First post - question about quitting porn without quitting masturbation.

Submitted by x on
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Hi there,

I found this site three days ago and as soon as I stared the "Your Brain On Porn" video I decided I never wanted to watch porn again.

I have had problems with not being able to sustain erections during sex but not while watching porn, which is my reason for wanting to quit.

After reading through the site, I can relate to some of the other problems people talked about related to their porn addiction, but they have not been as much of a problem for me, so my main concern is erectile disfunction.

Since first finding this site I have not watched porn or masturbated,and I feel awesome.

I have already installed blocking software on my computer, and feel very highly motivated to never look at porn again, but I am less sure about masturbation.

I feel like my chances of success in quitting porn are high ( although from reading the site I realise I might be fooling myself ) but I don't know about quitting masturbation, I feel like this could be much more difficult for me.

So my question is, asuming it is possible, would quitting porn and just cutting down on masturbation be a good option for me?

This is a slow process. If

This is a slow process. If it seems too easy at first, you are likely missing some data you need to get your mind around the problem. Experiment with various combinations porn only, masturbation only, nothing, etc. and see what works for you. The journey is more important than the destination.

I totally disagree with this advice

although, generally, I think freedom is a genius. Smile

Today's porn is a superstimulus. If you're trying to restore balance, avoid Internet porn - because of its potential for dysregulating dopamine.

Masturbation is up to you, but a time out from it at first can help, because porn images are so tightly wired to the experience. Also, your brain really needs a long rest from intense stimulation to reboot the fastest. You read this right?

Also, there's masturbation and there's masturbation. If you're masturbating just to physical sensations, you're not overstimulating your brain or activating the pathways you're trying to rewire. On the other hand, if you're masturbating to porn fantasies/scenarios, then you aren't "just masturbating."

The problem isn't's overstimulation of the brain.

Good luck, and start a blog if you like.

I was twice misunderstood. I

I was twice misunderstood. I expected that might happen with my rushed post.

You and Gary know a lot more about the science and are able to look at this more objectively than us fog-brained guys. I'm not the only one here that noticed an important shift when I could not only intellectualize about, but could feel porn's impact. Quiting cold turkey is noble and I do think one should quit porn for a while initially to regain some balance. However, longer-term there is value in exploring more intimately what masturbation and porn mean independent of one another. The same could be said for fantasy. Most of use have PMO all linked together. Isolating one at a time until we inevitable slip and link them provides necessary data. In an older post, I spoke about avoiding porn until one slips (ideally at least a month, but two weeks minimum). Then when one feels they have porn under control, but not masturbation, switch and use porn only as needed, but do not masturbate. Eventually, a slip will happen and PMO are again merged. Then try to stop PMO simultaneously. Each person has to vary the process as suits them.

This is what I mean by the journey. There isn't much of a destination. One could focus on people blindly quiting porn or one could focus on getting enough understanding of our own usage so that we are comfortable enough to explain this to others. Both will help the individual, but the latter seems more sustainable. I've focused on the latter which is part of the reason I post as much as I do. I made a lot of progress once this wasn't just about me. We adjust our compass and are clearly heading in a different direction than before. It isn't going in circles to take a conscious step back into porn, fantasy, masturbation, etc. to see with complete awareness what role each plays in one's life. It is a broader experiment and I think necessary if one really wants to transform. Is there anyone here that has quit cold turkey and sustained that for any really extended period? It isn't about fighting porn, but rather learning to live in a porn-filled world. Porn in some form is everywhere. The urge to be sexual somehow isn't going anywhere either. It is only by gaining insight into how I used and needed these outlets that I could possible be at about 13 weeks. Triggers don't go away, but I'm learning to channel them. It is a journey just as life itself.

Perhaps there are various understandings of reboot. The brain itself might bounce back fairly quick. However, many of us have a lot more work to do than a simple brain reboot. I accept that I'm promoting strategies that I think are more broad and I might be overlooking that when just starting out more than a simple stimulation reduction might be too complicated.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did not plan what I advise. I found by accident that revisiting porn for a short while without masturbation and then later even when it was already somewhat unpleasant to look at was very instructive. It seems critical to break the connection between porn, masturbation, erection, and so on. I had earlier relapses into porn and I agree that it is a very slippery slope. No risk, no reward. You have to be in a certain state of mind and already down this road a little for it to work. It could be that my distilled version is not practical, but I offer it for those that are looking to more quickly move through the process. Hopefully, someone will try and then we'll all get at least one data set for this idea.

