Can Women Be Addicted to Porn?

Sandra Richardson

Aug 18, 2021

It’s a common stereotype that it’s mostly men who watch porn. However, pornography has gotten much easier to access, and women are becoming just as curious as men about these photos and videos. If you’re a woman who watches a lot of porn, you might wonder: can I get addicted? Or is that just a guy thing?

Statistics

The stats show that it’s much more common than you think for women to have porn addictions.

First, let’s discuss the myth that women don’t watch porn.

One study found that 76% of women between the ages of 18 and 30 watch pornographic material. The number gets lower as women age, with only 16% of women watching porn by the age of 50. That’s a huge percentage of women, and shows that you’re definitely not alone.

A study in 2006 found that 17% of women who watch porn would describe themselves as “addicted” to it. This shows that it’s possible for women’s porn use to get out of control, in the same way as men’s.

The founder of Quit Porn Addiction, the UK’s main porn counselling service, says almost one in three of their clients are women struggling with porn use, and the number has ballooned in recent years.

Few researchers have studied female porn addiction. However, if you pursue support groups, you’ll likely find that there are some women who attend.

You don’t have to feel ashamed about your porn addiction, or like you’re less of a woman. This is a more common problem for women than you might have thought, and it’s possible to overcome it if you think you are suffering.

Why do women watch porn?

Some researchers are interested in figuring out why women watch porn. People are confused about what would draw women into porn. There’s a stereotype that men are more visually aroused than women, while women are aroused by touch. That means women wouldn’t want to watch porn, right? Actually, this dichotomy is a myth, and there are things that women can enjoy about watching these videos.

Gender can play a difference in the ways that people enjoy porn or the circumstances in which they watch it. Here are the three main reasons women watch pornography:

Curious about sexual techniques

Some women, especially when they’re young, look to pornography to learn more about sex. They might be unsure about how sex works, or they might use it to find new tricks to use on their lover. Plus, it can be a good way to discover any kinks you might have.

Most women do not get addicted to porn from this. A study on adolescent girls found that those who used porn to find out more about sex, they rarely return to it frequently, if at all. However, it’s also true that many people who are addicted to porn report using it early on in their childhoods.

Want to watch with partners

Most women who watch porn do so with their partners. A study showed that about 45% of couples have viewed porn together.

They use it before sex to pique arousal, or during sex to enhance play. Some of these women wouldn’t choose to watch the material themselves, but will watch it because their (often male) partner enjoys it.

Doing this can occasionally indulge kinks and prompt talk between couples about new positions or techniques to try. However, very few women become addicted to porn from using it this way, especially if they use it with their partner exclusively.

Use porn as a visual aid

Many men use porn as a visual aid while they masturbate. Sometimes women use it in the same way. While it’s normal to masturbate and even watch porn while you do, this is the most likely way that women become addicted to pornography.

Some women are just as horny as men and want sex just as much. However, it can be dangerous and difficult for women to go out and have sex with strangers. Therefore, these highly sexual women turn to masturbation and porn to enhance that experience.

If you use porn in order to have an orgasm that you desperately crave, you can start to feel like you depend on it. You might increase how often you view it so you can masturbate more often. This can lead some women to a porn addiction.

Male vs. female porn addiction

The ways men and women become hooked on porn are quite similar. People will start to use pornography for pleasure, to escape, or to relax when feeling anxious or stressed. They might even use it with partners or as a way to learn new sex techniques. As time goes on, they start to get desentized to what they’re seeing and start to need more intense porn.

In one study, women who used internet porn showed more arousal and more sensitivity to pornographic images than those who didn’t watch. This reflects studies that have been done in men, showing that porn addiction has similar effects on arousal, no matter someone’s gender.

Men and women can both become addicted to porn, and it manifests in similar ways between the genders. Overall, treatment for this addiction will be similar for both men and women.

How porn addiction affects women

While both men and women can become addicted to porn in similar ways, the effects of the addiction can manifest differently in women.

Society frowns on women who are sexually liberated and enjoy sex or masturbation. It can be hard for any person to talk about their dependence on porn, but it’s much more socially taboo for a woman to admit that she watches porn at all.

Many women start to feel ashamed, worthless, or “dirty” because they regularly masturbate and watch porn. This feeling will increase as porn use increases, or as they seek out more intense images.

Women might fear that partners won’t want them because of their addiction, since they won’t be as “pure.” Unfortunately, this can actually make women use porn more as a way of coping with how they feel, and keep it a secret for much longer.

