How to Stop Watching Porn – It Can Ruin Your Life

By Marcus Neo | Self Improvement and Social Skills

Mar 27

I remembered that I had a Windows 95, a dial up connection and that was all I need. I was one resourceful kid. I caught on the hard core stuff really fast. The BDSM porn, lesbians and foot fetishes. You name it, I watched it. It was only when I started in reading up on psychology that I was exposed to the effects of pornography that I started limiting my intake.

In the men’s dating advice community, there are many positive reports from guys who went through the ‘no fap’ diet. It’s proposed that if you are masturbating too much, watching too much porn and not getting much out of your sex life, then going ‘no fap’ can help. So, can reducing pornographic intake help in multiple areas of your life? If so, how can you stop watching porn in an effective manner?

The Science of Pornography

The intake of pornography is researched to be a supra normal stimulus to our brains. This means, it’s way more pleasurable than the average arousing stimulus. Our brains aren’t ready to take in those kind stimulus and hence develop a need for higher forms of stimuli and arousal. This is why you become desensitised and develop a need for more novel stimuli through fancier or more hard core pornography.

Ultimately, pornography paints an unrealistic picture of sexuality. This skews our perception of what beauty is and gives us unreasonable standards for sex with the people we meet. In my younger days, I used to think that having sex with a porn star in multiple crazy positions would define my masculinity.

That can’t be further from reality. The majority of partners you meet aren’t going to live up to the unrealistic narratives in pornography films. Sex is an intimate act for both partners. When it actually happens, it’s usually nothing like you see on computer screens. Sex is actually an activity where either parties may feel unsure about themselves. Everyone get’s a little nervous before an intimate act. It’s nothing like the hard core bravado you watch on pornographic sites.

Shame, Guilt, Addiction and Pornography

Okay, if you’re wondering if pornography is an actual addiction. It’s debatable. Whilst it isn’t a ‘real addiction’, you can’t ignore the data that shows many people do experience real life problems with it. It has been linked to issues such as unhappy and unsatisfied partners, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

Whilst pornography ‘addiction’ isn’t validated as a clinical form of addiction, I’m guessing that there is some correlation between toxic shame and pornography overuse. I suggest that because there’s research that suggests that clinical addiction is used to cope with shame, to soothe out their feelings of inadequacy. They just do it through alcohol, drugs and etc.

There’s research suggesting that toxic shame is related to pornography usage. It also suggested that people that had shame were less motivated to alter their behaviours. I’m not going to go on about the differences between guilt and shame int his article, however they found the exact opposite when it came to feelings of guilt. There are other factors leading to compulsive and addictive pornographic usage as well: namely: depression and anxiety. In my personal experience, healing shame through the means of hiring a professional therapist can be a useful way of dealing with overconsumption of pornography, not to mention therapy offers insights into depression and anxiety as well.

How to Stop Watching Porn

Now, let’s get serious here. It’s not only your dating life or your relationships you’re talking about. It’s your entire life. This will not only determine dating success, but also determine your ability to hand up work on time, increase your productivity, cure cancer or send someone to Mars. It’s life changing stuff.

I’ll share with you some methods that have helped me over the years.

1) If you can’t quit porn overnight, leave it to the last activity of the day. You can use pornography as a reward for the productive work you’ve accomplished during the day. You’re using this to rewire the pleasure reward mechanism in your brain. Ideally, you want to land yourself in a position where you have accomplished so much work in the day, that you don’t really want to jerk off to ‘spoil the good track record’.

2) Psychological research shows that building habits in a small way is a more sustainable way to do it rather than flooding yourself with too many habits at one go. Habits are built small and then compounded over time. Starting small such as keeping masturbation and pornographic intake the last activity of the day is a small step that anyone can start applying in their lives.

3) If all else fails, fly to another country for a week or two. Travel can be used as an effective means to break and build habits. Whenever I’m out of the country, I’m much more productive and I don’t use pornography that much. You can use environmental changes to break or build habits.

4) Create an environment of inevitable success. When I was studying in the United States, I was stressed out of my head, behind time on my academic schedule and had a ton of assignments to finish. On top of that, I had personal responsibilities such as laundry, phone bills, making friends and making sure I go out on dates. I suddenly had much more important priorities as opposed to using pornorgraphy.

5) Take a step back and ask yourself the underlying reason you are using pornography. Are you’re using pornography to cope reduce stress? To relief oneself from boredom. Or used to cope with negative feelings or situations? Research suggests that individuals with maladaptive coping skills are much more vulnerable to using pornography as an outlet. Hence, are you merely using porn as a coping strategy?

