6 Tips If You’re Having a Hard Time Giving Up Porn

Read these 6 tips that make quitting porn easier.
Many men are choosing to cut back on watching porn. Perhaps the research on how porn harms people and relationships has made them start thinking twice about what’s become a habit. Perhaps they have noticed the connections between porn and people losing their jobs, reasons cited for divorce, and the skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates in men under 40. Or perhaps they’re just trying to be intentional about the kind of content they consume and lower their carbon footprint for media that depicts men and women as unequal.

If you’re considering giving up porn, there are some things you should know to prepare for the day when you might want to kick the habit: for some, it is easier to decide in theory but harder to do in practice. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” as it were. Don’t worry; this is actually the normal response after a brain’s been exposed to certain content over and over. Whether you find you have developed a compulsive habit or a porn addiction, here are some steps to help you reach your goal of giving it up.

1. Understand you’re not alone

The first step toward kicking any habit is getting out of a shameful mentality. Watching porn is one of those things people don’t often talk about, and there can be a lot of shame wrapped up in it.

One step toward getting out of unproductive cycles is to realize you’re not alone in your decision to stop. Listen to actor Russell Brand discuss the challenge to quit porn, and follow actor Terry Crews’s journey of overcoming his porn addiction. Or, read singer Audrey Assad on her own porn addiction and how it is not just a men’s issue.

Hearing stories from others who have experienced what you are can be an empowering reminder that you’re not alone in the fight. It doesn’t hurt that they’re famous and successful people sharing these challenges, either.

If lingering shame feels hard to shake, consider listening to Brené Brown’s Men, Women, and Worthiness on audiobook, to increase your emotional fitness for the road ahead.

2. Install a good filter or accountability program

Along this journey, you’re going to need to gain some self-control in the face of sexualized images everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself some reprieve when you can. Download a filter or accountability program such as Covenant Eyes on every device you use — phone, tablet, laptop, work computer — and don’t forget to put some safety controls on your TV, as well.

These will help you avoid gateways to binge sessions, as well as find some space to focus on more important things. Like the next thing on the list.

3. Read up on what you’re up against

Grabbing some good reading material from the experts is wise as you start the journey, if you want to minimize the time spent spinning your wheels. Researcher Dr. Patrick Carnes leads the way with his book Facing the Shadow, which is designed to help men overcome compulsive sexual behavior such as frequent porn use.

Another book that covers the big picture as well as day-to-day helpful tips is The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography by Larry Maltz and Wendy Maltz. Fight the New Drug created resources for men and women including Fortify: The Fighter’s Guide To Overcoming Pornography Addiction as well as a Battle Tracker notebook.

For a book that includes personal accounts from people who have overcome their addictions, consider Matt Fradd’s Delivered: True Stories of Men and Women Who Turned from Porn to Purity.

4. Join Fight the New Drug, NoFap on Reddit, and other online communities

The Internet is likely the place where your habit became a compulsive one, since there’s endless supplies of free content. That doesn’t mean we can’t use the Internet for positive things, as well. Fight the New Drug is a website for resources and reminders of why you’re taking on this challenge.

Another online community is called NoFap, named after its dedication to helping members avoid pornography and masturbation.

5. Join your local 12-step group

For many people recovering from frequent porn use, even more powerful than an online community is an in-person community. Don’t worry; these are all based on foundations of anonymity. Twelve-step groups like Sexaholics Anonymous exist all over the country, often meeting in church basements, and, for many, they’re essential elements to recovery.

This in-person recovery group can provide a nonjudgmental and safe environment to connect with others who are going through what you are — or who have already come out on the other side.

6. Get a CSAT therapist

For those who might want professional help to kick this habit, consider the growing body of reliable therapists that help patients overcome these challenges. Not to be confused with “sex therapists,” these are certified professionals who acknowledge the reality of sex addiction, which includes porn use. They can be identified by the letters CSAT among their credentials, for “certified sexual addiction therapist.”

Some big names across the country that offer intensive weekends are Doug Weiss in Colorado, Janice Caudill in Texas, and others.

Keep getting back up again

Whatever your personal story, remember that what matters is not how many times we fall, but how many times we get back up again. If you’ve taken the strong step to stop porn use, you’ve already come a long way in making a change.

Equipped with these tips, your efforts won’t be wasted, and you’ll be on the path to recovery.

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