Pakistan’s Porn Problem: Overcoming Addiction

Dr. Ahmad Nadeem

8 min read

Porn Addiction:

Porn Addiction is a behavioral problem or biopsychosocial disorder fueled by compulsively seeking something with the desired effect. Some doctors also label Porn addiction as a hypersexual disorder that involves masturbation and builds up sexual urges that can often lead to sexual frustration or enhanced sexual desire. 

It’s important to note that “porn addiction” isn’t an official diagnosis recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). But experiencing an uncontrollable compulsion to view porn can be as problematic for some people, similar to other behavioral addictions.

A recent study on men who sought treatment for problematic pornography use found changes in the participants’ brains that were consistent with addiction. The researchers found that the brains of the men with problematic pornographic use reacted differently to erotic images or the anticipation of them than the brains of men without this problem. 

Just like any other addiction, porn addiction also shows and highlights addictive behavior, dependence, mild withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, rewarding and eventually tolerance which could lead porn addicts from finding difficulty to masturbate twice to easily cross three to four times on certain occasions

Types of Porn Viewers

There are three types of porn users. One type represents healthy porn use, but the other two groups experience sexual dysfunction associated with their porn habits.

Recreational Viewers:

Recreational viewers are those who have healthy porn habits. According to recent studies, recreational viewers comprise 75.5% of those who watch porn. The average recreational viewer watches 24 minutes of porn each week. Many viewers of this type are females or partnered people.

Recreational viewing occurs in moderation and does not hinder one’s sex life or cause problems in relationships. With recreational viewing, the habit of watching porn is enjoyable and does not cause any distress. 

A recreational viewer can enjoy porn without viewing it compulsively or giving up other interests. For recreational users, porn may serve as an occasional form of entertainment that can be watched from time to time with their partners in order to enhance their sex lives.

Highly Distressed Non-Compulsive Viewers:

The second type of porn viewer is the highly distressed non-compulsive viewer. According to the research, 12.7% of those who watch porn belong to this category. These people are less involved in their porn habit and only watch an average of 17 minutes per week, but their pornography use is unhealthy and troubling to them.

Highly distressed porn viewers tend to be single and may use pornography to improve their self-esteem. For people in this group, porn may provide a form of self-soothing for unsatisfying sex lives or a lack of romance.

Compulsive Porn Viewers:

Compulsive porn-watching is the third category of porn consumers. Like the distressed group, compulsive watching does not represent a healthy form of porn use. The research shows that 11.8% of those who use porn are compulsive viewers, and the majority of them are men.

When someone views porn compulsively, it can begin to interfere with relationships and daily functioning. Compulsive viewers may give up other activities in their lives because they feel compelled to watch porn and are unable to stop. People in the compulsive category watch an average of 110 minutes of porn per week.

Compulsive porn-viewing can become a porn addiction for some people. One study with college students found that 10.3% of them met the criteria for a cybersex addiction, and the majority of those who met the criteria were male.

Porn Addiction Signs:

Since porn addiction does not fall under the category of an official diagnosis, there are no defined symptoms for it, but porn addiction or compulsion can be a problem if:

  • One loses interest in all other activities, hobbies or interests
  • Neglecting Self Care or Personal Hygiene
  • Difficulty creating an emotional connection with your partner
  • Losing Direction of your Career, Goals & ambitions
  • Losing motivation to work & stop focusing on the important things in life
  • Finding Sexual relief only through indulging in porn 
  • Watching porn to cope with anxiety, depression, fear or any other underlying factor
  • Having false expectations of sex & objectifying your partner 
  • Trying to let go of the habit but failing to do so repeatedly

Harmful Effects of Porn Addiction: 

Porn addiction can be very disturbing as it impacts a person’s social & sexual life to the extent that they are unable to develop an emotional bond with their partners and even lose interest in everyday activities. These people ultimately fall into depression due to their relentless desire for finding sexual relief through watching porn. 

According to a study from the Kinsey Institute (a research center dedicated to the study of human sexuality), approximately 9% of habitual porn viewers reported unsuccessful attempts to stop. Habitual porn viewers also had a greater incidence of erectile dysfunction and low libido, further differentiating “healthy” porn viewing from potentially harmful compulsive behaviors.

A person who frequently finds himself landing on these porn sites is often conflicted when it comes to expectations of sex since the way it is portrayed in these clips is very different from reality. These expectations lead people into extreme behavioral patterns such as not finding pleasure in real-life sex, having extreme sexual urges or objectification of the opposite gender, etc. 

These factors make it very difficult to have a deeper meaningful bond with your partner and cause a lot of relationship problems. Moreover, the way you perceive sex completely shifts away from reality. This is due to the fact that people in porn videos are highly paid actors or actresses who perform acts of sexual intercourse on screen with different cuts & intervals as well as sometimes can be under the influence of steroids that enhances their sexual power or timing. 

Developing these expectations of almost perfectly presented sex on screen with a cast, crew, and cameraman and not being able to deliver the same results in bed with your partner seriously harms your mental, emotional and sexual health. 

Porn addiction is often followed by masturbation and can be very invasive when it comes to interfering with your everyday life. Some people with severe porn addiction have reported losing interest in everything or anything at all. They tend to rely on porn only for their pleasure and this destructive behavior often costs them severely, sometimes leading them to the point of isolation & makes them anti-social. 

Porn addiction in Pakistan: 

Pakistan is one of the countries with the highest audience on various porn sites. According to the data released by Google, Pakistan ranks amongst the most porn-watching countries and leads the way in numerous porn searches & categories. 

Porn addiction is on the rise and the number of people watching porn is increasing rapidly with the advancements in technology and the availability of porn sites that can be accessed easily through your mobile phone. Statistics released by Porn hub in 2019, an infamous porn site indicate the average number of people accessing their content. 

