It’s Not the Porn That Causes the Urges

For the purposes of stopping looking at porn, try this line of thinking:

It is not the porn that causes the urges. It is not your genes, or your gender, that determine whether you have urges. It is your thoughts. Desire (a.k.a. an urge) is learned.

Is Attraction a Choice?

Have you ever seen a girl and thought, She’s attractive! Then you find out something disturbing about her and your perception of her completely changes.

Suddenly you don’t look at her the same way.

Maybe someone who knows her tells you, “Oh her? She’s a cannibal. She eats a baby every day for breakfast. It’s true!”

I’m a little concerned that that idea just came out of my brain, but… moving on!

Initially, when you had the sentence go through your brain “She’s attractive!” you may have felt desire to admire her again, maybe even go talk to her, and see where it goes.

After learning new information about her, you have totally changed your thinking and are no longer attracted. Maybe you think “She disgusts me!” or whatever it is. This thought creates a feeling of repulsion and you don’t go anywhere near her. (Or maybe call the authorities in this case and save some babies).

Maybe you grew up in a culture where baby-eating is acceptable and even an appealing characteristic and you find her all the more attractive suddenly. But that’s still because of something you’re thinking.

I know I’ve had this experience (not with cannibals). I would think a girl was super cute and then I’d see the way she treats people poorly and be turned off.

What About Pheromones/Hormones and Genes?

I know there are pheromones and genes to consider. And I know there are hormones like testosterone that get involved. But we give these things way too much credit when it comes to urges.

Maybe there are certain chemical compositions in one person that more naturally align with the chemical compositions in another.

There are certainly people who are naturally attracted to the opposite/same/both gender(s).

But no matter what composition of pheromones, hormones, genetic makeup, or sexual orientation that we have, we always have the choice whether to act on an urge.

And we can change the nature of our urges by changing the underlying thoughts.

A note to my gay readers: I’m not going to get into what percentage of a person is naturally/chemically/genetically gay and what percentage of the attraction is learned or a choice. I don’t know the answer. It might vary from person to person – no idea!

My opinion is that what matters most is an individual’s decision/perception about themself. And even though my choice is to love and accept heterosexuals and LGBTQ+’s alike, it is most important that each individual reading this learn to love and accept themself, and not wait for others to do this for you, because they can’t.

No matter who you are, something I like to tell myself when I am feeling judged, shamed, or ostracized is: “It is not other people’s job to like me. That’s my job.”

The Point

The point of this is for all of us to become more familiar with the part of our urge that is caused by something within our control. And if you’re struggling with controlling yourself, it is likely a whole lot bigger portion than you realize.

If you are here reading this, then it is probably worth it to you to examine.

Scientists are starting to realize that we can change our genes, for crying out loud!

I do know from personal experience and from working with clients that we can change our urges as they relate to porn and food (and all sorts of things) by changing the underlying thinking causing those urges.

This is so empowering for people trying to stop looking at porn.

Desire is Learned

A lot of times we think that we just naturally want something or don’t want something.

Example: I’m a guy so of course I want porn.

This is not only an optional idea to buy into but also very disempowering, especially if we don’t realize it is optional to believe this.

Desire is learned. This means you can UNlearn it or learn it differently.

Example of a Guy With an Urge

Let’s say you notice a pornographic image that came to mind. This image does not automatically create an urge. What you think about it determines whether there is an urge or not.

For one guy, the image comes to mind and he thinks I’d be curious to see more. This creates a feeling of curiosity and leads to actions of searching out more porn.

What most of us do is try to resist the feeling. But as long as the thought is there, the feeling will be there. And since willpower runs out eventually, you usually act on the urge when it does.

Then you reward this pattern with all sorts of dopamine, you repeat it, and it gets delegated to that more automatic, unconscious part of your brain.

Redirect Where You Use Your Willpower

Instead of spending all of our time using willpower to resist, we can redirect it. We can start identifying what thought we are having to create that urge.

Once you identify it, write it down because it’s valuable information. Review it. Then you more readily recognize it the next time it happens.

Because you’ve realized it’s optional, you decide how you want to think, very intentionally, right now.

For the guy in this example, he’s curious about porn. But he knows where porn leads him. It is the same old pattern.

When you start examining the thoughts that create your urges for porn, you will often find that they are irrational.

You’d think that this guy’s curiosity would lead him to find something new and exciting. Isn’t that the point of curiosity? But in this case it leads to same old, same old.

Airplane Analogy

It’s like he’s in an airplane, stuck in a holding pattern, infinitely circling the airport, but never able to land. And while doing so he’s saying “I’m curious to see what happens this time around.”

Then he realizes: An airplane is a miraculous vehicle that could literally take me anywhere in the world.

So the next time the pornographic image comes to mind he intentionally chooses to think instead: I’m more curious to see what happens if I break out of the porn pattern. 

This also creates a feeling of curiosity. But this time it is directed at something that he’s decided he wants even more. A change of scenery.

This leads him to take the actions required to break out of the holding pattern and fly to incredible places that are more beautiful than he can possibly imagine.

Use Mistakes to Your Advantage

Get creative with this.

Have fun with it.

Be clever.

Try to make yourself laugh.

Be persistent with it.

When you identify an intentional thought that you want to think, practice it the way you practice your freethrows, your tennis stroke, or your putting. Rehearse it until it becomes automatic.

Then, PRESTO! Your urge is reduced, or even eliminated. Work it one thought at a time, one urge at a time.

Don’t be in a rush.

Play the long game.

Because you’re worth it.


Need help knowing where to start to level up?
Check out my How to Stop Looking at Porn Program by scheduling a free mini-session with me. Find out more about a mini-session: click here.

And, as always, feel free to email me at danny@dannypoelman.com with any questions or just to connect.

1 thought on “It’s Not the Porn That Causes the Urges

  1. This makes so much sense.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close