How To Quit Pornography

 

I’ve written briefly before about how I quit pornography a few years back. Several people have asked me to write more on the topic, so here it is. Obviously this post will be more for men, but ladies are also welcome to read and respond.

Porn and me

Real quick, we’ll start with my story.

I used to be addicted to pornography. By that I mean I couldn’t stop consuming the stuff. Starting in my mid-teens, it wasn’t unusual for me to spend an hour or two at a time (sometimes longer) sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen, clicking from one pornographic image to another, on a relentless search for the perfect scene to help get myself off.

At one point I’m sure I must have had several gigs of hardcore porn downloaded to my computer.

I was always ashamed of this behavior. I wanted to stop but I never could. Even when I started having girlfriends in my twenties, I’d sneak a peek at some porn pretty regularly.

About four years ago I began working hard on my self-discipline and willpower. I decided a good challenge would be to try abstain from porn for forty consecutive days. I managed to do it, and felt so good about myself that I decided not to watch porn ever again.

It’s been more than four years now and I’ve managed to stay true to that decision.

Why quit?

Since you’re reading this there’s a good chance you watch porn yourself and would like to quit, so I probably don’t need to tell you why quitting is a good idea. You probably feel a lot like I did: ashamed of your porn addiction, knowing that your life would be better without it.

But just in case you’re on the fence, take a look at this TEDx Talk by Gary Wilson (16.5 minutes)…

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Relevant points from Wilson’s talk:

  • Of all activities on the Internet, porn has the most potential to become addictive.
  • The brains of heavy porn users actually become rewired (“structural brain changes”).
  • Porn users are less likely to develop social skills, as they spend more time alone.
  • Porn users have higher cravings for novelty, shock and surprise.
  • Porn users experience a numbed pleasure response and willpower erosion.
  • “Internet porn is killing young men’s sexual performance.”
  • Men who manage to quit porn report recovery from depression, erectile dysfunction and chronic procrastination.

For me personally, quitting porn led to a boost in social confidence and self-esteem, improved imagination, better and more frequent sex, more intense orgasms, a lot more free time on my hands, and a healthier view of women. Of all the things I’ve tried over the years to enhance my life, quitting porn is easily one of the best. I’m actually struggling here to think of another change that has had such a profound impact.

Okay, so that’s the why. Lots of compelling reasons to quit porn, especially if you find yourself addicted. Probably no big deal if you only watch infrequently.

Now let’s move on to the how

How to quit pornography

Let me start by saying that there is no magical one way that will work for everyone. Just like there’s no one diet that’s perfect for everyone, or one work situation, or one exercise routine. As such, I’m going to throw out a bunch of ideas here. Some have worked for me personally. Others I’ve only read about but sound pretty smart. Feel free to add any additional tips that have worked for you via the comments.

1. Meditation

I’m listing meditation first for the simple reason that it’s one of the best known ways to increase willpower, and quitting porn certainly requires a hefty dose of that. So don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that you go sit on the floor and meditate the urge away whenever you feel horny for some pink pixel action.

Most people don’t have a good understanding of meditation. You may believe that the whole purpose is to sit still and to try calm your mind, and then you find yourself getting frustrated when your unruly mind keeps wandering. But the key part of meditation is actually that very practice of noticing your mind wandering, regaining your composure, and refocusing your attention on your breath. Doing this over and over again strengthens your willpower. Or, as Kelly McGonigal refers to it in The Willpower Instinct, your won’t power. That is, your ability to say no to destructive urges.

I never personally used meditation to help quit pornography, but I do meditate frequently now (usually just five minutes a day), and I can attest that it does help strengthen willpower as described above.

Try it. Certainly can’t hurt.

2. 30-day trial

This is what worked for me, although I extended the trial to forty days before I decided to stop counting.

A 30-day trial is basically a promise to yourself that you’ll take up a new habit or quit an old one for thirty consecutive days. You then do your very best to keep that promise.

This works better if you remind yourself regularly that you’re allowed to relapse after the trial. So in the case of quitting pornography, you can stay disciplined throughout the trial by reminding yourself that, come day 31, you’re allowed to revel in 24 consecutive hours of filthy Internet porn. This is a bit of self-trickery because, most likely, if you make it to the end of the trial, your cravings will have whittled away significantly and you’ll no longer feel such a strong urge to indulge.

