All men watch porn? [Pornography Addiction Statistics]
While living in an increasingly global and connected world has many merits, it has also paved the way for increased access to, and therefore addiction to, pornography. In fact, pornography is more prevalent these days than it has ever been before. Not only is it easier to access and often available for free, but it has become much less taboo in Western society.
While it’s a fact that many men and women watch pornography on a regular basis, the latest pornography addiction statistics suggest that the largest demographic of sufferers are men. Because this kind of addiction has never been so common before, there are few credible psychological studies on the subject. However, it was important to me to compile all the information I could find in one place, in order to better help those who want to learn more.
There is a popular infographic cycling the internet right now that has broken down pornography use statistics, including the fact that a full quarter of global search engine requests are pornographic in nature. It also states that the average age at which a person first views pornography is a mere 11 years old!
With that kind of societal saturation, is it any wonder that almost ten percent of adults admit to being addicted to internet porn?
Perhaps you are simply curious about addiction to pornography, or you even have a sneaking suspicion you may be a sufferer yourself. This is not something to be ashamed of; it’s perfectly normal to be inquisitive about a subject that is becoming more common in our society.
I know it’s very hard to talk about pornography in person, unless in a joking manner, but that same embarrassment is the reason pornography addiction is so under-diagnosed and rarely treated. The truth is, it can affect many aspects of daily life.
For example, many people who suffer from addiction to pornography find it difficult to engage in interpersonal relationships, especially romantic ones. The ideas of sexual intimacy that are presented in pornography often don’t represent real life, so they become disillusioned or disappointed with their partners.
According to the American Psychological Association, some of the main symptoms of addiction to pornography are becoming more secretive about watching habits, dissociating from physical relationships and becoming angry, irritable and even depressed when pornography is not available.
This sort of dependence on pornography is similar to dependence on other substances that are more recognizable as being addictive. In fact, many men and women report symptoms that are reminiscent of being addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. The sad fact is, these types of addictions are more easily accepted by society and there is better treatment available.
The only way to truly understand what pornography addiction is and how to treat it is to stop being ashamed or squeamish about talking about it. By removing the stigma and creating safe places where such afflictions can be discussed in a non-judgmental manner, we can better understand what causes addiction to pornography and how to help those who suffer from it.
You may be wondering if you are addicted to pornography. Many people often think that they are, but with no one to turn to and little psychological research, they are hesitant to mention it. I want to help remove the barrier, to further understanding about pornography addiction and the best ways to treat it that have been discovered so far.
If you’re interested in my research, keep reading to find out more about when an interest in pornography turns into addiction, and the best treatments currently available.
What is the Difference Between Enjoyment and Addiction?
If you spend time on the internet on a regular basis, chances are you either seek out or are exposed to pornographic material quite often. Maybe it isn’t every day, but at least a few times a week or month. In the United States alone, 40 million people report using internet pornography regularly. Many more report being exposed to pornographic pop-ups or spam emails.
The truth is, pornography is everywhere in our daily lives. Many times it comes without warning, and is freely available to children. This is not a condemnation of the pornography industry, but a wake-up call about how our society, so dependent on the internet, has made sexual content the new normal. One of the reasons there are so few statistics or scientific research on the subject is because this is a fairly new phenomenon.
While healthy, consenting adults are often perfectly capable of telling the difference between pornography and real life, many are exposed at such a young age that it forms unreal expectations. This blurs the lines between using pornography in a healthy, enjoyable way and forming dependence. It’s suggested that youths and teenagers who are regular users of pornography have lower self-esteem and higher rates of depression.
The biggest difference between enjoying pornography and developing an addiction to it is that like with many addictions, use becomes less about want and more about need. If you enjoy drinking alcohol when out with friends or at a party, it isn’t a problem, unlike needing alcohol in order to function or to feel good.
In the same way, self-described pornography addicts generally don’t use it because they want to, or because it’s entertaining. They feel a compulsion to use pornography. Without it, many say, they find it difficult to be sexually satisfied and suffer from withdrawal-like symptoms.
