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Pornography: enjoyable hobby or compulsive habit?

Comments (2)
answered 08:14 PM EST, Wed October 10, 2012
anonymous anonymous
Is porn bad for me? I probably look at porn for an hour or two each day. I am single and sometime I find it hard to make an effort to date because I kind of suck at it and because I am not that good looking. I think sometimes that if I didn’t have the porn habit I might make more of an effort to get a real girl. However, whenever I try to cut down on my porn watching I am like….why shouldn’t I? I am all alone here and I am not hurting anyone. I suppose I just don’t want to give up an enjoyable habit (hobby…) unless I’d really benefit from giving it up.

David Shannon Says...

Pornography in and of itself is not necessarily harmful.  It can enhance a person's sex life, particularly if fantasy and masturbation are the primary outlets available.  It can also provide zest and stimulation to a couple that enjoys watching pornography together.

However, compulsive pornography consumption can cause some problems.  First, there is the investment of time, that might be spent on other things.  That can mean that relationships, work, sleep, and therefore health, are adversely affected.  Secondly, one can become so used to being stimulated by the pornography, that over time it could become more difficult to get turned on with an actual sexual partner.

In your case, the 1-2 hours per day that you spend on viewing porn may or may not be excessive, depending on how it affects other things in your life.  But if your enjoyable "hobby" is clearly the way you prefer to spend your time, as opposed to doing other things, that may be a valid choice for you.

However, if you feel compelled to look at porn more than you want to, or think you should, then your hobby may be an unwanted habit.  Some mental health professionals call this pornography addiction.  Others simply call it a form of compulsive sex, that you could cut back on if you really wanted to.  To sort all this out, you may want to consult a sex therapist and/or a behavioral addictions specialist.

You yourself wonder if you would put more time and energy into dating, and trying to meet a compatible partner, if you didn't have this porn habit.  You say that you are not that good at dating, and that you are not very good looking.  There are presumably skills you could learn, to be more effective at dating.  You also seem to have a negative self image, at least in terms of appearance.  Those are things that you could work on with a therapist, if you really want to change.  You could also do some things on your own, such as healthy eating and especially exercise, to help you feel better about your body and your attractiveness.  And that can be well worth the effort.  Good luck!

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