Knowing that there’s a finish line is a strong motivator to continue. One day at a time and you know you’ll get there.

3. Cheat day

Stealing this idea from my current experiments with the Paleo diet. I felt it would be too difficult to go 100% Paleo right from the start. I knew if I tried that I’d likely end up quitting and reverting full-time to a not-so-healthy diet littered with peanut butter and Kit Kat Chunkys. So I allow myself a cheat day, one 24-hour period each week where I can eat whatever the hell I want.

The way I figure it, it’s better to eat Paleo six out of seven days than to half-ass it every day of the week. I find that I usually start craving junk food on about day five each week, but it’s easy to resist the cravings because I know I just have to hold out one more day before I can eat whatever I want again.

I think the cheat day concept would also work well for quitting porn. If you’re having trouble getting through a 30-day trial, try instead to abstain from pornography six days a week, allowing yourself one day to go nuts and indulge. After you get the hang of that, see if you can stretch it out to one cheat day every two weeks. Keep extending until you’re only masturbating in front of a screen every February 29th :-P

If you’re having a really tough time making it six days without porn, start even easier. Try to abstain on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then only allow yourself to indulge three times a week, then only twice.

You don’t have to fix this thing overnight. Just keep chipping away at it and making steady progress.

4. Delete your stash

To use another diet analogy, it’s much easier to avoid eating the wrong foods if your fridge isn’t stocked with them. Similar deal with porn. If you have a few gigs of the stuff sitting on your hard drive, it’s too easy to succumb to the temptation.

If you’ve got a stash on your computer, take a few minutes now to go and delete it.

Seriously!

Go do it!

Empty it from trash as well so it’s really gone forever.

Now granted, there’s always more where that came from. Nothing stopping you from going online tomorrow and downloading a bunch of fresh stuff. But the extra step now required to get that porn fix is another reminder of what you’re trying to do here, an additional reminder that you’re aiming to give it up. It’s one more checkpoint where you can pause and hopefully reconsider giving into that urge.

The more of these kinds of checkpoints you can set up for yourself, the better. You can rig your browser to prevent you from looking up adult websites. Easy to unrig it, sure, but it’s another checkpoint. Or how about moving your computer out of the bedroom so you’re less likely to be alone in front of that screen? Yeah, you can always move it back, but it’s yet another checkpoint and thus another opportunity to exercise your willpower when temptation takes hold.

5. Accountability

For some people, it really helps to have accountability. That is, you want to make your goal of quitting porn somewhat public. You can confide in a friend if you feel comfortable with that, or else you can post about what you’re trying to do anonymously on an Internet forum, such as the NoFap forum on reddit. Having to check in with other people often provides that extra bit of motivation you might need to keep your promise.

Along these same lines, it might help to make a bet with someone. Tell a friend that you’ll pay him $100 if you crack and look at pornography at any time during the next month. Make the consequence a bit painful. We humans are loss averse, usually motivated more by the fear of losing than gaining. Use that knowledge to your advantage and set yourself up for success.

6. Keep masturbating

If you checked out that reddit forum I mentioned you might have noticed that they advocate quitting pornography and masturbation. Unless you have an active sex life, I don’t advocate quitting masturbation. I once went forty days without orgasm and it was torture. I felt really stressed and desperate for female attention. It’s kind of like the concept of jerking off before a big date. You do that so you’re not preoccupied with thoughts of sex while on the date, so you can relax more, be yourself, and look beyond the girl’s boobs.

For me at least, masturbation is beneficial as it takes the edge off and helps me focus on other things. Quitting porn is hard enough without also trying to deny yourself a good fiddle every now and then. If you really do feel bad about jerking off and would like to quit that too, at the very least wait until you’ve killed your porn addiction first. One thing at a time.

Now, you might be wondering how to masturbate without pornography. Well this is where your old friend imagination comes in. And seriously, for me this was one of the biggest benefits of quitting porn. What your mind can imagine is much sexier than anything you’ll see on a computer screen, especially with practice. I found my fantasies growing more vivid, more real, more arousing. Accordingly, I started having much stronger orgasms via images in my head than I ever had via images on a screen.

So when you need that release, go lie down some place private and comfortable, close your eyes, and see what kind of sexual adventures you can conjure up in your mind. You can even light a candle beforehand and turn it into a real romantic wank :-P

One more tip here is to just give yourself a quick seeing to when you feel that urge. Go some place private and pump one out, then get back to doing whatever. Pornography loses much of its appeal right after you orgasm.

