrieved from https://www.menshealth.com/uk/health/sexual-health/a25724524/porn-addiction-spotting-symptoms/.
- Todd, C. L. (2018, July 27). Compulsive Sexual Behavior Is Now Recognized as a Disorder, But It isn’t the Same as Sex Addiction. Self. Retrieved from https://www.self.com/story/compulsive-sexual-behavior-disorder-who.
- Rense, S. (2018, December 12). The Human Race Really Outdid Itself with Porn Searches in 2018. Esquire. Retrieved from https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/sex/news/a52061/most-popular-porn-searches/.
- Covenant Eyes. (2019). Pornography Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/.
- Fight the New Drug. (2018, April 2). How Many People Are On Porn Sites Right Now? (Hint: It’s A Lot.). Retrieved from https://fightthenewdrug.org/by-the-numbers-see-how-many-people-are-watching-porn-today/.