Porn Addiction: How to Stop Watching Porn in 10 Steps

Porn Addiction: How to Stop Watching Porn in 10 Steps

If you've arrived at this page, you presumably believe that your porn-watching habits or dare we say porn addiction have gotten out of hand and that you're seeking solutions to help regain control of your life and relationships.

With porn being so widely accessible online and young people having limited access to open, honest sex dialogues, it's no surprise that so many young men turn to porn as a guide to learn more about sex and explore their sexuality.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying porn, just like there is nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol every now and then. However, when it becomes part of your daily routine and you find that you can't live without it, you might have a porn addiction. If you believe you do have a porn addiction and would like or need to reduce your porn viewing, you've come to the right place. This article will provide you with tools to help you stop watching porn.

If you've arrived at this page, you presumably believe that your porn-watching habits or dare we say porn addiction have gotten out of hand and that you're seeking solutions to help regain control of your life and relationships.

With porn being so widely accessible online and young people having limited access to open, honest sex dialogues, it's no surprise that so many young men turn to porn as a guide to learn more about sex and explore their sexuality.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying porn, just like there is nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol every now and then. However, when it becomes part of your daily routine and you find that you can't live without it, you might have a porn addiction. If you believe you do have a porn addiction and would like or need to reduce your porn viewing, you've come to the right place. This article will provide you with tools to help you stop watching porn.

What you should know about porn addiction 

Before we begin, it is important to understand that porn addiction is not currently a medically diagnosable addiction, and it does not exist in the DSM-V, the current diagnostic manual for mental illnesses and diseases.

As a result, if you believe you have a porn addiction and looking for how to quit watching porn, it is important to understand that this is a self-diagnosis based on a sense of being powerless over your bad habits.

Surprisingly, there are some addiction mechanics and patterns that can help explain how porn can become so addicting.

Dopamine, the aptly titled 'happy hormone,' is released into the brain when you view porn, much like it does when you ingest narcotics like cocaine and heroin. This is the same hormone that is released when you use drugs, drink alcohol, have sex, or engage in any other form of rapid and instant gratification. And that sensation of ecstasy is very natural as our bodies have evolved over the years to find such impulses addicting, making us crave and want more of the same.

It seems to reason that people are programmed to repeat behaviors that provide them with a rush of dopamine. And not all dopamine-producing behaviors are 'bad' for you. Exercise, hugs, and music are just a few of the enjoyable activities that might cause a positive dopamine spike.

Most individuals use addictions to cope with bad thoughts, experiences, and sensations, relying on the rapid and simple bursts of dopamine release to feel better.

So, if a mental health expert cannot diagnose your porn addiction, how can you know if you have a porn addiction and better yet, how can you stop watching porn?

Ten ways to know if your porn viewing habits are problematic 

  1. Excessive frequent thoughts about porn
  2. Financial problems caused by watching porn
  3. Being secretive about your porn-related actions
  4. Seeking out opportunities to watch porn everywhere you go
  5. Increase in other risky behavior
  6. Your relationships are beginning to suffer
  7. Getting desensitized to conventional sexual imagery
  8. Getting desensitized to conventional sexual imagery and porn
  9. It is affecting your work or job
  10. You are unable to keep your commitments

1. Excessive and frequent thoughts about porn

It can affect your day-to-day functioning if you are constantly interrupted by thoughts and urges to watch porn while doing completely different tasks such as hanging out with friends, working, or eating.

2. Financial problems caused by watching porn

If you find yourself spending more money than you can afford on porn or are in debt as a result of it, this is a red flag that your porn viewing is having an impact on your life.

3. Being secretive about your porn-related actions

Hideous behavior is a common characteristic of people suffering from addiction. So, if you find yourself constantly looking for ways to hide your porn viewing, your habit may be out of control.

4. Seeking out opportunities to watch porn everywhere you go

When you travel or are away from home and you often find yourself plotting and devising alternative ways where you can engage in satisfying your porn addiction is another sign that you cannot live without porn.

5. Increase in other risky behavior

Remember the dopamine rush we talked about earlier? It's quite addicting. And, over time, porn, or any other dopamine-releasing habit that is repeated on a regular basis, causes the brain to release less dopamine because it has come to expect what is coming and is looking for something new to thrill from.

This opens the door to other dangerous behaviors such as gambling and drug use. So, if you've recently become riskier in your behavior, it might be time to stop watching porn.

6. Your relationships are beginning to suffer

If your porn watching is interfering with your relationships, it's time to stop. This may include staying in* and watching porn instead of going out, or disregarding the needs of your family and friends because you are too preoccupied with when you will next view porn.

*It's fine to choose this every now and then; the problem arises when porn viewing is always a priority.

7. Getting desensitized to conventional sexual imagery

If you find yourself not getting aroused as easily as you did previously with your sexual partners or wanting to try out and experiment with more hardcore sexual experiences, it is a sign that you are becoming desensitized to conventional sex and on a clear path to sexual dissatisfaction.

8. Getting desensitized to conventional sexual imagery and porn

If you yourself often falling deeper into a rabbit hole of increasingly extreme and fetishized porn, so much so that conventional sexual imagery and porn no longer deliver that dopamine and high like they did before, it is a sign of your addiction worsening.

9. It is affecting your work or job

If all you do is watch porn all day, every day, and the thought of not watching causes anxiety, to the extent that it begins to affect your concentration and focus at work, this is a sign of addiction, and you must address it before it worsens and causes more problems.

