How to Quit Watching Porn – The Ultimate Guide

  • Author: Sumit
  • Published: December 21, 2022
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  • How to Quit Watching Porn – The Ultimate Guide

2.5 million people visit porn sites every minute. A large percentage of the male population fits into this number. In a recent study, 91.5% of men and 60.2% of women reported watching porn.

On the other hand, millions of people are waking up to see evidence that excessive porn use is damaging. They feel the effects on their mental and physical health and this motivates them to change.

In this article, we’ll teach you what we’ve learned about how to quit porn. You may have tried to quit in the past without much success, but don’t get discouraged — you just need a better method.

What you need to quit porn for good is deep, lasting change. You need to align your life in the right direction. A life without porn could be the start of a life you love with plenty of rich, fulfilling relationships and a satisfying job.

As you read onward, we need you to commit to one thing. Make the intention to quit porn (written or verbal) for good. We will guide you, but ultimately, you’re the one in the driver’s seat.

If you agree to this, keep reading. But if you can’t hold yourself accountable to this one condition — stop reading now. Seriously. Bookmark this page and come back to it when you’re ready.

For those continuing: Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Quit Watching Porn.

How Does Porn Addiction Happen?

“It’s easy to be a vegetarian when you’ve never tasted popcorn chicken.” This punchline from a standup comedy routine describes the porn addict’s condition perfectly.

The urge to watch porn stems from a previous PMO (porn, masturbation, orgasm) session. When a person watches porn and climaxes, a surge of “feel-good chemicals” are released in the brain. These chemicals motivate them to watch more porn.

The next time the addict feels a trigger such as boredom, stress, or pain — they turn towards porn. Triggers can be found in your genetic makeup or because of your psychological state. You may also live in a hyper-sexualized society, so it’s important to stay away from triggers on TV and the internet.

Let’s take a look at how these triggers infiltrate the brain to set the addiction cycle in motion.

Reward Pathways

Porn addiction happens in the limbic system — an ancient evolutionary reward system that’s involved in almost all emotional and physical functions.

This reward system affects our moods and makes us more prone to addiction. Our brain encourages us to repeat behaviors that release dopamine. These activities include eating, having sex, and playing video games.

Put simply, we’re hardwired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Our basic survival depends on this.

Think of dopamine as the fuel that powers our decision-making process. Dopamine is what causes the craving whether it be porn, sex, food, or any other drug.

Our limbic system also encourages us to engage in the quest for novelty. From an evolutionary perspective, novelty drove our ancestors to discover new lands, resources, and sexual partners. This ensured the survival of their genes. This primal quest for novelty is part of what gets us addicted to porn.

The Cycle of Porn Addiction

  • The trigger: This is usually an emotional state that’s caused by something external. It could be a billboard or simply a time of day when you feel stressed or bored.
  • PMO: The trigger causes you to use PMO in order to “soothe” the negative feeling.
  • Shame: The disgusting content you watch constantly escalates. This causes you to be ashamed of yourself and you don’t want to be seen. You use porn to make yourself momentarily immune to this negative feeling.
  • Isolation: Shame leads you to isolate yourself. You go through your mundane daily routine avoiding social interactions… waiting to be confronted by your next trigger.

The million-dollar question: How do I break this cycle?

Answer: You need to create a life of productivity fueled by your purpose. We’ll break this down in the “Your Vision” section ahead.

The Negatives of Watching Porn

  • Higher stress: When a person suffers from porn addiction, their stress and porn addiction intertwine in unhealthy ways. Instead of responding appropriately to life’s challenges — they’re driven to their addiction. Anytime they don’t have access to porn, they get extreme anxiety, also known as withdrawal. This creates an unhealthy cycle where all paths lead to porn.
  • Poor self-esteem: Porn lowers your perception of yourself. The shame you feel after a session has a ripple effect on what you do afterward. Put simply, how you see yourself determines the quality of your actions.

“A man cannot rise above how he sees himself.” – Jason Poston

Let’s say you finally found the balls to ask your boss for a promotion. If you don’t believe you deserve it, how will he?

  • Depression: Some people watch porn to escape their depression. But did you know porn can actually cause depression? Regardless of which situation you’re in, porn and depression are connected, and watching porn will only worsen your depression.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: Erectile dysfunction is a common problem among porn addicts. The more you watch porn, the less interested you’ll be in sexual intercourse. This will affect your ability to get aroused. Premature ejaculation and delayed ejaculation are also on this list. Addicts are likely to be thinking about their favorite scenes while having sex with their partner — don’t be that guy.
  • Loneliness: Beating your meat is a solo venture. You start to prefer your vile habit over social situations. Here’s the deal: quality relationships are the number 1 predictor of a longer life. That should be enough motivation for you to foster healthy relationships.
  • Porn robs you of time: About 200-300 hours per year if we’re counting. Imagine spending that time working out, or learning a new skill. You could master an instrument or speak the local language fluently the next time you travel!
  • Risky sex choices: Part of watching violent and degrading behavior on screen is that you start to crave it in real life. Sometimes, the acts are so extreme, you couldn’t imagine asking your partner. This leads you down the path of paying someone to enact your dark fantasies. We’re not going to spell it out any further. You’re entering the territory of unsafe, risky sex here.

