I’ll hazard a guess that over 98% of the guys reading this will have masturbated to porn at some stage. A lot of guys will do it up to several times a day. What many don’t realise, is that this use of porn, causes a lot of problems when it comes to being with a real partner
The hard truth of watching high speed internet porn, is that it is an actual addiction. The brain releases Dopamine when you watch porn, which is the same ‘Reward circuit’ neurochemical released when you shoot up Heroin.
What effects is porn having on your sex life?
The BIG problem when it comes to porn use and addiction, is that it can have some major negative effects on your sex life with a partner. We are all hardwired for connection and attachment with a partner, and using porn is the exact opposite of this.
When we use the mental images of porn to get off on a regular basis, we get into a scenario where sex with a regular partner doesn’t have the same dopamine release and therefore, just doesn’t do it for us anymore.
Here are some of the problems associated with porn use:
• You have Erectile Dysfunction with a partner/weaker erections, but can get an erection with porn
• You have reduced motivation to date real women (not helped by the ED you suffer with)
• You take a really long time to come when you’re having sex
• Maybe you have to think of an image from porn to get off?
• You have less powerful orgasms with a partner than with porn
• You have reduced penile sensitivity/lack of feeling, due to excess pressure used in masturbation
• You would rather ‘knock one out’ in front of a screen, than take the time required to have sex with a partner
• You seem to escalate to harder porn every few weeks/months
• You have unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex. Most ‘Real’ women don’t have huge breast implants, obscene amounts of makeup, or initiate sex in crazy scenarios
How is real sex different to masturbating to porn?
Dopamine is also released when you have sex with a real partner, but Oxytocin (otherwise known as the bonding hormone, or cuddle hormone) is released too. Without Oxytocin, we could not feel like we are in love, or continue to be in love with a partner long term.
The release of Dopamine and Oxytocin together, makes us feel intimate with a partner; the more loving and connected the sex is, the more oxytocin is released, and the more likely it is that you will both want a repeat performance with the same partner.
The problem can come in a long term relationship, when the novelty wears off. This can be to do with lack of experimentation, or changing things up when it comes to your sex life, prompting the Coolidge Effect to kick in (The Coolidge Effect focuses on how we become more excited with new partners, due to the novelty of a new partner over a familiar one; it is covered in another blog post).
If you always go through the exact same routine of escalating to sex; the same foreplay, then the same sex position, etc. then both of you will get bored with sex and stop having it as frequently. This is how affairs happen, as either, or both of the partners craves some novelty/experiencing mind blowing sex again.
We are all just human after all and we have needs. (Note: as the guy, it’s UP TO YOU to provide that novelty and excitement every time you have sex. Get our eBook: Setting the Scene For An Amazing Sexual Relationship to cheat proof your relationship).
Things beginning to feel like they are routine can happen with addiction too; the neurochemical receptors become numbed, so each continued use of a drug, or the same type, or genre of internet porn, has less of an effect on us, leading us to escalate things; take more of a drug, or change the type of porn you are viewing.
How many guys reading this, for instance, used to like a certain type of porn, but then found, after a while, that it just didn’t ‘do it’ for them anymore? How many of you reading this, have escalated your taste in porn to harder, or more niche genres of porn, in order to feel the level of excitement you once experienced with your original preferred choice?
Before you know it, you’re maybe watching porn that doesn’t sit well with your morals; you love women and don’t want to see porn that is harder, possibly violent, or where you can see the woman isn’t actually enjoying it, but the progression of the addiction is making you feel unable to resist it, in order to feel the buzz you need.
So how do you stop porn addiction?
The great news, is that, if you quit porn for good, things will return to how they should be; you’ll be more responsive to regular partners, will be able to have normal erection responses, more sensitivity and more bonding during sex. The following steps will help to put you on the track to recovery.
1. Realise it’s not going to be easy
As with any addiction, quitting porn for good is not always as easy as it sounds. You may think you can just stop, or go cold turkey from porn and that it won’t have any effect on your life. This may even work for a few days, if you can manage to keep occupied and busy.
There will be times though, when quitting is difficult and you may reason with yourself, that ‘Just this once’ will be fine. The problem is, just this once won’t be fine. There is a healing process that you will need to go through, and you will need to rewire your brain, in order to react to the stimulation that a regular partner provides.
2. Go easy on yourself
The first step you need to take, is to acknowledge that you are human and that you WILL probably relapse at times. If you do relapse, treat yourself with kindness and cut out the negative self talk. As humans, we often falter when we are trying to do something, like following a diet, or being disciplined in a certain area.
When we do fail, it’s so tempting to just think ‘Fuck it’, reasoning that we have now failed, so we will just binge on food.
Porn is no different. If you falter, acknowledge that you are only human, but that continuing the behaviour you are trying to stop will be counterproductive the more you do it.
Think about it: Having a cheat meal when you are trying to lose weight is not so bad and may even stimulate your body to lose weight more afterwards, but have a day or two of binge eating and you will set back your progress. Porn is similar. If you have a setback, just try to use it to strengthen your resolve.
3. Create a new identity
If you make a conscious choice to change your identity to something new, then you will have much better results. If you can view jacking off to porn as an immature thing that you used to do, that never really made you feel fulfilled anyway, then you will be less likely to fall back into your old habit. It will enable you to focus on the better future goal of having an amazing sexual relationship with a woman.
