If stopping porn doesn’t make me feel better emotionally, then why stop? Answer: Exactly.

 

Why do you want to stop looking at porn?

When I first wanted to stop, I thought I knew why. But my most helpful, powerful reasons came from places I didn’t expect.

Why Do We Really Want to Stop?

Even if we don’t realize it, the natural reason that most of us want to do/not do anything is because of how we think it will make us feel.

Naturally, we want to stop porn to feel:

  • more loved
  • more accepted
  • more worthy
  • more confident
  • less shame
  • less frustration
  • less self-rejection
  • less lonely
  • less judged
  • more peace
  • more better (you know what I mean)

What emotions are you wanting more of? Less of?

Stopping Porn Isn’t What Makes You Feel Better Emotionally

Some Physical/Chemical Benefits

Sure, there are things about regular porn use that do affect your brain in a physical and chemical way. And just the act of abstaining from porn/masturbation for a period of months to a year or more can, on its own, enhance your brain structure and chemistry.

It can improve your satisfaction with day to day natural activities. It can help with erectile disfunction if that is going on. The list goes on and I’ll get into this in another post.

But if you just replace porn with some other high dopamine/low value activity then you won’t experience these physical/chemical benefits as fully, because your brain won’t have the chance to rebalance as fully.

Because you’ve changed the stimulus but not the drug (unnaturally high dopamine). You haven’t changed the pattern.

Emotional Benefits Come From What Then?

But we want to feel better emotionally. And even though we naturally think that will happen from stopping porn, it won’t. Because emotions come from thoughts.

That’s why we stop for a while, and maybe we even see some physical & chemical benefits, but nothing changes emotionally. In fact, it seems to get worse emotionally, and so we turn to porn again. Because stopping porn isn’t “curing” our emotional problems the way we expected it to.

Looking at porn is not creating your emotional problems. Your emotional problems are causing you to look at porn.

And if you turn to porn at the first sign of emotional trouble, you don’t give yourself the chance to work on your emotions, metabolize them, and change them. How would you change them? By changing your thinking.

What if the majority of your urges to look at porn actually come from an emotion you are avoiding?

Some of us have repeated so many times the pattern of using porn to avoid tough emotions that our brains just skip over acknowledging the tough emotion and go straight to the urge for porn. Rewarding this with a bunch of dopamine strengthens this pattern.

What feeling are you avoiding?

What are you thinking that is causing that feeling?

How would you prefer to think and feel?

Stopping porn does not make you feel better emotionally. Stopping porn gives you the chance to do the work to feel better emotionally.

So start creating the emotions you’re in search of by changing your thinking. You can utilize these in your efforts to stop looking at porn. And make sure you include choosing what uncomfortable/negative emotions you want to feel intentionally (what?!).

If Stopping Porn Doesn’t Make Me Feel Better Emotionally, Then Why Do It? Exactly.

This is the way you start going deeper on your reason for stopping.

If it doesn’t make you feel better emotionally, then why do you want to do it?

For many of us, our reasons for stopping begin as a mix of familial, religious, social, and personal reasons. If you haven’t yet clearly identified all of these reasons for you, it is very useful to do so and see where you are at.

Then we realize we want to stop looking at porn because we want to feel better emotionally. And then we realize it is not stopping porn that will actually help us feel better emotionally. So why stop porn then? What will be genuinely and effectively motivating for you?

You get to pick your reason. So make it something that 1) you like and 2) is effective.

An Exercise to Let it Come From You

Now imagine:

  1. that your wife was totally cool with you looking at as much porn as you want. There were no consequences from her. She wouldn’t leave you or take space from you. Maybe she would even encourage you to watch porn and watch it with you.
  2. that your kids/family/friends/social circles/whoever were fine with it no matter how much you looked at porn/masturbated.
  3. that there were no consequences from the church for looking at porn. That temple/priesthood “worthiness” had nothing to do with whether you looked at porn/masturbated. You could take all the sacrament you want (do you ever take a whole handful of bread when you’re extra hungry? Uh…yeah…me either…I don’t know why you brought it up) and attend all the temple weddings you want.
  4. That no matter how much you did it, it would not affect which level of heaven you go to or your standing with God.

How does this sound to you? Why?

Would you want porn in your life? Why or why not? (finding answers to this question that are reasons for stopping porn will give you extra ammo in reaching your goals.)

If it is hard to find your reasons for stopping porn in this scenario, that’s okay. Just let your brain sit with it for a little while.

If imagining this scenario felt good, notice that you have access to those feelings, even in this hypothetical scenario, just from the way you are thinking in this moment. Maybe there is something useful for you to utilize there.

This exercise also helps me stop judging myself for long enough to examine what my own reasons are.

This doesn’t mean that familial, religious, and social reasons are bad reasons. They can be great reasons. They can give you higher purpose than just beyond your own.

But if you are like me, sometimes I let all of those other higher purposes take precedence over my own reasons that really come from me.

And the stuff that will help you find real, lasting change in your life is the stuff that comes directly from you.

God, family, friends, and church can help of course. But if you want it to stick, it’s got to come from you.


Need help learning how to up level your brain for new results?

Check out my 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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