To be free from porn you need to watch porn (in a different way)

Discussion in 'Pornography Addiction' started by ultrafabber, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. ultrafabber

    ultrafabber New Member

    Yes, there is no mistake in the title. You will never end a porn/pmo addiction as long as you keep running from it. That doesn't mean i'm encouraging anyone to stop reading and open a porn tab, do NOT use this as an excuse to watch porn/masturbate.

    Before I begin, i need to define what "porn" means and what i mean when i say "porn". "porn" will encompass all forms of sexually stimulating material - videos, gifs, pics on instagram/facebook, audio sex, erotic texts, sex comics, ANYTHING that sexually arouses you. Obviously XXX clips are the worst offender, but those are the worst only because they combine multiple stimuli. However, for some people XXX clips may not be the most stimulating, for some it might be pictures and so on. The point is that if it's sexually stimulating and you're using it, it should be classified as "porn".

    Now, why am i suggesting or even entertaining something like "watching porn to stop porn addiction"? In short, because any addiction, if you strip it down to it's core, has two components: 1. CUE (or trigger) > 2. BEHAVIOR.

    What's happening with porn/masturbation addiction is that your brain has an extremely strong association of the cue to the behavior (seeking/binging/masturbation). You see a "triggering" image and the behavior starts on it's own because it sees porn/masturbation as a reward. And this not wrong, porn has definitely produced the mother load of rewards (pleasure, stress control, sleep aid, etc). For your brain porn has been the most amazing lever for instant rewards/pleasure etc, much greater than any other thing that existed in your life (except drugs). In terms of efficiency/effectiveness your brain registers porn/masturbation as the greatest thing that ever existed.

    And this is the first thing you need to understand: as horrible and destructive porn/masturbation in the long run, in the short run it's the best and most amazing thing ever. If you look at it objectively the solution your brain comes up with in the short run (to watch porn/masturbate) is perfectly logical.

    No matter how many times you tell to yourself you'll never watch porn again, yada yada, when faced with the possibility of acting out, your prefrontal cortex (the one responsible for planning and conscious decision making) shuts down. Your memory of past failures and unpleasant consequences of porn/masturbation use disappears.

    All that matters is the very archaic function of the brain of CUE>BEHAVIOR. It's like the reflex where you touch something hot and your hand instantly moves away. You don't have to think "well, this surface is hot, it would be in my best interest that I move my hand away because the heat will cause damage to my skin/nerves/muscles". The brain will move the hand for you and you'll ask questions later.

    You might think that if you abstain long enough you will be cured. Yes, this could theoretically happen but it will take decades and is context dependent: have you started with porn as first sexual experience, what's the ratio of real sex/ pmo behavior, how intense was the pmo behavior, how depressed/anxious are you and so on. The cue>behavior association is extremely strong for an addict.

    That's why stories of "relapsed/binged after 30, 60, 90 days" are very common and people keep struggling. Abstinence by itself is not enough. It is obviously better than just pmo-ing like a fiend, but abstinence only won't solve your problem.

    What makes things even worse is (and it's scientifically proven) that random rewards actually reinforce a behavior stronger than consistent rewards do. I've been following nofap for 7 years now and the overwhelming majority of people have multiple failures, failures at uneven intervals (i used to be like that as well). I want to emphasize that I don't want to take anything away from people that are trying, it is absolutely commendable that they are trying again and again to tackle the pmo beast.

    What i'm trying to say is that the current paradigm of trying to do "streaks" again and again with no actual plan is not only extremely difficult but also extremely inefficient.

    I'd compare it to someone trying to fill a pool with water but using a perforated/leaking bucket. Yes, the person doing 100,000 runs with the leaking bucket to fill the pool is definitely commendable for his efforts, but the pool could've been filled with only 2,000 runs with a good bucket. More importantly, the person with the leaking bucket is very likely to give up after 20,000 or 50,000 runs.

    So the takeaway so far should be that

    1. a very strong association of cue>behavior will never ever be truly extinguished through abstinence (because the mind will always expect the next random reward)
    2. if you're trying and failing, you're actually telling the brain that it should expect the reward, therefore actually reinforcing the association of cue>behavior.

