With access to the internet and cell phone apps in everyday life becoming the norm, it is not surprising that access to pornography and sexual images has also become easier. Using pornography is not in itself a damaging or unhealthy behaviour, however, it is becoming increasing clear that it does have an addictive quality and recently has been known to impact couples in relationship. Relationships can be adversely affected by the addictive influences of pornography and numerous couples are finding it difficult to create intimacy and often the motivation for sex, and foreplay is severely diminished.
It has been noted that there are a number of factors that can influence the ‘usage’ of pornographic images. It is generally based on stress levels, family circumstances, emotional wellbeing, relationship status, etc.
If you are worried or concerned about your involvement with pornography, Skinner describes seven levels of pornographic usage that might help you identify whether gaining professional support would be beneficial for your well being.
Pornography Addiction Stages
Level 1: using pornography, pornographic images or sexual images once or twice a year.
Level 2: using pornography, pornographic images or sexual images two to six times a year.
Level 3: using pornography, pornographic images or sexual images once a month – though the usage of pornographic content for several days and then stopping (binging) can also occur at this stage.
Level 4 – 6: using pornography, pornographic images or sexual images increasingly with more binges and fewer days between each binge. The appearance of withdrawals are noted between each binge and individuals spend more time fantasising which impacts their lives.
Level 7: using pornography, pornographic images or sexual images for hours on a daily basis and the pornography images become more ‘hard-core’ and violent. The individual’s thoughts are dominated by sex and pornography and often act out their sexual fantasies – sometimes leading to violent crime.
Pornography Addiction Help
If you feel that you identify with level 3 or higher please reach out for professional help, as level 3 is noted as bordering problematic/compulsion.
If you would like to speak with anyone about pornography addiction or any other issues please feel free to contact us at Shore Therapy, Auckland Therapy and Counselling. To make a confidential, discrete appointment click here to visit our bookings page.
Reference: Tarver, M (2010). The effects of pornography addiction on marital consent.