How to Get Over Porn Addiction: 3 Steps to Take for Men to Quit Porn

How to Get Over Porn Addiction: 3 Steps to Take for Men to Quit Porn

What is porn addiction? Am I addicted to porn? What causes pornography addiction? Is there a guide on how to get over porn addiction? Is it possible to permanently quit porn? How do I get out of my addiction to porn? How do I stop watching porn? What is the best addiction recovery to quit porn? What can I do to stop watching porn? If you struggle with one or all of these questions, this article is for you.

My name is Sean Galla, and I am an online support group facilitator with more than ten years of experience. Part of my work involves working with porn addicts in porn addiction support groups. This gives me a firsthand view of the effects porn use and sex addiction, and how addiction treatment can help beat the habit and enhance their quality of life.

If you are looking for information about how to get over porn addiction, this article will cover everything you need to know.

Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

What is Porn Addiction?

Man Watching Porn Online

According to studies, at least 40 million Americans watch porn every day. While watching porn is not necessarily a bad thing, nor does it automatically mean you are an addict, it can cause behavioral addiction for some people, which can have negative consequences in their lives.

Studies also show that porn addiction causes changes in the addict’s brain activity, similar to what is observed in people with substance abuse disorders like drug use or alcohol abuse. When addicted to porn, their brain responds to pornographic material in the same way a drug addict’s brain responds whenever they come across drug paraphernalia.

As said earlier, viewing porn does not automatically make you an addict. You can only be said to have porn addiction if the habit causes negative effects in your life. It is important to note that porn addiction is not recognized as a real addiction. Thus, there is no official psychiatric diagnosis that mental health professionals can use to diagnose the condition. However, most mental health specialists agree that it is a real condition.

Porn addiction can be described as a compulsive attraction to porn material. Some of the common signs of porn addiction include:

  • Intrusive thoughts – constantly thinking about watching porn even when doing other activities.
  • Increase use of porn material – spending a significant amount of time watching pornography without it ever being enough. This causes you to neglect other responsibilities to dedicate the time to watching more porn.
  • Risky consumption – you may find yourself watching porn at inappropriate settings and times, like when at work.
  • Hiding – you try to hide your porn-watching lifestyle from the people close to you because you imagine they would disagree with the habit.
  • Sexual dissatisfaction – you cannot feel sexual satisfaction until you watch porn. This affects your sex life with your partner.
  • Getting into debt – spending an increasing amount of resources on porn material and subscriptions.
  • Increasing urge for more hardcore porn – you find that you need to watch extreme porn to get the same satisfaction over time.
  • Unable to quit – you cannot seem to stop yourself from viewing pornography, no matter how much you try or the negative effects the habit has on your life.
  • Shame and guilt – you feel ashamed of the habit and an increased sense of guilt, but you still cannot stop.
  • Withdrawal symptoms – you exhibit signs of withdrawal symptoms like mood swings and agitation whenever you try to quit porn.

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Causes of Porn Addiction

According to mental health professionals, there is no one specific thing that causes porn addiction. For most people, it is caused by a combination of factors, including chemical imbalances in the brain, underlying mental illness, or other mental health conditions.

Mental health professionals also agree that certain factors can make a person more likely to develop an addiction. These include:

  • Ease of access – thanks to advancements in technology, access to the fast internet makes it easier for people to access internet pornography. It is much easier to get porn today than a decade ago.
  • Unresolved relationship conflicts – past relationship conflicts can contribute to developing a porn addiction.
  • Family issues – family or personal drug addiction and physical or sexual abuse can also be contributing factors.
  • Unhealthy views on sex – developing or growing up with unhealthy ideas of sex can lead to porn addiction.

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How Porn Addiction Impacts Your Life

Like any other form of addiction or mental health issue left untreated, porn addiction eventually starts to take a toll on your life.

Mental health issues

Most people addicted to porn eventually develop other mental health issues. Anxiety and depression are common conditions associated with porn addiction. The guilt and shame experienced from porn addiction often lead to these mental health issues.

Engaging in risky behavior

Porn addicts often start engaging in risky sexual behavior to get the same emotional release. This can mean either seeking risky sexual experiences or an increased urge to view porn in risk-inducing situations like at work or in other settings. This can also be in the form of substance use like consuming drugs or drinking alcohol while watching porn to heighten the level of satisfaction.

