How do I quit using porn?

Now you have information about rebooting and how areas such as mindfulness can help with managing addictions, it’s time to create a strategy to help you as you quit porn.

The first step is to make a firm commitment to stopping and decide how you want to begin your reboot. You might want to consider areas such as whether to masturbate or not in the early stages, and discuss your reboot with your intimate partner(s) if you are sexually active away from your porn use. It’s your decision whether you want to have a period of complete abstinence. Many men report that for the first 90 days or so of their reboot it’s helpful not to masturbate, but others find that masturbation doesn’t hamper their reboot, so long as they aren’t masturbating to porn fantasies.

If you have a partner then it can be helpful to use your reboot to connect to them in intimate and loving ways that don’t always involve sex. Hugging, kissing and other affectionate touch can all be immensely healing and bring you closer to your partner. You can also try gentle sex, perhaps without the aim of having an orgasm for the first few weeks. The best idea is to discuss different proposals with your partner and reach a mutual decision about how to proceed, and then be flexible as you see what kind of intimacy works for you during your reboot. 

Once you have decided your strategy for masturbation and real sex, then start to plan for your quit date. As with giving up all addictions, it’s more effective if you plan in advance and take steps to prepare for your reboot. Write down all the reasons you want to quit porn so you are sure about your decision. Then set a date to quit and as the date gets closer start to prepare by deleting your porn stash and any memberships to porn sites you have. You can use porn blockers (details in the ‘Tips for Recovery’ section) for your computer and smartphone to help you avoid temptation.

Set your clear intention to quit by taking a physical action such as switching your room around, or buying new equipment for a healthy new activity. Whatever works for you to signal you are ready to make a change will be helpful.

Next, use the ‘Remove and Replace’ method for quitting an unhealthy habit/addiction.

Remove and Replace

One reason why many people struggle to overcome an addiction is that they have no activity / series of activities to help them fill the gap that their addiction has left behind. This is why it’s really important that you replace your porn habit with new habits that will support you and be healthy for you. This will also help you with difficulties in withdrawal, because you have something to focus on that isn’t about using porn.

As mentioned, it can be powerful to make a change in your physical environment to signify you are entering a new phase of your life. It is also powerful to set yourself a clear goal to achieve as you replace porn with new habits.

Two activities you can use to replace your porn use that are particularly helpful are exercise and mindfulness. If you have any hobbies you used to enjoy but haven’t done in a while this is also a great time to explore them again. Or set yourself a goal of learning a healthy new skill – so long as it is positive and can help you to focus your time away from porn it can help. Get as much in person support and connection as you can during this phase. Spend time with your friends, family and partner. Try out new activities if you would like to meet new people.

Use Brainbuddy to help you with challenges and activities that can keep you on track and give you a sense of accomplishment as you track your progress. You can also reach out and join online forums and communities to meet other men who are experiencing what you are and can share their experiences with you.

The most important thing to remember as you quit porn is to be kind to yourself. Giving up any addiction is difficult, so if you find yourself facing challenges or stumbling blocks, then remind yourself to take them in your stride. Beating yourself up if you suffer a setback will be counter-productive. If you struggle with low self-esteem and tend to be hard on yourself, it’s doubly important you use mindfulness as you reboot. A regular mindfulness practice can help you make significant improvements in all areas of your life – including in your level of self-acceptance and ability to care for yourself. 

Nation, R. (n.d.). Road to Recovery. Retrieved 04 28, 2018, from http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?page=Road_to_Recovery