Addictive pornography


The problems that affect mental health evolve over time, in the same way that the development of new technologies and ways of life are also transformed with the advancement of History.

The emergence of addiction to pornography, a psychological alteration that would have been impossible to conceive centuries ago, is an example of this.

In this article we will see what is addiction to pornography , what are its characteristics, and what can be done to overcome it.

What is porn addiction?

As its name indicates, pornography addiction is a psychological disorder characterized by excessive use of pornographic materials to satisfy the sexual appetite , which becomes a dependency relationship with adult content films, erotic photographs, etc.

However, it is still little studied, and the knowledge about it comes mainly from clinical practice in therapy by psychologists and psychiatrists. In fact, today the addiction to pornography does not have its own section in the most used diagnostic manuals in the world of mental health, although it can be understood as a specific variety of psychological disorders that are conceptually limited.

Often, it is understood that this phenomenon falls within the concept of sex addiction, an umbrella term that groups a whole series of dysfunctional behavior patterns based on dependence on the satisfaction of sexual impulses, and that it is estimated to be present (to a greater or lesser extent) in 3% of adults in Western countries.

It has been proven that in people affected by compulsive sexual behavior, the areas of the brain that are activated when viewing pornography are almost the same that are activated when viewing drugs by those who develop drug addictions: areas of the brain's reward system and other structures associated, such as the anterior cingulate cortex and the amygdala.

However, it remains to be determined whether the addiction to pornography can be considered, technically, just another behavioral addiction (such as pathological gambling, or gambling) or whether it is more appropriate to understand it as a disorder belonging to the obsessive-compulsive spectrum. like OCD, excoriation disorder, etc.


As we have seen, there is no very precise definition about the characteristics and symptoms of addiction to pornography; However, as a general rule, these forms of discomfort stand out :

  • The consumption of pornography occupies too high a percentage of free time.
  • Satisfaction of the desire to view pornography interferes with work and / or a healthy social life.
  • The fact of consuming pornography constantly or anticipating its consumption damages the relationships that can be had.
  • The lifestyle associated with this alteration involves spending too much money on erotic or pornographic material.
  • Difficulties in concentrating appear when pornography is not consumed for too long.
  • An irritable mood emerges from the frustration of not viewing pornography for hours.

All the ways in which pornography addiction is embodied reflect dysfunctional patterns of behavior and thinking. On the one hand, the tendency to think too often about these types of materials and the sexual activity associated with them . On the other hand, the difficulties to focus on other aspects of life and give them the attention they deserve.

How is it treated in therapy?

The addiction to pornography can be overcome through a process of psychotherapy. In this, it works to help the person cope with intrusive thoughts related to sex and with the pessimistic perception of oneself (since they act as a "trap" that makes relapse easier) and to develop habits capable of provide more and better sources of motivation and intellectual and emotional stimulation beyond sex.

In any case, each therapy program is always adapted to the characteristics of each patient , and their way of life.

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