Visualising the sexual relationship that you ultimately want, whilst realising that masturbating to porn is putting large obstacles in the way of your future happiness and fulfilment, can be a powerful way to make you stop doing it. Using meditation and visualisation techniques can aid in positive brain changes.
5. Take a break from masturbating
In order to begin to recover and re-program yourself for real sexual pleasure, you will need to take a complete break from masturbating. Some sources suggest a month or 2 and, really, the time it will take is dependent on just how bad the problem was. In the first instance, maybe give it 2 weeks and then gauge how much more responsive you are to normal stimuli.
6. Masturbate without porn
After a complete break, try masturbating without porn. Chances are, if you were using porn on a regular basis, you may have not even been able to get hard without viewing images or videos. Being able to get hard and stay hard without this is the first step in the healing process.
Being able to knock one out without needing imagery to get hard, will also act as a measure to your progress and will increase your confidence, as you see positive changes. See step 13: Keep a journal, to see how you can monitor progress effectively.
7. Relax your grip and take your time
A lot of guys jack off with such a death grip, that the stimulation from being inside a vagina, or a woman’s mouth, just doesn’t have the same effect. When you re-introduce masturbation, do so with a soft, relaxed grip and maybe even use some lube.
There’s a lot of urgency attached to masturbation and reaching orgasm fast, in order to get your fix of a dopamine release when it comes to porn addiction. This is having even more of a detrimental effect on your sex life, as hard and fast is just not the way great sex usually happens.
Sure, there is a place for it, but true connected, loving sex is slower, more passionate and more intimate as a result. So, as well as relaxing your grip, TAKE YOUR TIME. Focus on the sensations you are feeling, not just the end result.
8. Replace it with another habit
Getting over your addiction will work much better, if you introduce a new activity to replace the old, self defeating one. There doesn’t have to be any pressure, or goal attached to this. Sure, getting in shape, doing more exercise, or taking up a new hobby is a great idea, but try to make it much simpler, especially in the beginning.
Try something like: Every time I want to knock one out to porn, I’ll do 20 push ups/Pull ups/run on the spot for 2 minutes, etc. If you have a direct action to replace the old one with, then there will be no muddy water, leading to less excuses.
Picking exercise is a great idea, as it will elevate your heart rate, blood flow and will result in the release of neurochemicals and making you feel better in the process. It’s a win-win.
9. Talk to your partner about it
Whether you have a long term partner, or you are getting together with a new one, it will help your recovery if you are open with her about the problem you are facing. It will help, especially if you are experiencing some sexual dysfunction as a result of your addiction.
Will it be easy to bring the subject up? Probably not, but it is a necessary part of your recovery to have a girl on board with it, so neither of you feel any pressure around sex whilst you heal yourself.
10. Eliminate temptation
There’s one thing eliminating actual porn from your life, but you will have more success if you eliminate all temptation. If you follow people on Instagram, for example, who post pictures of how women all the time, then this is going to make you want to go and relapse.
Removing these pictures from your social media feeds, will also stop you being bombarded by unrealistic images of photoshopped ‘Perfect’ women and will also make you find ‘Normal’ women’s bodied more attractive.
11. Rewire your brain with a partner
The physical changes that have taken place in your brain are called neuroplasticity. It can take time for this to reverse, so you’re going to have to be patient.
Upon quitting porn, a lot of guys experience the dreaded ‘Flatline’, where libido and erections grind to a frustrating temporary full stop. This can take weeks in some cases to return and it can be tempting to return to your old ways, if only just to see if you’ve killed it, or if it is indeed still alive!
The best thing you can possibly do to rewire your brain, is to indulge in sex with a partner, but without any pressure, or goal orientation. Make an agreement about this and turn foreplay into coreplay; take a lot of time to enjoy each other’s bodies, without putting pressure on the act of penetrative sex.
You can give her orgasms and make sure she has a great time without it. Better still, the more you indulge in this relaxed play together and are open with her, the stronger your bond will be together and the more intimately connected you will feel.
Our eBook: Setting The Scene For An Amazing Sexual Relationship will help with this; it will enable you to take her to new heights of pleasure, without even getting near penetrative sex (but there are a lot of good tips for that too, for when you’re healed).
12. Take cold showers..but be careful
If all else fails to remove temptation, take cold showers. Cold showers can have an immediate effect to reduce momentary libido, whilst helping with self discipline, emotional resilience and a whole host of other health benefits.
If you have entered your email address and received our free eBook about increasing Testosterone, then you will already know what I mean about the be careful part; cold showers have been shown to increase testosterone, so be mindful when taking them, that they will begin to have an effect on your T levels, and may actually INCREASE your libido. As with all of the advice given, everyone is different, so keep a detailed journal and monitor your own individual progress.
13. Keep a Journal
It can be really difficult to remember where you started and this will lead you to second guess your progress. Keeping a detailed daily journal requires a lot of discipline, but it can really help with your recovery.
You can use it to track temptations, libido changes, periods of ‘flatline’, changes in penile sensitivity and arousal levels with ‘normal’ stimuli. It can also help to look back and see how much progress you’ve made, when you hit a block, or start to falter.
14. Tap into a support network
Finally, the best way you can succeed with getting over your addiction, is by having a wider support network, making you feel more accountable for your actions. There are various internet forums/communities around about recovering from porn addiction, which allow you to remain anonymous if you feel uncomfortable about disclosing your identity.
The largest information site we would recommend, is: http://www.yourbrainonporn.com where you will find a whole host of extra reading, scientific research and links to various communities.