Lifestyle

The warning signs you’re watching too much porn, according to experts

Pornography May Provide Existential Escape From Boredom, Study Suggests

It's no secret that we are surrounded by a world of pornography.

And with the internet and technological developments, adult content is a few clicks or scrolls away, anytime, anywhere.

Whether that's on OnlyFans, checking out Twitter,PornHub, and regular internet searches, the list is endless.

A study published on Evolutionary Psychology noted that porn sites are in the top 50 most visited websites worldwide.

Watching explicit content is thrilling or interesting for some people.

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According to another study published in the National Library of Science, watching porn is often associated with boredom, wanting sexual gratification, and stress relief.

But what happens if porn becomes an addiction?

Here at Indy100, we spoke with two sex experts to uncover the warning signs that someone is watching too much explicit content.

Porn addiction in people tends to come from psychosocial and biological factors

"Biological and psychosocial factors" tend to contribute to someone having a porn addiction.

Helen Wyatt - relationship and sex therapist at the Center for Modern Relationships biological factors - said people "program" their mind and body to seek "dopamine" or pleasure hormone.

"We get a hit of dopamine every time we seek out porn and find exactly what we are looking for," she said.

"At first, we might get hits of dopamine from just visiting porn sites - doing something taboo," Wyatt continued before adding that the brain will crave "more dopamine."

Essentially, this causes people to look for something "more exciting" to satisfy themselves.

As for the psychosocial factors (social and psychological factors), Wyatt said that porn is used to soothe anxiety, depression symptoms, and loneliness.

Porn for people can also help deal with feelings that come from real-life experiences not being as great as the fantasy of the adult content.

"We get a hit of dopamine every time we seek out porn and find exactly what we are looking for."iStock

"We get dopamine and fulfillment from our social experiences, from feeling desired, from desiring others and connecting with others. Many times, high levels of religiosity is associated with porn addiction," Wyatt said.

She added: "People don't want to 'cheat,' but they also are pulled in by the exciting feelings that eroticism gives us - longing and anticipation, breaking taboos, power and control, overcoming ambivalence about a belief."

"It becomes a way to soothe anxious feelings and fill in a person-to-person connection gap, as well as an instant way to experience excitement, pleasure, desire, and fulfill dopamine wants."

"We get dopamine and fulfillment from our social experiences, from feeling desired, from desiring others and connecting with others."iStock

The warning signs someone is watching too much porn are innocent at first and can seem quite pure and unsuspecting in the beginning.

"The person has the urge to watch maybe just one more video or spend ten more minutes longer looking at the content, which is why most people don't realize they're starting to become addicted," said Andrew Mioch, a sex coach and international bestselling author and founder of Sexual Quantum Leap.

"Suddenly, the person is watching it every day, sometimes multiple times per day. The tell-tale sign of porn addiction are when the person needs it to become aroused, or they can't enjoy real intimacy because porn is better in their mind."

The best way to support a loved one suffering from porn addiction but wants to stop is to communicate and acknowledge the fact that there is a problem.

Mioch said that it is complex helping those closest to us who have porn addiction as many don't realise that porn addiction is a genuine condition.

"Everyone knows about drug and alcohol abuse, but few know that porn can be just as, if not more, addictive than the two due to the more accessible and secretive access," he said before breaking down some steps to help.

"The first step to having your partner overcome porn addiction is acknowledging that they have one without judgment. Next comes slowly weening the person off of it, which might be uncomfortable in the beginning stages, and re-introducing real-life intimacy and healthy sex into the person's life," Mioch added.

On the other hand, Wyatt believes that people need to pay attention to their communication and language. She also said porn is a tool and not "bad."

"Having interest or desire for sex and masturbation doesn't make you bad, exploitative, misogynistic, or gross. We can help someone we love by first understanding our own values around sexuality, as well as our biases, then having an open conversation with them," she said.

People don't need to stop watching explicit content - they just have to realise that for every action, there is a consequence

Wyatt thinks that people don't have to stop watching porn altogether, but they must recognise the consequences of their actions.

"You need to let your loved one know what the consequences are to their choices, and then you need to stick to those consequences. People have agency - they are not powerless most of the time."

"They have to stop the harmful disruption to their life and strive for balance," she said.

Wyatt continued: "We need to lean into our relationships, as well as clear the muck out of the way in order to see the actual problems. Complex issues deserve complex conversations."

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