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Healing Porn Addiction: Secrets + Insights

As long as humans have had genitals, there’s been SOME kind of sexy content that your ancestors used to get off.  Yes, porn has been an art form for centuries.

Today’s internet porn is an entirely different beast, however, than the erotic poetry of the ancient Chinese.  Technology and innovation (and high-speed internet) have made porn widely and easily accessible, even to a 6-year old child.  At the click of a button, you’re able to watch ANY kind of sex that you can imagine.  

Exploring sexuality and staying curious about sex is awesome.  But watching internet porn is SEXUAL, not sensual.  You’re not owning or honoring your body’s sensation when you watch internet porn: the experience is external and dissociative.  

And when this becomes a habit—when you watch so much porn that you condition your body to become aroused ONLY in this way—you wind up with a nasty sexual dysfunction.  One where porn is guiding your sexual journey … NOT you

The Sneaky Science Behind Dopamine 

The tech industry has caught on to how your brain works and the role that DOPAMINE plays when it comes to online interactions. Technology is designed with the amazing dopamine molecule in mind.  In fact, Facebook’s architects used this “vulnerability in human psychology” to its advantage. Whenever someone interacts with you on social media, when they like or comment on your post, “we… give you a little dopamine hit,” said Facebook founding president Sean Parker.

And the experience of watching porn is a LOT more intense than getting likes on Facebook, because the reward (your climax) is way more powerful than a tiny little hit of dopamine—think flood versus trickle

A key component of any internet experience is the accessibility of arousal.  Dopamine activates your brain’s reward system, motivating you to surf and seek out the shiniest object (or your favorite flavor of porn).  Some scientists have called this kind of dopamine-seeking activity “supernormal stimuli,” where your brain overrides its “evolutionarily developed genetic response.”  

In one study, mother birds abandoned their own eggs to sit on new, vibrant, artificially-colored eggs because of this same phenomenon.  And just like those little birds, it’s so hard NOT to keep searching for new and different porn content after watching the same videos for some time.  Your brain will always seek out the more colorful, vibrant egg when you’re activating dopamine through porn. 

Watching porn regularly is considered an addiction because your sexual arousal (which is a dynamic process that’s happening in your body) is predominantly and directly linked to PORN.  A dependency is created on the massive dopamine hit that you get from finding something stimulating and usually different to watch.

And then, when that something is even more exciting and arousing than before your dopamine flows a little more than it did before … and so your release from that arousal and CLIMAX causes a more intense dopamine CRASH.  This more intense crash leads you to search for something NEW and even MORE interesting!  And the cycle goes on and on until …. there’s no way for you to get the kind of high you need + arousal from real life, it HAS TO BE ARTIFICIAL.

The cycle feels like shit, to be sure.  It feels uncontrollably necessary, too; and it can go on for a lifetime, ruining lives, and creating people (mostly men) who are totally disconnected from their sexuality, their environment, and the possibility of healthy sensual interactions.

UNLEARNING Your Porn Addiction

Getting through this issue and working with this imbalance in your body might seem like a challenge, especially if you have had a porn addiction for a while now.  Some addicts feel like porn was their only form of sex ed. But commercial porn education is the wrong kind of sexual education, becuase a healthy sexual connection has to be saturated with sensuality.

And that’s exactly what it comes down to when you’re unlearning your porn addiction.  You need to become re-educated on how your body, sexuality, and sensuality all play together to create dynamic and interesting sexual experiences in which you play an authentic and vital role.

After working with so many men suffering from porn addiction, we know that it can feel hopeless if you don’t know what you’re working with (or working toward).  So we hope you’ll be thrilled to know that you can unlearn this dysfunction, AND have fun while you’re doing it.  

We’ve put some of our most important insights and tips together for you right here.

Reconnecting To YOUR Primal Urges

One of the biggest issues that psychologists have found in porn addicts is how they stifle their intuition about sex and their own desire.  So talk about your feelings, sensations (or lack thereof), discuss your healing process with your partner, and mention that you’ll be exploring your sexuality in different ways from now on.  Talk about the kinds of fantasies and kinks that you want to explore, too.

“After working for many years with clients who compulsively use pornography for a variety of purposes,” writes Dr. Kristi Pikiewicz, “I have developed the hypothesis that porn, when habitualized, provides an outlet for primal feelings and desires that are not acknowledged or even permitted in their real-life relationships or psyche in general.”

