Ask Nadia: Am I Addicted To Porn?

August 7, 2019

SHESAID’s resident sexpert tackles your stickiest sex questions every week. 

Dear Nadia,

I’ve been watching porn since I was 12 and am now in my late twenties. Lately, I haven’t been able to masturbate or get turned on without watching it. I rarely go a day without watching at least a couple of hours of porn. I’m concerned I may be addicted to it. What can I do to stop?

Sincerely,

Addicted

Dear Addicted,

I’m going to be very controversial here and say something that goes against our mainstream ideas around sex and pornography…

There is no such thing as porn addiction.

As such, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your porn viewing habits, and you most certainly don’t need to work on curbing them.

Let me explain my stance… Consider this: It’s just been a long weekend and you’ve spent the last three days binge-watching the new season of Suits on Netflix. You’ve been so glued to the screen, you’ve turned down social invitations, and even given up a night of sleep, just to finish your marathon.

Now, does anyone tell you that you have a ‘problem’? Would you consider your Netflix habit to be a serious addiction? Of course not. In fact, you’d probably openly brag about your ambitious binge sesh with your colleagues back at work the next week.

So why then, if you do the same thing with porn, should you label it as an ‘addiction’?

The unfortunate reason you’ve been led to feel shame and even distress around your porn-watching is that we live in an incredibly sex-negative culture that shames any kind of sexual indulgence or behavior whatsoever.

There is nothing innately wrong with regularly watching porn. Conversely, porn provides a healthy sexual release, allows you to explore your fantasies and desires in a safe space, and promotes masturbation – which has many known mental health benefits (read more on this here).

It’s also very normal to require some form of erotic stimuli in order to get turned on; many people integrate porn into their solo sex life and utilize it as a form of foreplay during partnered sex. Doing this has not been shown to have any negative impacts on your sex life.

One of the reasons we’re compelled to feel ashamed when we head to RedTube, is because we’ve been sold this propaganda that porn encourages sexual violence, and in particular, disrespect toward women.

However, statistics show the opposite is true. Countries like Denmark, Japan and China, who have some of the most liberal attitudes to porn in the world, also have some of the lowest sexual violence rates. Additionally, reports of rape have steadily declined in the US since the proliferation of pornography via the introduction of the internet in the 1990s. I made a video about this over on my YouTube channel you can watch here:


Researchers suggest one of the reasons for this may be because porn provides a safe outlet for individuals who may otherwise explore their more aggressive sexual tendencies in society, thereby decreasing their need to commit sex crimes.

What is apparent, is that the violence you see in porn is no more real or abusive than the violence you see in any Hollywood action blockbuster. After interviewing dozens of porn stars throughout my career as a sex columnist, I can confidently assert that while certain scenes including more aggression may appear very real, they are actually the result of skillful acting, direction and production values.

If I can give you any advice about your porn viewing habits, it’s this: go forth and watch all the porn you want; but let go of the shame. You’re doing something perfectly healthy that literally millions of people around the world do every day. 

Nadia xx

Check out Ask Nadia every Wednesday. 

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Join the discussion: Have you ever worried you were addicted to porn? 

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