7. Learn pickup

It you were having frequent, hot sex with beautiful women, do you think you’d be jerking off to porn quite so much?

Didn’t think so.

I’ll be honest with you: If you’re not very good with women, quitting porn is going to be tough. Doable, but tough. Essentially what you’ll be doing is strengthening your willpower to compensate for your lack of social skills. It’s much smarter to also be leveling up your social skills and thus increasing your chances of having sex with real women.

Now believe me when I say that it’s definitely possible to improve in this area. Take it from a one-time 22-year-old virgin who once went a whole year living in the United States without getting laid despite having an Irish accent!

Things are very different now. I’ve worked hard and pushed through a lot of fear and discomfort (like that time in Amsterdam) to get to the point where I can actually set eyes on a stunningly beautiful woman and have a decent chance of dating her.

Pickup is a huge topic in itself and I won’t get much into it here. I will say that you need to be careful about your intentions. Come at it from a personal development perspective. You’re trying to become a better, more attractive version of yourself, not figure out how to trick women into sleeping with you.

If you want to learn more, I recommend you start with this lengthy talk by DJ Fuji. Not an easy journey, but definitely worth your time and effort.

8. Handle relapses

I lied a little before.

I have managed to steer clear of hardcore pornography ever since I first quit it four years ago, but in the meantime I have had a handful of slight relapses to the softcore. Sexy YouTube videos and the like. And I don’t just mean watching them, but… you know. I’m proud though that I haven’t let those minor relapses lead me back down the slippery slope and once again become a full-blown porn addict.

And I think this is key, because you’ll likely have some relapses yourself, some slight, some serious. It’s wise to be prepared for such and not let them derail you completely. There is a tendency to just say “fuck it” after a relapse and give up trying to quit, telling yourself that you’re powerless to change.

Bullshit.

Everybody falls. You just have to keep picking yourself up.

It gets easier, trust me.

The biggest thing with a relapse is to not beat yourself up about it and let the situation snowball. My tendency in the past (I’d tried quitting porn multiple times before) was to get really down on myself after a relapse. This only makes things worse, because the shittier you feel about yourself, the harder it is to exercise your willpower. You’ll find yourself thinking things like, “I’m a loser anyway, might as well just go look up some more porn and spend the whole afternoon jerking off.”

Instead of falling into that trap, fully embrace each relapse. FUCKING OWN THAT RELAPSE! Do it like you mean it!

And then when it’s over, it’s over. Don’t feel bad about what just happened, don’t dwell on it. You get up and you try again.

See, the last thing you need after a relapse is a critic. What you really need is a friend. So instead of being your own biggest critic, try being your own best friend.

9. More tips on how to quit

Above are all the major points I want to mention, but there’s lots of other good advice out there that may work well for you. It’s best to try a few different things and see what proves most effective. What works for me might not work for you, and what works for you might not work for Philip.

Who’s Philip?

No idea. I just picked a name.

Anyways, here’s where I link you off to a bunch of “porn addiction recovery tips” hosted on a site created by that same Gary Wilson chap I introduced you to earlier. Just click on over to that page and keep hitting refresh for plenty of advice and inspiration.

Here’s one such smart tip from that link:

I’ve noticed that really helps me is exercise. Whenever I get the urge now (well, most times), I’ll either go to the gym or put on my shoes and try to beat my 5-mile best run time. That pretty much always kills the urge, usually for the rest of the day. I think one of the keys to beating this addiction, or any for that matter, is to replace the destructive habit with a healthy and productive one.

Comments welcome

I wrote this post because I know a lot of guys struggle with quitting porn.

I get it. I’ve been there.

If you find yourself in that struggle now and need some support, you might find it helpful to share in the comments below (you can do so anonymously).

Also, any guys out there who’ve managed to get a handle on this and have some additional tips to share, I’d love to hear from you.

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    41 Comments

    1. Niall,

      I love that you take the problem of pornography head on, even if I don’t necessarily agree completely with all of your methodology. What I appreciate about it most, however, is that you don’t mince words about it.

      There were a couple things I thought of to post in the comments that might help readers as well, and you may have heard of some of the things (or people) I’m talking about.

