Looking at porn is a quick, easy way to get a big dopamine hit that tricks our brains into thinking it accomplished something important to our survival.
Often times, when guys want to learn to stop looking at porn, they want to take this same approach.
Where's the magic pill that makes my desire for porn go away?
If I had it, I would have taken it years ago. And I'd be selling it for millions of dollars right now.
But if we use the same quick/easy approach in our efforts to quit porn, we'll just keep turning to porn.
To quit porn, you need to learn to play the long game. You need to be willing to let it get harder before it gets easier.
You need to be willing to:
Let's talk about both of these.
First of all, let's appreciate that part of your brain is designed to shy away from discomfort.
Also, many of us have learned to avoid negative emotions. We’ve even been taught this at times.
Before we start...
So you want to stop looking at porn but you don't know how.
Let's go over what we're going for here.
I like to think of this as a skill you just haven't learned yet.
It's like shooting a jump shot in basketball. If someone just threw you on the court without any guidance, you'd be running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Even if you've seen someone shoot before, you're not just going to dive in and have the proper form right away.
If you've done it for years without proper form, you might have some habits that interfere with that pure shooting form you're going for.
All of the most skilled basketball players have had lots of one on one coaching from someone with experience.
Someone who can notice things more easily about their form and point it out. Providing a new level of awareness that allows the athlete to tweak...
What and how we anticipate matters.
The wanting-centers of the brain are much bigger than the liking-centers.
With something like porn, which is a man-made, concentrated version of sex, here's how it works. With repeated exposure, we want porn more and more and we enjoy it less and less. Increased cravings, decreased enjoyment.
So the anticipation of an experience can create more intense sensations than the actual experiencing of it.
I believe it works in the opposite direction too. Example: you can anticipate publicly speaking in the worst way, and then you get up there and the experience isn't that bad.
Pre-traumatic stress is the way humans can traumatize themselves with anticipation of an upcoming event, real or imagined.
If anticipating failing in the future to stick to your porn goals feels worse than the actual failing, you can see...
Being more excited about the future than the past used to come so much more naturally, right?
When the future is no longer exciting, let's be honest - it's a bummer!
All you need to do is learn how to create this mindset intentionally for yourself.
Start today by reading these steps.
It’s 50/50 here and 50/50 there. Tell yourself:
I am meant to experience negative/uncomfortable emotions half the time and positive/comfortable emotions half the time.
You are already 100% worthy. Stop spending time trying to prove your worth.
Start making your decisions as though you are already 100% worthy as a human.
Always have been. Always will be.
If you don't take care of yourself now, this signals to yourself that it will be like this in the future.
Many of you read these posts for different reasons.
What is your reason? Why are you here reading this?
I know a lot of people look at these posts.
But I want to know about you. As an individual.
Really I do.
I want you guys to blow up my inbox.
Don't worry. It's just between you and me.
I get it. And I've got you.
My email address: [email protected]
What do you use most to motivate your productivity?
Is it guilt?
Is it "being behind"?
Is it not-enoughness?
Is it trying to prove your worth? (meaning, you don't let yourself feel worthy now).
For me, it's often the carrot on a stick thing. Continual dissatisfaction.
So I create dissatisfaction in my mind, then I try to get away from it by being productive.
These things work and they don't.
They help us get things done to a certain extent. That's why we do them.
But they might accidentally be making you more susceptible to porn. Even creating an incentive for you to look at porn.
Not to mention, they can really zap the fun out of just about anything.
What if there's something better?
What if you could feel better AND get more done in less time?
What if you could enjoy the process more?
What if you could make yourself that much less susceptible to porn?
Want to try something new?
Guys come to me all the time worried that they aren't progressing:
If you are here reading this, progress is probably important to you.
Most of us know how to choose a specific, measurable goal at this point.
Example Goal: Learn to not look at porn for (X amount of time).
If you feel like part of you wants this goal and part of you doesn't, that means your brain is working perfectly.
Even if there is only part of you that wants this goal, it is still coming from you.
It's one thing to have a goal. It's another to have a system.
A system is the process you are using to reach that goal.
Choose one that can get you incremental changes over time.
A coach I like...
Careful, you might have a bit of a brain-gasm with this one. (I heard that term recently, it made me laugh).
When thinking about your goal to stop looking at porn, do you find yourself thinking:
"This might not be possible."
I've thought it at so many points along the way.
I'm guessing you've practiced this one a lot yourself.
So I tell guys it's possible and even show them testimonials of how this process works. Then they say:
"That works for other people, but not for me."
I hear this one from almost every guy that comes to me for help. Does that tell you something?
Did you think you were the only one that things didn't work for? I don't know if you'll be disappointed or relieved to hear this, but you're not.
Because there are loads of people walking around saying the exact same thing to themselves.
I used to be one of them.
What I didn't know at first is that this kind of belief is optional.
Sex is like eating.
There's a way to do it that contributes to your survival and the survival of the human race.
It is pleasurable.
You can do it in a way to just "get the job done". (ie, eating for fuel, or trying for a baby).
You can do it in ways where pleasure is the end goal.
You can get the job done AND experience pleasure at the same time.
Pleasure (dopamine) is meant to motivate us to, at the very least, survive and reproduce.
You can also do sex or eating in ways that are poisonous to your body and brain. In ways that do not contribute to survival. (ie, overeating sugar, porn).
Pleasure also accompanies some poisonous approaches to sex and eating.
Although I don't believe in fear tactics or trying to shame people in to changing, I do believe porn is poisonous to my brain.
And, yes, there is more and more research coming out about this. (Check out the website, Your Brain On Porn, for more information on this)
Feelings (emotions) drive your actions more than you know.
Guilt is a feeling.
In our brains, guilt does not come from the action of looking at porn.
First: you look at porn.
Second: you have a thought like "I did something wrong".
Third: you feel guilty
Some people believe they are "supposed to" feel guilty if they look at porn. I used to be one of them.
I used to be worried that if I don't feel guilty about looking at porn, then it will become a free-for-all and I'll go on a porn-spree, binging and throwing caution to the wind.
This simply is not true.
I used to believe that it will go over better with my wife if I feel guilty in our conversations about it.
Even if this is true in some relationships (some partners look for this/expect it), it doesn't mean it is helpful in attaining your goals.
I thought feeling guilty for not keeping commitments to myself would help.
While the pain of guilt helped me want a change, it didn't help...