Losing a Loved One to Porn (and What You Can Do About It) How much porn is too much porn?

It’s no secret that the Internet is bursting at the seams with porn. Sure, we also go online for information, interpersonal communication, dinner reservations, music, shopping, and much more. But porn is without doubt a primary online activity. In fact, search engine data neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam analyzed 400 million worldwide searches representing more than two million Internet users and found that 13% of all searches wee porn-related (link is external). So yes, lots of folks are looking at pornography.
Given the above, it is perhaps unsurprising that the porn-related question we most often hear in our therapy practices relates to the amount of porn people use. Much of the time this question is posed by wives worried about their husband’s online endeavors. In short, these women want to know: How much porn is too much? And when does it cross the line from use to addiction?
This, of course, is a bit like asking how much alcohol makes a person alcoholic—there just isn’t a set answer. In other words, addictions (to both substances and behaviors) are not about the amount of something; rather, they’re about obsession, loss of control, and directly related life problems. People qualify as addicted if:
  • They’re inordinately preoccupied with a potentially addictive substance or behavior (thinking about it, pursuing it, etc.);
  • They’ve lost control over use (using even when they don’t want to, not being able to stop once they’ve started, etc.);
  • Their lives are falling apart as a result (relationship issues, trouble at work, financial problems, legal woes, depression, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, social/emotional isolation, etc.).
Those are the benchmarks therapists use to diagnose porn addiction—and every other kind of addiction. So the amount of porn a person is looking at is not a defining factor. Nonetheless, research does suggest that porn addicts—those individuals who meet the criteria above—typically spend at least 11 hours per week searching for and looking at porn (with or without masturbation) (link is external). And it’s not uncommon for use to escalate well beyond that level—reaching 20, 30, or more hours per week.
Signs and Symptoms of Porn Addiction
There are numerous other signs and symptoms, beyond the conditions above, that often indicate compulsive porn use:
  • Escalation—increasing amounts of time that a person spends on porn, and/or an increased intensity of the material they view (moving from vanilla porn to hardcore, fetish, or violent porn).
  • Withdrawal—becoming restless, irritable, and discontent when porn is not available.
  • Dishonestylying and keeping secrets about porn use (amount of time, content they view, etc.).
  • Disconnection—loss of interest in family, friends, work, and previously enjoyable activities.
  • Sexual Dysfunction—loss of interest in real-world partner sex and/or problems with delayed ejaculation (DE), erectile dysfunction (ED), and/or anorgasmia (inability to reach orgasm)
2018-07-07T07:04:50+00:00