      The first is a software called Covenant Eyes (http://www.covenanteyes.com/) that doesn’t put a block on any websites at all, but rather has you enter accountability partners into the software itself so they’re notified when you visit a porn site. It even has a setting that will shut your Internet off entirely if you feel that you absolutely cannot overcome a temptation!

      Also, there’s an Australian speaker named Matt Fradd who has a GREAT personal testimony of having overcome a porn addiction himself who gives outstanding talks on the subject — his video and audio tapes are fairly affordable and are also great references, but if you’d prefer not to spend money he can be found on YouTube. (http://mattfradd.com/resources/)

      Thanks again, Niall. This is a problem that affects FAR too many men (and women), and I appreciate your courage in addressing it.

      Best,
      Matt

      • Hey Matt,

        Great comment, thanks for sharing those resources. Really love the sound of that software.

        Just checked out some of Matt Fradd’s stuff as well. Is he also against masturbation? That was the impression I got, in line with his Catholicism, but I couldn’t find any specific condemnation of masturbation on his site.

        Thanks again!

        • Niall,

          As far as I can tell, he lumps them all in together, for lack of a better description. I’m pretty sure in some of his hourlong talks he mentions it, but I know that by virtue of Catholic teaching he’s against it.

          Does that answer your question?

          Best,
          Matt

    2. Very thought provoking post as usual Niall, once again I find your openness quite refreshing. As a side note I’ve seen videos of you in the snow, in the hot noon day sun and during or right after exercise and I believe that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you sweat :)

      I’ve never considered pornography as something to be shameful of, my family growing up had a fairly liberal attitude towards it, and I’ve had girlfriends that have enjoyed it as much as if not more than I did myself and while I certainly was a regular ‘user’ I had never considered that I was addicted to it in anyway.

      But after watching the TEDx talk you linked (on facebook last week) I had to pause and rethink, after being able to relate a little more than I liked to the potential drawbacks mentioned. So I decided to start my own trial on the 19th when I saw the video. In 4 days I relapsed once after ‘discovering’ old files so have decided after reading this post to get rid (neatly handling point 4):P

      Accountability I think is handled by this post, and point 6 isn’t going to be a problem :) but I do have a quibble about Point 7:

      You seem to be suggesting that guys could easily give up a porn addition if they were able to replace it with actual sex with real women presumably with multiple partners. Well hell yeah we would :) but isn’t that just replacing on screen porn with a live action replacement, or worse replacing a porn addiction with sex addiction? Not a good way to go imho.

      We agree on becoming a better, more attractive version of yourself but becoming better at picking up women isn’t necessarily the best way to do that. It doesn’t hurt to develop your confidence in that area of course but to highlight the corollary, when I once found myself drifting from one bad relationship to another, becoming a better version of myself involved an extended period of celibacy to break a bad cycle.

      Thanks for highlighting this though, its certainly made me look at myself and I’ve seen a lot of room for improvement. Heading off now to check out DJ Fuji and Gary Wilson now, as if i didn’t have enough on my reading list already :)

      Thanks again for this I’m enjoying the opportunity to discuss topics you don’t normally hear discussed. Keep pushing the boundaries.

      • Thanks, Richard. Glad this resonated with you.

        You make a good point about learning pickup. For some men yes, it could just be a matter of replacing a porn addiction with a sex addiction, which isn’t exactly progress. For most guys though (and I include my younger self in this group), pornography is used as an easy but ultimately destructive alternative to going out and finding real, mature and fulfilling sexual relationships.

        And a great point that sometimes the way forward is to take a break from relationships altogether. Lots of different paths. I have a bias for pickup since it has helped me a lot in my relationships.

    3. Yeah, you cover it when you say that what can work for one may not work for another.

      I do like your approach of trial experimentation for a while, see if it works and if it does stick with it and if not try something else. Think it applies equally to this too.

    4. Hey Niall,

      Thanks for writing this post. It’s a message that needs to get out, and not many guys would be up to covering the topic, so you’re doing many guys a sexual favor. Imagine that.

      I really appreciate your inclusion of the TED talk, as I find scientific explanations to be the most stimulating, in my opinion.

      I just bought a new MacBook a month ago and I vowed to keep it clean, despite all the pros it has to watching internet porn that Chappelle mentions.

      Moving to a new country helps, as it has shaken up my routine. But reading this post convinced me I want to quit completely. I’m sure this will lead to a happy ending. So thanks again!

