Gaslighting, College Life, and the Hidden Struggle with Pornography Addiction

In the vibrant world of college life, where freedom and exploration are at their peak, some young men find themselves entangled in the secretive web of pornography addiction. This addiction not only hampers personal growth but also strains relationships, leading to the adoption of manipulative behaviors like gaslighting to conceal their struggle.

Recognizing the Signs

Addiction to pornography in college can manifest through various signs, including excessive secrecy, changes in behavior or mood, declining academic performance, withdrawal from social activities, and an increased need for privacy. These signs often mirror the stress of college life, making it crucial to approach the topic with sensitivity and understanding.

The Extent of the Issue

Statistics reveal a concerning trend: a significant percentage of young men in college grapple with pornography addiction. While precise numbers vary, studies suggest that up to 60-80% of college-aged men consume pornography regularly, with a portion of them exhibiting behavior consistent with addiction. This widespread issue underscores the need for open discussion and support.

Gaslighting as a Coping Mechanism

To hide their addiction, some may resort to gaslighting—manipulating roommates and friends into questioning their own perceptions or concerns about the addict's behavior. This can include denying the addiction, lying about their activities, or shifting blame to avoid confrontation and maintain the secrecy of their habit.

Hope and Recovery

Despite the challenges, recovery from sex or pornography addiction is possible and hopeful. Therapeutic interventions, support groups, and programs like SABR offer comprehensive approaches to overcoming addiction. Success stories and research emphasize the importance of understanding, patience, and professional guidance in the journey towards recovery.


The journey from addiction to recovery is fraught with challenges, yet it is paved with hope and possibility. Recognizing the problem and seeking help are the first crucial steps. For those struggling, remember: recovery is not just a possibility; it's a promise for a brighter, healthier future.

Family Strategies Counseling Center has actively serviced clients since 2000 who struggle with pornography and sexual addiction issues. Our SABR program for adults, Tribe for college, and Band of Brothers for teens can help you! Give us a call (800) 614-8142 or visit our website for more information:

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