    In your mind there are two elements that sustain the addiction:

    1. that porn/masturbation is normal/good/healthy
    2. that porn/masturbation will lead to reward

    I have previously discussed how porn/masturbation is not normal/good/healthy at all (it's basically cuckoldry/you become a woman also etc) and i'm not going to elaborate on that now as the point of the topic is that of cue>behavior. But before moving forward i'm going to emphasize that it's essential to genuinely understand and believe that porn/masturbation is NOT normal/good/healthy. Sex is normal/good/healthy, all other sex replacements are not.

    Now, on the association of cue>behavior and why you actually have to watch porn to stop watching porn.

    The point is that you need to destroy the association that "watching porn leads to sexual arousal". This will only happen if you associate this with something else and eventually associate it with no response (neutral stimuli).

    The same way as you watch a monkey climbing a tree and you DON'T get sexually aroused, you should watch porn and NOT get sexually aroused. Porn is essentially a short circuit of your brain - it's just an image or a stimuli that does NOT lead to sex. It tricks the mind to get ready for something that does not exist. In essence it's tangent to a hallucination.

    There is a very important thing that needs to be said. Depending on the severity of addiction, you need to have COMPLETELY abstained for at least 2 weeks to 2 months before starting this protocol. 2 weeks of 100% abstinence should be the absolute minimum for anyone. Why is that? Because the association of cue>sex arousal (when your brain shuts down) is just too powerful after only a couple of days from the last pmo session. Your brain is very likely to trick you and you are very likely to relapse.

    So let's say the critical abstinence period passed. What do you do now?

    There are no clear steps because each case is different, the rule is that you should start VERY slow. Plan a moment in your day where you'll watch just 1 minute of porn WHILE you're doing something else (like pushups) then you immediately have a cold shower or go outside for a run. Or do laundry, vacuum. You will probably get aroused doing it and you should try to resist it. Tell yourself it's just two other people having sex, it has nothing to do with you. That there is no female actually available near you to have sex with.

    Then don't watch anything the next day, then watch 1 minute of porn but actually do sit-ups. Or juggle. With porn in the background.

    Yes, it sounds completely silly but this is the only way to break the association of porn>sexual arousal (masturbation).

    Then the next week start a porn clip but go to the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich, then close the porn for that day. Truly, you can go wild on "doing something else" while porn is running. If/when you start getting aroused, STOP the porn. Do not allow yourself to stay aroused while watching porn. If you get aroused in 10 seconds, that's enough porn for that day, you go do something else.

    The goal is to see porn like something neutral running in the background. Later, you can even keep a porn tab open but not click it for 5 hours. Or have the sound going but no video. Or watch porn on split screen with the news.

    There are many techniques and i will probably make a list for them in the future, i'm trying to outline the strategy that leads to the severing of the association of porn>sexual arousal (masturbation).

    Do not expect immediate results. This will take at least 3 months depending on the severity of addiction.

    But you will be free from PMO addiction forever.
     
  2. o2bfree

    o2bfree New Member

    Interesting take on pmo. How long has this technique worked for you ? How long have you been "sober"? This analysis is certainly unorthodox, flying in the face of conventional treatments. We're told that we must create new neural pathways, to replace patterns we have developed over years of misuse. With your technique, we are fighting " fire/fire " ? Everytime we access "porn" we are strengthening these pathways ? That is why your suggestions seem so radical or maybe not ? Elaborate on your success with this approach, thereby giving us more confidence in this new battle plan on pmo. Thanks for sharing this.
     
  3. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Seize the day

    Triggers are all around us. Hot women on the streets, commercials, fantasies, etc. To me it makes more sense to prevent arousal by such triggers in daily life. Because if those triggers don't get you going, why would you escalate to porn anyway?
     
    Living likes this.
  4. doneatlast

    doneatlast Active Member

    Some interesting ideas here, but I don't think it is at the point of methodology just yet.

    I like your idea that creating alternate reactions to the cues is how we reboot. It isn't a new idea, but you seem to expressing it in a new and easier way. The problem is I don't think we can force ourselves to not be aroused. I think we'd be better off applying those strategies to our triggers, like Gilgamesh says. If a hot anime girl in a video game is a trigger to go look up some porn, you can teach yourself not to be aroused by that anime girl and still enjoy your video game instead of completely abstaining from the video game as well as porn.

    The real question is this: what gives a faster reboot: letting associations go dormant (abstinence) or from forcefully creating different associations (some variation of the "Ludovico Technique" from A Clockwork Orange)? I don't know the answer, but I'd say taking the second option would be risky, and would need at least a strong method to go with it, if not professional supervision/guidance. The safer method is definitely the abstinence route, even the extreme abstinence route where you also abstain from triggering materials.

