Stop Watching Porn: Top 6 Reasons To Do So


reviewerImage

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 Takeaways

  •  
  • Quitting porn can have significant mental health benefits and improve relationships.
  • Ethical concerns surrounding the porn industry are important to consider.
  • Withdrawal symptoms may arise when quitting addiction to porn for good, but it’s a sign of progress.
  •  
  • Dealing with withdrawal involves self-awareness, distraction, and seeking support from others.
  • Embark on the recovery journey knowing you’re not alone in this process.

Quitting Porn Cold Turkey

Have you wondered what happens when you stop watching porn? When you abruptly get off your porn habits, even the slightest discomfort can feel like a serious problem. Without our go-to coping mechanism (compulsive porn watching), we might not have other ways to cope with these feelings.

Porn is often a coping mechanism for feelings of loneliness, powerlessness, feeling unappreciated, depressed, anxiety about responsibilities, and so on.

As we remove porn from our lives, we may be angry with ourselves; we may be angry with others, we may cry, we may be afraid, and we may be lonely.

So, staying around in the early stages of recovery is not always fun. We must accept pain and use it as fuel for the journey. This is our (mostly emotional, not physical) form of withdrawal.

We know that if you are going through this process, you need to talk to a supporter or find yourself a support group wherein people understand sex and pornography addiction and managing difficult feelings during withdrawal. Uncontrolled withdrawal symptoms not only lead to the recurrence of porn habits and sex addiction, but also depression, anxiety, irritability, and similar problems.

Why Should I Quit Watching Pornographic Content?

With the ease of accessibility to porn and the anonymity of the internet, pornography viewing has grown more and more common in the modern day. The negative consequences that extended porn usage may have on both people and society as a whole must be taken into account, however. For instance, some common negative impacts include sexual exploitation and budding mental health issues.

In this article, we’ll look at a number of strong arguments centering around why you should get out of the loop of watching porn; what really are the benefits of quitting porn?

1. Mental health effect

Pornography’s possible negative effects on mental health are among the most compelling arguments against continuing to view it. Regularly viewing graphic material may cause addiction, desensitization, and a skewed understanding of what constitutes healthy sexual interactions.

Because of their inflated expectations of their own bodies and sexual prowess, people may feel anxiety, despair, and a fall in self-esteem as they attempt to reconcile pornographic expectations with real world sexual experiences.

Additionally, watching porn may lead to objectification of others. This objectification may obstruct the development of true closeness with people and meaningful relationships, which can increase feelings of loneliness and isolation.

2. Relationships Are Affected Negatively

Romantic relationships may suffer considerably from pornography. A drop in relationship happiness and closeness with partners has been linked to regular porn use, according to studies.

Because real-life partners may not measure up to the exaggerated performances shown on television, the unrealistic expectations depicted in internet porn sites might lead to relational dissatisfaction. Conflicts resulting from intimacy problems may eventually lead to the dissolution of relationships.

Secret porn use may also undermine trust between couples and cause emotions of betrayal and dishonesty. Any good relationship must have open communication, which may be hampered by porn viewing. This can lead to emotional distancing and impede emotional closeness.

3. Ethics-Related Matters

Beyond the negative effects on one’s own life, pornography use raises ethical issues. The business has come under fire for cases of human trafficking, non-consensual material, and exploitation. This exploitation is explored in the documentary Hot Girls Wanted which shows how adult entertainment workers are often recruited during times of desperation, earn only a small amount of money, are often injured or contract sexually transmitted illnesses, and try to leave the industry after a short period of time. Consumers may unintentionally encourage these immoral behaviors by patronizing the porn business.

Taking a position against pornography may be a means to speak up for the safety of the weak and to advance a more consensual view of intimacy and sexuality.

4. Worsened Sexual Performance

Excessive porn use and masturbation is associated with drops in sexual performance. Using porn in brief, intense bouts is associated with the development of premature ejaculation, which many find embarrassing and disappointing during real life sexual encounters. More chronic, excessive porn use is associated with sexual dysfunction – often experienced as erectile dysfunction or difficulty becoming aroused with real world partners.

5. Efficiency and Productivity

Pornography may be quite addicting, which might result in spending too much time viewing explicit material. People who struggle to concentrate on their daily obligations and objectives as a consequence of this addiction may be less productive. You may recover control of your time and direct your focus toward more worthwhile endeavors by kicking this habit.

6. Moral and spiritual considerations

Some people’s choice to quit viewing porn for good may be influenced by their moral or spiritual convictions. Pornography use is discouraged by many religious and ethical systems because they believe it stunts one’s moral development and spiritual development.

Individuals who want to refrain from porn habits do so by matching their behavior to their ideals, which promotes contentment and inner peace.

Will I Experience Withdrawal Symptoms If I Quit Porn?

When you start questioning how to stop pornography consumption, Porn users in their recovery period are usually intimidated by the severity of porn addiction withdrawal symptoms when they stop browsing through their favorite porn websites on a regular basis.

This may be due to the widespread blind spot of relying on the false friendliness of online pornography.

The symptoms are not just physical; you can take over your thoughts and your view of the world (which looks gloomy). However, many of these men reported significant improvement after getting porn free for a period of time.

stop watching porn

Some withdrawal symptoms that you may experience when you quit porn are: 

  •  
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders  
  • Anxiety, stress, and other forms of fear 
  • Headaches and body pains 
  • Stiffness in muscles, joints, teeth, jaws, genitals, and other parts of the body 
  • Lethargy and Weakness Depression, despair, and other types of sad emotions 
  • Agitation 
  • Mood swings   
  • Frustration, irritability, and other forms of anger 

Why Do I Have Such Symptoms When I Quit Porn?

