How do I know if I have a problem?

Specific Behaviors

  • Having sexual sites bookmarked
  • Joining sexual sites to gain access to online sexual material
  • Searching for sexual material through an Internet search tool
  • Spending money for online or phone sexual material
  • Participating in sexually related chats
  • Using sexualized usernames or nicknames on the Internet
  • Masturbating while viewing sexual material
  • Accessing sexual sites from multiple computers
  • Taking increased risks online (giving out one’s name and phone number, meeting people offline, etc.)
  • Experiencing significant physiological changes while visiting sexual Internet areas (e.g. increase in heart rate, sweaty palms)
  • Viewing more pornography, for longer periods of time, or seeking more hard-core pornography to get the same level of excitement as at first
  • Spending time planning when you can view sexual material
  • Spending inordinate amounts of time obtaining sexual material
  • Having online sexual affairs or encounters
  • Engaging in online fantasy that would be illegal if carried out

Continuing the Behavior In Spite of Negative Effects

  • Neglecting important social, relationship, occupational, or recreational activities to view pornography
  • Continuing the behavior despite it having caused or having the potential to cause significant problems (such as legal risk, risk of job loss, interference with spiritual or religious life, relationship difficulties, financial problems)
  • Continuing the behavior in spite of family and friends expressing concern about your online behavior

Secrecy

  • hiding the behavior from others (moving the computer monitor so others cannot see it, lying, using the computer at times when others aren’t around, worrying about others finding out)

Attempts To Quit/Loss of Control

  • Repeated attempts and promises to stop using pornography and consequent repeated failure
  • Wanting to stop but feeling unable to stop
  • After stopping viewing pornography, the desire to view it again gets stronger and stronger
  • Getting on the Internet for something else but ending up viewing pornography

Using Pornography to Deal with Emotions

  • Using pornography as a reward; to escape, deny, or numb feelings; or to avoid problems

Negative Emotions Connected With Use

  • Feeling anxious, angry, or disappointed when unable to access pornography
  • Guilt or shame connected with pornography use
  • Punishing self for using pornography

If you experience any of these signs, or if there are other similar behaviors that are bothersome to you and to those who love you, or which cause problems in your life, seek help immediately.