Porn addiction can be hard to understand.

Most people who are not struggling with this addiction ask a simple question – can’t porn addicts just stop watching porn?

We ask such questions because we don’t understand how porn addiction works and how it rewires the brain.

A famous study on mice showed that once a mouse was addicted to a substance, it would choose the substance over food even if it was dying of starvation.

Addiction rewires the brain’s pleasure centers so only the addictive substance or habit gives any pleasure or relief.

Let’s look at 25 effects, facts, causes, symptoms, and recovery tips that will help you understand porn addiction and help people who have it.

1. Porn addiction is a global phenomenon

You may think that porn addiction is rampant because of something in our culture but the reality is that it is a global phenomenon.

Porn addiction is present everywhere that has easy access to internet porn.

Different cultures deal with the problem differently.

Some deal with it through professional help while others may use cultural tools and punishments.

2. The porn industry virtually lives off of addicts

Here’s something most of us have thought about – how do porn producers make money if free porn is available so easily? Porn addicts are the answer.

They are willing to spend all of their income on porn.

They are the people who go to porn shows regularly and spend thousands on their favorite porn star.

3. Porn is an alternative form of escapism

Porn is a form of escapism just like many other arts and medias but the problem is that it is unhealthy escapism.

It isn’t the type of escapism that helps you deal with problems in your life or reduces stress from your life.

If anything it only makes your life harder and your mood worse.

4. Porn addiction is a mainstream source of individual issues

Porn addiction is a problem which causes many other issues in the lives of the afflicted person.

They may start performing badly in school or at work, they will start losing their social connections, and much more.

These issues are exacerbated by porn addiction and the easy availability of porn over the internet.

5. It is a serious cause of marital unrest

Porn addicts aren’t just single people who don’t have any sexual opportunities.

Many marriages are destroyed by porn addiction of one of the partners.

The other partner simply cannot understand why their loved one prioritized porn over them.

The answer to this is simple – addiction, but since most people don’t even know that porn addiction exists it leads to marital unrest.

6. Porn addiction can cause emotional numbness

Porn addiction has far reaching consequences for the afflicted person.

It doesn’t just lead to physical problems, it leads to emotional numbness.

Watching all that messed up porn (normal porn is no longer tantalizing for addicts) does a real number on the psyche and emotions of the afflicted person and they start acting distant.

7. Pornography brings about unrealistic expectations

Another big problem is that pornography teaches people the wrong things about sex and sets unrealistic expectations.

Pornography shows sex in the way it looks the best – not in the way it feels the best.

People also expect themselves to last as long and be as good at sex as porn starts.

This is a ridiculous notion; it is like watching an NBA game and expecting yourself to be as good as Lebron James.

8. Sexual acts performed by porn stars progressively inspire addicts

Sexual acts performed by porn stars inspire addicts and they start chasing the same thing.

They want to have sex the way their favorite porn start has sex.

If their life partners don’t agree to sex in the way they want then they may find other ways to satisfy their addiction.

9. Addiction increases drastically over time

Porn addiction does not plateau – it just keeps getting worse and worse.

In the start it may be just watching porn every single day no matter what happens.

It may then progress to watching porn for hours, and then porn is all that will be left in the life of the person with addiction.

People get desensitized to porn and then need to watch more porn just to get a kick out of it.

10. Porn has a negative effect on personal perspectives

Porn doesn’t just change the way a person behaves – it also changes the way a person thinks.

Our perspective is built by the media we consume and the environment we are in.

Porn addicts only watch porn and surround themselves with porn, which changes the way they look at things around them.

11. Porn addicts isolate themselves mentally and emotionally

Porn addicts know that they cannot hide their addiction if other people are around them so their strategy is to isolate themselves.

They don’t want to meet anyone and they don’t want to be close to anyone.

They just shut themselves off and focus on the porn they cannot stop watching.

This is very similar to how drug addicts behave – they drive everyone away so they can do their drugs without anyone telling them to stop.

12. They gradually lose all emotional impetus

The numbness gets so strong for porn addicts that eventually they lose all emotional impetus.

They are so emotionally distant that they no longer feel happy or sad or excited.

Porn is the only thing which can elicit a reaction from them and even that isn’t an emotional reaction – simply a physical one.

The problem isn’t that they don’t care anymore – the problem is that their brain has been rewired by the addiction.

13. They are more prone to social anxiety

People who are addicted to porn are also likely to have problems related to social anxiety.