Who are Pornography Addicts?
Because there is so little information about pornography addiction, and very little research has been done on the subject, we are forced to rely on self-reported statistics. These pornography addiction statistics may not be scientifically backed, but they do represent the ideas and feelings of people just like you and I.
One study, published by the department of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, suggests that much like food or gambling addiction, addiction to sex or pornography is difficult to diagnose because there are no foreign chemicals being introduced to the body. Instead, these types of addictions are fed by our own neurological impulses and reactions.
The same study concludes that it’s likely sex and pornography addictions are more prevalent in people who are exposed to such materials at a young age. Like food addiction, if you are conditioned to relate stimulus with a pleasurable response in your body, it’s more likely that you will develop an unhealthy reliance on that stimulus as you grow.
The takeaway from this is that while just ten percent of Americans say that they are addicted to porn, that figure is likely to grow as our society becomes more and more bombarded with an influx of online sexual content. In fact, while less than half of Americans say they watch pornography on a regular basis, over seventy percent of men aged 18-24 say they use it on at least a monthly basis.
This sort of disparity suggests that the majority of pornography addicts are young and we will soon see a spike in numbers. Again, it’s difficult to know who is addicted to porn due to conflicting definitions and peoples’ own reluctance to talk about it, but all evidence points to exposure at a young age being a definite factor.
How Can Addiction to Pornography Be Treated?
If you’re familiar with other sorts of addictions, especially those having to do with particular substances, you know that many treatments involve both chemical and personal components. With pornography addiction, the main form of treatment is behavioral.
This means that while there is no magical drug or pill that can cure a person’s addiction to pornography, there are many ways to deal with it. The main form is a way of gradually lessening someone’s dependence on pornography until they are in a safe enough place that they can deal with their urges and involve themselves emotionally and physically with other people.
One organization that claims to have helped many pornography addicts reports that one of the best ways to treat addiction to pornography is CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy. This is an approach that has had great success with treating more common sorts of addictions and has shown results in rehabilitating those who suffer from sex or pornography addictions.
The way it works is recognizing that pornography addicts do best when they are able to connect with and relate to others who are healing from addiction themselves. Whether it be a 12-step program or art or animal therapy, research suggests that having a support network is one of the most effective ways of healing currently available.
There are a few networks, such as Recovery Connection and Sexual Recovery that have programs specifically for people who suffer from pornography addiction. If you feel like you may have an unhealthy dependence on pornography, seek them out or search for local support groups.
The most important thing to remember is, you are not alone. There are many people who struggle with a daily dependence on internet pornography. It may take over your life in the short term, but focusing on cutting it out of your daily routine and getting back to living in the real world are worthwhile goals that can be accomplished. It may not be easy, but it is possible.
Things to Remember
There is a fine line between enjoying pornography on a regular basis and developing a dependence on it. If you are a youth who was exposed to internet pornography and have been viewing it for long periods of time, especially daily, taking a break and seeing how it affects your mood or your interpersonal relationships can give you an idea of your dependence.
Always remember, if you feel like you are suffering from pornography addiction, you are not alone. There may not be research on the subject to the extent of alcohol or drug or gambling addiction, but know that it is real. There are programs in place to help you or someone you know.
The rate of pornography addiction is expected to rise in coming years as the internet becomes ubiquitous and young people are exposed to pornographic material on a daily basis. This will probably result in an increase in accurate pornography addiction statistics, and it will likely result in the affliction itself being more readily recognized by psychologists and medical journals.
The best way to help yourself if you feel like you may have an addiction to pornography is to talk to a psychologist. They can recommend a support group in your area, or other courses of action. Please remember, this is an affliction that affects not only the sufferer, but all of those involved in their interpersonal relationships.
If you have any comments or questions about the above information, please leave a comment. We would love some personal feedback if this is an issue you’ve struggled with personally.