Listen up … because this is a HUGE piece of your healing puzzle:  Porn gives you an outlet to experience PRIMAL feelings, desires, and urges … secondhand.  

So one practice when it comes to healing your porn addiction is to constantly experiment with action-oriented-sensation.  Sensation exploration is a healing tool that comes in many shapes and sizes.  It could be a BDSM class on wax play (which is SO MUCH FUN, by the way). Or, perhaps it’s a luxurious high-end sensual-tantra massage.  Or, maybe you want to play with power and control in a dom session. Whatever it is, experimenting with sensation with your body and senses, is key. 

An exercise routine or outlet is also extremely valuable when you’re healing from porn addiction.  The more you can move and feel your body, the better.

Anytime you have the urge to watch porn, you should have at least three action-oriented sensation explorations to pivot into.   

Porn + Partners

Is porn an issue in your relationship?  If so, it’s likely your partner is already feeling the disconnect.  And if they’re still around, they’re probably SUPER DOWN to help you overcome your porn addiction so the two of you can feel more connected and intimate. 

If communication has shut down, if sex feels disconnected, if your desire for your partner feels off, it’s time to address things openly.  The only way out is through.  And when it comes to porn + partners, communication is step #1 to healing.

Talk about your porn addiction to your partner, honestly.  And remember to take BIG breaths throughout the conversation to calm yourself and trigger the release of OXYTOCIN which delivers lots of feel-good vibes (BTW:  oxytocin is one major tool in healing your dopamine imbalance).  

Tell the truth … and as a matter of fact, be more honest about sex than you ever have in your entire life.  It’s that important to communicate clearly and openly to your partner about your addiction.

If your partner is addicted to porn, you’re likely struggling in your own way, too.  And you might feel JUST as hopeless because porn addiction can set damaging sexual expectations. 

But let your partner know that you support their sexual healing and the opportunity ahead of them.  And know that while your partner works through their addiction, they’ll need to be curious and experimental.  So it’s majorly important, as a supportive and intimate partner, to stay open to exploring, even to push for exploration (wherever and whenever you can).

It’s also extremely important that you don’t judge their ideas and curiosities.  Because feeling harshly judged by themselves or others might be one of the reasons they got addicted to porn in the first place.  Because porn gives the user an outlet not to be judged about their sexual urges and proclivities, and offers them the freedom to safely experience their desires.  So make sure you create the same safe and open space when it comes to your partner’s healing. They need to feel comfortable expressing themselves and communicating sexual fantasies and desires. 

Body-Based SENSUAL Healing

THE most important tool for healing your porn addiction is SENSUALITY (which is always personal and body-based).  

Your porn addiction reminds you how essential primal expression, unfiltered sexual curiosity and feeling are.  So when you begin to heal your porn addiction you will find ways to replace the habit of porn in your sexual experience with more sensual and body-based sexual experiences.  And when you do that, you open the door to serious and powerful sexual discovery … get ready for awesome sexual adventures! 

Your porn addiction is an opportunity to truly discover who you are by exploring the boundaries of what you really like, sexually … and yes … by pushing those boundaries, as well. 

Consider what really turns you on, no matter how “outlandish” you judge that turn-on to be.  And then consider, what kind of varieties of sensation and flavors you can add to that idea. Let your sensual creativity out, let your imagination soar … and learn how to finally express and OWN your pleasure.  

In our previous post, we discussed how your brain forms and controls your sexual habits.  These habits aren’t erasable.  But you CAN effectively replace your porn habit with another more sensual (and healthy) habit, by using one or a few of the techniques that follow.  

Set goals around your porn habit. You might consider quitting cold-turkey and setting an intention to never look at porn again, and that might be a great idea for you.  In some addiction cases, this is a requirement for healing. 

The act of PLANNING, however, is also a great solution for healing porn addiction.  Planning triggers your dopamine desire and control circuit, which helps to balance and regulate your need for one-sided-imbalanced-desire dopamine.   You can set up your own controlled reward system with healthier goals in mind.

Start by being aware of your behavior around porn. You might keep a journal and track the times that you watch porn, how long you’re watching porn, and what triggers you to watch it.  Also consider how the interaction felt … Did you get bored? And what triggered you to watch … Were you looking for a distraction from something else?