How to Quit Watching Porn

There’s a concept so important to recovering from porn addiction that you’ll fail without it. We’d even go as far as saying that if you can understand and implement this one concept, you’re halfway there. Here it is:

“Abstinence isn’t the same as recovery.”

Many online forums encourage guys to do an “x days challenge” in which they have to go a certain number of days without porn. That’s their only goal. But this isn’t recovery, it’s just abstinence.

Make no mistake, abstinence is important, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle.

These guys hit a certain number of days, relapse, get frustrated, and enter the “day zero” mentality. This causes them to think all their progress is lost.

Then there’s the mistake of measuring progress based on symptoms. If an addict has abstained for a while but still has ED, they consider this a failure. If their ED is healing, they treat themselves to a PMO session.

Many porn addicts focus on the wrong things. They need to change the way they think, and in doing so, they’ll change the way they live.

If you’re quitting porn, your focus shouldn’t be on quitting porn to finally live life after recovery. The focus should be on learning how to live. This is recovery.

Think of your porn addiction as a rotting tree in the garden of your life. Trying to solve the problem only through abstinence is like trimming the branches and clearing rotten fruit off the ground. Your tree is still unhealthy.

This tree is your brain’s reward system and you need to heal its roots first. When you treat the source of your addiction, your tree will produce healthy fruit others can benefit from — and it’ll beautify your life too.

In the following sections, we’ll outline a systemized approach to help you quit porn from the ground up.

Your Vision

Your vision is the single most important thing to consider when quitting porn. Why? Because your aim is recovery. Abstinence is temporary, but your vision allows you to create a life that can be lived without porn.

Remember how we spoke about productivity fueled by purpose as the answer to your addiction? This is where we develop that idea into an actionable path.

Close your eyes and envision how your life will look like 5 years from now without porn. Spend a day thinking about this vision and write it down. Write like crazy, and write LOTS. This is the foundation of your recovery.

But what if I don’t have a purpose?

One of our favorite methods to find purpose is to start with a Japanese principle called Ikigai (a reason for being). Click here to learn more.

PMO is self-serving. A big part of Ikigai is to focus on serving someone else. The world will reward you and make you richer for doing so.

The second part of this equation is productivity. Now that you have your purpose, work hard to make progress.

Maybe you don’t have any talent, skills, or abilities — and that’s okay! Your purpose, for now, will be to learn new skills. Your purpose will evolve with you.

But how can I get work done when I don’t feel motivated in the first place? 

Your reward system is linked to ambition and goals. If you’re addicted, your brain is wired to seek instant gratification. Scrolling Instagram, eating junk food, and watching porn. Hard work isn’t enjoyable.

It’ll suck at first and you’ll have to force yourself to work, there will be no motivation to act. Motivation will come after doing the productive habit for a while. Your reward center will rewire to favor your new habit instead of porn.

Make it Urgent

So you’ve got your vision written down but there are still some gaps. You don’t know what you want to study, or where you want to live. It’s all good. Your vision will grow with your ambition.

Humans are experts at procrastinating. We know what we want. We know what we need to do. But we wait for the perfect circumstances. The truth is, that the “perfect” time will never come. What you need to do is give your vision urgency.

Write down why you need to start working on your vision now. Here’s an idea that’ll get you started.

You only change for one of two reasons, inspiration or desperation. Picture a doctor telling you that if you don’t change your eating habits, you might never see your grandchild. Motivated to change? Of course, you are. The fear of not seeing your grandchild makes it a non-option.

Educate Yourself

Educating yourself on porn addiction includes learning about the way your brain works, your personal triggers, and how porn hijacks the brain.

The truth is, it’s not the orgasm you crave. It’s the high. Your brain misses the high of watching your fantasies in crisp 4K high def. It longs for attractive women, perfect angles, and feelings of pleasure.

This is also why your addiction won’t go away once you get a girlfriend. Porn is your drug, and you need to free yourself from it, regardless of your relationship status.

When you abstain for a couple of weeks, you may feel an intense craving. Don’t confuse this for real libido. If you take a peek and feel a rush to orgasm, that’s your addiction. The issue was that you peeked in the first place.

Mental Health Comes First

If your mental health isn’t in check, any positive habits you develop won’t stick. Solid habits are crucial to quitting for good. Your porn addiction is never truly “erased.” It lies dormant, waiting for a slip-up.

