The desire to have sex is natural. But when it becomes compulsive, when it’s out of your control and ruining your life, you have a problem.
Here are some of the common symptoms of porn and sex addiction.
You’re unable to keep a relationship.
Most porn and sex addicts can’t keep a relationship or are on the verge of losing one. You are so desensitized by porn that you can’t have a normal sex life. You don’t understand what it’s like to experience the closeness and intimacy that sex is supposed to offer, so your relationships suffer.
Your other relationships suffer.
Addiction starts to replace your social life. You make excuses for not hanging out with friends so that you can stay home and watch porn.
You experience sexual performance issues.
When you indulge in sexually compulsive behavior, you desensitize yourself to normal sexual encounters. Because you’re so desensitized, you can begin to have performance issues.
You are unable to concentrate on tasks
Your thoughts are enamored with sexual images and feelings, and your performance suffers at work and you become less motivated to move forward in your career. You’re probably making a lot less money than you could be.
You are depressed and unhappy.
When it comes to depression and sexual addiction, it is often difficult to determine which one is the cause of the other. They feed off of each other. If you struggle with porn or sex addiction, you probably experience some degree of depression. You act out sexually to avoid depression (subconsciously). After you act out the depression is inflamed and pronounced and you feel far worse. It’s a vicious cycle that continues until you’re in so deep, you can’t remember what it was like to feel happy or satisfied.
The Connection Between Depression and Sexual Addictions
As humans, we tend to act out when we don’t want to feel. The vast majority of our clients have been doing this since they were young and the habitual pattern of acting out has continued well into their adult life. Sex and porn create a high similar to many drugs and offers someone a temporary relief from their problems. It’s an escape. For someone who acts out sexually with other people, it not only gives them relief from their struggles but also creates a sense of connection with another person. Because of that, depressed people who are addicted to sex are chasing their only source of safety, pleasure, soothing, and acceptance.
It’s important to recognize how the brain and our reward circuitry function. In Your Brain on Porn, we learn that primitive circuits in the brain manage emotions, drives, impulses, and subconscious decision-making. The desire and motivation to pursue sex arises from dopamine, the neurochemical that drives the primitive part of the brain known as the reward circuitry. It’s where you experience cravings and pleasure and where you get addicted.
Sex and pornography are used to (temporarily) forget about feelings of sadness, fear, anger and boredom. This habit can both lead to depression—because you know you’re really not dealing with core issues—and is also something depression can drive. Sex and porn floods the brain with dopamine and makes us feel good but like most habits, the good wanes and you require more and more to feel the same rush. You may find yourself progressing in your behavior due to this and getting more and more stuck in this negative cycle.
That’s why you need to get help. To break the cycle. Get your life back.