10. You are unable to keep your commitments

Are you canceling appointments and work commitments to stay at home and watch porn? Or you simply forget about your responsibilities because your mind is completely focused on porn; this is an indication that your porn habits have become problematic.

Top 8 ways to stop watching porn 

Are you considering porn addiction treatment? Or are you wondering how to help someone with a porn addiction? If you've made the decision to stop watching porn, or to help someone with a porn addiction, here are eight practical techniques to get started.

  1. Admit you have a porn addiction.
  2. Recognize what you're attempting to avoid.
  3. Find other methods to explore your sexuality.
  4. Make use of adult content filters on your browser (Turn on Safe Search).
  5. Make use of focus-aiding browser extensions.
  6. Identify your triggers and stay away from them
  7. Change the habit.
  8. Participate in a support group or seek porn addiction treatment.

1. Admit you have a porn addiction.

The first step to stopping your porn addiction is admitting the addiction exists. That is because without acknowledging that you have a problem, you cannot begin to heal and find a solution to that problem.

So as hard as it may sound, this is actually the easiest step because most people that have a porn addiction, know they have a porn addiction and that is why they do their best to conceal it from everyone.

2. Recognize what you're attempting to avoid.

Addiction is frequently caused by the avoidance of undesirable emotions. This implies that in order to quit viewing, you'll have to do some soul-searching and figure out what's upsetting you or what cause the hole that you are trying to fill with porn.

This will not happen overnight; it is a time-consuming procedure. However, it is critical if you want to reclaim control and stop allowing your porn addictions to define your life.

You can either try to do this on your own by journaling your feelings and attempting to peel back the layers of protection that your mind has undoubtedly and understandably wrapped itself in, or you can seek help from a mental health professional.

Remember, there is nothing shameful about watching porn, and if you feel the need to get treatment, you should be entitled to do so.

3. Find other methods to explore your sexuality

Many people use porn to develop and inform their sexuality. What people enjoy and dislike about sexual interactions are often the types and categories of porn they tend to watch.

If you have a partner, see if they are willing to try new things with you. If they are unwilling, then it is entirely healthy to explore on your own with your own body. You can, for example, use your hands or sex toys to discover how you prefer to be touched and discover new ways to orgasm.

An orgasm (whether self-induced or with a partner), will provide you with a much-needed dose of dopamine without the use of porn.

4. Make use of adult content filters on your web browser.

Software companies have been attempting to battle the convenience of internet browsing in order to enable consumers to filter stuff they don't feel comfortable having access to for whatever reason. 

Porn filters are an example of such software. This software will prevent known porn sites from loading onto your computer, creating a physical barrier that you cannot breach when searching for them. Because, as much as you may wish to believe that you are strong enough to always avoid it, no one's will is that strong.

You can also make sure you turn on 'Safe Search on google searches.

5. Make use of focus-aiding browser extensions

Web browsers like Chrome and Firefox have created App Stores that allow any developer to build out solutions to their individualized problems. These apps are called browser extensions and there are currently over 300,000 such browser extensions on the Chrome Web Store.

The Chrome Web Store for example features a host of time-wasting prevention and focus-aiding Chrome extensions that are designed to keep you on task and prevent you from trailing off or visiting certain types of websites. These are extensions that help you avoid distractions and enable you to focus on your real work. Some even limit the amount of time you can spend on certain types of websites each day or week like the extension - Just Focus.

Applying these "watcher" apps to prevent or at least limit your time spent on porn sites is a good way to start reducing your porn-watching time.

6. Identify your triggers and stay away from them

A few years ago, an intriguing research was conducted on smokers and their triggers. The indoor smoking ban in the United Kingdom went into force in 2007, however as expected, this did not diminish smokers' cravings.

It was discovered that smokers who had previously smoked in pubs with a drink in their hand sought cigarettes if they were placed in the same situation again. As a result, people who wished to quit smoking found it simpler to avoid this predicament.

The same is true with porn. It is worthwhile to seek out a location or situation that causes you to open your laptop and search for porn. Once identified, try your best to avoid those locations or situations. For example, if watching sexualized dances on Tiktok is your trigger, immediately scroll away from any video you come across that features that type of content.

7. Change the habit

We can't always ignore our triggers because they're a part of our daily lives. Maybe you just need something to do instead of viewing porn.

That is why it is a good idea to substitute something else for your porn habit. It could be exercise, going for a walk, or playing video games - whatever makes you happy and is simple to do.

And the good news is that, according to Charles Duhigg's book 'The Power of Habit,' it is much easier to replace a habit than it is to remove or create a new one.

8. Participate in a support group or seek porn addiction treatment.

You are not required to accomplish this alone. You may feel alone, if not humiliated, that your porn-watching habits have disrupted your life. However, you are not the first person to struggle with addiction, and you will not be the last. Addiction is usually the result of unhelpful coping mechanisms, not bad intentions.

By joining a support group or seeking porn addiction counseling, you will meet other people who are in a similar situation to you and can offer you support.

Porn addiction therapy may be the best option in more severe cases.

Check out Eli Nash's TedX talk about overcoming porn addiction:

Conclusion

When fighting porn addiction, overcoming the frequent urges to watch porn is a difficult and hard struggle. Some days will be more difficult than others, therefore it is critical to be kind with yourself.

One blunder does not equal failure; forgive yourself and go on. If you believe you are unable to do the task on your own, please seek expert assistance.

And remember that by reading this post and attempting to quit your habit, you've already taken a bold first step, so applaud yourself.

You are more capable than you realize, so take it one step at a time and allow yourself to make mistakes along the way. Slowly but steadily, you will see improvements and regain control.

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