Fighting porn addiction tips and help.Epidemics are everywhere according to the news. Why would a boudoir photographer talk about the porn addiction epidemic then? Some people think it is counter intuitive to my business, but frankly, boudoir and porn are not the same thing. I am going to shy away from the religious discussion here, and try to focus more on what secular science says.

Porn Addiction Epidemic??

According to United Families International, about 12% of the internet is porn. Just a little over 1 in 10 sites is a lot of sites considering how many different websites are in existence. About 40 million American’s are frequent viewers. What is most scary is average age of first seeing porn being 11. Most boys are barely entering puberty at that age. Women aren’t immune though. With about 1 in 3 visitors to porn sites being women.

Addiction

Addiction is defined as a compulsory engagement in a rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.1

Usually the consequences to such activity are irrelevant to the addict. There are a couple things to pay close attention to here. First, the action is considered compulsory. If the person could just stop, they would. Much like our drive to eat or sleep, we don’t really have a choice. Second, it is usually based on some external thing or object. We don’t really hear about imagination addiction. Lastly, an addiction tends to have negative consequences. Eating, most of the time, is healthy. Similarly, so is sleeping. But a person can sleep or eat too much.

Pornography

What makes something pornographic? Wikipedia does a great job of defining this in its opening paragraph on the subject: “Pornography… is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal.”2

We again have some important things to note here. Firstly, pornography is objectifying. Yeah, I know everyone throws that term around these days as we talk about micro aggressions and such. Objectification happens when we no longer treat a person as a human being with feelings, thoughts, desires, and value, but rather as a thing, an object.

Masturbation

Some people say masturbation is “healthy.” I know this totally offends the puritanical and fundamentalist Christians, but it may be healthy. This article isn’t about masturbation though. The problem isn’t the masturbation (at least from a biological standpoint), but rather the visuals associated with pornography. It appears that frequent porn use and porn addiction can lead to erectile dysfunction (the dread of every man).3

What can someone do about porn addiction?

Fighting Pornography Compulsion

Several things can help an individual overcome pornography.

  • Know Your Triggers
  • Develop Good Habits
  • Get Accountability
  • Become a Stoic
  • Exercise

Know Your Triggers

Habits are actions we take without thinking; like me turning off the bathroom light while my wife is still using it. Those habits can be good or bad. Understanding what triggers a habit can go a long way towards helping you break one and get a new one. Here are a few things that might trigger a pornography habit.

  • A spousal/partner argument.
  • Lack of sexual activity for a period of time.
  • A set time of the day when one is “alone.”

Develop Good Habits

Good habits are hard to come by. Charles Duhigg wrote the book on habit formation: The Power of Habit. On his site he lays out what he calls a neurological loop: Cue – Routine – Reward. If you look at pornography use, the cue is some factor like those I listed above. The routine is, well, the act of viewing/surfing porn. The reward is the release. I probably didn’t need to break that down for some of you, but just to make it clear.

Duhigg points to several types of cues.

  • Location
  • Time
  • Emotional State
  • Immediately Preceding Action

Looking at all of these aspects as influences on engaging in porn viewing can help one to see what leads to the behavior. By replacing the cue with something else, the behavior can be changed. This is also why it is so hard to break habits. We don’t pay attention to the repetitions we engage in an activity before we realize we have a bad habit. If you can change all of these cues and replace them with something different, you are well on your way to beating the problem.

Get Accountability

It should go without saying that accountability helps. I personally think that porn addiction is a little more difficult to conquer because of its solitary nature. Most people don’t talk about their sex lives with anyone. There aren’t typically visible signs or behaviors for others to see like with alcohol or drug addiction. And our culture, especially men, feel really insecure about their sexuality. Years of teasing in the locker room makes men act tough even though they are fragile.

Become a Stoic

The Stoic mindset is making a comeback in recent years. The Art of Manliness does a great podcast Introduction to Stoicism. To sum up the Stoic ideals in less than a sentence:

Purposefully make yourself uncomfortable.

I am not talking about beating yourself with a whip every time you look at porn (you might actually like that). No. I am talking about putting your body in uncomfortable situations that are not life threatening or physically harmful. For example, instead of taking a hot shower, turn the water over to the cold and see how long you can stand there before you can’t take it anymore. If you normally run a mile, push to run one and a half. Don’t turn the AC down so much in the summer. Wear a little lighter clothing in the winter. Try intermittent fasting.

It’s about the act of subjecting your body to your will. If you learn you can push yourself past certain physical limits you thought you had, it will be easier to control the urges of compulsory masturbation.

Exercise

This comes directly from the above idea. Pushing yourself physically when you exercise will help you gain mastery over your body. If you feel like you can’t make that last rep, do it anyway. Too tired to run that extra hundred yards? Do it. The more you push yourself when you feel like to can’t go any further, the more you will be able to go further.

After listening to several Navy Special Weapons Operators speak about SEAL training, they all say it is mostly mental. Yes, some men can’t do it physically. Most men who can’t, don’t even go there. The big thing that separates them is the mental aspect. Learning to conquer the mental hurdle is what allowed Marcus Luttrell, the Lone Survivor, to crawl seven miles to safety. We don’t think we can do something until we try and are tested. And when we test ourselves in other ways, we learn we can do more than we thought we could.

I hope these tips help you or someone in your life. If you are reading this, talk it over with someone you love to see. They may have an addiction you don’t even know about.

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