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How to Help Someone With a Porn Addiction

While porn addiction is not officially recognized as a mental health disorder by the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5, it can still have a profound impact on an individual’s life. Thankfully, some steps can be taken to address this addiction. Learn how to assist yourself or a loved one with porn addiction, acquire useful tips for communicating with someone struggling with porn addiction, and locate resources for porn addiction treatment.

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Steps to Help Someone Addicted to Porn

Effects of porn addiction range from isolation, sexual dysfunction, and decreased sexual satisfaction to low self-esteem, distorted beliefs about sexuality and relationships, and neglecting life’s responsibilities.

If you or someone you love is battling porn addiction, here’s what you can do to seek help for yourself or them.

1. Observe Porn Viewing Behaviors

First, look for signs of porn addiction. Observe how much time your loved one spends viewing porn and the effects of their porn use.

Pay close attention to how internet pornography changes the person’s:

  • Relationships, especially intimate ones
  • Emotions
  • Attention and focus
  • Sleep and household duties
  • Stress levels

2. Identify the Impact of Porn Addiction

Second, note the impact of porn addiction on the individual’s life.

Remember that simply viewing pornography does not make someone addicted to it. For someone to have a porn addiction, they must have an unhealthy relationship with porn.

For example, they may:

  • Spend hours masturbating and consuming porn, even if it means neglecting other areas of their life, such as sleep and household duties
  • Spend an increased amount of time watching porn
  • Feel as if they need a porn “fix” and experience withdrawal symptoms if they don’t give in to their porn cravings
  • Be unable to stop watching porn even if they want to
  • Insist that their sexual or romantic partner views porn or acts out porn fantasies even if they don’t want to

Once you clearly understand how the person’s use of pornography and porn addiction has affected their life, think about how their addiction has affected you.

Questions to Ask Yourself About a Loved One’s Porn Addiction

  • Do their addiction and behaviors make you angry, annoyed, or embarrassed?
  • Does the person’s porn habit go against your values and morals?
  • How do you want the person’s porn viewing habits to change?

Writing down the answers to these questions will help you talk to your loved one.

3. Make a Plan to Help Them Get Help with Their Porn Addiction

Next, make a plan to help your loved one.

To start, have a simple conversation with them to address the issue. Tell them that you’ve noticed that their porn consumption has spiraled out of control and that it has affected their life and yours.

After the first conversation, gauge your loved one’s reactions and feelings. If they are ready to take the next step, you can plan a meeting with other family members and friends.

However, if your loved one is not ready to face the problem, you should wait until they are ready to take the next step. Talking about their porn addiction to a large group of people can cause your loved one to become angry.

4. Seek Help for Pornography Addiction

After a few discussions, your loved one may be able to gain control over their porn consumption.

However, if they are having difficulties controlling their porn consumption, they should seek professional help by going to a therapist for porn addiction counseling.

A therapist can help your loved one understand what caused the obsession and help them develop a healthier relationship with pornography.

A support group program like Relay can also help your loved one find a strong support system in their addiction recovery.

Tips for Talking to Someone With a Porn Addiction

To help a loved one with porn addiction, you should consider their feelings and remember that addiction is not a moral issue. Even if you don’t agree with someone viewing porn, it is out of control by the time it becomes an addiction. You also need a lot of patience and planning. If you speak without considering their feelings, your message will fall on deaf ears.

Keep these tips in mind when talking to someone with a porn addiction.

Choose an Appropriate Time and Place to Talk

Pick a time and place so you are both prepared to have a serious conversation about your loved one’s porn addiction. The room should be quiet and calm, with few to no distractions.

Remain Calm

Be calm and patient.

Watch your tone as you speak — getting judgmental, angry, or sarcastic may lead to defensiveness and arguments.

Remember to Listen & Not Judge

Always listen to what your loved one has to say. Show that you are concerned about their well-being, and never judge them for their shortcomings.

Reference Your Plan Notes

Follow through with the plan you had created earlier. This plan will give you a better idea of what to say and when.

Outline Expected Outcomes

Letting your loved one know how you feel about their porn addiction is a great first step. However, they also need to know what you want from them.