      Cheers mate!

    5. Love the post and video, Niall.

      I remember when we talked about this when we first met in Chiang Mai (oh how long ago that seems). Since then I’ve quit and relapsed several times.

      I don’t really have any added tips, since I haven’t permanently shaken the habit yet.

      However, I can throw out some benefits. I’ve since quit again, and I hope to make it a permanent move.

      Here’s the benefits I’ve noticed. It didn’t take months, these were within the first few days:

      – Harder. Nuff said.

      – More mentally focused in bed. I’ll admit it, my mind would wander whilst mid thrust. I blame the ADD tendencies developed by constantly navigating/skipping around in videos.

      – As a combination of both, overall better in bed. Orgasms were more intense and the whole romp was more fun – on both sides.

      – My solo ventures are more enjoyable.

      I’m fully committed to quitting once and for all. I want to see what the long term benefits are.

      Thanks for the post.

    6. The whole mentality of sex being shameful in the first place is faulty, IMO. Pornography is slightly different. If a person is sitting for hours on end watching porn, it’s a waste of valuable time. Watching TV for 12 hours a day is a waste as well.

      In the US I was either in a relationship or dating frequently and thus, my needs were taken care of and porn was a rarity.

      When I first came to Thailand I had more sex than I ever dreamed of having. Perhaps it verged on an addiction but I just looked at it as having fun. Again, porn never really entered into the picture. If it did, or if I ever downloaded some, once I saw I had an expanding folder full of porn, I’d wipe the drive.

      Porn is like sex or living in Las Vegas. Sex is always available and so is gambling if you’re living in Vegas. If you’re having sex regularly, your physical needs should be met at least somewhat. Nothing wrong with a tug on your own once in a while. When you’re laying around (or sitting) for hours at a time doing nothing but watching porn and jerkin your Gherkin, maybe that’s the time to exercise, go shopping, or find an activity to replace the porn. Or ask a lady friend to come over.

      • Agreed. Nothing shameful about sex at all, and I don’t think watching the occasional porno is a problem, especially if you’re enjoying it with a partner.

        Thanks for the comment, Scott.

    7. I have never had any interest in pornography, however I have addictions with food, sugar and Coke and though some may laugh at how insignificant it seems, addiction is addiction and quitting is hard no matter what the vice. To me, anything that has a handle over your time and thoughts is an addiction that needs to be mastered.

      I love all of your tips and will apply them to my own personal journey for betterment. I am really going to work on the meditation piece. It’s not something I have really used at all. I am up for it though…can’t we all use a little quiet reflection? Your post just busted the myth for me that it needs to be hours long….I am going for the 1-3 minute gig to start.

      I have an analogy in regards to the paragraph about handling relapses. Someone once told me, ” if you are headed in one direction toward a specific destination on a ship and the ship gets off course, you don’t decide to go to a new destination…you course correct and continue with the original itinerary.”

      I don’t know, that has been really helpful for me and hopefully it can add some value to this post.

      Best wishes and thanks for always providing this United States, Utah-Mormon girl with though provoking insights and motivation for real change.

      Joanie

    8. Hey man, great write up! I did a 60-day challenge with B.Jenks some months back and it was a great experience.

      We both decided to pay each other $100 if we slipped up. If I remember correctly, he ended up paying me $200 and I paid him $300 (but 2 of the times were with no porn)… we were trying a no masturbation AND no porn challenge (which you’re right… is damn hard)

      Anyway, your post seriously got me considering the long-term benefits of stopping altogether (i’m back to masturbating with porn)… nice write up mate.

      Cheers!
      Matt

      • Cheers, Matt. Good job on the accountability! I think giving up masturbation temporarily can be interesting as a test of willpower, but long-term I don’t think it’s a good idea. That stuff is destined to come out of you one way or the other!

    9. Thank you, Niall. I, too love your direct way of taking on a difficult and embarassing topic. I notice I indulge a lot more when bored. I think your tip on working out instead is awesome. After indulging, I have no desire to work out, write code, or write articles which would be a MUCH better use of my time. I also use porn frequently as a means of procrastination; not a good way to get things done! I’m going to use some well-developed repetitive motion on the delete key right now!

