Viewing pornography can put an individual at risk of developing a sex addiction. It can also indicate an already existing mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression, or trauma. Some people may use pornography/masturbation to manage the symptoms of an untreated mental health problem.
Some signs that are you experiencing an addiction or another mental health condition include:
It's only a "male" problem. One study found that 76% of women between the ages of 18-30 engage with pornographic material. Though more men than women typically view pornography, it is also extremely common for women to engage with pornography and/or masturbation. However, due to social stigma, women may be less comfortable sharing this.
Pornography is a good thing. Some studies have shown it to be linked with positive effects of pornography, such as open-mindedness and increased communication with your partner regarding sex. However, it has also been shown to have far more negative effects than positive ones. These negative effects include damage to interpersonal relationships, sexual dysfunction, addiction, depression, and more.
It doesn't matter whether I choose to use pornography. Pornography has significant effects not only on individuals who choose to engage but on society as a whole. The pornography industry is linked to human trafficking and child sex abuse.
I like to watch gay/lesbian porn. Does that mean I'm gay? Being aroused by any type of pornography is a normal physiological response and does not necessarily indicate one's sexual orientation. If you are questioning your sexuality, you may be looking to pornography to help you figure out your feelings. However, due to the negative effects of pornography use, it will likely be more helpful to stop pornography use and allow yourself time to figure out your feelings apart from the effects of pornography.
I watch pornography/masturbate sometimes, but I'm not addicted. Is that a problem? Pornography is linked to negative mental health effects even if you are not experiencing an addiction. Pornography use also puts you at risk of using it as an unhealthy coping mechanism and/or developing an addiction. That being said, not everyone who uses pornography develops an addiction.
Is pornography addiction a real thing? How does viewing pornography affect your brain? How does it affect the world? Matt Fradd did the research so you don't have to. Find out the truth behind the neurological implications of pornography.
This website, founded by Exodus Cry, exposes the way that the popular pornographic site PornHub contributes to sex trafficking and seeks to bring its executives to justice.
Catholic In Recovery is a non-profit organization that serves Catholics experiencing addiction and other unhealthy attachments. Whether you want to give up occasional pornography/masturbation habits or you are experiencing addiction, Catholic In Recovery has resources for you.
Integrity Restored provides information and resources for individuals, couples, and families who have been affected by pornography and pornography addiction.
Covenant Eyes provides accountability for people trying to quit pornography. Their blog also offers helpful advice on recovery from pornography.
Leave Porn a Catholic website which provides resources for teens and young people who are looking for help quitting pornography and masturbation.
Thorn protects children from sexual abuse by tackling the links between internet pornography and child abuse.
The Recovery Village offers guidance on seeking treatment for addictions and other mental health conditions.
Lisa Morin-Schhniederjan is a licensed professional counselor with experience treating women who struggle with pornography and masturbation.
Rehab Spot is dedicated to providing accurate and in-depth information on addiction. Check out their resources on the effects of pornography.