Another slow day at work, another fight with your partner, another lonely night. But then OH! There’s comfort in the palm of your hand. Whether it’s Pornhub, OnlyFans, or a chat room here’s an opportunity to make the stress melt away. You log in, find a suitable video and get to work. Quickly, a wave of excitement, pleasure, and dopamine hits you. Only, it’s not as exciting as you hoped and, it doesn’t last too long. You come out of the fog and those stressors are still there. Then disappointment and shame come – you’re sitting there staring at yourself, still alone.
Many men struggle to stop watching porn. It can feel like a hopeless fight, but at Men’s Therapy Online, you’re not alone – you’ll join a community of other men that can help you get a handle on your pornography use and overcome shame. We’re here to help. Watching porn often starts as a way to deal with stress or tough feelings but ends as a repetitive habit that just digs the hole deeper. The first step to overcoming it is understanding this. We want to help you not just quit watching porn but also manage the feelings and thoughts that drive you to it. Only by understanding the need behind your porn use will you be able to actually heal. Confronting your pornography can avoid the pattern escalating into an affair, voyeurism, or illegal behaviors. Let’s start making changes today.
On this page, we’ll teach you ways to handle your feelings, focus on what matters to you, and make better choices. It’s more than just stopping a habit; it’s about creating a life that you don’t want to escape from. Let’s begin this journey together towards a life where you’re in charge.
In the quest to stop watching porn and recover from porn addiction, understanding its influence on your life is crucial. Pornography, often accessible with just a few clicks, can significantly impact your sex life, mental health, and relationships. It’s not merely about the visual stimulation but the emotional and psychological damage it causes. Pornography hacks your brain – it fools it into thinking that sex is a race to orgasm, emotional connection is unnecessary, and that you can be passive in relationships. This is the fantasy of porn.
The first step to overcoming unwanted pornography use is acknowledging how it is lying to you. Pornography is erotic entertainment, not sexual education. It does not accurately reflect what sex is the like in the real world. When you watch porn you are not having sex, you are not learning about sex, you are just coping from deeper issues. Whether it’s stress, loneliness, or childhood trauma, pornography often fills a void that goes beyond physical desire. By recognizing this, you can begin to address the root causes rather than just the symptoms.
Many men find themselves caught in a cycle of negative thoughts and urges, where watching porn becomes a go-to response. This habitual response short circuits your brain’s ability to perceive reality and robs you of the opportunity to actually solve your problems rather than numb out. It also floods your brain with dopamine – the neurotransmitter that signals the brain “job well done!” We can get addicted to this chemical and seek out that dopamine release rather than actually accomplishing goals. In many ways pornography the most efficient way of creating dopamine, it’s quick, free, and can be repeated time and time again – it’s a shame that it’s just a fantasy.
One of the most transformative aspects of overcoming a porn habit is learning the skill of emotional regulation. For many men, the compulsion to watch porn is often a misguided attempt to cope with uncomfortable emotions or situations in everyday life. We fool ourselves into thinking that we are on top of the world by flooding our brain with dopamine rather than getting in touch with the present moment.
Emotional regulation is about accepting your feelings as they are, without judgment or immediate reaction. When you experience stress, anxiety, or loneliness, the automatic reaction might be to seek comfort in porn. However, you can learn to sit with these feelings, understand them, and respond in a way that aligns with your values and long-term goals. You can actually fix the situation rather than putting a band-aid over it.
The process involves being mindful of your emotional state and recognizing the triggers that lead to porn use. By acknowledging these triggers without self-criticism, you create a space for healing and growth. This mindfulness allows you to detox from dopamine and oxytocin and break free from the cycle of immediate gratification and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
A key component in your journey to overcome unwanted pornography use is learning to recognize and manage the thoughts and urges that lead to watching porn. The urge might be an invasive sexual fantasy, a feeling of loneliness or rejection, or just seeing an attractive person walk by. Life situations can also be triggers – hearing your partner leave the house, dropping your kids off at school, or winding down at the end of the day. A therapist can help you develop a deep awareness of your inner experiences by pausing rather than reacting impulsively.
Once you recognize these urges, the next step is managing them. This doesn’t mean suppressing or fighting the urge, which can often make it stronger. Instead, you can learn to sit with the discomfort and observe it without judgment or immediate action. It’s like acknowledging a wave in the ocean; you see it, feel its presence, but you don’t have to surf on every wave that comes your way.
Our therapists at Men’s Therapy Online can help you develop these skills. Through guided practices and supportive counseling, they can assist you in transforming your relationship with your urges. This process is not about labeling your urges as ‘bad’ or yourself as ‘weak’ but about understanding these experiences as part of being human and learning how to handle them in healthier ways.
A common barrier in the process of overcoming a porn habit is the all-or-nothing mindset. This way of thinking can be particularly detrimental and it can take a variety of forms: women are either sexual objects or annoying obstacles, you are either a superhero or a worthless piece of trash, life is either a paradise or an inescapable hellscape. Furthermore, it frames your healing journey in terms of total success or complete failure. We encourage a different perspective, one that is more forgiving and rooted in continuous growth.
Instead of viewing a slip-up as a failure, see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. What triggered the urge? How did you respond? What can you do differently next time? This approach shifts the focus from perfection to progress, from a binary view of success and failure to a journey of continuous learning and development.
Adopting this more flexible and kind mindset is not just beneficial for overcoming a porn habit; it’s a skill that will positively impact all areas of your life. It fosters resilience, encourages personal growth, and supports a healthier and more balanced mental state.
The path to overcoming a porn habit is not linear and often involves setbacks. It’s important to have strategies for handling these slip-ups in a way that fosters learning and resilience, rather than self-criticism and despair. We utilize a compassionate framework for dealing with these moments, because we know that shame is a major barrier to progress.
When a slip-up occurs, the first step is to practice mindfulness. Instead of immediately succumbing to negative self-judgment, pause and observe your thoughts and emotions. Recognize them as natural responses, but not as imperatives to action. This detachment allows you to avoid spiraling into self-pity or shame, which can exacerbate the cycle of porn use.
Next, reflect on the incident with curiosity and without judgment. What were the triggers or circumstances that led to the slip-up? Understanding these can be instrumental in preventing future occurrences. Was it stress, loneliness, or something else? Identifying these triggers is key to developing more effective coping strategies.
It’s also essential to reaffirm your commitment to recovery. A setback does not define your journey or your capabilities. Remind yourself of your reasons for wanting to change and the progress you’ve already made. This can help reorient your focus and renew your motivation.
If you’re struggling with porn, remember that you’re not alone. Many have walked this path before and found success, and you can too. We encourage you to reach out, join a men’s group, or speak with a licensed men’s therapist.
At Men’s Therapy Online, we are skilled in guiding you through the process of overcoming unwanted pornography use. We offer a non-judgmental, optimistic, and hopeful approach, ensuring that you don’t have to walk this path alone. With our support, you can learn to regulate your emotions in a way that enriches your life and relationships, rather than turning to pornography as a temporary escape. Together we’ll help you break out of the fantasy and wake up to life.
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Men’s Therapy Online is an out of network provider for insurance companies, which means we do not bill health insurance companies directly, but can provide invoices for therapy sessions. Often, clients can then be reimbursed by their insurance or Flexible Spending or Health Savings Accounts. Please contact your insurance company to determine your eligibility.