AWARENESS and mindfulness around your behavior help to activate your parasympathetic system, which allows you to relax and reconnect with your sensation. It will also help you see your issue with more clarity so you can begin to reshape your experience.

Install blocking apps on your phone, laptop, tablet, or wherever you watch porn.  There are several website blocking tools that you can download or add as a Chrome extension.  

Create an entirely new sexual identity for yourself, WITHOUT porn.  You’re not going to stop self-pleasuring or having sex.  As a matter of fact, self-pleasure is the most effective healing tool for porn.  And remember that SENSUALITY is what heals any sexual imbalance you face.  From erectile dysfunction to pelvic armoring, a sensual practice will bring your body back into balance.  So it’s important to keep having sex, but to be curious and experimental about it. 

Get a professional coach or guide to help you navigate and rebuild your sexual world without porn. Someone who understands your addiction, and has success helping others heal can help you create your new sexual identity in the most healthy and integrative way possible. And when you do that, your porn addiction healing lasts for a lifetime!

Remember that you’re reconditioning your body and mind to experience sensation … ALL kinds of sensation … and most importantly EMBODIED SENSATION.  

Stay focused on what you’re feeling because SENSUALITY is what heals a porn addiction.  Even if it’s uncomfortable or not even arousing, take note of the sensations that you’re feeling and simply accept them.  Because THAT’S where healing starts, with acceptance and compassion for yourself, and an open and available space for your new sexual identity to grow and blossom.

It’s really important to note that all of this can take a while, sometimes years.  And like alcoholics and food addicts, you might have to fight the urge of your addiction for your entire life.

Porn addiction is essentially like going through a slow detox. Also, remember that any healing process is always three steps forward and two steps back.  So one day you might feel awesome and ready to take on the world, and the next day you might feel like shit and be fighting the urge to watch porn all day.

But don’t worry, because the comeback after you’ve started to heal is so, SO WORTH IT!  And you should by hyped because you’re about to have LOTS of fun with your shiny new libido!

Want a few more ways to explore sensually?

  • Read or listen to erotica.  When you explore through the written word, you get to create your own visual experience.  Tapping into your creative energy this way is also a GREAT way to spark more sexual energy.  Use your imagination!
  • Go to a BDSM or kink workshop (alone or with your partner, if you have one) and learn something new.  Explore the world of shibari, or check out a Q&A session around a kink that you’ve been thinking about.  Stoking your curiosity (and desire) this way will help to reactivate your pleasure and how your brain experiences it, outside of porn.  THE MORE ADVENTUROUS + SENSUAL YOU ARE ABOUT SEX, THE BETTER.
  • Check out other videos and visual aids!  Porn addiction is widespread, but that means there’s been more of a demand for SEXY SOLUTIONS out there.  Make Love Not Porn, for instance, is a website and collection of super HOT, super consensual, LGBTQ-inclusive  videos, curated for curious individuals like yourself. 
  • And if you check out websites and other visual content, be sure to PAY for those services.  Support artists, coaches, and sex workers who have built careers on healing sexuality through their porn.  You can also check out: 
    • Annie Sprinkles: Sex educator, sex worker, and performer, author of Spectacular Sex
    • Ev’Yan Whitney: This sexuality doula and educator helps women and femmes reconnect with their erotic side.
  • EVEN BETTER?  Don’t be a spectator anymore.  Make your own “porn” and express your sensuality through video.  Write your own script and plan out fantasies that you might act out with your partner.  If you don’t have a whole studio setup, try using a mirror while you self-pleasure or have sex with your partner.  

The point is to stay open to FULLY exploring with your sexuality.  As sex worker and porn expert Annie Sprinkles reminds us, “The truth is, our sex lives are fluid—constantly evolving. What worked for you before might not work for you anymore. If we don’t honor these changes, sex becomes stale.”

And isn’t your porn addiction kind of boring, after all?  Aren’t you ready for a new kind of sexual experience? One that includes YOU!

If you’re ready to take on your porn habit, use a sensual practice to re-condition your sex system and exercise your powerful sexual energy again.  If you’re not sure where to start, check out tips on how to self-pleasure and start your own healing sensual practice.

TAGS

Libido

Porn

Porn Addiction

Sexual Desire

Sexual Healing

Sexual Wellness