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All About Addiction

Recent research highlights the anxiety-producing effects that porn addiction has on intimate relationships. Learn how this works, and how to tell if your porn use is a problem.

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  • Your self-esteem takes a hit each time you repeat this cycle.
  • Worried that you’re addicted to porn? Your obsession might have unexpected consequences.

Porn is everywhere. And as a result of normalisation and increased availability, porn addiction is more prevalent than it’s ever been.

The consequences of porn addiction go beyond the realm of sex, too: recent research indicates that porn addiction may be linked to relationship anxiety. One study, which was comprised of about 700 college-aged men and women, found that people who are worried about their porn habits may have higher levels of relationship anxiety, whether or not they’re in a relationship. In the study, those with porn-related relationship anxiety reported feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy, and feeling like they were ‘damaged goods’. These students, as a result, altered their dating habits – many opting not to date at all, and creating insecurity in the relationships and interactions of those who did.

The implications of this are widespread. The quality of your relationships in large part predict your happiness – so it stands to reason that anxieties in this area can directly and indirectly affect all areas of your life, both personally and professionally.

Bottom line: if you’re addicted to porn, it may be affecting your life more seriously than you’re aware of.

Symptoms of Porn Addiction

Are you worried that you might be addicted to porn? Knowing the signs can help you to assess your situation – and plan out your next steps accordingly.

Here are some of the most common porn addiction symptoms:

  • You hide your use from others, frequently deleting your internet browsing history and/or lying about it
  • Your use feels out of control
  • You’ve tried to cut down or stop, but you can’t
  • You struggle to be attracted to ‘real’ people
  • You feel hopeless
  • You feel excited and stimulated before and during use, immediately followed by intense guilt, shame, or remorse
  • You crave novelty or newness, leading you to search for progressively harder or more taboo porn
  • Your real-world relationships are affected

Now that you know where you stand with regard to your porn habits, let’s take a look at how your use might be affecting your ability to engage in healthy relationships.

How Porn Addiction Affects Relationships

Porn addiction, as we’ve seen, affects relationships – both starting them and continuing them. But how?

Addiction feels like a loss of control – and porn addiction, in particular, combines that loss of control (and associated feelings of helplessness) with feelings of shame and guilt. The end result? Your self esteem takes a hit each time you repeat the cycle, which translates to a loss of confidence and corresponding relationship anxiety. Often, this leads to feeling like you’re an unworthy or undesirable partner – or, sometimes, projecting those feelings on to your partner. Either way, your relationships suffer.

Unfortunately, your relationship anxiety creates something of a vicious cycle. Dealing with relationship anxieties makes it less likely that you’ll date, and more likely that you’ll lie to potential partners (or your current partner), which only isolates you further. Ironically, if you have a problem with porn and are trying to stop, isolation and secrecy will make it harder for you to quit. And the deeper you sink into your porn addiction, the worse your relationship anxiety will get.

How To Overcome Porn Addiction and Relationship Anxiety

If you want to put your porn addiction in the past, and heal your associated relationship anxieties, there are a few steps you should take.

1. Stop Watching Porn

In order to stop reinforcing your porn habit and anxiety, you’ve got to put an end to the behaviour that’s driving them. That means you’ve got to stop watching porn – completely. Install an internet blocker on your computer (and schedule it to automatically activate at the times you’re most vulnerable), if you have to.

2. Fix Your Anxieties

Once porn is out of your life, you’ll have the mental and emotional space to find the source of your relationship anxieties. Find out why you’re feeling inadequate, or why you’re looking for an escape from genuine intimacy. Then, work on what you find: monitor your self-talk, approach your anxieties from a place of curiosity, and find ways to be rooted in yourself rather than looking for external validation of worthiness.

3. Rewire Your Brain

After enough time in abstinence has passed, your brain will change – and you’ll acclimate to life without porn. You’ll have stopped the cycle of guilt and shame and feel like you’re in control again. With time and effort, you’ll be capable of genuine intimacy – and feel worthy of it.

Quit Porn and Quell Your Relationship Anxieties at The Cabin Melbourne

Ultimately, quitting porn – and getting to the bottom of your relationship anxieties – is much easier with support. Don’t go it alone. Contact The Cabin Melbourne to see how we can help you.

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