WRAP Week Fact: Addiction

Pornography addiction is a condition in which a person becomes overly dependent on sexually explicit materials for their physical and emotional satisfaction. There are many individuals that view pornography regularly, but this does not always lead to addiction. However, pornography use has negative effects on the user even if the user is not “addicted.” Pornography also often has many negative effects on those close with the user and on society in general.

Symptoms of addiction include:

  1. Increased frequency in watching or reading pornography
  2. Lose track of time while watching for several hours on end
  3. Spending more money to want a greater variety and better satisfaction
  4. Rearranging your schedule and making up excuses in order to make time for pornography
  5. Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms when trying to stop, such as anger, depression, irritability, and stress

Studies show strong evidence that sex affects the rewards systems in the brain (even if not addicted) in the same way that drugs or food can as well.

  • Pornography use can impair the development of emotional intimacy.
  • Many who have struggled with multiple addictions report that pornography was the hardest addiction for them to overcome.
  • Frequent use of pornography often results in decreased interest in sex with a partner.
  • Struggles with pornography can start at any age and both men and women often struggle with controlling their usage.

Learn more on our blog and our research site.

Pornography Addiction: A supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity from Pornography Harms on Vimeo.

At the 2014 Summit for the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) last May, Neurosurgeon and addiction expert, Dr. Donald Hilton gave this keynote address about the impact of pornography on the brain.

In it, he reviews much of the neuroscience literature to help the general public understand how pornography changes the brain. Dr. Hilton counters the notion that pornography addiction is not valid or widespread.

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



Survivor Lawsuit Against Twitter Moves to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Survivors’ $12.7M Victory Over Explicit Website a Beacon of Hope for Other Survivors

Instagram Makes Positive Safety Changes via Improved Reporting and Direct Message Tools

Sharing experiences may be a restorative and liberating process. This is a place for those who want to express their story.

Support Dignity

There are more ways that you can support dignity today, through an online gift, taking action, or joining our team.