4 Reasons to Consider Quitting Porn — Especially If You Want More Fulfillment

4 Reasons to Consider Quitting Porn — Especially If You Want More Fulfillment

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I wish I could say that my intentions were more noble from the beginning. That I quit porn because I thought it would end gender violence, or save women from sex-trafficking, or lead to world peace.

The truth is, what finally got me to quit watching porn is that I just wanted to be happier. I wanted more satisfaction in my life and relationships. Critics of the modern ?self-help? movement might argue this focus on the ?self? is unhelpful, but I think it?s a fine, perhaps even necessary, place to start.

In this article I?m going to describe the real reasons I quit porn. My hope is that this reflection might be a motivation for any of you struggling to break free.

So without further ado, here are the top 4 reasons that I (really) quit porn:

1. Porn can give you unrealistic expectations women?s bodies

One thing that happens when you?re addicted to porn is you develop unrealistic expectations of what the female body should look like (For space and convenience reasons, I will be writing this article from the heterosexual, male perspective, but much of what I will say applies to other genders and sexual orientations). If you spend a decade looking at 19 year-old porn stars with fit bodies, breast implants, and perfect skin, you just assume that that?s what women should look like. The more porn you watch, the more you are training your brain to expect that in your partners.

A little bit of belly fat? Some armpit hair? Breasts that are not perfectly symmetrical and perky? No way! I had a set idea of what ?sexy? meant, and if you didn?t look like the porn stars I was watching, you weren?t good enough (yes, yes.. I?m an awful person, I know). Rather than being focused on the whole human being in front of me, I was focused on a few inches of skin. Fortunately, I began to see that porn was feeding into theses unrealistic expectations. I knew that if I ever wanted to be truly happy with my partners, if I wanted to see beyond just looks, I needed to stop watching porn.

2. Porn can make you addicted to novelty

Another side-effect of watching high-speed internet porn is that your brain gets addicted to novelty. In a typical 3-hour porn binge (an average amount for someone addicted), you could view anywhere from 100?1,000 women. You essentially browse tube sites for hours looking for the perfect video to ?finish on?, and your supply of fresh content is virtually unlimited. On a neurological level, here?s what?s happening: Every new face (or body) that you see produces a dopamine dump, and your brain is getting addicted to that surge of feel-good neurotransmitters. You quickly learn that if you want the same good feeling, you need a new face.

I?ve had the good fortune to have dated some incredible women in my life. They?ve been smart, funny, attractive, and just all-around kind-hearted people. What kills me to this day is that fact that I?ve left relationships simply because I was bored with the sex. After a few weeks, I just wanted to be with someone new. I needed the novelty to produce the dopamine dump that my brain was craving. I didn?t realize the connection between this behavior and porn until my early twenties. I always just assumed I was ?picky?. I see now that porn was cultivating a dependence on novelty for arousal.

3. Porn addiction makes it hard to focus on anything but sex

You?ve probably heard the saying, guys think about sex every 3 seconds. When I was in the midst of my porn addiction, this wasn?t too far from the truth. Wherever I went, whether it was in a grocery store or the school library, I was checking girls out, staring at their bodies, and thinking about sex. It?s true that we are sexual creatures, and there?s nothing wrong with being turned on by another person, but porn had taken my lust and craving to out-of-control levels.

There is a saying in neuroscience, ?Neurons that fire together, wire together.? Essentially, the more you use certain neural pathways, the stronger those pathways become. When you watch 2?3 hours of hardcore porn every night, the pathways in your mind for wanting sex become deeply ingrained. I remember times when I would close my eyes, and all I would see were pornographic scenes that I had been watching the night before. What I wanted was a life where I could interact with an attractive woman and not be immediately pulled to thoughts of sex. I wanted to be able to spend my time working on creative endeavors, or focusing on my studies. But my brain was hijacked, and I wanted to be free from that.

4. Lust itself is a state of suffering

I still remember the day I realized this. It was the pivotal moment in breaking free from porn, and a turning point in my life. I was walking down the street in Davis, California, and walking in front of me were two young women. I remember looking at the butt of the girl in front of me and being consumed by lust. It was a feeling of deep, dark, emptiness in the center of my abdomen. Like a black hole opening up in my belly. The only thought in my head was ?You want that. You will be unhappy until you get that.? It was so painful. In that moment, I realized something. That craving itself is a form of suffering. I recognized in that moment that I would never be happy, because no amount of sex, porn, or masturbation would ever truly satisfy my cravings. And in fact, the more I watched porn and thought about sex, the larger and more insatiable my cravings became.

What became clear in that moment is that I was the source of my own unhappiness. That through my porn-watching behavior, I was creating the very conditions of my suffering. As it turns out, this is the foundation of Buddhist philosophy. The Buddha taught that craving is the source of suffering, and that if you desire happiness (or genuine inner fulfillment), there are practices and a path leading there. He also taught the concept of karma, that your actions have consequences. I saw that porn was my karma. Watching 2?3 hours of porn every night had deep consequences in my life.

These were some of the reasons I started to take a critical view of porn. When I coupled these realizations with the understanding that what I truly desired was happiness, and to feel genuinely at peace, it became clear to me that I had to change my behavior.

Selfish is a fine starting point, but not the end

My initial reasons for leaving porn were focused on my own happiness, and while that?s a fine starting place, staying there doesn?t lead to the end of suffering. A path that doesn?t include a concern for others, that doesn?t involve some aspect of ethical conduct or being of service, is not going to lead you very far.

As the Dalai Lama likes to point out, we are all interconnected. You cannot be free from suffering when there are others suffering around you. Inner peace and fulfillment don?t exist in a vacuum, but are found within the interweaving fibers of the community in which you live. If it?s inner-peace you want, ask how you can be of service for others.

If you?re looking for help with overcoming addiction and transforming your life, then head over to my coaching section to find out more about the work I do.

The real tragedy is that this is happening to countless men (and young boys) around the world, and we?re not addressing it. We?d rather sweep the discussion of porn and its effects under the rug. I?m not against sexuality, or even porn. I?m against addiction, and the underlying, often hidden, psychological forces that lead to addiction. My hope is that these reflections will help be of service in bringing more awareness to the potential effects of porn addiction on the mind, and on our society.

So now I?d like to hear from you! Drop a comment below and let me know what?s on your mind.

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