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How To Quit Porn And Still Feel Good

Jul 15, 2021

If you just want to take a break from porn, or it feels like porn is running your life, this episode is for you! Listen in for a straightforward breakdown of how our porn habits are formed, what’s happening in the body, and how to leverage the system that gets you hooked on porn to help you move away from it. Whatever side of the porn argument you’re on, it’s crucial to know what’s going on and why.

Transcript

 

Hey men, welcome to the ManTalks show. I’m Connor Beaton, and today we’re gonna be talking about how to quit porn and still have it feel good. So I’m not necessarily gonna talk about whether you should or should not be watching porn. I’m not going to have a moral debate or conversation about that. I mean, everyone has their own personal preference and view on that.

I’m not necessarily so interested in that conversation as I am supporting the men who are interested in taking a break from porn or quitting porn altogether. So that’s what this video is going to specifically focus in on, and I’m going to break it into a few simple parts. The first one is going to talk about how our habits, our porn watching habits get formed.

Secondly, I’m gonna talk about what’s happening in the body when you’re watching pornography and ejaculate. And thirdly, I’m going to talk about how you can use some very simple tools to hack the same system that gets you hooked on porn to move you away from porn.

So let’s begin by talking about how our habits and routines happen when developing with porn. After working with a lot of men, what I have noticed is that almost all men have a routine with pornography. For some men, they watch it first thing in the morning. For other men, they watch it at night before bed. They have a very specific routine sometimes to set up their environment. It can, it can be quite ritualistic in nature.

And for most people, for most men, the origins of their porn watching started quite young. A lot of young boys and young men are coming into watching pornography today. Some of the research is showing between the ages of 8 and 11, so very, very, very early. So for the fathers that might be watching this, have a conversation with your son probably before you think it is necessary, and start to have that conversation about pornography because it is everywhere. It’s very easily accessible. Something like 30% of the internet is now nude photos or imagery or considered pornographic in nature. So it’s out there.

But a lot of young men, a lot of boys come into pornography at an age where there’s a lot of transition happening in their life. So they’re going from elementary to junior high. They’re starting to date women. They’re going through puberty. Their parents might be going through some challenges. Maybe divorce is happening. Maybe they’re living in a household where there’s verbal, physical, or emotional abuse. Maybe they’ve been neglected or abandoned in some way.

These boys have a lot of stress, a lot of transition, a lot of anxiety, a lot of uncertainty that’s rolling around in their life, in their family systems at work — not at work because they’re not working yet, hopefully — at school and that stress, they don’t know how to deal with.

And suddenly, they find pornography and pornography becomes this way to reset their nervous system. So if they’re stressed out, they’re in their sympathetic nervous system, they maybe are in fight, flight, or freeze. They don’t know how to regulate or just feel better about what’s going on. And suddenly they find porn. They watch porn, they feel good while watching it. Their brain releases dopamine, they ejaculate, their brain releases a whole bunch of dopamine, dumps it out and they feel better. And then suddenly that can become very quickly the main mechanism. The main tool that that young man will use to regulate his nervous system when it comes to his stress response, when it comes to when he feels anxious or alone or bored in some cases.

And so many men that struggle to quit porn are struggling because pornography has become the tool that they use to regulate their internal self. To regulate their nervous system, their mind when it’s racing or being overly critical or whatever the case may be.

So what we want to do is — first and foremost, what we’re getting into next is what’s actually happening in the body. I gave you a brief window, but I’m going to talk about the one thing that I have never seen anybody talk about it, but that almost no one talks about when it comes to pornography and our relationship to it, and what’s happening in the body, and I’m going to give you some very simple tools that you can use in order to curb your pornography watching.

So what is happening in the body? As I mentioned before, when you’re watching pornography, your brain can’t really tell the difference between what’s happening on the screen and what’s happening in real life. So when you’re watching pornography, your brain thinks that it’s involved in it in some capacity and is rewarding you for that involvement. So it’s giving you a dopamine hit and that in itself, just that one act of your brain rewarding you for being involved in something that’s not necessarily involved in physically, can be addictive in its own nature because we’re rewarding ourselves. We start to feel good. We get that dopamine hit and it’s like, “Yeah, that feels great.”

Then when you a jacket, when you climax, your brain will flood your system with dopamine. So it’s this big juicy hit of feel-good energy in the body. Now that’s probably what you’ve heard of, for the most part. That in itself can be exhilarating enough and enticing enough for us to want to continue to go back to it.

So when we’re stressed out, we want that feel-good hit. When we feel anxious. So we got rejected in our relationship, we want to go get that feel-good, hit. So we start to cope with life by going to seek the feel-good, hit that pornography can provide. Now you’ve probably heard that quite a few times, but maybe what you haven’t heard is that after you climax, after you ejaculate, your body also releases something called prolactin.

Now prolactin for women is responsible for instituting and starting the milk production process when a woman is at child and it’s in its infancy, and it’ll start to produce milk within the body. For men, we still produce prolactin and specifically a lot of the research — and there’s good research for this on PubMed that you can find — for men, your body releases large amounts comparatively for the normal amounts that it produces, but it releases large amounts of prolactin after you ejaculate.

