How To Quit Porn, According To Blokes Who’ve Actually Done It

Us men don’t talk about it nearly as much as we should, but pornography is absolutely endemic in our society, mostly thanks to the Internet. Indeed, as much as one-third of all the data transferred across the Internet is porn. Forget torrents of Game of Thrones

More to the point, porn addiction is a particularly big problem for men. It’s not particularly well-defined and there are no universally accepted diagnostic criteria for porn addiction, but estimates say that around 1.5% to 3% of the adult population of the United States meets the criteria for compulsive pornography use. It’s a big problem.

So if you can get addicted to porn, how do you cure a porn addiction? In the absence of concrete scientific or psychological advice, many men are banding together on Internet communities to share advice and help each other kick their kinky habits.

It points to a greater mindset shift among young men that not only accepts men being more honest about their problems, but also a shift to healthier, more sustainable concepts of masculinity.

There’s no shortage of porn addiction advice on Instagram and TikTok, but perhaps the best community is Reddit’s /r/pornfree, where men (and women, for that matter) share their trials and tribulations with overcoming porn addiction.

One great analogy shared on /r/pornfree illustrates how difficult it is to overcome porn addiction: “Being a porn addict with a phone and trying to quit is like being a recovering alcoholic who always has a bottle of vodka in his pocket. It’s absolutely insane. No wonder this shit is so hard.”

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Unlike some communities like the infamous anti-masturbation subreddit /r/NoFap, /r/pornfree is free of some of the pseudoscience and covert misogyny that other communities or popular culture indulges in.

For example, one /r/pornfree user talks about using the HALT technique used by narcotics and alcohol recovery communities as a thought exercise to ‘check themselves’ when they feel a relapse coming on.

“Am I: H-Hungry? A- Angry? L-Lonely? T-Tiered? Often, in times when we are feeling any of these 4 things, it makes us more vulnerable to go towards the vices we cling to for that sweet, sweet dopamine rush.”

It’s stuff like this that demystifies porn addiction for us average blokes without delving into toxic behaviors or falling into shame.

Chris Rock during his Tamborine special. Image: New York Times

A few male celebrities have also been forthcoming about their struggles with porn addiction. Back in 2018, Chris Rock talked candidly about his porn addiction, joking that he was “15 minutes late everywhere” during his Netflix comedy special Tamborine.

“When you watch too much porn, you know what happens? You become, like, sexually autistic… You have a hard time with eye contact and verbal cues… You get desensitized. When you start watching porn, any porn will do. Then, later on, you’re all f*cked up and you need a perfect porn cocktail to get you off.”

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More recently in 2020 during a podcast interview, Rock shared some of the strategies he’s used to address his porn addiction, namely getting off (pun slightly intended) social media.

“One of the things that I’ve done in the last whatever year, not just going to therapy, I’ve kind of gotten off social media. I got off all social media. I don’t watch pornography anymore. I’m like, my brain is like ‘ahh’. Like, I’m focused, man. Now, so, a lot of stuff on YouTube or, what is it, Instagram, I got like a company that puts that stuff out.”

Of course, not all of us can afford to subcontract our social media use to a dedicated company – nor do we suggest that cutting out social media is a sure-fire solution to curing one’s addiction to porn – but it definitely can’t hurt to put your devices down a bit more often if you’re struggling with porn addiction.

Terry Crews and his wife Rebecca King-Crews. Image: Getty

Terry Crews is another big name who’s gone on the record about his porn addiction. As Men’s Journal reports, Crews went live on Facebook in a series of videos titled ‘Dirty Little Secret’ to chat candidly about his journey.

“You know, for years, years, years, my dirty little secret was that I was addicted to pornography, for years… I think it’s a worldwide problem, but pornography, it really, really, messed up my life in a lot of ways . Some people deny it. They say, ‘hey man, you can’t really be addicted to pornography, there’s no way’. But I’m going to tell you something, if day turns into night, and you are still watching, you probably got a problem. And that was me.”

“It affected everything. I didn’t tell my wife. Didn’t tell my friends, nobody knew. But the internet allowed that secret to stay and grow. My wife was literally like, ‘I don’t know you anymore. I’m outta here.” Crews almost facing divorce was his wake-up call. He continues:

“That changed me. I had to change because I realized, ‘yo, this thing is a major, major problem’. I literally had to go to rehab for it. And the thing [that] I found was that by not telling people, it becomes more powerful, but when you tell, and when you put it out there in the open, just like I’m doing right now, to the whole world, it loses its power.”

“I’ve been free of this thing going on six, seven years now. Thank goodness. But now, it’s become my battle to help other people who are going through the same thing.”

Image: iStock

What can you do if you think you’re suffering from porn addiction? Well, if it’s particularly distracting, it might be worth talking to a therapist. Healthline also shares some tactics to gain control over your porn viewing on your own.

“Have a plan – choose another activity or two that you can turn to when that powerful urge hits. When you want to view porn, remind yourself how it has affected your life – write it down if that helps. Consider if there are any triggers and try to avoid them.

“Partner up with someone else who will ask about your porn habit and hold you accountable [and] keep a journal to track setbacks, reminders, and alternate activities that work.”

Good luck, kings.

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