Emotional Escapism and the Porn Addiction Trap

Guilt, anxiety, broken relationships – porn addiction, and particularly using porn as a means of escape from life’s problems, can have serious long-term consequences. Here we look at the dangers of escapist porn use.

Porn Addiction and Emotional Escapism

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  • A study found that a surprising number of men are using porn as a form of escapism to ease uncomfortable emotions.
  • A study found that a surprising number of men are using porn as a form of escapism to ease uncomfortable emotions.

The proliferation of pornography on the Internet has drastically changed the adult entertainment industry and how people engage with it. For better or for worse, online porn is available anytime, anywhere, to anyone with a computer or mobile device.

As more and more people are exposed to the negative effects of excessive porn use, a growing need for porn addiction treatment centres to deal with the problem has emerged.

The true extent of porn use across the world has taken many by surprise and some worrying statistics have emerged. In the US, the average age of first exposure to porn is 11 years old. A study carried out in 2009 found that the average age for first downloading porn in Hong Kong was 11.9, with 80 per cent of adolescents saying they had accessed porn online.

Research conducted in 2015 by The Next Web found that when it came to accessing porn sites, Hong Kong had by far the highest number of pages viewed per visit.  It also ranked highly for the longest average session time on porn websites.

Porn: Healthy or Unhealthy?

Such is the proliferation of adult content it is no longer just a question of whether people are accessing pornography, but how they are using it and whether their usage habits are healthy.

Following a raft of studies on porn use over the past decade, the consensus seems to be that watching porn has little or no negative effects for most people, with many claiming porn can be a perfectly good ingredient in a healthy sex life.

For some, however, it appears that porn can have significant negative impacts, sometimes necessitating process addiction treatment to deal with the problem. Aside from porn’s addictive qualities, it can have serious detrimental effects on real-world intimacy and the ability to have successful partnerships.

Is Your Need for Sex Becoming a Problem?

Pornography as Emotional Escapism

One emerging theory is that of porn as a form of emotional escapism, with studies returning some surprising results.  A study carried out in France asked male respondents about their chief reasons for looking at porn online. The main reasons were pretty much in line with expectations: sexual satisfaction (94.4 per cent), arousal (87.2 per cent) and orgasm (86.5 per cent). However, the study also found that a surprising number of men were turning to porn as a form of escapism to help ease uncomfortable emotions: alleviate stress (73.8 per cent), assuage boredom (70.8 per cent) and forget their daily problems (53 per cent).

Tellingly, the study concluded that men who engage in online sexual activities for emotional escape are much more likely to experience negative effects. Not only is a full-blown porn addiction more likely, so are a slew of negative consequences such as relationship problems, sexual dysfunction, issues at work or school, depression, anxiety, shame and more.

Signs and Symptoms of Porn Addiction

While there is no official definition of porn addiction, the general understanding is that porn use becomes a problem when excessive or compulsive use leads to negative consequences in our lives.

If you feel you have developed – or are in danger of developing – a porn addiction, you should look out for the following warning signs:

  • Loss of interest in sex (this symptom is especially common among males who have developed unhealthy porn-use patterns)
  • Loss of multiple hours per day, or even entire days, to porn use
  • Hiding your porn use from those around you
  • Trouble at work or school for poor performance and/or inappropriate use of computer equipment
  • Loss of interest in other hobbies and leisure activities such as sport, reading and socializing
  • Feelings of depression, shame and guilt
  • Continuing to use porn despite previous negative consequences such as job loss or failed relationships
  • Escalation to paid-for sexual services via webcam or in person
  • Inability to stop looking at porn even though you told yourself you would

Many of these tell-tale signs are similar to behaviour associated with substance abuse. If you are experiencing any of these or feel you are spending too much time looking at porn, it may be time to take action.

Call Us Today for Professional Help

Getting the Help You Need

It’s important to make the distinction between tackling porn addiction and getting sex addiction treatment. While the latter focuses on behavioural change while continuing to engage in sex, the goal with porn addiction is to stop using it entirely.

Because we are constantly surrounded by computers and mobile devices, kicking a porn habit can be a challenging process. To be successful you will need to have a genuine desire to quit. Confiding in a loved one such as a close and trusted friend about your issues will provide you with an outlet to discuss your problems and support you through the process.

It may also be a good idea to examine how you use and interact with technology. You may want to install porn-blocking software on any device you use that is connected to the Internet. You may even consider a complete digital detox for a few days, or even weeks, to free yourself of any temptation to look at porn online. And needless to say, you should throw out any porn DVDs or magazines you may have in your home.

For many, porn addiction treatment is the best option to ensure a complete and successful recovery. Effective outpatient treatment can tackle the problem with complete confidentiality and the minimum disruption to your professional and personal life. One-on-one and group counselling sessions will help you to get to the heart of the issue and give you all the support you need during recovery.

If you are concerned your porn use is having a serious negative impact on your life, The Cabin Hong Kong has certified therapists who can help you escape the porn addiction trap. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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