What do others think?

Thanks for clarifying

that such experimentation, if undertaken at all, should wait until one has basically rebooted.

Keep in mind, freedom, that you have a lot of self-control. Who else here fasts regularly, for example? It's always hard to avoid generalizing from our own experience, but I think you may be an exception to a number of rules, including this one.

That said, most men *will* experiment with using porn again, even after the reboot. It's just human. So your suggestion of doing so without masturbation is interesting...but not realistic for most.

How many of you have decided to "just look" at porn, only to have relapsed if not then, soon afterward? Happens all the time. Read these accounts:

More people are fasting here

More people are fasting here than might appear. I'm surprised too. I did learn about water fasting from this site.

Some of beating back the porn stimulation treadmill is learning to have self-control that isn't forced, but is rooted in the self. We need to know ourselves as much as possible. I can accept being an exception, but I put it out there for those that are interested. Each must experiment. There is so much unknown about this that there is little point in holding back. Who knows what we might discover from the shared journey. It might be wrong to overgeneralize but I'm as male as the next male. I've been surprised that some of the outlandish things I come up with resonate with others here while others fall flat. Time will tell I guess.

Of course we men will slip at some point. I'm suggesting that rebooting be actively managed. I did it passively for a while and I was tossed about in a rough sea. Experimenting with porn is mostly viewed as a relapse. It doesn't have to be if one tries what I propose. It is not particularly hard as the brain gets more balanced to use porn without masturbating. You just wait until you have a craving and slip. That part is key. I'm not saying seek porn. You work with your cravings that you just cannot resist. Then you allow porn, but make sure you keep your penis in your pants and don't touch yourself. Just ignore that push to connect porn and masturbation and the need for orgasm. You do not need to orgasm or masturbate when viewing porn. I think this experiment when one feels ready is worth the risk of further relapse. One very well might relapse a little from it. However, the insight gained will be valuable moving forward. We need to feel porn as more balanced men. This is about being (with somewhat balanced awareness) with porn and not doing (masturbation and orgasm) with porn. It is about gaining enough awareness to put the self into self-control. Porn has built patterns of being out of control. I suggest that this is because it has removed the self or awareness from the PMO melange. The recapture of the self requires awareness of each and then control isn't as much of an issue.

I have not suggested active edging. I'm talking about educationally using porn to gain awareness. Those users were trying to get aroused but not orgasm so as not to trigger the port-orgasm cycle. I propose allowing your body to understand why you seek porn and what porn does to you on its own. Other addictions have various components and so does porn. There is no need to edge. Just the opposite, pay attention to using too much and stop. That is part of gaining awareness...not to edge, but to not edge. Don't use it daily, but only as you absolutely must. This porn only process can take time. I'd say at least as long as any other short-term reboot (two weeks to a month). In that time, one might only view porn a few times. If you find yourself escalating to mixing in masturbation and orgasm, you are probably not ready and should go back to avoiding porn for a while. I guess one could also set a timer so as not to allow for excessive edging.

If any of you try this, let us know what happens. I'll be as happy to be wrong as to be right. I can't go back and learn about this again so I've got to grow vicariously for now.

I wish I were half as disciplined as I appear to be. I'm working to expand my paradigm which might get my actions more aligned with whatever I appear to be here. It's painfully slow. Until then, I'll wait for the day when this standard of discipline can be known to the world. It sucks being so misunderstood.

I agree that ultimately

control has to become internalized, but I'm just not persuaded looking at today's porn to accomplish that goal it is a sound strategy. Nor is it consistent with the overall goal of this site, which is to bring couples closer.

The primitive part of the brain looks for ANY rationalization to continue getting a fix (in this case the dopamine surges associated with viewing porn, even without masturbation).

A researcher once claimed that porn is like a vodka ad...harmless. He meant it's the vodka that is the potential problem. He couldn't be more wrong. Porn itself is the addiction here, due to the neurochemicals it releases as a superstimulus. Associating it with orgasm can strengthen the addiction, of course, but as the edging addicts show, the "drug" of the dopamine released as one views porn and clicks to the next image, is also a potential addiction problem.

