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Advice For Someone Who Is Struggling With Porn

Have you been spending more and more time on your laptop looking at material that is most definitely “NSFW?” Do you have a friend or loved one whose pornography habits you’re concerned about? You might want to read this article.

Whether it’s you or someone you know, we want to help. The naked truth (pun intended) is that pornography can have addictive qualities and can create habits that some people may eventually want to change. If that describes you or a friend, read on for advice on coping.

Is Pornography Addictive? 

Ah, the million-dollar question. Believe it or not, this is a contentious question that many medical professionals have argued about for years. 

The term “Pornography Addiction” is debated by some. Although it’s clear that many people have a relationship with porn that they would like to change, some psychologists believe that it should not be classified as an addiction.

Still, those who claim addiction to pornography seem to check some of the same boxes as those addicted to drugs or alcohol. Whether you view problematic pornography viewing as an addiction or merely a problem, here are some signs you might want to revisit your habits:

  • You want to stop watching, but you feel unable to do so for some reason.
  • You’ve lost interest in your partner.
  • Sex (in real life) has become less satisfying for you.
  • You’ve started spending too much money on pornography.
  • Your pornography habits get in the way of your work or other parts of your everyday life.
  • You’re experiencing physical symptoms. Maybe you are getting headaches from spending so much time on a computer, have wrist, neck, or upper back pain, or are newly struggling with erectile dysfunction.
  • You are reading this and realizing that it sounds a lot like you.

When Does Porn Become a Problem?

What starts as harmless fun can quickly shift into something else altogether. Here are some statistics that might make you think twice about your porn viewing habits:

  • Online porn videos represent over 27 percent of all of the videos available online.
  • Pornhub’s visits now exceed 100 million per day.
  • Extreme content is now the norm. In fact, “incest” is the fastest growing search term on pornography websites.
  • Porn makes many consumers more likely to perpetrate violence against women.
  • Those who watch pornography are statistically less likely to marry.

In general, porn is only a problem if it is a problem for you (or for your loved one). And once it is, it hits hard. It doesn’t matter what society says about porn; the only thing that matters is how it affects you, your relationship, and your life. 

How Should You Approach a Friend or Loved One Struggling With Porn?

Well, this is awkward. No, really. How can you approach someone about this issue when it is so personal and something we as a society have attached a huge stigma to? 

If you find yourself in this position, you will likely be confronting someone close to you. After all, you probably wouldn’t be noticing the problem if they weren’t. If you plan on approaching a friend or loved one, here are some steps that might help.

1. Do Your Research

For once, we do mean “do an internet search.” Learn what you can about pornography, porn addiction, and why people become dependent on porn. The more you know, the more you can help.

2. Be Sensitive in Your Approach

Porn dependence is a problem that comes with a lot of baggage. The person you’re approaching is probably embarrassed and ashamed and definitely doesn’t want to talk about it. 

Don’t think of this as a confrontation; think of it as a conversation. The “Golden Rule” applies here: Treat the other person as you would want to be treated. Be discreet, don’t talk about it publicly, and be kind. 

3. Make Sure They Know That You’re There for Them

Above all, the most important thing about this conversation is that they know that you only have their best interests at heart. Avoid sounding judgmental, and instead, approach from an angle of compassion. 

Let them know that no matter what, you’re in their corner. Giving ultimatums will not help the situation, even though it’s tempting to do so. Tell them that you might not completely understand, but you will be there for them.

4. Give Options for Professional Help

If you’ve gotten far enough in the conversation to where they are willing to admit that they have a problem, the next step is getting help. They may have never realized that this was a problem others were noticing and might not know they could even get help.

You can suggest support groups, talk therapy, journaling, etc. It might be a relief for them to know that this problem is not completely in their hands to fix.

General Advice for Those Struggling

If you are the one with the problem, please do us a favor and don’t be ashamed. There are so many others who are going through the same thing that you are going through. 

If it is your friend, family member, or significant other, remember that porn is designed to be addictive. Come from a place of compassion.

Here is some time-tested advice that we can offer to anyone who is struggling with porn:

1. Tell Someone

This is counterintuitive, we know. There is so much shame surrounding pornography that it’s not something you want to discuss. However, you might be surprised to know that you’re not alone in this fight. 

Talk to someone close to you, and you will find that you have way more support than you might have initially thought. 

2. Write About It

This might sound a little cheesy, but you might want to consider journaling about this. It can be as simple as writing the following each day:

  • How much porn have you watched?
  • Why did you feel like watching it?
  • How did you feel afterward?

This simple mindfulness exercise can make you tap into your motivations and the real reasons why you are watching. After all, what is it doing for you?

3. Remove the Shame

This is easier said than done. Try to look at it as a marketing ploy. Pornography is ultimately designed to make money. Porn is big business, and producers have made an addictive product on purpose

You are merely a victim of a fantastic marketing scam. Don’t dwell on morality, instead, simply see it as something you want to change.

4. Make a Plan

Write a list of potential triggers: Do you only watch when you’re alone after 11 p.m.? Do you always watch in the same place? Are there any stressors in your daily life that make you gravitate towards it? 

Once you have your triggers nailed down, you can start to make small changes to help you curb your habits. It might be hard initially, but you will build and build until you have built the life you want.

5. Leave Electronics Out of the Bedroom

A simple solution is to leave phones, tablets, or computers in public places where you won’t feel tempted. Just don’t bring that stuff into your bedroom. 

If you use your phone for an alarm, just remember that back in the caveman days, there were alarm clocks that people used to wake themselves up. You can get one for cheap!

6. Have a Friend Place Restrictions

If you’ve gotten to the point where you have talked to someone close to you, you might consider asking them to help you by enabling some things on your devices. You could try using grayscale on your phone to make videos seem less appealing. 

You can also install anti-porn software on your computers and make sure your friend won’t give you the password. Disabling notifications on your phone can be helpful as well. 

Unfortunately, in our tech-obsessed society, it’s hard to get off your devices completely. Instead, consider how you can manage them and use them minimally. It will be better for you all around! 

7. Remind Yourself: This Is Not Reality

Don’t get sucked into thinking that this is just “who you are” or that this behavior is just “what everyone does.” You don’t have to live this way, and plenty of people don’t. You have options.

Conclusion

If you’re struggling with pornography, you are not alone. The important thing to remember is that change is possible! 

You or your loved one has been tricked into believing that this is something you need when in reality you can live a full and happy life without it. Think about your habits and consider the life you want. You can do this! 


Sources:

How to Talk to Someone About Porn Addiction | SAGU

Pornography Statistics | Enough is Enough

Harmful Effects of Pornography | Fight The New Drug