About Addiction & Sobriety

How to quit porn

Let’s be real: You watch too much porn. This is the plan I used to quit it entirely. It’s a real, battle-tested, science-backed, reality-based plan to break up with porn and the embarrassment that comes with it.

Ed Latimore, author, blogger, and retired pro boxer
Ed Latimore Author, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

This is the plan I used to quit porn.

This isn’t advice based on the theory of addiction. This isn’t speculation based on a few good ideas. This isn’t hearsay from a guy who quit his porn addiction.

This a real, battle-tested, science-backed, reality-based plan to break up with porn and the embarrassment that comes with it.

Most literature on the internet talks about inner healing and finding your deep-seated reasons for watching porn. You find God and lots of other shit that’s not relevant to actually kicking the habit.

Feeling complete and whole is good, but it doesn’t exactly help you solve the problem. They give advice like this because they either lack experience with porn addiction (or any addiction, for that matter) or they’re fakes who are trying to sell you something.

Pornography is like any other drug

You wouldn’t tell a crackhead to do some soul searching.

Inner peace is important, but we don’t have time to worry about why the crackhead smokes crack. We just want to get the crackhead off crack as quickly as possible, hopefully before something terrible, life-altering, and irreversible happens.

Pornography is a drug and deserves a similar approach.

While people aren’t committing robbery to get money for pornography, pornography addiction isn’t exactly a victimless problem. Psychology Today reported that the more often one views pornography while in a romantic relationship, the more likely that relationship is to end.

Porn addiction makes a person more likely to cheat, causing emotional distress for the addict’s partner. Many people already consider viewing pornography a type of infidelity. If the couple has children, then they become the collateral damage of a relationship ruined by porn addiction.

Relationship between porn use and break ups

The more porn you watch, the more likely you are to experience a breakup.
Source: Psychology Today

While emotional and spiritual work may help, porn’s appeal is simple:

It’s not appealing because you’re broken, empty, or have an addictive personality. Porn is appealing because orgasms feel good and are the result of giving in to the most powerful drive on the planet; the need to procreate.

Pornography allows you to get this effect whenever you want with as much variety you desire.

Porn hijacks the brain by taking advantage of something called The Coolidge Effect. If you don’t read the article, here’s the abridged version:

It’s basically impossible to get bored of sexual variety. A man will choose a new sexual partner over food and water. Normally, he doesn’t have that many options, but pornography creates the illusion of choice.

The human mind has a surprisingly difficult time distinguishing between real and imagined events. Part of the reason pornography is addictive is why scary movies are scary.

We know it’s not in front of us, but we have a hormonal and physiological response anyway.

Should you give up porn?

You can experiment on yourself to see if you experience any of the routinely touted benefits of giving up porn. If you want to jerk off to the screen until your heart’s content, go for it. All I’ll say is that there are consequences for every action.

But you found this article so that means you know there’s something wrong. Maybe you’re starting to experience the dreaded “erectile dysfunction”. Or you’re becoming numb to normal girls in their natural beauty.

Or maybe you’re just a guy who’s healthy now but knows that his porn habit is no good and you want a way out. Whatever your situation is, you’re in the right place.

Here is the plan I used to quit porn.

1. Delete your browser history

This is one of those popular tips for dealing with porn addiction that has real merit.

Porn sites employ clever tricks to keep you coming back. One is making sure that when you type “www” in your browser, the first cache site is a porn site.

Aside from giving your friends a chance to make fun of you every time they use your computer, it cleverly puts the idea in your mind to revisit the porn sites instead of your original plan.

Those of you with a background in psychology will recognize this as a type of Pavlovian conditioning. Pavlovian conditioning as defined by Wikipedia :

Classical conditioning (also known as Pavlovian or respondent conditioning) refers to a learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus (e.g. food) is paired with a previously neutral stimulus (e.g. a bell). It also refers to the learning process that results from this pairing, through which the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response (e.g. salivation) that is usually similar to the one elicited by the potent stimulus.

