Problem Porn Consumption and Questions for Self Assessment

Problem pornography consumption can be measured in a number of ways and on factors relating to salience, mood modification, conflict, tolerance, withdrawal and relapse. Getting an understanding of how porn is affecting your life right now is the first step to changing your relationship with porn.

Why is problem porn consumption increasing?

Increasing numbers of men and women are seeking clinical sexology psychotherapy and addiction counselling to discuss concerns and topics about problem porn consumption. There are many reasons for the upward trends in the prevalence of online problem porn use. Many of these are down to the obvious availability, accessibility and opportunity to access free unrestricted online content 24/7 instantaneously from any device connected to the internet. There are cultural, technological and societal factors and trends which influence consumption. The simple fact is that the world’s services, communication and entertainment are online – far more than a decade ago.

The problem with porn is that despite the common saying ‘it’s not real’ – it very much IS real. Your brain, body, sexual response cycle and nervous system respond to content before, during and after you access online pornography.

Find out more about my online men's Pro Recovery Coaching group from overcoming pornography problems.

For the younger generations i.e. those under forty, there is a new normality and acceptance of sexually explicit content, sexualised content and online pornography in various forms and on social media with less shame, secrecy and taboo about sex and sexuality in general. Sex-positive attitudes to sexuality. Research suggests however that approximately 4%, (4 in 100 people) of those who view online pornography regularly will develop some degree of problematic porn consumption and there are other prevalent factors which can make people at a higher risk of developing problems.

Porn consumption statistics

Recent 2023 statistics from the world’s largest porn site show that over 91%* of traffic comes from smartphones and 7%* from desktops. While 80% of content accessed on game consoles came from Playstations. It also shows the times that content is accessed most between 4 pm and 5 pm and 10 pm to 1 am. The average time spent online in Ireland is 9 minutes and 38 seconds to be exact. Ireland ranks high for traffic, 42nd compared to 125th worldwide for population.

You might like to read...[How do I Start Pornography Recovery?]

Porn is real and your body and brain respond as if it is real

The problem with porn is that despite the common saying ‘it’s not real‘ – it very much IS real. Your brain, body, sexual response cycle and nervous system respond to content before, during and after you access online pornography. For some, these attitudes, responses, reactions and reliance on both the content and the associated process behaviours become problematic over time. These problems can affect different aspects of one’s life. It is easy to minimise the impact of porn use over time, particularly if actual exposure is on average 10 minutes each time. We know that people using content have different rituals, habits and routines. Some will binge on content, others will obsess and fascinate, some with fixate and others will fluctuate their use. Small exposures add up over time to the development of bigger challenges unravelling the process behaviour. Many can and do experience PTSD symptoms, withdrawal, cravings and psychological distress when they finally quit particularly if they were exposed to extreme content. However, it is also the relationship between the behaviours associated with consumption and the psychological impact over time which causes problems.

How do I know if I have a problem with pornography?

There are a number of questionnaires also called scales which clinicians and psychologists use to help patients identify concerns relating to pornography and the internet. The Problem Porn Consumption Scale (PPCS), Pornography Craving Questionnaire (PCQ), Internet Addiction Test (IAT), and the Problem Pornography Use scale (PPUS) are just a few. Each of these questionnaires can help identify if consumption is non-problematic or problematic porn use or consumption.

Take a read of the related PORNFREE articles on my BLOG 

The questions on the Problem Pornography Consumption Scale (PPCS) below are a useful tool to help you begin to self-assess signs and areas of problem use. These questions are connected to six factors relating to problem use which are salience (i.e. importance), mood modification, conflict, tolerance, withdrawal and relapse.

Some people are more vulnerable to developing problem use due to certain health conditions, mental health conditions and experiences such as depression, anxiety, trauma, low self-esteem, trauma, attachment, alcohol and drug problems and mental health conditions.

What are the problem pornography consumption questions?

Here you can read the 16 adapted statements which are used to assess problems with pornography. When responding to these statements, ask yourself which of the following responses applies – never, rarely, occasionally, sometimes, often, very often, all the time.

Take some time to reflect on each question and answer honestly, with self-compassion and without self-judgement. You may find it helpful to answer these questions a second time after giving yourself time to think and reflect.

  • I felt that porn is an important part of my life.
  • I use porn to restore the tranquillity of my feelings.
  • I feel pornography causes problems in my sexual life.
  • I feel that I have to watch more and more porn for satisfaction.
  • I unsuccessfully tried to reduce the amount of porn I watched.
  • I have thought about how good it would be to watch porn.
  • I have become stressed when something prevents me from watching content.
  • Watching pornography helps me get rid of negative feelings and emotions.
  • Watching content has prevented me from bringing out the best in myself.
  • I feel that I need more and more to satisfy my needs.
  • When I vowed not to watch it anymore, I could only do it for a short period of time.
  • I became agitated when I could not watch it.
  • I continually planned to watch porn.
  • I have released my tension and stress by watching porn.
  • I neglect other leisure activities as a result of watching content.
  • I gradually watched more extreme content, because what I watched before was not as satisfying.

Once you have read through these questions and identified your responses you will have a better understanding of the problem. If you find you have responded with often, very often and all the time, then I suggest you consider getting personal and professional support and help. Take a read of 13 Recovery Self-help Tools For Overcoming Pornography Addiction to get you started.

Knowing when to get professional help

There are other conditions which you also may or may not be experiencing which need to be ruled out. These are compulsive sexual behaviour (CSB), hypersexuality disorder, addictive behaviours and internet addiction. Each has questionnaires used to identify potential disordered use relating to sexual content, sexual behaviour and internet use, but they are not specific for assessing online problematic pornography use.

This is why it is important to get the help and support of a professional addiction counsellor, clinical sexologist, psychiatrist or psychologist who specialises in sexual problems and problem pornography use to support you in the right way if you have concerns. To book an appointment click here.

Starting psychotherapy or addiction counselling for problem porn use

If you would like to get help with any of the above topics, then reach out and get in touch with me. Use the links below to book an online appointment or subscribe to the Men’s Pro recovery e-newsletter. I have been providing professional psychotherapy, counselling and addiction counselling for problem pornography use for over ten years. The first step is moving beyond embarrassment and shame and getting a good understanding of where you are and the next steps ahead. To book an online consultation for 30 minutes or 60 minutes click here, select your chosen appointment time and book.

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Orlagh Reid Psychotherapy

Orlagh Reid

Orlagh Reid is an IACP accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist, Addiction Counsellor, Gottman Couples Therapist and Fertility Counsellor in private practice based in Co. Kildare, Ireland and worldwide online via DOXY. She specialises in addiction, recovery, well-being and clinical sexology. To find out more or to book an online consultation visit www.orlaghreid.ie

Orlagh Reid Psychotherapy MIACP Therapy Ireland

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