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After Years of Watching Porn Before Bed, Now I Can’t Sleep Without It

By March 11, 2018 June 14th, 2018 No Comments

Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

We recently received a story that shows that the harmful effects of porn don’t always revolve around romantic relationships. Some stories, like this one, show how porn can isolate, consume, and damage people's lives.


Throughout my life, I’ve faced significant sleeping problems.

As a teenager, I was regularly awake until 2am or 4am on a school night. Tossing and turning for hours at a time became increasingly irritating, and I couldn’t focus in school when I got less than six hours of rest. I soon discovered my porn addiction (and the sexual release that went along with it) immediately put an end to my sleepless nights. Sleep always came within five minutes after giving in to the cravings. In essence, my porn obsession was a highly efficient sleeping pill.

Experiencing Withdrawals

As I’ve attempted to remove porn from my life, the repercussions on my body have been a nightmare. My sleeping habits have severely worsened. Instead of going to bed at 11pm like a normal human being, 6am or 10am bedtimes are common. If my body has not received the stress relief it desires, staying awake for more than 24 straight hours is a piece of cake.

Laying restlessly in bed at 3am, I have two choices: a) I can quickly fall asleep by slipping up on an addiction which I have fought so valiantly to overcome, or b) keep myself far away from the addictive behaviors, and potentially stay awake all night long. By staying away, the cravings and withdrawals feel torturous, and I’m haunted by them for as long as it takes to finally close my eyes. The longer an addict stays awake in these frustrating situations, the more opportunities they have to slip up.

Insomnia Struggles

Why do people suffer from insomnia? Reasons vary widely by individual, but common factors such as pain, depression, anxiety, fear, nervousness, and restlessness can keep people up at night for endless hours. Stress at work, worry about past regrets, physical discomfort, and other triggers turn the simple task of falling asleep into an unbearable burden.

Related: The Serious Mental Costs of Watching Porn

While viewing porn and achieving sexual release, the brain releases a chemical called oxytocin into the body’s bloodstream, which relaxes the viewer. The activity helps to regulate anxiety and fear, and works so well that it often makes men feel sleepy. For men, dopamine is the key hormone released during sex, which gives an intense sensation of pleasure. After release, prolactin has a tranquil effect on the body. In one powerful moment, porn and sexual release provide feelings of pleasure and relaxation in the place of anxiety, pain, and restlessness. Once this happens, sleep magically occurs for many.

Seeking Advice

While talking with my addiction counselor last year about the persistent sleeping issues, he related my old method of porn before bed to a sleeping pill. He explained how over the past decade, I chemically conditioned my body to expect this form of relief before sleep came. I was blown away by his comparison. I knowingly used this routine for years, yet this moment was the first time I truly recognized what I had done to my body. He asked me why I had never tried prescription sleeping pills. While pondering his question, I realized I relied so heavily upon my addiction that I never felt the need for them.
Related: 7 Harmful Thought Patterns Of Porn Addiction & How To Deal With Them

Recently, I decided enough was enough. I knew my life could not continue to operate in this manner, and I sought out professional advice from a sleep expert. During our first visit, I opened up to him about my porn addiction, telling him I felt my efforts to overcome this addiction were a very relevant component to my sleep deprivation. He was not surprised to hear this, and told me he has known many patients over the years who use this same addiction to help themselves as well. He admitted my unique case would be challenging, but he was willing to study for an answer. We are working together to find a solution.

I Want Freedom

I feel I shouldn’t need an addiction to coax myself to sleep. My cats probably sleep 15 hours or more each day, and I know many friends who can pass out in under two minutes at will. While I never expect to sleep so easily on a regular basis, I hope in the coming years I can rewire my body to fall asleep naturally. I want to rest freely when my body needs recovery time, and not be dependent on porn my entire life. After coming home from an exhausting 12 hour work shift, nobody should have to choose between a porn addiction and a sleepless night.

RelatedI Stopped Watching Porn And Here’s Why I’m Never Going Back

While some say porn is innocent and harmless, I know better. My porn addiction started naively at 12 years old. 11 years later, it has negatively influenced every possible aspect of my life. I certainly never imagined it would wreak havoc on my sleep schedule. As I make the difficult effort to continue my clean streak, all I desire is a solid eight hours of rest while the moon is out. Is that too much to ask for?

Braden Jenks is a Fighter who lives in Phoenix, AZ and studies addiction therapy at Rio Salada College. You can contact him at [email protected]

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

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Citations

Borreli, Lizette. “This Is Your Brain On Porn.” Medical Daily. 12 Aug. 2015. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <http://www.medicaldaily.com/watching-adult-films-alters-brain-activity-similar-drug-addicts-alcoholics-347224>.
Freeman, Shanna. “What happens in the brain during an orgasm?” HowStuffWorks.com. 7 Oct. 2008. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <http://health.howstuffworks.com/sexual-health/sexuality/brain-during-orgasm.htm>
Fogel, Alan. “Male and Female Orgasm: Not So Different?” Psychology Today. 10 Apr. 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/body-sense/201004/male-and-female-orgasm-not-so-different>.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Insomnia Causes.” Mayo Clinic. 4 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/basics/causes/con-20024293>.
Robinson, Kara Mayer. “10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex.” WebMD. Michael W. Smith. 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/sex-and-health?page=3>.

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