One of the fundamental questions that clients ask me is: do you think I have a pornography addiction? We will talk and process different ideas and thoughts around pornography, sometimes only to find out that shame can get in the way of their turn answers. I have devised 4 questions that can help someone who is worried about their relationship with pornography. The following is not intended to state one has a pornography addiction but simply to bring awareness to their habit.
#1 What are your main struggles? (check all that apply)
Pornography websites, movie channels, magazines, etc.
#2 Do you struggle with any additional unwanted sexual behaviors? (check all that apply)
Sex chatting, sexting, internet and/or phone sex
One-night stands, bar hook-ups, singles or hook-up sites
Prostitutes or escorts
#3 How are Pornography and/or Masturbation negatively affecting your life? (check all that apply)
Porn and/or masturbation are getting in the way of my relationships.
I try to hide my pornography viewing from others.
I feel like I’m living a double life–like I’m two different people.
When I view pornography, I lose track of time, goals, commitments, beliefs, consequences, family, and other “big picture” thoughts.
I call up pornographic images in my mind during sexual intimacy with my partner.
I have fatigue, impotence or difficulty performing due to porn and masturbation.
I experience short-lived or confusing sexual relationships due to a preference for porn and masturbation.
I’ve tried to quit multiple times and failed.
I sometimes fail to meet my commitments because of the time and focus I spend on porn.
I find myself often thinking about porn while at work or school.
I feel hopeless against my sexual urges, like I’ll never be completely free.
I feel like porn and/or masturbation are keeping me from being my “best” self and reaching my full potential.
#4 How ready are you to change? (choose one)
I’m still not sure my problem is that bad.
I’m concerned about my behaviors, but not sure if now is a good time for me to focus on changing.
I’m looking for something I can trust and I’m ready to change.
I’ve already tried a lot of things that haven’t worked and I’m a bit discouraged, but I’m still looking for help.
I’ve already heard a lot about quitting pornography and I want to get started..
As I said in the introduction, this is not an exhaustive list of questions, nor is it a way to say one has a pornography addiction. These 4 questions are simply to exercise one’s sense of awareness around someone’s relationship with pornography. Please contact me with any questions.
Dr. Ryan Westrum, PhD is a sex therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota who specializes in Pornography addiction. You can reach him at email@example.com or 952-261-5269, or healingsoulsllc.com for a complementary consultation.