Why do we believe you're not alone? Well, for starters, because we've been there too. But it's not just us and you. There are millions of pornography users in the United States who see pornography as a potential problem in their lives. Millions upon millions upon millions. Consider some numbers:
A survey of 1,000 adults conducted in 2014 by the public opinion research firm Barna Group for ProvenMen.org concluded that roughly 13% of American men and 3% of American women, ages 18 to 68, believe they may be addicted to pornography, as those men and women understand the word "addiction." (See 2014 ProvenMen.org Pornography Addiction Survey (conducted by Barna Group). The survey results are located at www.provenmen.org/2014pornsurvey/pornography-use-and-addiction.)
If the survey is accurate, that means somewhere around 13,000,000 American men and 2,750,000 American women, ages 18 to 68, believe they may be addicted to pornography. And that doesn't even include teenagers, who represent a huge and growing portion of porn users.
Even if the survey massively over-extrapolates adult Americans' perceptions of their own potential pornography addiction by, say, 90% (which we think is really unlikely), then we're still talking about 1,300,000 American men and 275,000 American women believing they might be addicted to pornography (plus many more teens).
And that's just people who think they might be addicted to porn. The same survey found that about 36% of men and about 15% of women have thought they should use less pornography, whether or not "addiction" comes into the picture. That's tens of millions of people.
It's not particularly surprising that people are reporting problems with porn. In the past twenty-five years, the delivery and availability of pornography has evolved so fast that the human brain hasn't had a chance to adjust. (Check out Your Brain on Porn: How Internet Porn Affects the Brain for a great discussion of this.)
Still not convinced? Try this on for size. Dr. David Ley, one of the most outspoken skeptics of the potential harms of pornography, contends that about 0.5% of porn users report difficulty controlling their use. (http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-9267-addicted-to-porn.html). That might sound like a low number (anecdotally, it sounds low to us), but even at that level, given how widespread porn use is you're still talking about hundreds of thousands of Americans, and millions globally, struggling to control how much porn they use.
See what we're getting at? You. Are. Not. Alone. Far from it. We think the numbers show that it's a safe bet you could populate a large U.S. city entirely with people who see porn as a problem in their own lives that they want to stop. In fact, we're willing to take it a step further and say that you could probably fill a big city with people who don't just think porn might be a problem, but who areactually addicted to porn by any accepted clinical definition of addiction.