    10. Wow! Niall I never knew guys struggled so much with this. In my view guys spending too much time with porn are LOSERS! Okay, so reading your post maybe they arent all losers but basically, yeah, you dont get a life sitting in front of the computer/ television (or meditating :) ) for hours on end. I agree with Niall in that the best “porn” goes on in our heads. And yes, often sex with a real person is not mind-blowing… but on the other hand it might be, it can be. And you will never know if you in front of your computer or comparing every woman to the images in the porn movies (and hey, we aren’t all bendy, athletic dolls like these gals). Some of the methods mentioned in this post can be used to quit other habits… and so worth reading even if we don’t get off on porn (or not very often ;) )

      • Thanks, Jackie. Good to have some female perspectives on here. Porn definitely does set unrealistic expectations for sex as well, leading men to believe that women should look or behave a certain way.

    11. Thank you for your lovely and interesting post, Niall. Although I’m not addicted to pornography I have different addictions I want to fight and your tips are just great. I’m a new reader to your blog and I love it. All the very best

    12. nice post. porn restrict on age basis, in school and other public area. this is essential part of life, and mostly movie industry earn money from viewer. so its difficult to completely remove from society.

    13. Niall,

      I would like to thank you for creating this website first off, because this is just what i needed after my huge relapse yesterday.

      I started pornography when i was about 14 years old, and it has escalated really badly over the years. I have slowly gone from normal genres of porn to hardcore genres and fantasy, and it has really made me feel gross about myself. I need to take things serious now, follow your tips and start working on myself.

      In the past with my previous girlfriend i have even experienced porn-induced ED and i had no idea how it was happening. Now i know that porn can really destroy your sex-life and it’s a shame, because there’s nothing more beautiful than sharing those moments with a person you love. I mean what’s romantic about sitting there looking at other people actually having sex on a computer screen.

      I know how nice it can feel to finally be rid of an addiction. So i’m going to try harder than ever, meditate LOTS and take your tips so i can change myself back to the person i once was before my porn addiction.

    14. I can’t thank you enough for this blog post. I relapsed just half an hour ago and was getting depressed. Its been three weeks since I watched porn or masturbated. And today, it wasn’t even porn of any sort. I saw the picture of a beautiful woman and, well… nothing at all compared to what I used to have. Since quitting, I’m noticing something that I’ve never really did before: honest engagement of any kind, be it online or in real life, with friends and my family. Even better, there’s this feeling that I do matter in one way or another. I panicked real bad when this little incident happened. Thank you so much for the honest, kind words.

    15. porn addiction has been a serious problem to me. I have depression issues, along with anxiety, lack of focusing, and social problems (communication and such..) especially with girls. now i’ve come to a point that this addiction can’t be a part of my life anymore, that I have to manage developping my willpower, and social skills, and your tips are really worth focusing on, and worth a try… thanks for sharing your experience, and i hope i can overcome this addiction…

    16. I’m 14 (almost 15)and I’ve been struggling with porn addiction for a couple of months now. Sounds like an exaggeration, I know, but the fact is that my urges are often so strong that I find myself looking at the images in the dead of night. It interferes with my sleep and subsequently my peace of mind. If I say “No!” to these urges, I can’t think about anything but giving in for the next day. The most days I’ve gone without porn since starting would be 10, but that is not the norm. I usually view the stuff between intervals of 3 or 4 days, if not less. Even when doing something I love, like playing music, the urge to look up porn nags at me. Nobody other than myself knows about this problem, and though I know it may help I am not open to sharing this with anyone I know. I keep a private journal dedicated to my feelings about this problem, and it does help, but not enough. At 14, I realize that my hormones and sexual urges are out of control, but I know that porn is not the answer and I want to stop it before I accumulate years of addiction that will be even harder to overcome. I know you’re not a doctor, but the information on this site was very helpful, and even if you can’t offer me any more help I am very grateful to you and the work you’ve done.
      P.S. I’m not religious, so I don’t believe porn or masturbation are sins, but I do believe that they are destructive habits which prevent me from living a full life and achieving the ambitious goals I have set for myself. Although masturbation is normal, the dependency I have on it is not. Also, I have always been awkward around other people and have never even gone out with a girl. Not sure if that helps, but hopefully it does.

    17. Hi Niall,

      Thanks for your post. It was quit an eye-opener for me.

      However, it caused me to wonder do these side stem only from hardcore pornography or can masturbating to softcore porn (like Victorias Secret catalogs) cause them as well?

