Pornography usage affects your life in many ways – relationships, your job, your social interactions, and so much more. You’ve begun to wonder if you may be addicted to porn.
Addiction is characterized by the repetition of specific behaviors – despite any negative effects or consequences – used to self-soothe or cope with the stressors in life.
First, not everyone who views porn is an addict. But there are patterns and symptoms that can be very good indicators that you can use to see if you are in danger of porn addiction.
Many of these signs are almost identical to the indicators used to classify substance addiction like drugs and alcohol.
Focus on the Family notes that there are Five Stages of Pornography Addiction.
1. Early Exposure
Most men who become addicted started at an early age. This could have been looking at a magazine or a video clip. But that first exposure started their relationship with porn.
At this stage, you keep seeking out more porn to view. You have started to make it a regular part of your life, and not just an occasional peek.
Now you have become so accustomed to seeing porn that you need to find more graphic material. You may not have even considered this more explicit porn before, but now you have started to enjoy it.
You have reached the stage where you have become numb to porn. Even the most disgusting, graphic types of porn now seem boring or unexciting to you. You are desperate to find that same type of thrill you use to get but you can’t seem to find anything to replace it.
5. Acting out sexually
You have finally reached the point where you are willing to risk making the dangerous jump from visual fantasy to acting out in the real world.
Of course, everyone is different, so you may find that this pattern varies for you. If you’re uncertain about the extent of your struggle with sex addiction, you can take the Sexual Addiction Screening Test anonymously and online for free.
Symptoms of Addiction
As with any addiction, there are several signs and symptoms of porn addiction. Here’s a partial list of some common ones:
- Unable to stop using porn despite trying to do so
- Becoming angry, defensive, or irritable when asked to stop viewing porn
- Increased sense of shame and guilt
- Decreased time spent with family and friends
- Denial that you have a porn problem
- Lying and being more secretive about activities
- Reduced interest in sexual, emotional or physical interaction with your spouse
- Intense feelings of shame and guilt
- Feeling like you’re living a double life
- Blaming others for your porn use
- Loss of interest in work, socializing, hobbies and other activities
Whether your journey with pornography has led to a full blown addiction or is an intermittent struggle, there is help for you.
Trying to regain control over your life
Most men who use porn are trying to self-medicate themselves. They have experiences in their past that have left painful memories and marks on their heart. Viewing porn makes them feel good momentarily and provides a fleeting relief to the pain they try to heal. Any enjoyment quickly gives way to shame which drives the user back to their virtual electronic drug all over again.
Porn also gives addicts a feeling of being able to control at least a part of their life.
Dr. Peter Kleponis, a licensed clinical therapist, wrote for Covenant Eyes that
“Like all addicts, pornography addicts often feel they have little control in life. Their deep needs to be heard, loved, affirmed and blessed are not being met, resulting in a feeling of powerlessness. Using pornography, and the people in porn, gives them a sense of power. However, this false sense of power is short-lived. They don’t realize that to feel a sense of control in their lives, they need to acknowledge their powerlessness and turn to God as the one true source of power.”
There is help for you to break free from your addiction
If you feel you may be addicted to pornography, or even if you view porn occasionally, there is good news. The Conquer Series is designed to help men just like you find freedom from the grip of porn.
Each letter in FASTER indicates a level of behaviors, attitudes and feelings that often cover or mask your true emotion of pain or fear. The FASTER Scale was designed for a man to recognize which level he is at every day. As men use the journal, the FASTER scale helps them to track how close they are to relapse, uncover emotional triggers and identify unhealthy patterns in their behavior.
By identifying where you are each day, you will be able to take action to avoid progressing towards relapse and maintaining your recovery and restoration.
Get involved with a Conquer Series small group
The FASTER Scale is just one part of the Conquer Series. The series consists of 12-DVDs that provide valuable information and encouragement. There are powerful testimonies, practical insights into your porn struggle, action video segments, and solid Biblical teaching.
A study guide and the personal journal that includes the FASTER Scale are also available. They are designed to help you apply the lessons and actively track your progress towards your total freedom from pornography.
But please get involved. You cannot beat your porn usage by yourself. Meeting regularly with a small group of Christian men who want to see you enjoy a porn-free life is vital to your victory.
The Conquer Series is a powerful cinematic 12-disc DVD series which is helping over 1 million men conquer porn and walk in freedom.
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