If you are still regularly looking at porn, then I wonder if you have rationalized your way into an unhelpful loop. Mind you, I think all experiments can reveal useful information and it's fine that you share yours.

However, I will continue to counter your arguments on this issue because I believe they are unhelpful rationalizations. I want to be sure other readers realize that not everyone agrees with you about the value of watching porn without orgasm.

I hadn't thought to say this

I hadn't thought to say this until reading your reply. Perhaps my concept comes from a position where one can harness that superstimulus in another direction. I agree that is not easy. It is not a long-term strategy. It might be a way to push the process along which is all I have suggested. I suspect that this happens naturally, but it might be achievable by active inducement which is what I propose that someone try. I don't disagree about the science or the value of removing the stimulus. I don't disagree that this might temporarily hurt couples. There are plenty of us without partners where that is not an immediate issue. For those in partnerships, it seems important to feel porn's impact so that can be relayed to a partner if need be. It's one thing to just quit and and entirely different thing to build up a neutral to negative feeling toward porn. That doesn't mean one will always react negatively and we must still avoid porn. Rather, the possibility of that negative reaction is there. Breaking the positive associations leads to a more balanced position on a deeper level. The mind is freer to decide once it knows it could be good or bad. Does the mind want it to the point of risking the bad?

I am not looking at porn. I experienced plenty of rationalizing and still do at times even when not acting on it. My proposal by my own discovery was powerful at increasing awareness. There was a period where I wondered what I was doing and if I was rationalizing. It took a while to figure out what my mind was trying to do. It wasn't a loop to get the porn as much as a loop to tease apart the PMO trio. My focus had nothing to do with orgasm as much as masturbation. In my experience it is easier to watch porn without orgasm than to masturbate without orgasm, especially if porn is involved. To really break the porn addiction, we have to explore masturbation that has become linked to porn and the reasons we seek porn. What seems to happen is people quit porn, continue to masturbate, and then porn creeps back in because they are still linked both by fantasy, association, etc. How to you suggest people separate porn and masturbation that they have done together for a long time. I don't recall that being discussed. If you only ate a pepper-salt mix, could you know pepper well by eating only salt for a while or must you experiment with each separately?

I can accept that I formed this concept a while ago and that perhaps my mind was then rationalizing and continues with that logic. My hesitation about that possibility is that I've been porn free a long time. Maybe as you suggest I've got better self-control. Neither of us can be too certain unless someone else tries. You are certain and I agree with the science, but we can't be certain about the possible ways to rewire long-term. There are strategies that aim to move us beyond this addiction as opposed to stuck in reboot cycles. This site is fundamentally about couples. Us porn users hijacked the site to some extent. Those two types of visitors might have opposing needs in the short-term even though both are interested in the same long-term goal of harmonious relationships. We have to be very cautious about letting ourselves be blind to something that only works at the right moment for the right visitor.

Lastly, and not to beat a dead horse, even if these are unhelpful rationalization, other readers are likely to come to similar rationalizations. The point is to talk about it openly. As we're all at varying points in the process, it might not be clear to others what might or might not work. It might take a while, but eventually someone will give us the feedback we need.

Yes, it's fine to discuss this issue

In law school, professors pride themselves on pushing people into "rational" corners that are the product of exaggerated logic. One of my sharpest professors once said that the solution to not getting pushed is to "trust your internal gyroscope." I've found that phrase very helpful throughout the years. I try to stay open to new ideas, and I also trust my internal gyroscope when its signals are loud enough.

It says this idea of yours is going to be very unhelpful for most people. However, they will be making many experiments, and in general, experiments can be a good way to learn.

PS For what it's worth, my internal gyroscope also says, "WTF???" about this line. Smile

For those in partnerships, it seems important to feel porn's impact so that can be relayed to a partner if need be.

