Porn Addiction Therapy Treatment

Porn addiction treatment is a multi-million dollar service in this country, but it pales in comparison to the pornography business that earns $97.06 billion annually. That’s more than the combine revenue of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink. Of all websites,12% are pornographic, and 25% of internet searches are for pornography related material.

But looking at pornography on internet sites, magazines or movies is not the same as being a porn addict. It’s estimated that about 43% of internet users view pornography, but about 8% of the population has a porn addiction.

So if you’re wondering whether you’re dealing with a pornography addiction, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you able to stop, resist, or control the impulses to view pornography?

  • Do you regularly spend more time viewing pornography than you intended?

  • Are thoughts about pornography taking more and more of your mental space?

  • Do you spend a significant amount of your time and energy pursuing pornographic material?

  • Is there a growing energy and excitement with the anticipation of viewing pornography?

  • Are you taking increasing risks to viewing pornography, like viewing it at work?

  • Do you continue to view pornography even though it has a negative impact on you?

  • Does the time spent viewing porn keeping you from following through on your responsibilities for work, home, school, friends?

  • Do you feel a need to continue increasing the risk or intensity of the pornography to be satisfied?

Reading down the above list of questions, two things are clear. First, an addiction to pornography is not much different than any other addiction. Second, it’s very clear that pornography can become a very real and debilitating addiction. It may involve struggles with compulsive masturbation, obsessive sexual thoughts or acts, and difficulty with an intimacy that begins to erode a person’s quality of life and relationships. And yet, there is no diagnosis code for a pornography addiction. Yes, that’s right, the medical profession doesn’t believe that anyone needs porn addiction treatment because they don’t identify it as a problem.

Yet millions of people seek pornography addiction help every year because they know it’s a very real problem. As with most addictions, a pornography addiction cuts across all beliefs and people groups in the population. Even half of those whose Christian beliefs oppose pornography will admit to a porn addiction, including about half of all pastors who struggle as well.

But if you think this is just a struggle for men, you’ll be surprised to know that 17% of women struggle with a pornography addiction, favoring chat rooms and erotica over images and video. Even more surprising is that of the adults who are addicted to pornography, 33% or men went on to having affairs compared to 80% of women. This may be because pornography typically objectifies sex and people, where as erotica is more about a relational connection that is sexually charged. That may say something about a large part of what drives pornography addiction and why it often escalates to involve in person encounters: porn addiction is mostly about the desire to connect and matter to others.

Three Focus Areas for Porn Addiction Treatment

Like any addictive behavior, a porn addiction involves behavioral and biological aspects that amplify the use of pornography into something more uncontrollable. Porn addiction treatment usually needs to address all three components of a pornography addiction:


Sexual release can trigger pleasure pathways in the brain similar to drug use. These neuro-pathways become reinforced and, over time, make the brain dependent on pornography as the primary source of pleasure. Over time, the frequency and intensity of the pornography use must increase for the same effect with a decrease in the ability to delay or stop.


Porn addiction often can be fueled by other psychological struggles, such as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), bipolar disorder, personality disorders, etc. The flood of pleasure in the brain from pornography may be used to reduce anxiety and stress, or increase energy and motivation for someone struggling with depression.


Whether it starts with the addiction or is the result of one, low self worth and social struggles are a large part of the porn addiction treatment. With increased porn use comes a decrease in real connection with others. Sometimes pornography use is the safest means for a person to feel loved, wanted, and adequate from another person, even if it is only fantasy.

Pornography Addiction Treatment Helps

Porn addiction treatment is most effective when it focuses on the root of most pornography addiction; a difficulty having healthy connected relationships with real people. Treatment provides a safe and supportive environment to begin working through the hurdles to better connections with real people.

Because pornography use is usually done in isolation, the therapy relationship often provides some of the fist encouragement and accountability that is so crucial to the process of treatment. It’s ironic that in such a hyper-sexualized culture, a pornography addiction can hold so much shame for a person. But breaking free of a porn addiction is going to require the help of another person, particularly for the first 6-8 weeks of the brain re-orienting itself to a new normal without “pleasure high” the brain had become accustomed to. The consistent encouragement in porn addiction treatment helps weather the storms of relapse until the cravings for pornography subside.

Whether it’s a depression, anxiety, bipolar or an obsessive-compulsive disorder, porn addiction treatment must sometimes first start with an underlying diagnosis. Pornography may be the symptom of a deeper issue and a means for coping with the problem. Therapy is a great place to deal with those underlying issues.

As mentioned before, pornography addiction is often an attempt to feel some closeness with another person without the possibility or rejection, conflict or the other issues that are part of normal real relationship. Someone may have had a difficult history with close relationships, or no real history of closeness at all. Porn addiction treatment can involve helping develop relationship skills that equip a person to enter into closer relationships with real people.