    Developing a new perspective of porn was a big deal for me, and something I encourage in others. Seeing it for the ridiculousness that it is - some young girl pretending to be aroused for hundreds/thousands/millions of creepy guys to masturbate to - is part of it. Understanding the dark side of it is important, whether that be the documentary "Hot Girls Wanted" or a better understanding of human trafficking. I have one image seared into my mind - I was watching a cam of a young south asian woman, and there was a request to undress... she starts to undress but is having trouble (seemed to be a physical handicap involved) and some man's hands came from off frame, rather angrily, to yank down her pants and then disappeared. That was emblematic of so much for me. Young, disadvantaged women being controlled by aggressive men. This seems to be in line with your thinking, since "Hot Girls Wanted" is actually quite racy and shows you the porn scenes with very little censorship, and the memory I have of that young woman did come from actually watching porn with my hand down my pants.
     
  5. selfdiscovery

    selfdiscovery New Member

    Interesting indeed. I see what UF is getting at....it's all about neuroplasticity...rewiring the brain so that a different pathway to a given stimuli is achieved. In this case, the goal is to desensitize one self to porn by actually using it. I guess an analogy might be for an alcoholic to try and become desensitized to alcohol by indeed continuing to use alcohol in small amounts. Can such a thing work? How about one addicted to food periodically stopping in at buffets just to look and perhaps have a little taste....VERY interesting concept that is worthy of further exploration and study.

    I understand the concept here but am naturally a bit skeptical. It's almost like convincing your brain that using porn is, for lack of a better term, "normal" (?) I've never been real fond of thinking of the addicted part of us as this inner beast that has to be kept under restrain, since the addicted part of our brain is also PART of who we are - like it or not. Problem is that whatever the pre-adolescent brain bonded to in the way of the first sexual experiences started the acting out / reward cycle - for lack of a more complex explanation. Thanks for sharing this but I don't think I'd quite be ready, nor strong enough, to attempt this method. Wishing you the best with it however.

    Regards,
    SD "stay strong, stay sober"
     
    o2bfree likes this.
  6. Living

    Living Active Member

    I see the value of becoming comfortable with watching porn. During our reboots a lot of us blow porn way out of proportion to the extent that seeing porn will automatically lead to relapse. It is not unlikely we will come across porn one way or another and knowing that you can deal with that can be beneficial at a time like that. I have experimented with stuff like this in the past and although it can be a slippery slope I do believe that in a more or less controlled way this is beneficial to a reboot. I also think that cue exposure in general can be a healthy way to deal with some of the problems we have. I don't believe that's all it takes though for the simple reason that (at least in my case) problems are not a simple matter of cue leading to behaviour. I believe there is a way broader problem behind that.

    The main problem that I have with the approach you mention however is that to me watching porn is not 'the' cue. It can be a cue in rare cases, but I hardly 'happen' to watch porn and then decide to PMO. I only put on porn when I already have in mind that I want to PMO. I might not put my pants down right away, but it's not like I put on porn for the great acting and that along the intellectual dialogues I decide that I might as well PMO. To me there is no reason at all to watch porn without the intent of getting excited or to PMO. I can't see it seperate from PMO and therefore it's not really a cue to me. Cue's that I link with porn are rather things like being home alone, feeling down, having just seen an extremely hot babe or being behind the computer. Now these are defenitly things that I believe are worthwhile to de-associate from porn for the simple reason that they happen regularly in my life and I do see cue exposure as a way to learn to deal with those situations.

    Just a note of warning: years back there was another member who used Cue Exposure Therapy without any guidance in the same way you are proposing right now. While he truly believed that he was trying to beat his addiction in the end it turned out to be just another excuse to watch porn. Like I have said I can see the benefits of learning to handle porn, but it's a really really slippery slope to walk.
     
    o2bfree likes this.
  7. o2bfree

    o2bfree New Member

    Living, you're bang on w/your take on cues that are linked w/porn. I'd go further and say that this applies to 90 % of the members on this site ? These are the " traditional " triggers which just about every recovery site will list as areas to address. It only makes sense that if you(we) effectively alter these patterns, then we should be able to gradually replace these triggers w/ healthier, more mature responses.
    " Should be able to ", now there is the rub...
     
    Living likes this.

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