As we said before, you are not alone. It is comforting when other people report their withdrawal symptoms so that you know what you are experiencing is normal. Some porn users report multiple mild withdrawal symptoms, while others report severe symptoms.  

Once you understand and become aware of what happens when you put a ban on watching porn, you will be able to identify your symptoms much faster.

The symptoms are similar because all addictions have certain neurochemical and cellular changes that affect specific areas of the brain. This does not mean that all dependencies will cause the same changes.  

Alcohol or addictive substances can damage or disrupt additional information delivery systems (for example, the use of opioids reduces the level of opioid receptors in our body). Once you quit porn the reward center generates new nerve cell branches which are related to craving. 

Modern science has found that withdrawal symptoms can cause a series of neurochemical disorders, including: 

  •  
  • Further decrease in dopamine levels   
  • A decline in levels of opioids and endorphins  
  • Lower GABA, an anxiolytic neurotransmitter   
  • Increased dynorphin levels suppress and weaken your pleasure response after a week.   
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If you have withdrawal symptoms, it may be an addiction. However, some men become addicted and have no obvious withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, pharmacists do not include withdrawal symptoms in their addiction tests. 

How Do I Deal With Porn Addiction Withdrawal?

Even though porn addiction withdrawal can be quite difficult, it can have really good long-term positive effects.  Remember that withdrawal is the first step towards recovery from pornography addiction.

Here are a few tips for you to deal with porn addiction withdrawal: 

1. Realize that you are on the right track 

stop watching porn

Withdrawal symptoms can tell you two very important things about your situation:   

  •  
  • You acknowledge and realize that you are addicted to porn  
  • You are protecting yourself and fighting back against it. 

Withdrawal symptoms are the way your brain increases anger. Your brain wants dopamine and you have just cut off its main supply.  

When the brain is accustomed to long-term overstimulation, it no longer accepts that this overstimulation is over. As a result, neurochemical changes begin to occur in the brain. Hence, many users report withdrawal symptoms.   

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It may sound bad, but it is true. Just like how a bodybuilder who loves to burn because it is tearing his muscles to become stronger, we can foresee and embrace the pain of recovering from sex addiction.  

Abruptly changing your lifestyle can be frustrating, but it just means that our brains are changing. Don’t think of withdrawal pain as a sign of how bad your physical condition is but as painful healing or a good soreness after exercise. 

2. Try to distract yourself from the symptoms 

At this stage now that you know the signs of porn addiction, you can completely transform your brain and help rebuild healthier connections. As you know, your brain needs dopamine.

So here is a question: If you crave pornography, what can you replace it with? You can: 

  •  
  • Eat carbohydrates or sugary snacks   
  • Work out   
  • Play video games   
  • Sleep   
  • Strive to achieve your goals   
  • Call a friend  
  • Watch a video to make you laugh  

Some of these habits are not particularly healthy. But they are more beneficial than porn addiction and can help you overcome withdrawal problems. 

3. Surround yourself with people 

When you are going through withdrawal symptoms, isolation can be your enemy. Get along with healthy and active people. Get out of your house. Maybe go on a date. Take a walk with your friends. Go out for a run. Go to church.  

When you are struggling with the withdrawal symptoms of porn addiction, it is easy to isolate yourself. However, it is much more difficult to fall back into your bad habits when you have healthy people around you who take care of you. 

The Recovery Journey

Recovery is difficult but necessary. Regardless of how much you love your addiction, or how much you believe in recovery, it will happen. For some people, it can be as easy as admitting their mistakes and moving on; for others, it can mean getting sober and following through with those plans.

There are many different models for recovery that can help you on your path. Treatment like: individual treatment, chemical dependency treatment programs, outpatient drug rehabilitation facilities, etc. If you’re ready to take action but don’t know where to begin, this guide can walk you through the process. 

Recovery is a process by which we transform the negative feelings and emotions that stem from our addictions into something positive and useful. We start this process by recognizing and accepting our addiction, then working towards a successful and moderate withdrawal (or temporary “cold” turkey) in an attempt to get clean.

Once we’ve succeeded in overcoming our porn addiction, we can gently wean ourselves off of it, feel more secure, have great mental health, be happy, and also have a better sex life. The good news is that we can overcome any addiction, even the most intense ones like porn addiction or sex addiction. It may take time, patience, and a lot of perseverance, but it can be done.

If you’re interested in learning more about recovery, feel free to visit any of the recovery forums online or pick up the phone and call a few of the support groups listed below. You’re worth it, and the journey is beautiful. 

Remember, You Are Not Alone

Now you know what happens when you get out of the loop of watching porn. This temporary early recovery period can be hard. But you can get through it. However, obsessive/addicted porn users riding the pink cloud should be aware that if they do not cope with the withdrawal symptoms correctly their urge to use pornography will return and may become stronger than ever.  

It is easy to relapse into porn addiction or believe that something went wrong in the healing process but there is really no need to relapse, and there is no problem in recovery.

In this process, porn users will only encounter a delayed form of withdrawal. Remember, you are not alone and hundreds of other men go through this phase and come out happier and healthier. 

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

  • May 02, 2022

    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.