Is My Life Better Than Porn?

Podcast Version

I’ve been asking myself this question regularly the past few weeks: What’s better than porn?

Because I’ve realized, if I don’t have a really good answer for this when urges arise, I’ll resort to porn. It is always a choice to look at porn. And any time I have chosen porn there is some part of me thinking this is my best option right now.

So how do I train my brain to truly believe that I have better options than porn available in the moment of wanting porn?

It’s Always Been My Choice

This is important to me to acknowledge. I WANT to own that it’s always been my choice. Because that means that it is still my choice and always will be my choice. And I can learn to choose not to look at porn.

In the past, part of me didn’t want to think that it was always my choice. Thinking I was powerless was kind of nice. It was a relief. But the truth is, I am powerful and so are you. I just need to learn where that power is and how to use it. It is a skill. It takes practice. It takes trial and error. It takes making mistakes, removing judgment, and really learning from what happened.

It takes a willingness to be uncomfortable.

Are You Kidding me?!

Over the past year I’ve been tapering off of my medications for depression and anxiety. I just went off my last anti-depressant medication last month. It’s one that helps me sleep. It’s been really hard.

I’ve had to adjust my sleep routine. A lot of my negative self-talk seems like it was given new life and energy to come at me. I’ve had some pretty painful feelings.

I’ve felt like I took a huge step backward. Like I was starting over with stuff I thought I already worked through. I was really discouraged.

I’ve found myself wanting porn. Even though my urges for porn have reduced in frequency and intensity, they’ve also been given new life while going off my medication.

Why Do I Want Porn?

First of all, I get a lot of momentary pleasure looking at porn.

Also, looking at porn has been a “solution” to painful feelings in the past with a huge dopamine reward.

Instead of intense feelings of shame, loneliness, fear, inadequacy, unworthiness, frustration, anger, boredom, depression, anxiety, fatigue, physical pain, I can temporarily stop feeling those painful emotions and sensations and feel intense feelings of pleasure. Of course that’s appealing!

Especially with all the messages we are bombarded with that we should find a way to feel good. Think of all the commercials that teach us to get something external to help us feel amazing. If you combine that with thinking we shouldn’t ever feel crappy feelings, pornography becomes a very enticing option.

The consequences of porn are intense temporary pleasure, momentary relief from negative feelings, but the things I need/want to do are still there after porn. It doesn’t help me accomplish any of those things. But it helps numb from feelings so I can go accomplish things without feeling as much. And maybe in the back of mind I know I can fall back on it if my feelings get to “out of control” after “stressful events.”

So you’re telling me, I can stop feeling this emotional pain and feel really great pleasure instead? Sign me up.

On top of this, I’ve rewarded my brain with dopamine from porn enough times in my life that it is conditioned to want more of it. So I try to resist wanting it. And that resistance feels really uncomfortable. So then I want porn to stop feeling the uncomfortable feeling of resisting wanting it (what?!). This one is kind of funny when I think about it.

How Do You Find Out If Your Life is Better Than Porn?

You remove porn from the equation and examine what is there. Maybe your life really isn’t better than porn at the moment. If it’s not, that’s okay, you just have work to do. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have everything available to you to make your life amazing.

Because truthfully, you DO have everything available to you to make your life amazing. 

And your life can be so much better than porn. It can be better than you even realize. Let’s make our lives so much better than porn that we don’t even have to blink when faced with the decision to look at porn or not.

You don’t have to change jobs, get a divorce, move, or take up a new hobby to do this. That’s just more external stuff. What you need to do is change what is in your brain. Lucky for you, you always have your brain right with you.

Thank you porn for getting us where you have. But it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.

What’s Better Than Porn For Me? (A Journal Entry of Mine From This Morning)

A hug from Gwen (my 4-yr-old) with 2 bisous (1 kiss on each of my cheeks). Spinning Marcus (my 6-yr-old) around and hearing him laugh and watching his face light up. Holding hands and walking with Maya (my 8-yr-old). Talking with Linz (my wife) about our kids, our dreams, our love for each other.

Helping clients in a meaningful way. Playing tennis with my father-in-law. Watching “Instant Family” (a tearjerker of a movie) with Linz.

Going for a run, doing yoga, meditating, reading something enlightening/empowering, learning French, listening to a great podcast.

Processing my negative emotions in a healthy way. How is processing my negative emotions better than porn? I used to avoid them. They would stay, they would fester, they would que up, they would affect me physically (sleep, panic attacks, terribly painful heartburn, uncontrollable head-scratching, porn and weight gain, needed medicine, pain in my upper back, shaky hands).

I think my anxiety mostly came from not wanting to and not knowing how to feel my negative feelings. I don’t miss that anxiety or those physical symptoms. Was that better than porn? No. That’s why I wanted and “needed” porn more. I felt like I had to hide parts of me that I was so ashamed of. I was lonely. I was closed off. Processing negative emotions and being vulnerable with myself/God/loved ones is better than porn.

Really connecting with myself is better than porn. Feeling the confidence I feel from feeling negative emotions/urges without reacting with porn is better than porn. Believing I can handle any feeling that comes my way is better than porn.

A really good nap is better than porn. A great conversation with someone I love and who loves me.

Giving myself the best chance I can for a good night sleep is better than porn. Eating a healthy delicious meal when I am hungry and need the fuel is better than porn. Playing or watching basketball is better than porn.

Is going to the grocery store better than porn? I don’t like it as much in one way. But I really do love having food that I like in stock. And healthy food that I like making for the kids that they like to eat. If nobody else is going to do that for me, I want to do it. And the consequences of it are better than porn.

The consequences of porn are intense temporary pleasure, temporary relief from negative feelings, but the things I need/want to do are still there after porn. And the feelings build up and don’t get processed and cause problems for me. Actually working through and addressing those problems is better than porn. Getting to know my true self with acceptance and compassion is better than porn.

I numb out an equal amount of positive feelings as negative when I buffer with porn. Feeling more of those positive and negative emotions is better than porn.

Being fully engaged in the human experience is better than being numb and disconnected just pushing through to the next dopamine overload. Porn affects my brain negatively. It conditions my brain to want more and more which is unsustainable. It shrinks certain parts of my brain. I want to unshrink and utilize those parts of my brain in a more effective/healthy way. That sounds better than porn.

It is hard for me to feel confident when I feel like I am doing something that I ultimately don’t want to be part of my life but I do it anyway when my willpower runs out. But how confident do I feel when I allow an urge and further believe/convince myself that I can feel any negative/uncomfortable feeling! That is better than porn.

Keeping commitments to myself is better than porn. Commitments that really matter to me. I honor myself in this way.

Taking care of myself in a sustaining, enriching, restorative way is better than porn. What are things that really do this? Porn does not. It leaves me more depleted than when I started. It takes from me more than it gives.

So many things in my life are better than porn. I want to remember this the next time (and every time) I am confronted with an urge for porn. And I will make my life better and better, using these life coaching tools, until it is not even a question in my mind whether I will look at porn or not.


Learn how to make your life better than porn and check out my 12 Week How to Stop Looking at Porn Program by scheduling a free mini-session with me. What are you waiting for? Click here.

For a free jumpstart on learning the skill of not looking at porn check out my guide:  “How to Stop Looking at Porn.”

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