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Reviewed
by – Dr.
Nick Nissen, MD

Dr. Nick Nissen is a clinical fellow at the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.
His interests are treatment-resistant disorders and care management. He lectures on topics such
as mood disorders, sleep disorders, mindfulness, and addictions. He is also the host of the
Brain Health with Dr. Nissen Podcast and collectively has 90K+ followers across social media
platforms.

Key Takeaway

Overcoming urges to watch porn requires self-awareness, mindful choices, and proactive strategies. By focusing on intention-setting, social engagement, internet moderation, meditation, and positive replacements, you can regain control and build a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle..

Introduction

With the rise in the easy accessibility of smartphone devices combined with the breakneck Wi-Fi speeds, everyone around the world today has instant access to millions of hours’ worth of sex. 

At any given moment, there are somewhere between 5 and 10 trillion web pages online. That’s a lot of adult content to look at, and even more so when you consider that this is only the beginning. Moreover, as easy as it is to stay away from adult content sites and third-party links, the underlying urges to watch porn can be extreme.

If you’re like most men and women these days, you likely find yourself falling into several regular patterns when it comes to your Internet usage habits. You may see a peak every so often for no reason other than to check for adult content or sites that host internet pornography.

In fact, if you’re currently reading this, there’s a strong possibility that you’ve consumed pornography or frequently battle with thoughts about consuming porn.

Well, read on to find out how to deal with these neverending urges to watch porn and the persistent thoughts about porn!

Why does One Crave Porn(Not real sex!)?

What you need to understand is that the urge to watch porn is much more than just the need to look at sexual images and videos all day and night. It is deeply connected to the chemicals in our brain, and how our mind functions. An individual’s brain reaction to internet porn consumption is a complicated process. 

Our bodies are wired in such a way that any sexual activity produces large amounts of dopamine.

Any form of sex, masturbation, and porn usage will all cause our brains to produce dopamine and ultimately end up making us crave more of it. The excitement and slight discomfort triggered by the ‘go get it’ chemical, dopamine, can only be quenched by the fulfillment of the craving. This is why people become addicted to pornography viewing.

With the evolving porn industry and how accessible it is, it makes it very easy for anyone to satisfy their craving for pornographic content.

Consumption of this kind soon creates a vicious cycle, wherein in an attempt to achieve higher levels of dopamine you will find yourself constantly reaching out for pornographic content, adding to the addiction.

Urges to Watch Porn

You might be attempting to break this vicious cycle for quite some time now, but the fact that PornHub is only a fingertip away might not be helping. The first step in this process would be to download a porn blocker like BlockerX on all your devices. However, sometimes this might not be enough. Even though you might not be watching porn in any form, it might still be a thought lingering in the back of your head. Such thoughts will only hinder your progress.

Negative Effects of Persistent Urges to Watch Porn

When struggling with persistent urges to watch porn, we often didn’t realize the toll it takes on one’s real life. Therefore, it is essential we understand the consequences of what we are signing into; maybe this awareness can be a turning point.

On that note, here are some of the negative effects you might be facing:

  •  
  • Impact on Relationships: Porn can distort your perception of intimacy, making it difficult to connect with your partners emotionally and physically.
  • Decreased Self-Esteem: Frequent porn use may lead to feelings of attaining unrealistic standards, guilt, and shame, damaging your self-confidence.
  • Addiction: Persistent urges to watch porn can escalate into a full-blown behavioral addiction, consuming more and more of your time and energy.
  • Escalating Desensitization: Over time, you might find yourself needing increasingly extreme content to satisfy your urges, which can be extremely disturbing for your mental health.
  • Neglecting Responsibilities: The preoccupation with porn or even thoughts about porn can lead to neglecting work, studies, and other essential responsibilities.
  • Isolation: Constant urges can push you to isolate yourself, withdrawing from friends and family.
  • Mental Health Struggles: Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can become more pronounced.
  • Physical Impact: Excessive porn consumption might lead to physical problems like erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation.

Remember, acknowledging the fact that porn negatively impacts your brain is the first step towards overcoming persistent urges. Once you are done with that, it is time to undertake some actions.

5 Tips to Stop Urges to Watch Porn

When struggling with the urge to watch porn, finding your way out can be stressful. No worries, we’ve got your back.

Here are 5 actionable tips to help you curb the thoughts about porn and regain control:

1. Start your Day by Stating your Intentions 

Every day, the first thing you wake up, make a commitment to remain sober and connected to your goals for the entire day. Recovery never happens by accident, it requires action on your part.

Before the day begins, remind yourself why you’re choosing to do this, and throughout the days of thought of porn crop up, go back to those reasons you stated and use them as a way of diverting your attention. 

2. Avoid Being by Yourself for Extended Periods of Time 

It’s easier to give in to your temptations when you’re alone. Throughout the day, make an effort to surround yourself with the company you enjoy. Instead of having lunch/dinner by yourself in your room, sit at the dining table for meals with your family and friends.

Take a walk, feel the cool breeze on your skin and watch some dogs play at the park. Little things like these can really help you keep yourself distracted and will help a great deal with your progress. 

3. Limit your Internet Usage

For a while stick to using the internet only in the family rooms of your house, rather than in your private room. This gives you one less chance to cheat and relapse.

Limit your internet usage for work or emergency purposes, for a short period if your thoughts about porn get too excessive. If you feel like watching a movie online, invite a friend to join and give you company!

4. Meditate

Meditation has solid evidence for helping with addictions. Over the years, many ex-porn users say it played a significant role in their battle to get rid of the addiction. Specific types of meditation increase dopamine levels by 65%, which helps combat the chronically low dopamine levels from which addicts suffer. 

Anytime you find your thoughts going astray, take out 15 minutes of your day to do some meditation exercises. You can follow an informative YouTube video or even download an app that can help you meditate.

5. Replace Sexual Behaviour with Healthier Alternatives

Attempting to replace porn or your sexual desire and behaviors with another activity that is considered conventionally acceptable and healthy is not a good bet. There aren’t many healthy alternatives that can replace the “high” one gets from sex or masturbation.

Accepting this is a huge part of recovery. Although, what you can do is fill your day with activities and tasks that you normally enjoy, at spaced-out intervals. This will help produce dopamine in your body throughout the day and reduce your association of it with porn.

Conclusion

Learning the skill of controlling your urges to watch porn, is a powerful journey in a world full of distractions. Remember that you are not fighting this battle alone and that we are here to help.

You may arm yourself to resist these desires by developing self-awareness, engaging in mindfulness exercises, limiting internet usage, blocking unwanted temptation with the help of BlockerX, and getting professional assistance when necessary. Small changes may have a tremendous impact.

Accept the difficulties, rejoice in the successes, and have patience with yourself. You’ll eventually recover control and start to build a happy and rewarding existence if you focus your attention on positive progress.

History

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we
update our articles when new information becomes available.

  • Current Version
    Dec 07, 2023

    Reviewed by

    Dr. Nick Nissen, MD

    Updated by

    Deepak Sengar

  • Aug 12, 2020

    Written by

    Bhanu Shree

    Edited by

    Chandraprabhudev K

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Bhanu Shree

Bhanu Shree is a seasoned psychologist with over five years of specialized experience in child and adolescent psychology, particularly in addressing learning difficulties and ADHD. A respected mentor in mental health, she offers transformative guidance to adolescents facing various psychological challenges. Beyond her clinical expertise, Shree is an acclaimed author, contributing insightful perspectives on addiction and youth mental health issues. Her work is widely recognized for treatment in the mental health field.