How to Tell if You Have a Porn Addiction

porn addiction test
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It’s a silent struggle most pastors know well, but few talk about: the fight against pornography. In 2016 The Barna Group released a survey showing that 57 percent of pastors have struggled with pornography in the past, with 5 percent saying they were currently addicted to it. But what exactly does it mean to be addicted? Like with most addictions, a person’s self-perception regarding pornography is usually blinded by shame, minimization, and self-justification, all of which suggest that more than 5 percent of pastors are addicted.

While there’s no set metric that determines pornography addiction, there are some common traits worth looking for. Here are five ways to determine if you, or someone you know, is struggling with a pornography addiction.

Pornography interferes with your sex life

One sign of addiction is a disruption of a person’s desired life. While pornography is harmful from a purely spiritual and relational perspective, there is also a strong physical reality that accompanies it. Sexually explicit images rewire what the human brain finds arousing, and makes real, physical sexual intimacy less appealing.

You are defensive when asked about it

Do you find yourself getting overly angry when your wife asks you if you struggle with pornography? Do you resent when a mentor in your life brings it up? Have you found your blood pressure rising while reading this article? These could all be signs that your denial about an addiction is being challenged.

You use pornography as a coping mechanism

Addictions, at their core, form as a way to cope with anxiety, depression, loneliness, or any other overwhelming, negative feeling. The reasons all addictions—including pornography—are so hard to kick, is because it isn’t about willpower, but knowing what feelings and situations make you want to self-medicate. You’ll know you have a pornographic addiction if you find yourself craving it when you’re stressed, you’re fighting with your spouse, you feel particularly lonely or sad, or are exhausted.

There’s a predictable, and uncontrollable, frequency

This could be looking at pornography every day, but it could also be breaking down after a month and binging on it for days. There is a difference between occasionally succumbing to temptation and a repeated, noticeable pattern of viewing pornography. The second is a sign that you’ve built up an addictive rhythm to your consumption that’s hard to break.

What to do if you think you are addicted?

Because pornography addiction is so often linked to shame, it is a terrifying thing to admit. This goes doubly for pastors, who feel they have a reputation they need to uphold, or that people will think less of them for coming forward. The truth is that some people would feel that way … so don’t talk to them. Find a safe person in your life, or even better yet a highly recommended counselor, who you can open up to about your struggles. If you don’t have anyone you trust, pray God would bring them into your life.

And that last point is key: God loves you, sees you, accepts you, and wants complete freedom for your life. He’s on your side in your struggle, and understands—even better than you do!—why it is so hard. If you think you are struggling with a pornography addiction, the first thing to do is turn to him and accept the forgiveness and love waiting for you.

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Joshua Pease
Josh Pease is a writer & speaker living in Colorado with his wife and two kids. His e-book, The God Who Wasn't There , is available for purchase on Amazon.

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