In 2019, Pornhub transferred 6597 petabytes of data, which was about 18,073 terabytes per day, and 209 gigabytes per second! To put this in perspective, if you copied all of 2019’s transferred data onto hard drives and stacked them, they would reach 100km high to the edge of space.

The stats also show the age demographics of people visiting the site with the average Pornhub user now being 36 years old.

Moreover, during the time of the Corona Outbreak & social distancing, the audience of these porn sites significantly increased as people were locked indoors, deprived of many activities and restricted to their mobile phones & social media. 

In their latest Coronavirus Insights blog post, Pornhub has released some interesting statistics on how their worldwide traffic has changed since the beginning of self-isolation and social distancing, showing effectively larger traffic on the website.

Access to porn is available to everyone & anyone with a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or any other device connected to the world wide web and therefore it is important than ever to educate people of different age groups on the basics of sexual health in order to make them aware of the unethical aspects of porn.

People must know the difference between right & wrong so that they can make responsible decisions when it comes to their sexual life while keeping in mind the consequences of their actions. This can be done by eliminating the taboo around sex education and talking about the things that concern you with someone you trust or seeking help from a sexual health specialist. 

How to quit watching porn : 

Having Sexual Urges or Sexual Desires is normal and indicates a healthy functioning individual. Sex is a very important part of one’s life and is vital when it comes to living a fulfilling life. We, humans, are sexual beings and our bodies need sexual release one way or the other. 

It is okay to watch porn or masturbate once in a while if there are no other options available for the sake of sexual relief, but indulging yourself in the activity to the point of sexual frustration or social isolation while losing track of relationships, career, goals and all the other important things in a person’s life is extremely unhealthy. 

Research shows that certain behavioral addictions, such as internet addiction, involve neural processes similar to substance addiction and that internet pornography addiction is comparable. It may start during a period when you feel bored, lonely, anxious, or depressed and like any other behavioral addictions, it can happen to anyone.

It is important to address porn addiction as a serious problem and try to fight it by making some lifestyle adjustments or changes. If not, talk to family, friends or someone you can trust about the problem and if it gets worse, try visiting a psychiatrist or sexual health specialist. 

Your psychiatrist will listen to your problems and try to identify any underlying cause for the issue and after careful analysis, devise a treatment strategy that best meets your requirements. 

Some treatment strategies may involve:

Psychotherapy:

This can help a person understand their relationship with porn, identify unmet sexual needs, and develop strategies for dealing with psychological distress.

Individual or group therapy:

Individual therapy will usually consist of 30-60 minute sessions, focusing on your behaviors related to porn addiction and any related issues. Group therapy will allow you to be in a community of others who are struggling with a similar problem and learn from their experiences. 

Cognitive-Based Therapy (CBT):

CBT is based on the concept that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all related, and when these become “dysfunctional” or overwhelmingly negative, it leads to serious consequences in our lives.

CBT will often focus on negative thoughts about oneself, others, and the world (e.g., “I will never be able to stop watching porn”) and work to change these into more positive, or functional, thoughts (e.g., “If I work at it, I will be able to stop watching porn”). Structured assignments and careful self-observation will guide individuals on the path to recovery.

Motivational Interviewing (MI):

An MI approach will work on “meeting you where you are at” in your current addiction and help you make your own decision when, and if, you are ready to make a change in your life. MI is a less confrontational approach between the therapist and patient, but it can have a powerful, dramatic, and long-lasting effect on one’s behavior.

Mindfulness-Based Therapies:

Mindfulness-Based Therapies incorporate “mindfulness” as a key ingredient in treatment. Mindfulness is the cultivation of attention that is present-focused and nonjudgmental.

Mindfulness-based approaches help individuals gain more awareness over their thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and behaviors, and help them “relate” to these experiences in a different way. This allows these “temporary” and “fleeting” experiences to arise and pass away instead of letting them control one’s behavior.

Psychodynamic Therapy:

Psychodynamic therapy works under the assumption that unconscious drives, conflicts, and memories are influencing our behavior. This therapy will traditionally explore early-childhood life events and their contribution to creating habits or “patterns” in one’s life; however, it can also be present-focused and help the patient identify what is currently keeping them “stuck” in a certain behavior, in this case, porn addiction.

12-Step Recovery:

12-step recovery programs, like Sex Addicts Anonymous, are typically group-focused and are similar to other recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. They stress the importance of acknowledging one’s “powerlessness” over their addiction and asking God for help in their recovery. 

However, not all 12-step programs are centered around religious material.

Relationship counseling:

Couples’ counseling can help partners talk about their values, determine whether porn has a place in their relationship, and cultivate deeper trust.

Medication:

Sometimes a person uses pornography to cope with another condition. Medication may help treat the underlying issue and ultimately allow the individual to work on their negative traits. 

Lifestyle changes:

Some people use pornography out of boredom or exhaustion. A healthier lifestyle may involve spending fewer hours on the computer thus resulting in less porn usage. 

Receiving care from a sex-positive therapist who can identify underlying problems and offer evidence-based treatment strategies can help a person improve their relationships and regain a sense of control over their pornography use.

There is no shame in acknowledging the problem and getting the much-needed help. If you, or anyone around you is addicted to porn, it is best to get the assistance by booking an appointment with  the  top psychiatrist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042 3890 0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your addiction-related issues.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Ahmad Nadeem - Author Dr. Ahmad Nadeem is a Sexologist, Male Sexual Health Specialist, Family Physician and Andrologist. Dr. Ahmad Nadeem is among the Best Sexologist in Video Consultation. He has a M.B.B.S. and C.R.S.M degree along with an experience of 33 years. He is also a member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and its pmdc number is 16460-P.
Urologists in Lahore