      Thanks again!
      Upayan

      • Hey Jerry,

        I don’t think the softcore stuff has as many negative effects but I don’t think it’s ideal. You’ll probably still experience many of the downsides just not as severe.

    18. Thanks for your blog, I’m a young successful guy who’s been involved in personal development since high school and I’ve noticed that my addiction to porn has always inhibited me. It made me stay up late sometimes not even sleeping throughout the night and also made me take a few steps back in terms of self image regardless of how much I listen to motivational audiobooks or attend seminars.
      I’ve said to myself several times now since I started university that I’ll quit but kept ‘forgetting’. This is the time now and I will keep myself accountable, I actually do some of the things on the list already but I’ll be more consistent in them. If I do end up giving in every now and again, at least it will be an ‘event’ and not part of my lifestyle.

    19. I’ve been trying to quit porn for 2 years now. Its very hard and I’ve felt kinda worthless falling back into this bad pattern. I just wanna say thanks Niall this is encouraging to me i really needed this. I am going to do what u have done. Thanks again! :) -Nick

    20. I have been trying to not watch porn for about 6 months now. I never realized how difficult it would be for me to quit! I am going to try a 30 day abstinence after reading your post. Thanks and I’ll let you know how it goes. Fingers crossed. I really never want to watch porn ever again.

    21. It’s true, guys. I’m in my forties, and just had my life pulled out from under me because of porn. I’m going thru a painful divorce right now, partly because I’d rather masturbate to porn than have sex with my wife. I just didnt find her attractive anymore, and could barely become aroused anymore without pornography.

      We lost that closeness betweeen us forever, and looking back – i regret it every day. I became obsessed with porn, and like most addictions it cost me everything.

      first thing i thought was “yayy! now i can jack off all i want to whatever i want!” and alone here i sit, day after day, sapped of my will to do anything after work but spank my half-hard monkey to smut then fall asleep. Then go back to work the next day and repeat again.

      I used to be creative, i used to be a hiker, a gamer, a photoshop expert, a website designer – all things that my wife loved about me. All things that attracted her to me. All things that went by the wayside as my addiction took over, now all my games, movies, software etc lay in piles, most unopened. I spend sunny days indoors. I became somebody else, that person she didnt like very much anymore.

      I dont like me anymore, i’m a junkie just like any other. Even now, women pay me attention but i cant wait to run home and jack off. Is this my life?

      thanks for the inspiration, im going to try and go 30 days. No porn for 30 days, im doin it starting right now

    22. Hi Niall .Thanks for your video . I have been living in shame and immense depression for a long time about porn addiction . I seem to punish myself through social isolation. I’m 48 and haven’t had a girlfriend in 19 years. I promised myself a while back that I would never watch porn again , but week after week I sink into it – even for just an hour or so a couple of times a week .It used to be a lot longer – like 5 hours often . Some people may think ‘ what’s this guy worried about . Once or twice a week for such a relatively short time ? Doesn’t seem a major problem to me ‘ . It’s how I feel afterwards though – like a real loser . And also massively sad and ashamed knowing that I’m one of the millions who contribute to keeping this toxic industry going . It’s also how I feel about myself before I do it , because if I felt good about myself in the first place I wouldn’t do it . So it’s the cause AND the result of a very deep seated problem of low self worth etc … and around and around the cycle goes . I don’t quite know where I’m going with this except to share it on what I hope is a safe forum . Although I don’t have much of a social position to protect – self appointed or otherwise . All I know is I’ve had a gutfull of this . I really have . My confidence with women is totally shot and consequently they don’t give me the time of day . I ask them out for a date occasionally , knowing that I have nothing to lose . They always say no . And I’m actually a good looking man . Nothing more unattractive than a desperate male though. And I’m also very angry about what I’ve been reduced to and I need ( and want ) to change . This will end one way or another . I’ve had enough .I’m at the end of the road and have been for a long long time . So thanks for the suggestion on meditation . I’ll try it everyday and see what happens . Regards Pete .

    23. I have no idea who you are, but hopefully this works. I’m way too young for this (14) and I am not some creep who is perverted, I have a lot of friends and I do well in school, and I treat girls nicely, not the way most guys treat them. But that’s not the point. I have this problem and I’ve been doing it regularly like once a week, and now yesterday and earlier today. My name isn’t Dan, I’m covering up my identity. Is once a week way too much? So I think the best method for me is when I’m having the thoughts just lie down and think em out and, well, you know. When i’m on the computer screen just hit that x button.