Many times you end up looking at porn, your original plan probably wasn’t to look at porn. You went to type in the address for another site, and the last porn site you visited filled in your search bar as a suggestion. Now you’re triggered into craving porn.

The only way around this is to delete your browser history.

2. Install an adult site blocker

The easiest way to stop watching porn is to make it impossible for you to do so.

You can easily install website blockers on your browser. There are various options to stop your computer from even being able to visit pornographic sites. Some of the more popular options are:

Once you’ve made it impossible to satisfy your pornography habit on your electronic devices, the next step is to live transparently. You need to make sure that you use your computer in front of people at all times.

When it’s impossible to browse internet porn on your own and you’re constantly in front of other people, then you’ll break your internet porn habit by sheer force. It will be impossible for you to watch in private and you’ll never get a chance to anyway.

Eventually, the urge will leave you.

3. Don’t touch your dick

Except for necessary functions.

There are only 3 times a man has to touch his penis: Cleaning, urinating, and jerking off. You have to do the first two. You should be able to do the last one without porn.

Celibacy is not the goal.

Men have been polishing the pole for centuries without porn. Some men need porn to jerk-off. They also watch porn without the desire to get off, which creates a desire to masturbate.

This is pavlovian conditioning rearing its ugly head again.

Touching your penis outside of showering or pissing makes you want to watch porn. Stop touching your dick beyond essential functions. This will also make actual sex even better.

4. Get physical & get away from the computer

I write this under the assumption that you ingest all of your porn through a computer with an internet connection. Porn addiction is just like any other addiction in that part of what you are addicted to is the ritual.

Crackheads aren’t just addicted to the high of crack-cocaine. They’re addicted to the stuffing, lighting, and the passing of the crackpipe. It’s the ritual.

Yes, this is pavlovian conditioning again. I told you that a big reason you’re addicted to porn is that it’s a pavlovian response.

With that said, getting off of crack is probably easier than getting off of porn because you don’t HAVE to ever touch a crack pipe.

However, you almost certainly have to use a computer.

This creates a ritual. You sit down with the intention of working, but you get the urge to jerk off. At those times, what works best for me is good old-fashioned physical activity.

Go for a run, lift some weights, stretch, whatever.

The point is to burn off energy, get moving and get from in front of the computer. You’ll return to the computer in a refreshed state of mind and less interested in porn.

This also has the side benefit of getting you in shape, which will make the next step that much easier.

5. Talk to some women

Get some intimate female contact in your life.

There’s a school of thought which says watching porn makes you less likely to seek out interactions with women. By this reasoning, not watching porn will inspire you to interact with more females.

If your goal is more successful interactions with women, this is not bad advice. However, I have a problem with it for kicking the porn habit: this is putting the cart before the horse.

I’ve met porn addicts who can get laid. They have simply come to–for whatever reason–prefer porn to sex. The problem is that porn is easy to acquire. Even low-quality sex requires some effort.

If you want to quit porn, you need to have sex.

If pornography is as addictive as nicotine, then sex is like a vape. At first, it will not satisfy you the way masturbation to a digital fantasy will, but eventually, you will prefer this to porn as long as you don’t relapse.

This is why I think it’s important to meet women as a means to getting off of porn. Not vice-versa. It makes the transition to a pornless state MUCH easier if you have something instead of nothing at all.

Summary

  1. Delete your browsing history
  2. Install an adult site blocker
  3. Don’t touch your penis
  4. Get physical
  5. Talk to some actual women

Beating porn addiction falls under the “simple, but not easy” category.

I’m avoiding the argument of whether you should or shouldn’t watch porn. If you want to quit porn, these four steps are all you need. Just remember, the first 3 days are the most difficult because you’re overcoming pavlovian conditioning.

After that, it gets much easier.


Ed Latimore, author, blogger, and retired pro boxer
Ed Latimore Author, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

Further Reading

The alcohol detox diet
6 signs that you’re definitely addicted to porn
From gaming addict to $60k/month
8 things to know if you want to quit drinking