info > Addictive Behaviors > Pornography
Addiction is a complex and profound concept. It is possible to be addicted to almost anything whether it is a substance like cocaine, a relationship with a special someone or a certain behavior. Addiction to pornography falls into the last category.
It is possible to look at pornography without becoming addicted,
just as it is possible for most people to enjoy a drink without
becoming addicted to alcohol. What lies at the core of addictive
behavior is the addictive personality.
When this personality comes into contact with a substance, relationship
or behavior that pushes the right buttons an addiction develops.
Pornography in and of itself is not an addictive substance and the
addiction that may develop is strictly a psychological dependence. This
does not mean that the consequences are potentially less destructive.
Addiction to pornography has certain shared characteristics that apply to every addiction:
* There is a growing preoccupation with the behavior. In this case the viewing of pornography.
* There is a sense of being out of control and efforts to curtail the behavior prove fruitless.
* A growing tendency to engage in viewing pornography instead of attending to one's necessary obligations.
* Activities that have nothing to do with the pornography are reduced or given up altogether.
* Even though there are obvious consequences like the loss of jobs, relationships and social standing the behavior continues.
* A tolerance to the material develops so that behavior needs to intensify to achieve the same "high".
* Irritation and discomfort arise when unable to engage in the activity.
People who struggle with this particular form of addiction are
typically unable to sustain real-life, sexually fulfilling
relationships so that the addiction sustains a vicious cycle that can
only be broken when the problem is recognized and help is sought.
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