The Stages of Porn Addiction: Do you have a Habit or an Addiction to Porn?

When it comes to porn and inappropriate behavior, it is important that you know the difference between an addiction to porn and having a habit of watching porn on “occasion”. There are many porn addicts who will define their addiction as a “bad habit”, however, there is a distinct difference between an addiction and a habit and in many cases what began as a habit, evolves into an addiction.

Habit VS Addiction

The definition of habit is “a recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition” and the definition of an addiction is “a compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance and/or the condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved with something.” When the definitions are broke down, they translate to…an addiction is something that your mind and your body has become accustomed to and needs in order to function properly and normally. A habit is something that is developed over time and becomes repetitive, but a habit does not affect your daily functioning. For example, if porn is a habit it is only something you have come accustomed to and while breaking the porn habit will be difficult, neither the porn habit nor the quitting of porn will interfere with your daily functions of life. If you are addicted to porn, it has gradually taken over your daily functioning, in other words, if you do not view porn when you have the urge, it can affect your thoughts and behavior to the point of unless you view porn, you will not be able to make it through the day, you may become ill at the thought of not filling the cravings and you will not be able to function on a daily basis without the porn.

You Can Fight the Addiction

When you have an addiction to porn, there is always a strong, uncontrollable desire to view pornographic material and the chance of relapse for a porn addict is typically high, due to the fact that your addiction is easy to access. Breaking a porn addiction, means you have to instill a change that not only permanent, but gradually introduced. When you decide to quit porn, the first thought will be “I will just stop watching it”, but in most cases, you cannot break a porn addiction overnight. There are stages of a porn addiction that every porn addict encounters, learning these stages not only is beneficial in helping you recognize that when you view porn, it is not a habit, it is an addiction, but it is an addiction you can successfully overcome.

The Stages of Porn Addiction

If you have determined that you do indeed have an addiction to porn, it is vital that you recognize the stages of a porn addiction. The sooner you learn about your addiction, the easier it will be to quit porn and start on the road to recovery. The stages of an addiction to porn include:

  • Exposure-this is when you first begin to view porn on the internet, in magazines or on DVDs. During this stage you view the porn as a harmless activity.
  • Continuous use-what began has harmless viewing of porn has increased to more frequent use.
  • Addiction-the frequent use of porn has gradually turned into an addiction to porn. Viewing porn has now become a major portion of your daily routine and you cannot go one day without reading or viewing porn. At this point, you have begun to isolate yourself from society, family events, neglected daily tasks and find your urges to view porn are taking up the majority of your day.
  • Escalation-when the addiction begins to escalate, you no longer are finding satisfaction with small amounts of porn and you may begin to search for porn material that is more graphic, extreme and/or violent.
  • Negative emotions-when you have reached the peak of your use of porn, you will become desensitized to even the most graphic sources of pornographic material. At this point, you may begin to experience feelings of guilt, shame and/or fear.
  • Acting out-very rarely does a porn addict act out their fantasies, however, it may happen. During this phase, those who have the urge to act out their fantasies will often seek prostitutes or practice reckless, unprotected sexual behaviors.
  • Recognition-when you begin to recognize you have an addiction and that your porn is interfering with your life, you will at this point ask “how do I quit porn”. You are recognizing the addiction and will be on your way to learning about recovery.
  • Overcoming your porn addiction-there are several ways to deal with a porn addiction, such as engaging in social activities or finding a hobby, but the most beneficial ways to overcome your addiction is with support. You will need support through friends, family and/or a support group. It is also extremely beneficial to talk with a counselor that specializes in porn addictions.
  • Preventing relapse-a porn addiction is extremely difficult to cope with, the material is everywhere and you can access porn any time of the day or night. While you are in recovery, it is vital that you avoid temptation at all cost. Never believe that only looking once will be okay.
  • You have come a significantly far distance with your addiction; you have proven your strength and courage in recognizing the addiction, fighting the addiction and not letting your addiction run your life. Do not give up on yourself and never lose faith in yourself. You can beat your porn addiction and live a happy, healthy life.
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