And in men that prolactin does a few things. So studies have shown that it will, for a brief period of time, reduce your testosterone production after you have ejaculated, and secondly, it is the feel-good hormone, right?

So in many ways, when you get that sort of blissed out feeling that you get physically in the body after you ejaculate, it’s a combination of hormones coursing through your body. You get the dopamine hit, you get that feel-good, hit, but you also get the prolactin which is going to help your body mellow out.

So what your body’s actually seeking in those moments, it’s probably not the porn. It’s maybe the exhilarating part of it, but for the most part, your body is craving the reset. It’s craving the dopamine hit, the feel-good, hit the mellowing out, hit and what’s happening is that most men are using pornography to sort of hack the internal system and to allow them to go from a very stressed out, anxious response state and down-regulate their nervous system into a more calm, peaceful oriented feeling state.

So how do we move from using porn as that stress release, anxiety release, and move towards something where we can let go of porn? We can stop watching porn, but we can still get that feel-good hit. We can still get that relaxed hit. We can still get the things that we get from using pornography.

So, step number one: choose to walk away from porn. And what I wanna say, here is a few things. Let’s say you open up the tab on your computer to watch pornography and you catch yourself in that catch-22. You’re like, “I really want to watch this, but I’ve promised myself I’m not going to do this. I’m going to take 30 days off or three months off or whatever that is.”

Click out, X out, and immediately express some gratitude and appreciation for yourself What that’s going to do is it’s going to tell your brain to release that little bit of dopamine. It might not be as much as you got when you’re watching pornography. But again, what we’re trying to do here is move the needle. So we want to move away from using pornography as the means of self-regulation. Of having ourselves feel good. Of decreasing our stress response. And we want to move it towards more natural, generative mechanisms and habits and routines.

So the first step shut down the browser, give yourself some appreciation. Maybe give yourself some gratitude for even not opening up the browser on a daily basis, right? Appreciate yourself for doing that. And when you do it, your brain is going to release some dopamine. Again, it might not be as much, but it’s going to steer you in the right direction.

The second part is — so that’s the dopamine part, right? You’re going to start to rewire that system. You can start to reprogram that part of your nervous system of your brain and of your response to stress and anxiety, et cetera — the second part is you need something to help you regulate the nervous system.

So again, what that porn consumption is doing is generally helping you to regulate your system in some way. So you’ll want to replace the climax with something like breathwork, cold showers, going and doing something physically intensive, right? Doing 50 burpees, going for a workout, going for a one mile run. Doing something that’s going to help you decrease the stress response that you are probably feeling in your body. Allowing yourself to do that is going to do a few things.

One, if you choose something like cold showers or breathwork — breathwork specifically is the one that I recommend to most clients is the one that I use. And what happens depending on the breath work that you’re doing is that it takes you out of that sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your fight, flight, or freeze response, AKA stress, AKA anxiety, AKA anger, and it moves you into the parasympathetic nervous system. And the PNS, parasympathetic nervous system is kind of like the brake. It’s responsible for bringing us back into a state of homeostasis of feeling peace and calm and evenness and balanced and grounded.

And so we can use that breath work to give us the same kind of relaxation, that same quality of feeling ease and relaxed that we would normally get from the dopamine dump of ejaculation and the prolactin release of climax.

So those are the simple steps. Now you’re going to have to do this repeatedly. It’s not going to be like “I did this once and I’m totally good.” You’re going to have to do this repeatedly to embed this into your nervous system, to embed this into your body and to retrain yourself, to regulate your own system in the moments where you would normally go and watch pornography.

So in some ways we’re shifting our ritual of decreasing our stress of allowing ourselves to regulate our body from being dependent on pornography to being independent of pornography. So then down the road, if we want to choose to watch it, it doesn’t have a strong hold over us. It’s not something that we are relying on in order to calm ourselves down in order to regulate our nervous system. It’s not getting in the way of our sex life and our relationships.

It’s something that we have authority and sovereignty and control over. So we’re moving that ritual nature of using porn to regulate our nervous system and our bodies and our minds over to something that we’re actively choosing.

So choose to X out, give yourself gratitude and appreciation. Let that little trickle of dopamine come through the body, retrain yourself, and then use something like breath work, cold showers working out, as a means to restore homeostasis in the body. Of downregulating and regulating your nervous system so that you can de-stress de-anxiety — I don’t think that’s the actual word, but that’s okay, we’re gonna use the here anyway — and to regulate your internal system, because for most men, they’ve learned how to regulate by using pornography.

And that’s why we get hooked and that’s why we get addicted. So begin the process today. If you have questions, comment below. Let me know how you enjoyed this video, what you would add to it. If you have any questions that you would like me to cover in a future video, if you’re looking for some more exercises or some more pieces to help you regulate the nervous system, happy to provide those.

Don’t forget to leave a rating. Don’t forget to subscribe on whatever channel that you are watching this on. And by all means, do not forget to share this, because I’m sure that you know a few people that could enjoy and benefit from this video. So thanks so much for tuning in and until next week, this is Connor Beaton signing off.

 

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