Your reaction depends on how

Your reaction depends on how you perceive. For that line in particular, it could be interpreted in various ways. If you read it after watching that porn actress push porn for couples, you might think I meant go watch porn so you can feel porn in your life and that feeling porn itself would somehow enhance your life. That isn't at all what I meant. From what I understand from here and limited discussion in the outside world about male use of porn with females, females can be very dismissive of men. I think this is partially a male issue because men have become doers of pornography. As doers we can't convey what we feel because we feel little to nothing. There might be brain stimulation, but there is almost no feeling about using it it. We're very disconnected from ourselves. We carry that into the bedroom. We need to backtrack and feel porn. Once we recapture our own feeling, our communication with women and in particular about porn use or sexuality generally will be more balanced and better understood by females. Perhaps we could bypass that need to feel, but perhaps not. Can we really feel a women when we can't feel your own bodies reaction to the porn we hold onto so dearly? If ED is an anxiety symptom, then there are feeling issues that are not being addressed or aired between partners. Perhaps those anxiety feelings are partially due to a blockage that has developed by men doing with porn and not being with porn. Less stimulating images in the old days allowed for more being. We're never going back to the old days so we have to develop other ways to push the envelope back toward feeling. If only I could experiment more, I could find a way to make it make more sense to myself and then convey it better.

Another value to feeling porn is that we can empathize with a partner who might have other addictions such as food. The partner might not feel either, but we can by our own learning more fully understand where the partner is and how to nudge the partner more effectively.

My gyroscope says I'm sticking to my guns until we get some field-tested comments that say otherwise. I'm just not convinced by your logic against my combined logic and testing. I could care less who is right, but don't want anyone to be too scared to try for fear of slipping especially if they hit a wall after trying simpler ideas. I don't strive to be most people or limit most people to being typical. I'll push the envelope, but I fault no one for failing while trying. This is tough stuff and everyone is a star. We all fall when learning to walk. Walking won't get us somewhere at the same speed as running. Excellent running requires training and training can be painful and nonsensical at times. Those that want to walk can walk. Those that want to run will have to be a little bolder about their regimen.

There were holes in the

There were holes in the concept that needed to be better explained so that others can understand what to try. You're not the target audience as you won't benefit directly from trying this.


but I am the hostess here, and when I think something proposed is not helpful based on listening to you guys for years, it's my duty to chime in. People will do as they please - and hopefully share their findings. Smile

personally i don't like the

personally i don't like the porn-a-likes (ie music video or billboard advertisement with lots of skin showing). But I agree it is everywhere.

I try to look away when I notice it, instead of letting more arousal happen.

Great Job!

You are to be commended for your efforts.
For me, masturbating often led to a desire for watch it
The best thing I did was to stop seeking orgasm
Best Wishes

If you read that article

I cited, you'll see its author, a guy 28, hypothesized that your plan may well work, but will take much longer. Unfortunately, no one has researched this yet, and even if they had, everyone would be different.


I agree with the first comment - masturbation frequency decrease automatically when not watching porn.

Personally I'd listen to Marnia, rather than freedom.


Something similar happened to me when I found this site.

I continue to struggle but I'm much farther along than I was before I got here.

IMO quitting masturbation for a little while is a prerequisite for quitting porn. There are usually a lot of ups and downs. I applaud you trying at all and coming to the decision to quit. Welcome to the other side of the "looking glass."

"I asked my doctor about Karezza and now I have an enormous penis!"

good question.

I went about it the way a lot of people do. White knuckle it. I also, from very early on since coming here, decided I wanted to be in a relationship. So at the same time as I was completing my first 3 week stint of no masturbation I started going on dates. I got here in May and by July I had some casual sex. Then I got in a relationship which in the beginning emphasized less orgasm and more bonding behaviors. I was a recent CPA convert and was radically trying to everything the book says to do all at once. I have largely stayed away from hardcore porn with some slips but masturbation is another thing. It's complicated for the reason that now my girlfriend and I have shared orgasms every other week or so. Whenever that happens, as we know, there is a desire to continue masturbating into the following week. I haven't gotten anything like the amount of time away from masturbation as some of the people I read on here, although long term I do think I could use a longer cool down period.

I recently went 7 days then saw my girlfriend and we did our thing. I'm still day to day on this and haven't gotten the gumption up to get a counselor. I just started a grad program and I am very busy and stressed. It makes sense I would struggle now because masturbating is one of the ways I handle stress.

"I asked my doctor about Karezza and now I have an enormous penis!"


I think you're doing great. Any move toward balance and intimacy away from the escalation of an addiction is HUGE. Be gentle with yourself and just keep going. Some people tame this cold turkey, some gradually. But it takes time either way for the brain to return to normal sensitivity.

And remember...masturbation without porn can be a good compromise. So edit your host files, or whatever you have to do to keep the porn out of your reach for a bit.

*big hug*