Two Harmful Results of Hidden Pornography Use

Two Harmful Results of Hidden Pornography Use

In our technologically forward society, online pornography can be accessed anytime, anywhere, twenty-four/seven, and for some individuals, it can become a major problem.

The combination of instantaneous availability, hyper stimulating visuals, and rapidly changing content is created with the user in mind. Constant accessibility allows curious and interested users to access pornography, and many other forms of sexually explicit material, on impulse.

Pornography sites are developed and set up like a standard website, as you may expect. Just like gambling and gaming websites, porn sites are strategically and expertly developed to capture, hyper-stimulate, and maintain your attention – creating a physiological, psychological and neurological mood-altering experience.

“It is often this secrecy and deception, not the actual pornography content, which creates the sense of partner betrayal following a discovery or disclosure of porn use.”

This kind of enticing content can eventually transform into two main types of problems for the individual. Firstly, consistent online pornography use can develop into a problem for the user, which can be addressed individually. Secondly, if pornography use has been hidden within a relationship, it can result in a disclosure or discovery of the problem by a partner, which must be addressed together within the context of the relationship.

1. Pornography use as a problem for the user

The majority of people who view porn recreationally or habitually can remain overall sexually healthy adults and will not develop long-term problematic behaviours, though, some do. Alongside habitual use can come a diminished awareness of the effects and impact of prolonged use of pornography, psychologically and in other aspects of life including sex, intimacy, relationships, and sexual wellbeing.

There are clear patterns, behaviours, and rituals associated with online pornography consumption once a problem has developed. With long term habitual use comes the potential for developing more serious problems such as dependency, destructive behaviours, unwanted sexual acting out, and online pornography addiction. It is no surprise that increasing numbers of men are seeking help for problems associated with pornography, sexual compulsivity, and impulsivity due to the availability, accessibility, and opportunities of porn.

Self-regulation can become a challenge with excessive porn use and the feeling of being driven by sexual impulses and sexual preoccupation can perpetuate the use of pornography. Here are 25 signs you might have a problem with pornography to help you identify signs of problem porn use. Also, common feelings of shame, regret, remorse, and recommitment to stop become part of an addictive cycle. Over time, sexual desire, arousal, and sexual acting out become entangled with using pornographic content.

2. Hidden pornography use as a problem for the couple

Porn use, and the preoccupation, fascination, or fixation with pornography, is a private, and often secretive, affair.

As a behaviour that is largely hidden, pornography use requires a consistent degree of privacy and secrecy to maintain ongoing use. Often, there are no obvious signs or symptoms of problematic porn use, which is one of the reasons why pornography addiction is described as a hidden addiction.

It is often this secrecy and deception, not the actual pornography content, which creates the sense of partner betrayal following a discovery or disclosure of porn use in an otherwise trusting, intimate relationship.

While the discovery or disclosure of your partner’s secret online pornography use can often feel like a shocking betrayal, finding a way to work through it together can mean the success of your future relationship. Read more about the purpose of a disclosure for couples in recovery.

Couples who openly discuss sex and intimacy together, expressing their attitudes and feelings about pornography use, won’t be as impacted by the same sense of partner deception or betrayal. Whereas, unresolved or non-negotiated differences in attitudes toward pornography can result in a worsening of the hidden behaviours.

Moving forward

Unfortunately, many people do not realise they have developed a problem with pornography until they try to stop acting out sexually or they are strongly encouraged to stop by their partners.

One of the clearest signs of problematic pornography use is a repeat of failed attempts to stop. This can be very distressing on the user and is often the point where they turn to their partner, or to a professional therapist, for help in trying to understand what is happening. Here are 13 recovery self-help tools for overcoming pornography addiction.

This is truly a necessary beginning to healing the trauma and distrust that can result from hidden pornography use. While the process can be difficult, having the courage to speak up to a partner or professional can make all the difference in regaining a healthy life and rebuilding the trust in your relationship.


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

Orlagh Reid Psychotherapy MIACP Therapy Ireland

Subscribe to my newsletter

Subscribe to get all my latest articles, events & more straight to your inbox!