Before we can begin talking about how to stop porn addiction, it is essential to spell out what it is. This is a complex task because many people (including researchers and scientists) vehemently disagree on its very definition.

Porn Addiction Definition

One study showed there is no such thing as porn addiction (Ley, Prause + Finn, June 2014), while competing research found that heavy porn users have similar brain activity to drug users (Cambridge University, July 2014).

Instead of debating whether or not porn addiction exists, a better approach is to look at your own or your partner’s behavior to see if you feel troubled by it.

The road to breaking porn addiction is to first see if you feel like it is negatively affecting your life. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is porn affecting your ability to get to work or complete your day-to-day responsibilities?
  • Is porn getting in the way of you wanting to have sex with real people or your partner?
  • Do you feel like you are married to a porn addict?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, you may want to look into porn addiction treatment (see below for suggestions).

Why is Porn So Addictive?

While the jury is still out on the porn addiction definition, a frequent reason people immerse themselves in porn is to abate feeling stressed or anxious. Porn allows your brain to fully focus on something other than your anxiety. High levels of arousal and orgasm flood the brain with hormones that can be very soothing to the nervous system – creating perfect conditions for addiction.

Additionally, some people choose to watch porn instead of having sex with a partner because they are too embarrassed to ask for what they really want sexually. They might show signs of porn addiction if they feel a lot of pressure during partner sex – something they don’t feel during porn because they don’t have to worry about pleasing another person.

To quit porn addiction, it’s essential to find other ways to lower anxiety and stress. Curating real-life connections that can also release those happy hormones in the brain.

Are You Married to a Porn Addict?

If you suspect your husband might be addicted to porn, it is helpful to know the signs.

The most prevalent clue to porn addiction is a partner who watches porn but is not interested in having sex with you. Watching a lot of porn can also cause or exacerbate sexual dysfunctions like erectile dysfunction (ED), premature ejaculation (PE), and delayed ejaculation or the inability to ejaculate from sex.

If you think you are in a relationship with or married to a porn addict, it can be helpful to have a non-shaming conversation about it. If you feel watching all porn is bad, you might want to talk with a sex coach before breaching the subject with your partner. This will allow you to explore any feelings or insecurities that come up when he watches porn. It can also prime you to come to the conversation with empathy instead of being accusatory or blaming.

Porn Addiction Treatment Options

Unfortunately, a large segment of porn addiction treatment options offered up are very anti-sex and shame-based.

Shame, and trying to turn off your sexual desires, are not helpful in overcoming porn addiction. Quite the contrary: programs that make you feel ashamed of your sexual desire often push you into a behavior spiral. You try to quit, make a mistake, feel ashamed of yourself, act out more, and then go through the cycle over and over again. In this shame spiral, people generally get worse, not better.

Good porn addiction therapy will help you understand what it is you really want sexually. It will help you lower shame and embrace your desires – and then teach you how you can get them met out in the world, safely and consensual. Effective porn addiction treatment will help you become more aware of what is making you anxious in your life and help you feel your emotions fully – instead of avoiding and medicating them.

Will a Porn Addiction App Help?

For people trying to independently learn how to stop porn addiction, there are also porn addiction apps. The problem we see with these apps, however, is that they can keep you divorced from an actual connection.

If you take the example of choosing to watch porn over having sex with a partner, an app might simply serve to keep you tuned into technology as opposed to connecting with other people.

A porn addiction app can be helpful as long as it offers tools to lower interpersonal anxiety and enhance your connection skills. Additionally, a good app will give you homework around interacting sexually with other people. Here are 6 Android apps that claim to help with porn addiction (though we don’t endorse any of them).

How a Sex Coach Can Help You Quit Porn Addiction

One of the keys to breaking porn addiction (and learning how to use porn in a healthy way) is to talk with someone – like a therapist or sex coach – openly about your porn usage.

Because addiction – and especially addiction in the realm of sexuality – is such a shame-filled topic, it is important to have a supportive ear who will help you out of the shame spiral and into a state of empowerment. When you are empowered in your sexual life, you make conscious decisions for yourself you can feel good about. It also allows you to connect with the people around you in healthy, fulfilling ways.

A sex coach can help you sort out when you are using porn as a way to avoid feelings or pressure, and when you are using it for simple enjoyment. A coach can also help you learn how to really enjoy your sex life with a partner and figure out how to get the sex you truly desire.

Ready to get some help? Find a qualified sex coach near you now.

Previous articleThe Madonna-Whore Complex
Celeste Hirschman
Celeste Hirschman, MA is the Co-Creator of the Somatica® Method and Co-Founder of Somatica® Institute. She trains coaches in the Somatica® Method of Sex and Relationship Coaching. She has her own private practice in San Francisco, where she works with clients to have profoundly pleasurable and fulfilling lives. She has co-authored multiple academic articles published in peer-reviewed journals and is the co-author of two books, Cockfidence - The Definitive Guide to Being the Man You Want to Be and Driving Women Wild and Making Love Real - The Intelligent Couples Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion. Celeste has her MA in Human Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University (SFSU) and her BA in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Celeste has taken the Hakomi Pro-Skills Training as well as multiple other trainings on sexuality and relationships. Celeste also has a Certification in Sexological Bodywork from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality (IASHS).