Most people find it very difficult to break free from the deep-rooted addiction of pornography. In this article, you will learn five absolute ways to quit the unhealthy habit of viewing porn.
At the end of this article, we will also share ways to help you become a sexually healthy person because there are always better ways to do it. Let’s get started.
1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
The saying “out of sight, out of mind” probably sounds like a cliche, but it’s actually supported by research. Studies have shown that people in an impulsive state are influenced mainly by the immediate incentive value of appetitive stimuli, whereas people in a reflective state usually also consider the negative long-term consequences of such stimuli.
In simpler terms, the closer you are to temptation, the more likely it is for you to give in to it. So if you want to stop watching porn or wondering how to stop looking at bad things on the internet or how to stop watching bad videos forever, the easiest way to do it is to clear out all pornographic material.
Delete your downloaded videos, browsing history, and bookmarks; empty your cache, and throw out all your playboy magazines. If you have someone in your life that influences your porn obsession, stop being the nice guy and stop tolerating these people. Cut ties with them if you must.
Breaking a bad habit requires a lot of sacrifices, but it will be for the best.
2. Change Your Routine
Speaking of changing your routine, there are many ways to stop porn watching. According to sex expert Megan Fleming, mood regulation is often the reason why people watch porn. If you want to curb this bad habit, instead of watching porn every time you feel stressed out, bored, or horny, Fleming advises engaging in activities that give you the same feeling physiologically after watching porn.
Activities that release endorphins and feel-good neurotransmitters like working out, watching a funny movie, getting a massage, going for a nature walk, meditating, and drinking wine are better alternatives than watching porn. Try one out, figure out what works for you, and keep at it.
3. Stages of Change
Psychologist Nathaniel Branden said, “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance,” so before we break down all the tips to help you give up pornography, understand that curbing porn addiction won’t be easy. It will take time, effort, and commitment.
To gear you up for your big undertaking, let me tell you about the trans-theoretical Model or the Stages of Change. This approach to behavioural change was introduced by researchers James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente. According to them, there are five stages of change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.
The pre-contemplation stage is where an individual builds awareness of the need to change. However, they’re still not aware of the pros of changing and may overestimate the cons of breaking a bad habit. The Contemplation Stage is where you’re at right now. I’m pretty sure you’re reading this article because you want to quit and start a more healthy behaviour. And to that, kudos!
The preparation stage is where you commit to act and find ways to stop porn watching: we’ll get to that later. The Action stage is where the real deal is. You’re finally taking steps, but you also need to learn how to strengthen your commitment to change and fight urges to slip back that may cause them to relapse.
Lastly, the maintenance stage. This is your end goal- to recover and completely turn your back on a bad habit. When you’re trying to maintain a new behaviour, it is important to have a support system and be aware of situations that may cause you to slip back into your old habits.
4. The Habit Loop
Did you know that watching porn shrinks your brain? A study finds that men who watch a lot of pornography tend to have less gray matter volume and less activity in the region of the brain linked to rewards. That means the more you watch porn, the more you feel dissatisfied after lovemaking.
Doesn’t that sound like a bad idea for your partner? It does, and it’s not one of the habits women love. Now that you know what you’re getting yourself into, it’s time you learn the first step in this list of ways to stop watching porn – and that is to identify your Habit Loop.
The Habit Loop is a neurological loop discovered by MIT researchers, and according to them, to understand your own habit and break a bad one, you need to identify the components of your loops. The Habit Loop has three parts: cue, routine, and reward. The cue can be anything that triggers a habit – a location, a time of day, other people, an emotional state, or an immediately preceding action.
For example, you might start watching porn every time you’re bored, having a hard time falling asleep, after watching a steamy scene from a movie, or after seeing a very attractive woman. Whatever your reason is, if you want to know how to stop watching sexual videos, you must first know your cue or what’s triggering your porn obsession.
Next is the routine. It’s the behaviour you wish to change. In this case, it’s watching porn. Lastly, the reward. It’s the feeling you get after doing the routine. It’s why your brain decides your routine is worth remembering for the future.
A reward could be any intangible or tangible thing. For example, you might get a feeling of relief after watching porn. Perhaps it helps you fall asleep faster. According to MIT researchers, if you want to curb a bad habit, you must change your routine every time you get triggered by your cue, and your routine should give you the same reward. It’s not a linear path, of course.
Think of it as a trial and error experiment. But having a plan and consistency is key.
Want to know more habits women love? Check out this article.
5. Set up Reinforcements
Last on this list of ways to stop porn addiction is initiating backup. Remember the Maintenance Stage in the trans-theoretical model? Part of breaking a bad habit is setting up reinforcements to help you control your urges and prevent you from relapsing.
Installing a porn blocker will create a boundary to your impulses. You could also get an accountability buddy to keep you on track. This could be a trusted friend, family member, or a phone application to remind you of your progress in your recovery journey. You can also consider joining a support group to help keep you off your bad habit.
Now that you have all these expert tips to stop porn obsession, it’s time you learn how to stay sexually healthy. First, find a health and wellness professional to help you create a sexual health care routine and teach you about healthy sex. Second, define your values, desires, and boundaries for yourself and your partner regarding sex.
Lastly, reduce alcohol consumption and eat all kinds of food that enhance sexual performance because, believe it or not, your diet affects your sexual performance. Do you know any more ways to stop porn addiction? If you’ve been there, how did you stop watching porn? Share your answers in the comments below. Yes, old habits die hard but breaking one isn’t impossible.