Is your man no longer interested in sex and coming home late every day because their work is ‘busy’? 

Logically, you might assume they’re cheating on you.

But be warned, it could be actually be a sign they’re addicted to porn.

That is according to two leading psychotherapists in the field, who have witnessed the poorly-understood compulsion end marriages.

Dr Paula Hall, of not-for-profit online therapy programme Pivotal Recovery, said that much like how cannabis acts as a gateway for harder drugs, a porn obsession might potentially send users into spirals.

‘Many people start with online porn but then progress to chat, webcam, adult hook up sites and offline real-life encounters,’ she told MailOnline.

Nathan Jones, clinical director of the London Centre for Addictions, said addictions to explicit content can ‘rewrite’ the user’s brain and skew what they find arousing.

Two leading psychotherapists have witnessed porn addiction end marriages and some experts have even treated patients who watch X-rated content for up to 14 hours a day

Two leading psychotherapists have witnessed porn addiction end marriages and some experts have even treated patients who watch X-rated content for up to 14 hours a day

Two leading psychotherapists have witnessed porn addiction end marriages and some experts have even treated patients who watch X-rated content for up to 14 hours a day

‘Internet porn conditions the sexual arousal template to violent, degrading and genres of porn that go against the user’s innate erotic tastes and orientation,’ he said.

And unlike other, more traditional addictions, there is no stopping point.

Mr Jones said: ‘The alcoholic will eventually black out, the drug addict will overdose, the gambling addict will lose all their money and be forced to stop.

‘But the porn addict can literally continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week.’

Up to one in 20 Britons show some signs of addiction, research suggests.

In some of the most extreme cases, experts have treated patients who watch X-rated content for up to 14 hours a day.

The actual truth of how many men – and even women – suffer is a mystery, however. Thousands, perhaps understandably, avoid seeking professional help out of shame and embarrassment.

Yet experts agree that rates are on the rise, thanks to smartphones making explicit content available anytime, anywhere.

So, what are the tell-tale signs your man is addicted to porn? And how can he beat it?

Reduced interest in the bedroom

Rather than porn sparking an intense wave of sexual desire, it can actually act as dampener to the real thing.

Dr Hall said a lower libido was a classic sign shared among many porn addicts she has treated.

Mr Jones added that chronic use can even impede a man’s ability to get an erection by rewiring their brain and changing what sexually arouses them.

‘The brain is trained to be aroused under specific circumstances: being alone, multiple tabs open, various genres of porn – being a voyeur and constant novelty,’ he said.

‘The person can then only gain an erection watching pornography and not be aroused with a real-life partner.’

Up to one in 20 Britons show some signs of addiction, according to research, and experts agree that rates are on the rise thanks to smartphones making porn available anytime, anywhere

Up to one in 20 Britons show some signs of addiction, according to research, and experts agree that rates are on the rise thanks to smartphones making porn available anytime, anywhere

Up to one in 20 Britons show some signs of addiction, according to research, and experts agree that rates are on the rise thanks to smartphones making porn available anytime, anywhere

Mr Jones recalled how one client once commented ‘real women are essentially bad porn – why would I bother with a real person?’.

Spending more time alone with devices and becoming protective over them

An endless catalogue of images and videos of explicit content are merely a few taps away nowadays.

As such, Dr Hall said if a man starts behaving differently around his phone or tablet, it could be another sign that he’s addicted.

‘Tell-tale signs are spending more time alone with devices, taking their phone into the bathroom or using the laptop in the study, rather than on the sofa with you,’ she said.

Other behaviours to watch out for, she revealed, include ‘becoming unusually twitchy if you pick up their device’ and changing their password to something you don’t know.

Avoiding social events to feed their addiction

Is your partner constantly flaking social events or blaming insane work deadlines for them being late home? 

It might be another sign they’re addicted, said Dr Hall.

Men gripped by their love of extreme content can make excuses to avoid social gatherings with their partner in order to spend time feeding their obsession.

She added that the most common excuse for such behaviour in porn addicts is usually work commitments.

‘People often hide behind stress at work for spending more time online and not being interested in sex,’ she said.

Porn can actually act as a dampener to sex, with Dr Paula Hall saying a lower libido is a classic trait shared by addicts she has treated

Porn can actually act as a dampener to sex, with Dr Paula Hall saying a lower libido is a classic trait shared by addicts she has treated

Porn can actually act as a dampener to sex, with Dr Paula Hall saying a lower libido is a classic trait shared by addicts she has treated

Using porn as an ‘anaesthesia’

Millions of men enjoy porn regularly and suffer no issues as a result.

But a sign they are, or are becoming, an addict is what motivates them to look at explicit content.

Mr Jones said a key sign of a problematic relationship with X-rated content was if they were using it as an ‘escape’.

‘The behaviour is used to anaesthetise negative feeling states, such as stress, loneliness, and anxiety,’ he said.

