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I Quit Watching Porn 3 Months Ago, Here’s Why I’m Never Going Back

"Things about porn that used to excite me and turn me on, do nothing but disgust me now. I finally feel clean from watching all that stuff for a decade."

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 just how different life can be when porn isn't in the mix. Some stories, like this one, show how porn can cause users to objectify people and evaluate them for parts more than them as a person.

Dear FTND,

Your organization has made a life-changing impact on me. I wrestled with watching porn for 10 years.

I was never happy about it, and I never thought it was okay. I tried to quit watching it so many times, but I never could. Only when I found your YouTube page, and saw your video about how porn rewires the brain, could I begin to break my obsession. Only then could I begin to rewire my brain again, and start my healing process.

Related: 5 Ways Porn Can Negatively Affect Your Brain, Body, and Quality of Life

I’m three months into not watching porn and I’ve already noticed a difference. Not only have I overcome my struggle, but things about porn that used to excite me and turn me on, do nothing but disgust me now.

I finally feel clean from watching all that stuff for a decade. I’m 25 and for the first time since I was a teenager, I’m starting to feel like myself again.

Porn drew me in

For years I was only attracted to women physically. I don’t consider that to be true attraction. Now that porn is out of my life, I’m starting to be truly attracted to women again. Not just attracted to them physically, but also attracted to them emotionally and intellectually. I can finally be attracted to woman because of who she is, not just because of what she looks like.

Related: How You Can Take the First Step to Finding Lasting Freedom from Porn

For the 10 years of my compulsion, I didn’t pursue my dreams. I didn’t discover my hobbies. For 10 years I played video games, watched tv, and watched porn. That was pretty much my life.

Yes, I went out with friends and did social things, but when no one was around, that’s all I did. Now that porn is out of my life, I can pursue my dreams again.

Before porn, I used to love writing. I abandoned writing for the high that pornography provided. With my extra time, I’m beginning to write again. I’m reading a lot too. Reading helps me grow and develop into a better person. Reading and writing are helping me live the life I want to live.

Fortify

Never going back

I don’t have many regrets in my life, but if I’m being honest, I do have just one. I regret letting porn overtake my life and my time. I can’t begin to describe how much I want the last decade back. The relationships I could have had and the growth I could have experienced.

Porn prohibited me from having any real relationships. By taking up hundreds and hundreds of hours of my life, porn stunted me from growing as a person.

I cry every time I think about the decade that porn stole from me. I cry for what I lost. At the same time, I cry for my escape. I cry tears of joy knowing I’ve won.

Related: Why We Both Chose to Work Through Issues Porn Fueled in Our Relationship

Porn no longer has any control over me. Porn no longer has any place in my life. For 10 years I was hooked. Those 10 years of my life were wasted. Those 10 years of my life vanished before my eyes.

I thought I’d never get out, but because of Fight the New Drug, I’m free. I’m finally free from porn. And I’m NEVER going back.

B.

Why this matters

What happens when you stop watching porn? Well, this story sheds light into some potential benefits of not watching porn like gaining back a sense of self-esteem, self-control, and self-love.

Just like addictive products such as tobacco, porn can create pathways within the brain that lead to cravings, and those cravings can push consumers to search longer and more diligently for the same level of “high.”Laier, C., & Brand, M. (2017). Mood changes after watching pornography on the Internet are linked to tendencies towards Internet-pornography-viewing disorder. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 5, 9-13. doi:10.1016/j.abrep.2016.11.003Copy 

Related: How Porn Can Become an Escalating Behavior

In one 2016 study, researchers found that 46.9% of respondents reported that, over time, they began watching pornography that had previously disinterested or even disgusted them.Wéry, A., & Billieux, J. (2016). Online sexual activities: An exploratory study of problematic and non-problematic usage patterns in a sample of men. Computers in Human Behavior, 56, 257-266. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.11.046Copy 

These findings are consistent with other research that demonstrates that changing tastes and escalating is not an uncommon experience amongst consumers of porn.Bőthe, B., Tóth-Király, I., Zsila, Á., Griffiths, M. D., Demetrovics, Z., & Orosz, G. (2017). The development of the problematic pornography consumption scale (PPCS). The Journal of Sex Research, 55(3), 395–406. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2017.1291798Copy Downing, M. J., Schrimshaw, E. W., Scheinmann, R., Antebi-Gruszka, N., & Hirshfield, S. (2016). Sexually explicit media use by sexual identity: A comparative analysis of gay, bisexual, and heterosexual men in the united states. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(6), 1763–1776. doi: 10.1007/s10508-016-0837-9Copy 

The good news is, change is possible regardless of how long anyone has struggled with porn! Research and the experiences of thousands of people like this Fighter above have demonstrated that the effects of desensitization can be managed and largely reversed.Young K. S. (2013). Treatment outcomes using CBT-IA with Internet-addicted patients. Journal of behavioral addictions, 2(4), 209–215. https://doi.org/10.1556/JBA.2.2013.4.3Copy Nathanson, A. (2021). Psychotherapy with young people addicted to internet pornography. Psychoanal.Study Child, 74(1), 160-173. doi:10.1080/00797308.2020.1859286Copy  In fact, even in cases of serious substance and other addictions, research shows that the brain can heal over time with sustained effort.Pfefferbaum, A., Rosenbloom, M. J., Chu, W., Sassoon, S. A., Rohlfing, T., Pohl, K. M., Zahr, N. M., & Sullivan, E. V. (2014). White matter microstructural recovery with abstinence and decline with relapse in alcohol dependence interacts with normal ageing: a controlled longitudinal DTI study. The lancet. Psychiatry, 1(3), 202–212. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(14)70301-3Copy Yau, Y. H., & Potenza, M. N. (2015). Gambling disorder and other behavioral addictions: recognition and treatment. Harvard review of psychiatry, 23(2), 134–146. https://doi.org/10.1097/HRP.0000000000000051Copy Rullmann, M., Preusser, S., Poppitz, S., Heba, S., Gousias, K., Hoyer, J., Schütz, T., Dietrich, A., Müller, K., Hankir, M. K., & Pleger, B. (2019). Adiposity Related Brain Plasticity Induced by Bariatric Surgery. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 13, 290. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2019.00290Copy 

Related: How Porn Can Change the Brain

Research also indicates that, while guilt can motivate healthy change, shame actually fuels problematic porn habits.Gilliland, R., South, M., Carpenter, B. N., & Hardy, S. A. (2011). The roles of shame and guilt in hypersexual behavior.18(1), 12-29. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.551182Copy 

So if you’re trying to give up porn, be kind to yourself and be patient with your progress. Like anything, it takes time for the brain to recover, but daily efforts make a big difference in the long run. Think of it like a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it—the longer you stay away from porn, the easier it is to do so. All it takes is practice.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out 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 unwanted porn habit, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

Fortify

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