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 alone (not to mention millions more worldwide) 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 Barna 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 report persistent problems with porn. In the past twenty-five years, the means of delivery and instant availability of pornography have evolved so fast that communities and individuals have not had a chance to adjust. We are, in a sense, living through a massive, unregulated experiment in how visual consumption of explicit content delivered via a high-speed internet connection, and precisely designed to attract and hold your attention, affects the emotions, attitudes, behaviors of hundreds of millions of people around the world. (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 percentage (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. And for every one person struggling with what feels (and appears, and acts) like a vicious "addiction," there are dozens of family members, friends, co-workers, and communities who suffer collateral harm.
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 and want to stop using it. 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 have an actual, diagnosable mental health disorder centered around uncontrolled, compulsive porn use.