Financial issues

Spending a lot of money on porn access and material can eventually lead to financial instability or even debt in real life. This makes it hard for you to meet your other financial obligations, including paying your rent or bills.

Strained relationships

Since you spend most of your time indulging in pornography use, you eventually start to neglect your loved ones to hide your addiction. This is especially common in relationships where the other family members disapprove of the use of porn habit.

Porn addiction can also cause sexual dysfunction in your marriage or relationship. This leaves them feeling undesired and affects their self-esteem. It causes erectile dysfunction in some cases.  

Finding it hard to keep your commitments

Since you spend a significant amount of time watching porn, you find it hard to meet your other obligations at work and home. You suddenly take longer to complete projects or stop participating in social activities with your loved one and instead choose to indulge in porn.

Inability to stop

When you are addicted to porn, all attempts to get over porn addiction are futile. You cannot seem to stop no matter how hard you try.

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How to Get Over Porn Addiction

How to quit porn-watching in men

Like drug addiction or alcohol addiction, pornography gives your brain dopamine stimuli every time you consume it. This increases your cravings for the activity to get this dopamine response. You also find that you have to keep upping your stakes to get the same release as your mind and body start to normalize the habit. This is how addiction develops.

If you think you are addicted to porn, you can give up porn without needing professional treatment programs.

Some steps you can follow to quit porn on your own include:

Make porn inaccessible

The first thing you need to do is get rid of all your porn material and make it harder to access it. This includes blocking and deleting all porn sites on all your devices and setting filters on your social media. You can even install a porn blocker on your devices and have someone else set a password for it. This will make it harder for you to access online porn.

Stay busy

Since you will have a lot of free time on your hands, engaging in new activities is an ideal coping mechanism to keep your mind from thinking about porn. You can replace the habit with healthier habits to keep your mind and body engaged. This can include exercising, spending more time with your loved ones, and taking on other activities that can trigger the dopamine effect.

Avoid your triggers

You need to avoid any situation that makes you want to watch porn. For instance, avoid logging into your computer when you are most likely to watch porn. Also, it helps to plan how to cop whenever you ate triggered.

Other Treatment Options to Get Over Porn Addiction

If you find it hard to quit pornography on your own, you should consider seeking professional help. Porn addiction is treated the same way sexual addiction is treated. Treatment options can include medication, therapy, and being part of self-help groups.

  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) – a type of talk therapy or psychotherapy where a mental health professional identifies the problem areas in your life causing the addiction and finds ways to help you overcome them.
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy – focuses on becoming more aware of your unconscious thoughts and behaviors, learning about your motivations, and resolving conflicts.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy is a form of CBT that emphasizes acceptance of your thoughts and urges and a commitment to actions that are more in line with other values.

In some cases, the mental health professional can recommend the use of medications as part of the treatment plan to control the brain cells likely causing the obsessive actions and thoughts.

Join a support group

If you are not comfortable joining an in-person 12-step program, you should consider joining an online support group. There are numerous online programs for porn addicts. These online spaces offer a community to meet other like-minded individuals going through the same struggles as you.

If you are a man looking for a reliable online support group for porn addiction, MensGroup can offer all the help you need.

About MensGroup

Men’sGroup is a men-only online support group that offers peer support to any male looking to connect with others as they fight various issues, including porn addiction. At Mensgroup.com, men can talk about their triggers, shortcoming, and failures in their recovery process.

MensGroup is also a place where you can find peer support groups for different physical health and mental health issues. This is a forum for mutual acceptance, self-discovery, and understanding amongst peers. Participants can join chat rooms or meet with other porn addicts through video calls. With MensGroup, you do not have to go through life alone.

Conclusion

Like any other addiction, porn addiction requires behavioral therapy and guidance for one to recover. If you are a man who is a porn addict, joining a men’s group like mensgroup.com is an important step towards finding healing and recovery from this addiction. Doing it with others like you calls you to be accountable, which improves your chances of making the change you seek.

*Sources:
1. Online Porn Addiction: What We Know and What We Don’t—A Systematic Review
2. These 4 Studies Show How Recovering From a Porn Habit is Absolutely Possible
3. How I Overcame My Porn Addiction
4. RESOURCES TO HELP YOU FIGHT PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION 
5. How Long Does It Take To Recover From Porn Addiction?

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