How to Stop Watching Porn: 9 Solutions

How to stop porn for good

Addiction 07th Feb, 2022

how to stop watching porn image and tips

Many people struggle with porn addiction. The addiction grows stronger and stronger, taking up more time and making it harder to form real attachments that are not somehow tainted by our desires or fantasies of porn.

You might be here because you want to cut down the amount of porn you are watching, or you want to learn how to stop watching porn or even how to stop watching gay porn for good.

Here you will find some signs of porn addiction, some tips and advice on how to stop watching porn, and some treatment options in case all else fails.

Signs of Porn Addiction


There is no official diagnosis for porn addiction yet in the psych community, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Here are some signs that you have a porn addiction.

  • You tell yourself that you want to stop, but you just can’t seem to.
  • You come up with rationalisations for why it’s ok to keep watching porn even though you have already decided to stop.

  • You are secretive about your viewing habits and will look forward to real partners-family leaving you alone so that you can get back to porn.

  • You feel guilt, shame or just plain bad about what you are doing.

  • Viewing habits are growing increasingly more extreme in both content and or time.

  • You find sex or sexual acts difficult without involving or fantasising about porn.

  • You find yourself thinking about or viewing porn to the point where it interferes with your day.


These symptom’s don’t have to be all together, or effect you all the time, however typically you will notice these symptoms become more pronounced over time along with your consumption of porn.

There has been some controversy about recognising porn addiction as a real addiction, however, there is enough research to demonstrate that the struggles with porn are real.

If porn addiction is ignored, it can have negative consequences.1

How to Stop Watching Porn?


Accept there is a problem


Until you accept that this is something that is truly detrimental to your life, you will not see change. After all if there is no problem why do anything about something that can make you feel good in the short term?

Think about all the reasons you want to stop. What is the porn doing to you and your relationships that you see as an issue in your life? Perhaps you are struggling with erections, or you are not feeling fulfilled because your expectations of sex are now based in fantasy or want to fix your relationship.

Perhaps you are becoming less confident and more dependant on porn to make you feel good to the point you are no longer trying to find relationships in the real world as they are more challenging or scary.

Regardless of your reason, you must connect these problems to your addiction. This will give you the fuel you need to sustain the first changes you make, and will be the campfire that you can huddle around in the moments you need it most.

This doesn’t mean quitting porn will automatically fix the issues in your life or that you start flying around with your no fap superpowers, but it is a good place to start.


Treat it like any addiction


Unlike alcohol or drug addiction, the negative side effects of porn addiction are typically a lot more private and unnoticeable.

If you are suffering from a lack of confidence, or higher levels of social anxiety, or even struggling to have sex, this is not quite as overt as the risk of death that can come with drug and alcohol addiction.

Due to this, we and many others, typically perceive porn addiction to be far less ‘legit’ than these other addictions. Just because it doesn’t threaten your life though, doesn’t mean it is any less of an addiction.

Yes, porn addiction might be safer than many other types for your life and health, but it still suggests that you have a more addictive personality type, and happened to find porn rather than alcohol or drugs.


“It’s not like it’s going to kill me.”



Once you recognise Porn addiction as a real addiction you will take it more seriously and not fall into the thought process that because it’s not so bad as ‘x’ why not just continue.

Look for the root cause


Once you recognise porn addiction as an addiction, you can then try to look for the reason that made you more susceptible to the addiction as some others. It is true that there are people who use porn and are not dependant on it and can take it or leave it, just like there are those who can do the same thing with alcohol, drugs and sugar.

There are many reasons that could have caused you to be more susceptible, but only you can find your own. Once you discover the reason big or small, it’s time to create a strategy to begin healing that may or may not involve therapy.

Take each day at a time


So you didn’t watch porn yesterday? Great! What about today? Today will bring its own troubles and its own tests. Some will be harder, or easier, than others but the key is to treat every day as a trial to overcome and defeat.

Yes, things will get easier over time but that still means you are only ever one moment of weakness away from making things harder again.