Women might find themselves watching videos that they find morally objectionable. Some videos degrade women and treat them like objects. Some of this anti-feminist material will ring alarm bells in their heads, but they won’t be able to turn off the video and find something more empowering. In fact, some women might become addicted to seeing women hurt in this way.

Porn can also make women feel poorly about their bodies. Seeing women who are skinny, white, and hairless can make you feel like you have to conform to society’s patriarchal beauty standards. It can make you feel insecure, making it harder to have sex with your partner.

Some women might find it hard to have partnered sex because of their porn addiction. They have unrealistic expectations of their body for sex, like multiple orgasms and killer skills, that they may not have. This can lead to insecurity and instability in their relationships. Women might also have expectations for their partners, especially men, that they cannot fulfill, because they saw these unrealistic images in porn.

However, sometimes watching porn may cause women to act out more sexually. While of course women should be able to have sex when they want to, they might find it in dangerous ways, like risky hookups with people they meet online. In a worst case scenario, this could lead to a scary situation, which could even involve rape or death.

They also might not find pleasure having sex with their partner because the porn they consume has become edgier and edgier. Their partner might want to have vanilla sex, while they just finished watching a hardcore bondage scene. While it’s possible to play with these kinks in real life, not all women actually want to act out the scenes they view when they watch porn. This can cause a disconnect in the relationship.

Many women feel like they can’t reach out to their support systems to help with this problem, and it can be hard to find a therapist who specializes in helping women through porn addiction. In addition, while many women do attend porn addiction support groups, they’re overall dominated by men.

Steps of porn addiction

Porn addiction can creep up on you. The groundwork can be laid in early adolescence, then come back when you’re older.

First, early exposure to pornography is an indicator of whether you’ll have an issue with porn in the future. While most people who watch porn when they’re young don’t develop addictions, this can make an impact on a child and lead to issues down the line.

The next step is watching pornography regularly. While you might be able to watch porn just to masturbate and stop watching when you’re done, this can be hard for some. You might also feel the need to masturbate many times a day in order to watch porn.

Next is addiction. You realize that you can’t stop watching porn, no matter how much you want to. You let it get in the way of your everyday life, and it becomes a big part of your routine.

Eventually, your porn addiction escalates. You might start watching videos more often, looking up more photos, or buying more magazines or DVDs. This can mean you’re spending lots of money and time on pornography that you can’t afford to lose.

When some people escalate, they start viewing more hardcore material. This could include BDSM or other kinks, or it could get deeper into more intense material. While it’s normal to have kinks, if you’re turning to them because vanilla sex no longer gives you a thrill anymore, this could become a huge problem.

You might then start to experience desensitization. No matter what type of material you watch, it’s not enough. You might seek out dangerous porn or illegal porn. It will stop giving you a thrill, leaving you numb.

The last stage is acting out sexually. When porn no longer gets the job done, you might want to replicate what you watched in real life. Having sex is normal, even kinky sex, but porn addicts might not be able to stop themselves from getting into risky situations. This can be especially dangerous for women.

However, there is a path out of the pain of pain addiction. You don’t need to experience this downward spiral forever.

Signs you’re a woman who’s addicted to porn

Indications of porn addiction can vary between women and men. Here are some signs that you might have a problem with porn.

  • Being unable to stop using it, despite repeated attempts to do so
  • Experiencing cravings to view porn throughout the day
  • Becoming angry, hostile, or irritable when asked to stop watching porn
  • Keeping all or part of your porn addiction a secret from loved ones, even your partner or trusted friends
  • Feeling like you’re living a double or secret life due to porn use
  • Continuing to use porn despite negative consequences, like broken relationships or job loss
  • Losing large chunks of time because you’re absorbed in porn use
  • Requiring increasing amounts or more explicit porn to gain the same satisfaction or thrill, similar to the development of tolerance

If you have a few of these symptoms, you might be able to stop watching porn by yourself. However, if you feel like you identify with porn addiction, it’s time to seek help.

Stop Together can help you break your porn addiction. This online course is discrete and low cost, so you can complete it, even if you want to keep your issue a secret. Stop Together allows you to get your life back, improve your relationships, regain sexual confidence, come out of isolation, and stop spending money on porn.

Once you enroll, you can access their 200+ therapy sessions, and you’ll have lifetime access if you ever need to go back for a little help. Check out their website today!