How do you define "porn addiction," and is it bad?

I’ve read about “porn addiction” as a sort-of compulsive behavior. Looking around the old domicile, I’m wondering sometimes if I have a problem with it. I have porn (pictures and movie clips) burned on CD’s, on my computers’s hard drive, on video, and several magazines. (I used to have a LOT more mags, but threw them out when I moved.)
And over the last several years I have bought and disposed of huge amounts of porn, too.
I’m not sure how bothered I should be by this. Is it affecting my social life (I don’t have sex nearly often enough, but does ANYBODY?) or am I into porn because I’ve neglected my social life?

Well, Lizard, I would guess you are not an addict and this is coming from someone who is a porn addict. It sounds like you’re using porn a lot, maybe excessively given that you would like to get laid more, but there is a difference. The first indication is that you don’t feel bad about it. A non-chemical addiction is usually characterized by a combination of guilt and desire. Feeling bad about something that makes you feel good. You feel bad about what you’re doing (or have done), but as you think about what you’ve done (i.e., feel guilty) it’s impossible for the desire for it to not seep back in. Eventually, you do it again. And feel bad again. And in the feeling bad about it, you start thinking about it and suddenly… You get the picture. Also, this guilt manifests in hiding your stuff. If you don’t hide it, you don’t feel too guilty.

And then there’s this other thing: it’s never enough. You ever heard an alchoholic talk about how once he has one beer he can’t stop? Same thing. You watch some porn, you want more porn and more porn off that. The nastier, the tastier, the more perfect, whatever your mind categorizes as the very best porn. Once you get to finding what you think is the very best… suddenly, you’re trying to find the best on top of that. And it goes until you are positively stuffed… but it’s still not enough.

Another factor is whether or not it paralyzes you. Let’s say you’re surfing and something you generally or previously can deal with doing feels like it’s suddenly climbing Mt. Everest. Or you give up interest in healthy outlets. I was a total basketball junkie (a healthy addiction for the most part, except for the shin splints that turned into stress fractures that turned into a snapped tibia when I was in high school) but when Internet porn came along, I just DID NOT want to leave my computer.

Oh, one more: when things get tough or you don’t want to deal with something that needs faced, a person will head for the comfort of addiction because: a.) it feels good; b.) you can almost instantly forget all the bad stuff. Again, it’s a psychological thing.
I am probably more in the extreme, but nevertheless:
a.) Guilt and desire doing the endless dance;
b.) The continuous need for more;
c.) paralysis/unable to respond
d.) a way of not dealing with responsibilities

There’s also something more: an addiction–when it becomes an addiction, and I don’t think it always has to start out that way–weighs on your mind a lot. You saying you’re cool with chucking some pornos and stuff tends to indicate that it’s not such a big deal to you. I know guys with porno collections that would dump everything before dumping their collection. If you’re wondering about it, but it’s not really bothering you, well, that tends to just indicate a habit or a real liking toward something. I had a buddy in college, he was just like the biggest porn nut. But he had fun with it, ended up producing his own, married a porn star (Gail Force), made a living out of it. Somebody’s got to. With a need for something, the product wouldn’t exist. He’s just one half of the equation.

Now, if you’re asking me if you use it too much, I would say it sounds like a distinct possibility. You will get together with more women if you give it up, because: a.) you want to; and b.) you will find yourself moving forward when you put porn in the past and forward means going after the real thing. Also to be considered is that there’s a lot of world out there to experience and if you’re spending your life staring at a computer screen you’re missing out. If there’s nothing else you care about, well, maybe your next step is to be producing it. And that’s quite a world.

Here’s another debatable matter. Very many addictions take hold around the age of 13. I accidentally whacked off at that age. I was addicted from that point forward. There’s a few spiritual/religious beliefs that up to age 13 everything that occurs is fated. An absolute setup. Then at age 13 you’re given the choice to choose how you want to behave, how you want to act, based on your desires, light or dark. Like, according to the Jewish faith, one becomes a man (bar mitzvah) or woman (bat mitzvah) at that age. You are now given to choice to choose the life you yearn for. Some dark things will pull you, some light things. It’s all up to you. If you suddenly started getting jiggy with yourself at 13, some epiphianic moment (mine happened in Catholic chuch–go figure!!!), that could be an indication.

All of this is IMHO. Hope it helps.

