Some Tips on Learning How to Not Want Porn

Go to the 6:44 mark in this video to learn some tips.

If you are here, you are trying to learn how to stop looking at pornography and maturbating. Think of it as a skill that you just haven’t mastered yet. But you can. And if you stick with it, you will.

To do this, you need to learn. Learning is changing the neural pathways in your brain. Neural pathways are chains of neurons (nerve cells) that fire together. Your brain is full of neurons. Neurons that fire together, wire together. 

For a bit of empowering information and some practical tips, read on.

3 principles of neural pathways

  1. Reward (ie, dopamine) strengthens pathways
  2. Significant emotion strengthens pathways
  3. Repetition strengthens pathways

So to change your neural pathways (learning), you need to do these 3 things:

  1. Remove reward from unwanted pathway (Or add reward for wanted pathway).
  2. Create strong emotion for new pathway.
  3. Use repetition with wanted pathway.

1. Remove reward from unwanted pathway (Or add reward for wanted pathway).

Allow Urges

In order to decondition your current pathway of wanting porn, you must first allow yourself to feel the urge (to look at porn/masturbate). Then you must let it be there without giving it the reward of porn/masturbation. This is different than resisting/avoiding/reacting to the urge. It is not “white-knuckling.” It is a peaceful and uncomfortable experience where you sit with the urge until it drifts away like a cloud in the sky. Like letting an itch go away without scratching it.

Make it Fun

Use an urge jar and place a bead (or whatever) in it until you have accumulated 100 urges. This adds a reward for the new neural pathway of allowing an urge without rewarding with porn. It may sound silly, but it really does give your brain a tangible reward to latch on to.

If you don’t do the jar, then just keep a running list of allowed urges until you have 100. This works too.

2. Create Strong Emotion For New Pathway

The emotion for your new desired neural pathway must be stronger than the emotion(s) in your current neural pathway(s) that lead to porn/masturbation.

I used to hear people in 12 steps talk about “hitting rock bottom.” I wondered if I hit my rock bottom. If I haven’t, do I need to hit it before I find success with this? It’s almost like rock bottom took on a life of its own and was this thing external to me that I had no control over. That’s a scary, confusing idea. Thinking about it this way did not help me.

You don’t have to “hit” rock bottom to find success. All “rock bottom” means is that the person’s pain from the consequences is finally outweighing the amount of pain their addiction helps them avoid. The cost of the addiction outweighs the benefit.

Rock bottom only comes from what a person is currently believing in their mind.

What if you can create your own “rock bottom” affect right now? What if you don’t have to wait and see? What if you can create a stronger emotion for the new pathways now that is stronger than your current pathways of using porn?

“The Why” is a way to do this.

The Why

One of the first exercises I have my clients do is “The Why.” It’s simple. They answer the question: Why do you want to stop looking at porn?

How they answer is so important. Sometimes the reason is weak. Sometimes their reasons are full of thoughts that create shame or fear (emotions that do not serve their cause).

If their commitment needs to be epic then their reason for stopping needs to be epic. It needs to be compelling, powerful, inspiring, encouraging, hopeful, full of self-love, devoid of judgment.

3. Use repetition with wanted pathway

This is an obvious one. First of all, not practicing something weakens the neural pathways. I used to have all sorts of songs memorized on the piano that I can’t remember now because I stopped playing them regularly. If you stop using your neural pathways that lead to porn, they too can weaken and drift away over time. Maybe not for tests or piano playing, but sometimes forgetting is actually quite nice!

And I think we all probably know that repetition helps with learning something new. So why don’t we do it?

You might know this concept. But are you actually using it to address your pornography habit? If not, why?

Back to “The Why.” I recommend that my clients review it regularly (daily at least). It is an evolving thing. Over time they come up with better, or more effective, or more helpful/powerful reasons.

If their “Why” creates stronger emotions than the ones that drive them to porn, and they review it regularly, then over time and with lots of practice, they learn to stop wanting porn. They weaken the old neural pathway(s) and strengthen the new one(s).

If you don’t have a good “Why” yet then get yourself one. And make it a damn good one!

Ask Yourself

What other ways can you think of to use repetition to your advantage?

What other ways can you think of to use repetition to your advantage? (just a joke)

How can you create stronger emotions for the new pathways you want that are stronger than the emotions in your current pathways with pornography use?

How can you remove rewards from your current pornography pathways and add rewards to your new desired pathways?


To get going learning the skill of not looking at porn check out my free guide “How to Stop Looking at Porn.”

If you want to stop looking at porn and need help learning how, check out my 12 week How to Stop Looking at Porn Program by scheduling a free mini-session with me. Click here.

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