Once you’ve sorted your mental health, you need to have an indestructible belief in yourself. When successful athletes want to achieve something, they have an unbreakable belief that they‘ll get it done. They don’t let external circumstances shake their resolve. They create results in their mind before achieving them.

Adopt a winner’s mindset. Believe you can overcome this.

Managing Emotions

Porn addiction is about a lot more than getting cravings and relapsing.

Many guys are addicted because they can’t manage their emotions. Quitting porn is about maturing as a man. It’s so much more than “I wanna quit so I can have loads of sex with hot women.”

The addict uses porn as a method of escaping their uncomfortable reality. Instead, they need to develop the maturity and wisdom to process their negative emotions. Substitute healthy activities such as meditation or exercise to manage your emotions.

Allow yourself to feel the full spectrum of emotions. Your desire to quit porn in the first place likely came from “negative” emotion. Learn to see that as a blessing and use that negativity as fuel in your conquest to quit.

Managing Sexual Expectations

When you give up porn, you’re leaving behind the world of “endless hot chicks to have sex with.” Porn conditions us to think that the key to fulfillment is having sex with lots of women.

We’re here to burst your bubble and tell you that it’s unrealistic to have sex with incredibly attractive women on a regular basis. There’s nothing wrong with this though… you just have to be willing to do what 99.9% of guys won’t. That is, build yourself up and go through A LOT of rejection. You’ll have to use that rejection as feedback and work on yourself as a man.

How many reading this are doing what it takes to be that guy?

Very few. In fact, most guys see their dream girl wearing a tight dress and fantasize about having sex with her one day. They’ll go on pick-up artist forums, read books, watch YouTube videos, and craft theories about approaching girls.

But most guys won’t do shit.

Real life is nothing like this harem of hot women, and we need to learn to live without it.

Many guys reading this are more than capable of being with attractive women. But these women won’t look like pornstars, or act like them. Sex with them won’t be like what you’re used to seeing in porn.

Forget About Porn

Guys will develop a focus on what day they’re on, avoiding triggers, their morning wood, how much they’re struggling, etc. Forget about all of this.

Instead, focus on your vision. Every. Damn. Day.

If you’re journaling, write about the small wins. It could progress you’re making at work, or the spontaneous conversation you had in the mall.

Daydreaming of porn is another problem. Fantasizing on its own accomplishes nothing. If you want sex you should actively be doing something to make it happen (going on dates, flirting with women, etc). Aside from this, you should be doing things completely unrelated to sex (working, studying, exercising, etc).

There shouldn’t be a grey area where you’re alone thinking about sex. As soon as an erotic thought pops up, refocus yourself on the task at hand. Think of this skill like a muscle you’re training, you need to keep doing it until you master it.

Build Your New Life

As mentioned earlier, abstaining on its own isn’t enough. You need to transmute that energy into building the new, not fighting the old. When you do this, you’ll notice a mental shift away from porn.

This could come in the form of starting a new business, joining a martial arts club, or even moving out of your parent’s house.

Track Your Progress

There seems to be an obsession with “streaks” among guys trying to quit porn. The problem with tracking how many days in a row you’ve gone without porn is the “day zero” mentality. When you eventually relapse (and you will), you’ll feel terrible. That feeling will justify a binge and you’ll just “start fresh tomorrow.”

Furthermore, every reset will bring feelings of despair with it. You’ll become more discouraged as time goes on. If you can’t go a certain number of days in a row without porn, your tracker loses its purpose.

Keeping a spreadsheet is a far better method to track your progress.

It discourages you to binge by letting you see the big picture. If you go from fapping 25 times a month to 3 times, that’s massive progress.

And finally, our favorite. No more counting. No more bullshit “90-day challenges”. Recovery isn’t a flavor-of-the-month challenge, it’s a lifestyle. Your task is to live as clean as possible and slowly improve. When you relapse, just put it on your sheet, and keep living.

Conclusion

Your porn addiction isn’t the reason for your shitty life. It’s a symptom. You watch porn to manage your emotions. It’s something you do to hide from stress, anxiety, boredom, and isolation.

If you really want to quit, and I mean realllllly want it bad enough — think in terms of recovery, not abstinence. Create a life where you don’t need porn to block out negative emotions. Embrace what you’re feeling at that moment.

Stop thinking about sex, cravings, relapses, erections, how many days you’ve gone without porn, or triggers. Instead, focus on the most important thing, living your life to its fullest.

Before we end, we’ll leave you with the most important message:

This. Is. Urgent.

Don’t underestimate this addiction, you need to get rid of it now. It’ll rob you of the best version of yourself. You need to change the way you think about this, and in doing so change the way you live.

Become an active participant in your life instead of an observer.

Sumit is a chemical engineer and a motivational speaker. He is a regular contributor to MrMindBlowing.com.

Sumit


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