6) If you do wish to masturbate… think of women you’ve met in real life instead of using pornography clips. Let’s say you met a girl last week in the club and you’re sexually aroused by her. Instead of relying on pornography, you can fantasize about her. It’ll tremendously re-wire your mind to more sensitive and engaged with real life interactions.

7) Change your environmental cues that leads you to watching pornography. Habit researchers found that in order to create new habits to break the old ones, you should not focus on the behaviour but the environmental cue itself. You can do this by installing pornographic blockers, restricting your computer and etc. Clinicians have also recommended such a method.

8) Therapy. If nothing else works and you find your life being interrupt by your intake of pornography. I recommend working with a clinical psychologist. Cognitive behavioural and acceptance commitment therapy has been researched to potentially help with pornography addiction.

The Positive Effects of Not Watching Porn

Going out a masturbation diet and limiting pornography is one of the methods dished out to be more sexually motivated. Self development books such as Think and Grow Rich talks about the ability to transmute sexual desire into creative pursuits such as productive work or art, instead of it depleting one’s energy and motivation. Successful personalities such as Steve Jobs are said to withhold from having sex just to get a creative boost at work.

If you’re overusing pornography, you may also have found yourself desensitised in your dating and relationships life from the years of using pornography. You may find yourself numbed to a real woman’s touch. This is because you are probably desensitised from unrealistic portrayals in pornography. On top of that, a female touch is completely different from the tight grip of your hand.

It was only when I started being serious about getting my dating life handled that I consciously chose to limit pornography and masturbation that I felt more motivated and confident. I also made sure that whenever I’m seeing someone, I would also limit pornography intake as well. (Read: This is to also ensure performance)

Over the years, I’ve never really quit cold turkey or completely. However, the times that I consciously limited my pornography intake, I’ve felt the positive side effects of it. I used to worry and get nervous about performance issues from being desensitised. I am happy to report that I’m facing less of these problems with the reduction of pornographic intake.

Cutting down pornographic intake has also helped me performed better in other areas of my life from academics, sports and be more confidently aggressive in my dating life. The women I notice on a day to day basis became more beautiful and I started appreciating their physical imperfections instead of fake pornographic displays. There’s also a noticeable improvement in general motivation and sense of well being.

When I find myself watching pornography on a more frequent basis, I find myself a lot more judgmental of the women I’m willing to approach. There’ll be a perfectly beautiful girl who walks past me and I’ll put it off and give myself the excuse that she isn’t hot enough. I also notice a difference in general anxiety. I feel more grounded and centered going about my day to day activities when I’m not on pornography.

Relapse and Should You Quit Pornography Completely?

Through the years, I didn’t see a need to quit pornography completely, I actually attempted a couple of times and I found myself unable to focus after a week. However, I am sure that I’m not addicted to it. There are many periods when I’m feeling the urge and if I’m not dating someone, I’ll ‘relapse’ and use pornography there and then.

Here’s my verdict: it’s different strategies for different people. Personally, I believe by keeping pornography intake to a minimum is sufficient. There are clear benefits. If you’re an upwardly mobile individual trying to balance out academic commitments, business commitments and personal relationships… it can get stressful. Sometimes, you just need to get one out. That’s perfectly okay. Just make sure it’s done in moderate dosages that don’t affect your day to day productivity.

It’s ultimately up to you to figure out what works for you. I don’t see it as an all or nothing thing. If pornography isn’t interfering with your day to day life, there’s no reason to be super strict on a no fap diet. There’s no hard and fast rule. However, I do encourage limiting pornography intake on the whole.

Works Cited

Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography addiction – a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 3, 20767

Koukounas, E., & Over, R. (2000). Changes in the magnitude of the eyeblink startle response during habituation of sexual arousal. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38(6), 573–584

Stewart, D. N., & Szymanski, D. M. (2012). Young Adult Women’s Reports of Their Male Romantic Partner’s Pornography Use as a Correlate of Their Self-Esteem, Relationship Quality, and Sexual Satisfaction. Sex Roles, 67(5-6), 257–271.

Schneider, J. P. (2000). A Qualitative Study of Cybersex Participants: Gender Differences, Recovery Issues, and Implications for Therapists.Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 7(4), 249–278.

 

About the Author

Enjoys writing about dating, relationship, business, and psychology. Introvert yet extrovert. Likes martial arts and music, but never got around to the latter.

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