Suggest goals they can set to control their porn viewings, such as deleting all their porn site bookmarks, installing anti-porn software on their devices, and keeping a journal to track reminders, setbacks, and healthy alternatives to porn.

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Take Assessment

How to Find Porn Addiction Treatment

People often encounter difficulties during their pornography addiction recovery journeys. Here are some professional treatments that can help people fix their porn addiction.

Counseling

One of the best ways to fix porn addiction is to go to a counselor or mental health professional for evaluation.

Counseling for porn addiction is beneficial if the person also has other psychological conditions, such as depression, hypersexual disorders, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and other addictions, including gaming and substance use disorders.

Depending on how porn addiction impacts a person’s life, the therapist may recommend group, family, couples, or individual counseling. The therapist may also recommend digital pornography recovery tools like Relay.

Behavioral Therapy

People with addictions may need behavioral therapy to get out of a particular pattern of behaviors and thinking.

Common behavioral therapies for porn addiction may include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people change negative thought patterns by teaching them to identify and manage thoughts that trigger different behaviors and conditions, including addiction.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) helps people spot patterns and thoughts that lead to addiction. However, ACT emphasizes acceptance as a way of dealing with negative thoughts.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) helps people learn how to manage their emotions. Patients also learn how to navigate conflicts without taking them to another level.

Mental Health Treatment for Porn Addiction

Treatments for addictions generally involve behavioral and talk therapy. However, doctors may recommend medications to treat depression and other mental health disorders linked to pornography addiction.

Mental health medications for pornography addiction may include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Opioid antagonists

Sexual Addiction Treatment

Finally, people whose porn addiction developed due to or is linked to sex addiction should seek sexual addiction treatment.

Common sexual addiction treatments include:

  • Inpatient treatment programs where people with sex addictions leave their normal lives for at least 30 days to face their addiction. These programs usually include in-depth treatment plans and group and individual therapy sessions.
  • CBT can also help people with sexual addiction, as it teaches people with porn addictions healthy ways to find sexual gratification.
  • Outpatient 12-step programs such as Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) can help sex addicts refrain from destructive and compulsive destructive behavior. They use the same recovery model as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Resources for Porn Addiction

Porn addiction can be hard to manage due to the accessibility of pornography. Accordingly, talking to a loved one, therapy, and medication may not be enough to manage the addiction.

Here are some porn addiction resources that can help people with porn addiction stay on the path of recovery.

Porn Addiction Support Groups

Joining a porn addiction support group like Porn Addicts Anonymous (PAA) can curb pornography addiction. Like other support groups, these groups may meet online or in person. They are free and provide people with support, friendship, and accountability. Relay is another option people can use to seek help and support for porn addiction.

SAMHSA Treatment Locator

For help with locating treatment centers, mental health care providers, and other porn addiction resources, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) online program locator to find addiction treatment options near you.

Try Therapy Online

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with a licensed therapist.

We may earn commissions when you follow links to BetterHelp.

Take Assessment

Reach Out for Porn Addiction Help Today

If you or a loved one has a porn addiction, analyzing porn consumption habits is the first step. Talking to family and friends about the addiction can also help you address porn use.

If you and your loved one need additional support, contact counselors, treatment providers, healthcare professionals, behavioral therapists, and porn addiction support groups.

You can also call the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-4357 to find addiction treatment options in your area.

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is a founder of Addiction HelpReviewed by:Kent S. Hoffman, D.O.

Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. has been an expert in addiction medicine for more than 15 years. In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of AddictionHelp.com and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality.

Jessica Miller is the Content Manager of Addiction HelpWritten by:

Editorial Director

Jessica Miller is the Editorial Director of Addiction Help. Jessica graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) with an English degree and combines her writing expertise and passion for helping others to deliver reliable information to those impacted by addiction. Informed by her personal journey to recovery and support of loved ones in sobriety, Jessica's empathetic and authentic approach resonates deeply with the Addiction Help community.

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  7. Love, T., Laier, C., Brand, M., Hatch, L., & Hajela, R. (2015, September 18). Neuroscience of internet pornography addiction: A review and update. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland). Retrieved February 1, 2024, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4600144/
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