Lizard, I think, like Moonchild does, that you might overuse porn a bit, especially if it could be taking the place of a social life for you. I know that porn is sometimes a whole lot easier, less trouble and more accessible than real live people, but masturbation gets old after awhile. If, on the other hand, you just want to get off and not have to talk to anybody, then do as you will; and porn is great for that!! ( No offense meant; there are times, quite frankly, when I’ve certainly felt that way, and taken that course of action! ) I think that the very fact that you’re thinking about whether or not you have a problem is an indication that you are in control of your “hobby”.

And Moonchild. Wow. By your definition ( and I totally agree with you, by the way! ), I recently dated a porn addict. He really was a very sad, dishonest person. Dishonest to himself, and dishonest to the ( at least one woman I know of ) in his life from whom he felt the need to hide his stash of porn computer files and videos. To his credit, I think he knew he at some level that he had a problem, but lacked the introspection and humility necessary to get help. ( He had a lot of other issues as well that he couldn’t face; and his refusal to recognize his porn addiction was consistent with his “head-in-the-sand” way of avoiding his own psyche. )

Look, I’m all for enjoying porn, but I think it’s unhealthy to let it galvanize your every waking thought and move.

And Moonchild, you at least sound like you’re thinking about your situation and how it affects the rest of your life, and I respect you for that. I also appreciate the information you’ve provided, and I wish you luck in resolving your addiction, if that is your wish.

I say, porn is a good thing, and I think that your average man uses it alot more than you think.

It’s easy to end up surfing for porn all day do to the endless supply of continuously improving free pornography online. Don’t feel bad about it. I don’t.

I’d say you have a porn addiction if you find This Site arousing.

This is a not a porn site. It’s url just sounds like one.

Keep it clean, folks! :smiley:

This thread is better suited for IMHO. I’ll move it for you.


Cajun Man - SDMB Moderator

Its a problem if you call it a problem

Its an addiction if you cant stop even though you know its a problem, you have suffered undesirable consequences from it, you can’t (or don’t want to) stop despite these consequences.

Compulsion is an aspect of it.
Planning your day/life around something is an indicator that you are headed for addiction if not already addicted.

I’d be hard pressed to improve on what Moonchild has already said, but one thing I’d emphasize is the tendency for addictions to escalate, so that the thing which provides gratification initially is no longer enough after a while and more and more of the [insert drug of choice] is needed to get the same ‘fix’. Alcoholics might start with getting buzzed on weekends and then move to drinking on other days of the week as well, or to needing more drinks to get drunk, as an example. Porn addicts typically follow a similar pattern: this might mean that the pictures get more explicit, there are more of them, or you ‘graduate’ to other, related activities as well, such as moving from magazines to videos to watching videos at an adult bookstore to chatrooms to constant messages to pay sites to acting out, etc.

So, if you’re worried about it, and since you asked the question, you may well be, then that could be one ‘red flag’. Now you might ask yourself if it ever interferes with ‘the rest of your life’, by causing you to miss out on something or to make decisions based on your compulsion. Then you might consider whether the gratification you get from viewing porn requires more than it did previously and consider as well whether you’ve been able to stop for a certain time span without feeling like it’s a privation.

Your answers to these questions and your ability to listen to the voice of truth in your head (as opposed to living in denial, as addicts do) will enable you to decide for yourself whether you have a problem.

If you decide you do have or potentially might have a problem, then there are lots of support groups available. (I know because I attend one.) Try a search for “Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous” or “Sexual Addicts Anonymous” or “Sexual Compulsives Anonymous” or some combination of those. Good luck.

Talk about fortuitous timing.

In today’s paper, Dear Abby reprinted AA’s standard list of questions for someone wondering “Am I an Alcoholic?” Here’s an idea: pick up a copy, and take the test… only wherever the test says “drinking,” substitute the vice you’re most worried about.

To oversimplify, it comes down to things like:

“Am I spending time on ___ that I know I should be spending on other things?”

“Is __ hurting my relationships with important people in my life?”

“Do I find myself doing __ every day?”

If you start getting a lot of “yes” answers, you have a problem, regardless of what the vice is.

If I remember correctly from high school Psychology class, an addiction officially becomes an addiction when it “interferes or affects your daily lifestyle”. So if you’re looking at porn instead of watching Joe Millionaire, you’re okay. If you’re looking at porn instead of going to work, you’re not okay.