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Pornography and depression: Is there a link?

It is no secret that pornography has become a hot topic in today’s society. In some cultures, pornography is associated with depression, according to various beliefs and myths.

So, have you ever wondered if pornography can cause mental health issues like depression? Is there actually a relationship between these two? Well. It all depends on how you use pornography and your own unique background.

This article will talk about one of the most popular topics regarding pornography, ‘The link between pornography and depression,’ and everything you need to know about it.

*Most importantly, you must know that no research has shown that pornography can cause mental issues like depression.

What is Pornography?

Pornography, simply known as, porn is a representation of erotic behavior in pictures, videos, films, books, status, or any other media with the intention of sexual excitement of people.

You can enjoy porn whether you are in a committed relationship or single.

The benefits of watching porn

  • Normalizing desires
  • Discovering new things
  • Improving sexual knowledge
  • Increasing sexual enjoyment and interest

But can it really cause depression? This is the major argument in this article. We will explore and find out the answer.

Can porn cause depression?

Depressed man
Depressed man

Well. The simple answer for this is, there is no evidence yet to prove this question. Instead, the link between pornography and depression originated when some people believe porn is bad and express their myths and beliefs about porn, sex, and masturbation.

The reason for these types of myths and beliefs can be the lack of sexual education knowledge. Besides, some people do not know the meaning of porn and how to use porn healthily.

One study has mentioned that people who are more likely to feel lonely watch porn more often.

One study in 2021 has shown that excessive pornography can increase the risk of depression in both men and women.

Another study in 2018 with a sample of 1639 individuals found out that some of them feel upset, guilty, and distressed when viewing sexual content. These emotions could affect overall mental health. But there is no evidence to support the belief or myth that porn can directly cause or trigger depression.

Can Porn Consumption and Masturbation Cause Depression?


Even if there are some myths and belief regarding this question, there is no proven evidence which mentions porn consumption and masturbation cause depression. People tend to masturbate with the help of watching porn. People often do this to increase their level of self-excitement.

Depression is a more complex mental health condition that can cause symptoms like low mood or irritability, changes in sleep patterns and diet or weight, low energy and motivation, lack of interest in pleasurable activities, increased guilt and worthlessness, and thoughts of death and dying.

Can depression lead to pornography consumption?

Well. It is impossible to find out that watching porn can cause depression, but we can say there is a chance that a person who is depressed is more likely to use pornography. For example, a depressed person might be using pornography to have coping skills to manage depression symptoms.

Healthy coping skills, including spending time with your loved ones and exercising, create positive, long-term effects. A harmful coping strategy may give immediate enjoyment while often leading to undesirable long-term results.

People, especially men, might view pornography as a coping aid to relieve the symptoms caused by depression. . As a result, pornography may be a harmful coping aid if it prohibits you from seeking out more effective forms of coping.

How do you know if you are addicted to porn?

A man watching pornography
A man watching pornography

Here are the signs that show you are addicted to pornography.

  • When you spend more time watching pornography than you intended.
  • To achieve the desired effect, you need to view more pornography or taboo material.
  • Porn is on your mind more often.
  • You are feeling guilty and distressed after watching porn.
  • You are viewing the material in situations where it is not appropriate, like during class, work or time with the family or loved ones.
  • Porn affects your relationships and social life.
  • You are struggling to fulfill responsibilities at home, work, or school.
  • When you cannot watch pornography, you feel restless, angry, and irritable.
  • Even though you try, you can’t stop watching pornography.

What are the negative effects of watching porn?

Man with negative

As we discussed earlier, it’s important to note that watching pornography alone does not directly lead to depression.

However, excessive consumption and addiction to porn can have some negative effects.

Here are some of the negative consequences that can arise from regular exposure to pornography.

  • Higher levels of hypersexuality (higher degrees of sexual behavior).
  • There is a possibility of developing depression.
  • Feelings of boredom (the state of feeling bored).
  • Pornography might make you uncomfortable.
  • Lower levels of confidence.
  • Lack of satisfaction with social belonging, skills, and overall lack of freedom.
  • You will have insecurities around body image.
  • You and your partner are having relationship problems.

Treatment for porn addiction

Online support groups

For your concerns about addiction to pornography, you can access online support groups.

The Best online support groups

  1. Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
  2. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
  3. Celebrate Recovery
  4. Pure Desire
  5. L.I.F.E. Recovery International

Join an online community

Online helpline

Helpline ResourcesHotlineWebsite
SAMHSA’s National (free) 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA)+1 800-477-8191saa-recovery

Software for blocking porn

The therapist or local support group

A therapist
A therapist

Consider seeking support from a therapist or a local support group if you believe you are having trouble watching porn.

For those who are addicted to pornography, public exposure is something that can be frightening. They may not seek counseling because of this anxiety.

During an appointment with a therapist, you will be asked about how you feel about porn, the function it serves, how often you watch pornography, and how you have dealt with the use of porn.

You should take control of all your anxiety and get support from therapy or local support groups to stop this addiction.

Also people can build lasting relationships while improving their lives and achieving recovery by finding a porn addiction support group or a therapist.

  • A therapist or local support group can determine and evaluate your condition accurately.
  • They will determine if co-occurring mental health issues and addictions are present.
  • They will be underlying processing issues factoring into addiction.
  • They will help you to improve your communication skills and relationships.
  • They will help you to explore healthy coping skills to reduce your dependence on pornography.
  • To keep yourself from viewing or consuming pornography again, they can help you develop a relapse prevention plan.

Final Thoughts

Pornography, often called porn, is represented and intended to cause sexual excitement in people. The link between pornography and depression is a popular topic among society, even though no studies or research have proven a relationship between these two.

But the problem will arise if you feel like you are addicted to porn because that is where some depression levels can trigger you. Therefore it is crucial to seek support if you believe that you are distressed due to pornography addiction.

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