Dr Hall also flagged stress as one of the many reasons men can become addicted.

She said: ‘During times of stress we’re all more susceptible to turning to things like alcohol and porn for an escape.

‘And if those times of stress are extended, then you’re more likely to become dependent.

‘For many people who’ve developed an addiction, it starts off as a way of relaxing and seeking pleasure, but over time as dependency grows, the habit becomes more ingrained. It can become the only way to feel normal.’

Spending more time than wanted watching porn

A 14-hour porn marathon might be the extraordinary end of the scale. 

But spending longer than expected looking at adult content is another tell-tale addiction sign.

Mr Jones said one example he had come across was a university student who only sought help after an all-night porn binge.

‘[He] recounted a binge he had which led to him seeking treatment, “I finished university for the day and returned to my room – I watched pornography from Friday evening until Monday morning and had over 30 tabs open with all genres of porn… and do you know the insane thing is… I didn’t even orgasm”,’ he said.

Affecting relationships and jobs

One of the most important warning signs of a porn addiction, and the damage it could have, is when it starts to impact areas of a man’s life, like their relationship or work.

Mr Jones said: ‘The warning signs are when you begin putting pornography ahead of seeing friends and family and stop engaging in your hobbies or interests.

‘Since the pandemic, with more people now working from home, this has created more opportunity to access pornography.

‘Many clients report frequently watching porn at work, which impacts their productivity and on occasions loss of employment.’

Porn addicts can also see a hit to their finances if they start subscribing to content produced on platforms such as OnlyFans.

Dr Hall added: ‘While amount of time spent watching porn may be an indicator that you have a problem, the biggest measure is whether it’s having a negative impact on your life, but in spite of that, you can’t stop.

‘Regrettably there’s lots of evidence that, over time, compulsive pornography use begins to have a negative impact on other areas of life including relationships, work, friendships, finance and general mental health and wellbeing.’

Needing to look at more ‘novel’ or extreme porn to get a ‘fix’

Perhaps the most concerning and long-reaching sign of a porn addiction is an escalation in viewing habits.

In some cases, Mr Jones has treated men who are viewing incredibly disturbing, and sometimes even illegal, content online.

‘You begin watching material that goes against your values, such as incest or violent hardcore pornography,’ he said.

‘Once orgasm is reached, if there is a feeling of shame or guilt this is a sure-fire sign of a problematic relationship with pornography.’

Dr Hall added that if a man starts behaving differently around his phone or tablet, it could be another sign that he¿s addicted to explicit content

Dr Hall added that if a man starts behaving differently around his phone or tablet, it could be another sign that he¿s addicted to explicit content

Dr Hall added that if a man starts behaving differently around his phone or tablet, it could be another sign that he’s addicted to explicit content

He added that an alarming trend in recent years has been the number of porn addicts seeking help after being arrested by police for viewing child pornography.

‘An increasingly common presentation in clinical work is people seeking treatment after being arrested for accessing child porn,’ he said.

‘File sharing on certain websites is now a common occurrence, and often illegal material is unknowingly passed between individuals, however, it is still treated with the full force of the law. Blind ignorance is no defence.’

Dr Hall added: ‘Many people start with online porn but then progress to chat, webcam, adult hook up sites and offline real-life encounters.

‘Of course, for some that’s not an issue, but for others it’s breaking a really important boundary and that’s when they realise they’ve become addicted – because it’s escalated to these other kinds of unwanted behaviours.’

So, how CAN you beat a porn addiction?

Men, or women, wanting to beat a porn addiction need to take the first step any addict does, admitting they have a problem.

Once this happens, Dr Hall recommends trying to take steps to cure yourself first.

‘Set yourself a goal of how long you want to remain porn-free, that could be a week or a month, and fill your diary with other things to do,’ she said.

‘Make a note of times when you find it especially difficult, this will help you to identify triggers and times when you’re at higher risk.

‘Then you can use this information to strengthen your resolve next time.’

Men, or women, wanting to beat a porn addiction need to take the first step and admit they have a problem, after this Dr Hall recommends addicts try to cure themselves

Men, or women, wanting to beat a porn addiction need to take the first step and admit they have a problem, after this Dr Hall recommends addicts try to cure themselves

Men, or women, wanting to beat a porn addiction need to take the first step and admit they have a problem, after this Dr Hall recommends addicts try to cure themselves

If these steps fail, Dr Hall said people should start to seek professional help.

How long a porn addiction takes to treat depends on the grip it has.

Dr Hall said: ‘At the milder end it might be just a few weeks of discovering your triggers and finding better, healthier ways of managing those triggering situations.

‘For example, if you identify boredom or loneliness are big triggers for you, you can focus your energy on developing more hobbies and social activities to fill your time.

‘If you’ve struggled with the problem for many years and you class yourself at more of the serious end, then you may need help to look at underlying issues that might be contributing to the problem such as deep-rooted anxiety or low self-esteem.’

Source: Mail Online

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