This creates a feedback loop.

People go to porn for escapism due to social anxiety then get addicted to porn.

Getting addicted to porn makes them nervous about interacting with other people which further drives them into the addiction.

14. They are prone to bipolar reactions

People who are addicted to porn have self-esteem problems and often have problems communicating with others as well.

This leads to them reacting to things in a bipolar way.

They may be happy about something and then suddenly be unhappy about the same thing.

The porn addiction makes it harder for them to think rationally.

They act out because of all the frustration that is in them due to all the porn they watch.

15. Individuals addicted to porn steadfastly refuse to accept the issue

One big problem is that many porn addicts aren’t willing to accept that they are addicted.

They think that addiction only happens to drugs and they think of themselves as porn connoisseurs.

This is how they cope – they assume that everyone watches porn and there is nothing wrong with them.

While the majority of people do watch porn, no one watches it as much as the addict.

16. They refuse to give up porn

No addict will be able to give up the thing they are addicted to.

For a normal person it is not a problem to give up porn.

Addicts simply cannot live without porn.

If you ask them to not watch porn for a few days they will act like you asked them not to eat and drink.

Their brain is targeted on porn and anything which keeps them away from their addiction seems bad to them.

17. They seek better and more diverse pornographic content

Addicts watch much more porn than normal people and thus their tastes are also much more specific.

They may have a fetish which they fulfill through porn or they may just watch more extreme pornography.

Normal pornography doesn’t do anything for them since they have seen so much of it, thus they need something more tantalizing, even if it is unethical or violent.

18. They gravitate towards free porn streaming services and sites

Since they consume so much pornography, porn addicts are always looking for something they haven’t seen before.

Not only do they buy up all the new porn, they also gravitate towards free porn streaming services for more exclusive content.

This may include vintage pornography or pornography, which is too unethical for local porn studios to make.

19. Early recovery attempts are necessary

If you suspect someone is a porn addict, it is important to begin helping them as quickly as possible.

The longer someone is an online addict, the harder it is for them to recover.

This is why porn addicts need to be helped at the earliest stages of addiction.

Recovery is hard but possible if you manage to intervene at the right time.

20. Avoiding online activity

Sometimes the only way to prevent a porn addict from watching porn is to avoid internet activity.

This isn’t possible for people who go to work or have to study – in that case a filter needs to be applied to their internet.

There are many parental control applications which allow you to block porn websites.

However, they are easy to surpass and an addict will end up finding a way to bypass it sooner or later.

21. Increasing social interactions in person

Another great way to help a person who is addicted to porn is to make them interact with other people.

Remember, these people are avoiding others because they know their addiction is not sustainable if other people know about it.

Make them go out more and meet more people and they will start realizing how much they are missing out on.

22. Engaging in conversations

Sometimes, an engaging conversation is good enough to help a person move towards recovery.

Talk to them as much as possible and make sure they don’t stop talking to you either.

If you cannot be there don’t worry – a text conversation will help.

Anything which gives them an outlet other than watching porn is good for these people.

23. Joining a support group or Parrish

If they are open to recovery and have realized the effect porn addiction is having on their lives, they can also join a support group.

Support groups are great because they allow addicts to discuss their problems with other addicts openly without fearing that they will be judged.

It gives them a support network and tells them that they aren’t alone in the struggle against porn addiction.

24. Seeking professional psychiatric assistance

If social support isn’t enough, then it is time to bring in the professionals.

Psychiatric assistance is great because the professionals you will be dealing with are experts in overcoming addiction.

They will be able to assess the level of addiction and will be able to come up with a way to manage it accordingly.

This also helps the addict open up – some are more comfortable talking to groups, while others are more comfortable talking to a professional.

25. Adopting healthy physical habits

It isn’t just about stopping porn consumption – one also has to replace watching porn with some other, healthier physical activity.

This is necessary for two reasons.

The first one is that addicts need to stay busy if they want to stay away from their addiction.

The second is that exercise results in the release of chemicals in the brain, which make you feel good.

This helps rewire the addicted brain so it starts focusing on pleasures other than porn.

Porn addiction is a serious problem and it is hard to solve – but it is not impossible to solve.

As long as the resolve of the addict is strong, and they have people around them providing emotional and mental support, it will be possible to recover.

We have to look out for the relevant signs and make sure that all addicts get the help they need, so they can go back to being the people they were, and can build lasting relationships.