      Thank you
      Dan

      PS. One question: Is it bad to masturbate too much? Like twice a week?

      • Masturbating twice a week isn’t bad. I wouldn’t even consider every day bad. I used to do it almost every day when I was 14. Why not? It’s your body and it feels good. You’re not hurting anyone. It only becomes bad if it gets in the way of you doing other things you need to do to be happy.

        As for porn once a week, I say give yourself a break on that, too. You’re 14 years old. It’s not really a problem unless it gets in the way of other things.

    24. Hi Niall,
      I’m a girl and i wanted to thank you for making this article. I’m struggling so much and your “OWN YOUR RELAPSE” thing was really great and i wanted to let you know this is helpful. I am a Christian so this hurts my relationship with God and I hate having to lie to my parents “I’m going to the bathroom, mom! Jeez!” ha ha well whoever reads this comment, know I’m praying for all of you and that i sincerely hope that you can overcome this with me. BTW try not to respond to this because i dont want anything to pop up on my emails when im checking them in front of parents, friends, etc.

    25. Thanks for the post Niall,

      I really want to quit pornography and masturbation, it consumes my time and traps me in a virtual world, it impairs and occupies my mind and thoughts, it makes me feel like a hypocrite and failure in front of my family, friends and virtually everywhere else, which i do not want to be, i do not think anyone knows about this except my sister which i told, but after the day i told her she has not said anything since, i think its because it is an embarrassing subject and also we do not have a good relationship . I first watched it at age 13 out of curiosity but my friends in secondary school (high sch) made it seem normal ( by discussing, encouraging, sharing it , and making joke of sex, porn and masturbation, which i was also a part of back then),
      I have changed from my old ways now, redefined my personality, discipline,determination and imagination ,it all started when i read Gifted hands by ben carson which got me thinking deeply about life especially my life and my purpose of living by working hard , being discipline, shutting off distraction i was able to move from the back of the class to the best in physics and maths during my A levels, i finished 3rd in chemistry, 1st in maths and physics in my whole school breaking a record in maths and physics all these within one year, but pornography and masturbation still remains a problem i struggle with. I want to do this the right way before i enter the university this year.

      I need the help of everybody on this site; i believe by being sincerely accountable i can overcome it , and i also believe that if you all do the same we all will achieve something great even though it depends mainly on self discipline and determination, but the idea that someone is looking out for you makes you feel stronger and not alone

    26. Finally, someone with a moderate view.

      I’m not trying to bash social conservatives, but unfortunately they’ve taken hold of the porn addiction argument. And the problem with that is that they’ve painted it in the broadest extremes. Like anyone who watches porn is automatically a misogynistic rapist wife beater (or worse); and the lifestyle comes down to either porn or leading a “normal” life with marriage.

      I think that’s why I never believed I had any kind of porn addiction, because I don’t fit any of the descriptions at all. I’m not some three hundred pound guy who can’t talk to women and watches porn five hours a day with 2 terabytes worth of material.

      I have a girlfriend (though the long distance relationship makes the temptation stronger) who can instantly turn me on better than any picture or video. I’ve never had any kind of sexual dysfunction and have quite an appetite (and prefers sex over porn). I can have a friendly conversation with a beautiful woman without mentally undressing her. And I’ve never crossed what I believe is the thin red line, mainly because the mere mention of any kind of sexual violence/non-consent completely disgusts and turns me off.

      So why do I want to quit?

      For a number of reasons. One because I’ve tried once to casually not watch porn for a month and failed. Which was the telling sign that I might be addicted.

      Two, like most people I started around 14 with underwear models/softcore and quickly moved up the porn food chain. As I get close to turning 27, I realize that I’ve spent half of my life looking at porn at least once a week.

      Three, is that yesterday I bought a non-subscription purchase for online porn. And that was something I’ve never done before and is the last straw for me.

      So I’m seriously about seeing what it’s like for the first time in over thirteen years to not watch porn for a year. If I watch it more than twice a month (allowing myself relapses), I’ll force myself to tell my friends and family about my addiction (which would be the most humiliating thing in the world for me).

      Sorry for the long comment, but thanks for finally giving some down-to-earth advice and tips.