To date, pornography addiction is not a recognized mental health issue. The fact that it is a taboo subject doesn’t help the issue being discussed in an open and serious manner. Therefore, no standardized protocol for its treatment exists.
When you catch your partner masturbating to pornography, it is normal to feel that your trust has been violated. It is not uncommon to feel disgusted and hurt as a form of infidelity.
Understandably, this can be problematic if you are in a relationship and you believe that your partner’s pornography consumption is impacting your relationship. Luckily, an increasing number of trained specialists such as those from New Vision Psychologists are offering counselling services for porn addiction.
Signs of a Porn Addiction
At least a quarter of all online searches are related to pornography.
Prior to the growth of mobile internet, acces to pornography no longer requires the purchase of an adult magazine or being seen exiting an adult video store. According to OPPO, by 2023, 90 percent of the global population will own a smartphone and based on this Huff Post article, men are more than 543% more likely to look at pron than women.
Thanks to the high penetration of mobile phone users connected to the internet, porn is available anywhere at any time. Pornography can have serious ramifications on relationships with half of surveyed religious men admitted that they were addicted to pornography.
Similar to pathological gambling or internet addiction, individuals addicted to pron see a decrease in the ability to stop, an increase in the use over time, as well as adverse mental effects.
Here are a few signs that your partner has a pornography addiction:
- Noticing that he/she withdraws when they stop watching porn.
- Sexual dysfunction.
- Catching him/her masturbating regularly, in secret.
- Noticing that he/she is consuming pornography beyond what is considered healthy.
- Pornography is affecting your relationship (e.g., sexual behaviour becomes disconnected or aggressive).
If you believe that your partner’s pornography consumption is impacting your relationship, here are a few tips on how you can bring up the topic in a constructive manner.
1. How does it make YOU feel?
Before you confront your partner, take a moment to process things. The first few phrases of a conversation can generally determine the outcome. If required, mull it over for a few days before you commence the conversation.
Write down how your partner’s consumption of pornography means to you. This will come in handy when you have the actual conversation.
2. Remember that it is NOT your fault
As any psychologist will tell you, we often internalise things and jump to conclusions on our own perceived inadequacies.
Your partner’s pornography habits is not your fault.
3. Have a calm conversation with your partner
Most people will feel embarrassed and ashamed about their pornography consumption. Your partner will most likely react with anger. Therefore a calm approach to the subject is needed.
Avoid opening with an accusatory statement that sets a negative tone. Instead, ask open-ended questions to encourage him/her to open up. For example, “What are you thoughts on your use of pornography?”
Tell your partner how you feel. Perhaps you feel betrayed, jealous, or even ashamed. Relate them to your insecurities and reassure them that you love them and that you want to work together to find a resolution. If it has impacted your relationship, be honest about it.
If the thought of confronting your partner about their pornography habits scares you, Simon Sinek provides an effective framework on his Facebook Page.
4. Work towards a resolution together
Pornography addiction can slowly become a toxic element in your relationship. Therefore, try to work toward reaching a resolution throughout your conversation.
It may be unrealistic to expect your partner to cease their pornography habits immediately. He/she may require professional treatment and you may wish to consider seeking relationship counselling if you cannot reach an agreement.
In summary, viewing porn habitually doesn’t mean that you or your partner has a problem. Pornography can be enjoyed with no ill effects. But if you have attempted to stop it and cannot, consider reaching out to a mental health professional or a relationships counsellor.