Treat porn as porn


Erotic literature, comics, web-cam shows, even some anime and movies will trigger your mind in the same way. Getting you to once again fantasise and increase you appetite for the more extreme porn.

If you are struggling a lot, try to avoid anything that might trigger you to have intense feelings of desire for porn. You are only going to make it harder for yourself. Will power only goes so far.

You will know if the material is porn to you. If you find yourself having the same or similar feelings that you know you get when watching porn, no matter how tame the material might seem, it is better for your recovery to walk away.


Now we have looked at some more general tips to get you started, here are 5 tips you can incorporate into your life to make it easier to quit porn for good.

Cold Showers


Does it have to be a cold shower? No. The Cold Shower can be taken literally but is more of a metaphor for doing something that is hard, out of your comfort zone and doing it consistently. You might prefer to do stretching every day, maybe go to the gym, or go for a long walk.

The point is to build discipline in your mind for something that is not as easy and comforting as just binging on porn. You will gain momentum of character and determination. You will start to think, if you can do this then you can quit anything.

The key is to find new habits to replace the old more detrimental ones. When you take something out of your life, you will want to replace it with something else otherwise you will find yourself slowly drift back to it in your times of boredom.

Don’t fantasise during sex or away from porn


When you want to have sex and find yourself fantasising about porn, stop having sex or masturbating. Continuing to think about porn while you are having sex or masturbating reinforces the same thought patterns and re-establishes the connection between porn, sexually feeling good, and eventual orgasm.

Wanting, or needing, to stop having sex might be embarrassing to explain to your partner but in the long run, it would be better for your relationship. Yes in the short term they may feel they are not attractive enough and that it is their fault, but it is important to explain that the fault is with you but you truly want to get better.

Join a support group


There are plenty of great groups out there of like-minded people who want to give up porn for good. Just like AA or other support groups, it is clear that having others in a similar situation for moral support increases the chances of success significantly.

Some even have a badge that shows how many days it’s been since your last PMO (porn masturbation and orgasm). Some wear it as a badge of honour or to show to themselves and others that they are making daily progress. Someone who has not for 365 days is known as an astronaut.

Don’t be afraid of failure


If you fail you fail – this doesn’t mean it is the end. After all, if you take this mindset into trying to stop in the first place then you are far less likely to try.

This also doesn’t mean that success is meaningless. It just means that just because this one time, this moment of weakness doesn’t have to define you moving forward.

Every day will bring and will include new struggles. What matters is that you pick yourself up and have the confidence to try again and learn how to stop your porn addiction.


Therapy for Porn Addiction


If you believe you have porn addiction then simply trying to give up may not be enough. If you have tried some of these techniques and more, and are still not getting anywhere then perhaps it is time to find a therapist. A therapist will be able to find out what is really going on behind the scenes and help come up with an action strategy to get you on the road to recovery.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is commonly used for people living with addictions by aiming to help identify and change negative thoughts and behaviours.

Therapy might include some combination of psychotherapy and meditation.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is also typically used to treat addiction by seeking to identify and accept the urges that lead to the porn consumption.


The Bottom Line


People tend to view porn addiction as some external enemy, something that has infected you. The reality is that the addiction is as much a part of you as anything else.

When the urges come (and they will) that are caused by the addiction, rather than fight them like an enemy, and say ‘this isn’t me’, it is better to accept them as part of yourself and simply try to view yourself and the urge almost in the third person.

Distancing ourselves from the experience of urges, rather than fighting them head on, is easier to weather the storm until they eventually do come to an end.

No matter where you are on your journey of quitting porn for good, remember that you are not alone. It is better, in extreme cases, to come clean to romantic partners so that you can have a support system to help you recover rather than suffer alone in silence – while they quietly wonder what is really going on.

References

  1. de Alarcón R, de la Iglesia JI, Casado NM, Montejo AL. Online porn addiction: what we know and what we don’t—a systematic review. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2019;8(1):91.

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