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What Happens When You Stop Watching Porn for 90 Days

by Stephen Phillips 4 months ago in sexual wellness

The agony and ecstasy of changing your life

What Happens When You Stop Watching Porn for 90 Days
Photo by Filip Baotić on Unsplash

If I seem a little out of it, bear with me. I'm still trying to get used to this new routine I've got going.

In the mornings, I get up early and ease around the apartment. I walk onto the porch as the sun is unfolding and read some Rumi poetry or Raymond Carver if it's not too cold to be out there.

I do some breath work and exercises to loosen up my back. I make coffee and write fiction for an hour or so before my brain is flooded with different levels of social media-induced anxiety I signed up for and am only now coming to recognize.

There are breaks, amounts of cannabis, and stretching. There are afternoons, doctor visits, and working part-time at a wine shop in Hollywood.

The thing that's missing amidst a schedule designed to show up at the desk and stare at a computer for a couple of hours each morning, is my once-constant use of internet porn. Three years ago I would not have gone a day without it. Currently, I've gone over ninety.

After spending most of 2018 not looking at porn and then doing almost the reverse the following year, I decided to try to find a middle ground in 2020 with the aid of an app called Brain Buddy. Its software and accountability system was recommended to me by an editor at The Good Men Project who had referenced it in her own writing. Its focus on hypofrontality and dopamine rewiring was something my brain and I were seeking custody of before I hit forty.

What I would soon discover, after signing up for the app in January of this year, is what most men in their late thirties do as well: if you began viewing porn at a young age, the odds of extracting yourself from its grip as an adult decrease tremendously.

Tremendously. Exponentially. What's another word for screwed, but not fucked yet?

For the addict, if you make it past the morning, there's always the afternoon. If you go to sleep without porn, there's always waking up, perhaps disoriented from erotic dreams, and reaching for your phone to masturbate in the semi-darkness.

Before I go any further, I want to be clear that I put aside all judgement when I write about this topic. It's sensitive and it gets people's attention. I don't think porn is wrong nor do I judge its users, producers, actors, etc. I just think, like anything in life where a little of something careens into too much, that it often deserves a closer look in the lives of ordinary people.

The more I realized how normal it was for me to look at something daily for a few seconds, the greater difficulty I had separating a boredom cure from a potentially destructive habit. Usually I would masturbate to it once or twice a day. Point being, I liked to look at porn a lot.

So what would happen if I stopped watching this stuff at the beginning of this year like I was supposed to last year? If I said goodbye to all the tits and asses, the dicks, the creative penetration from the past twenty years of my life? Where would I go if I had nothing to come to? Nothing, as I explained to myself, to help me feel a touch of euphoria in my current state of anxiety and chronic pain?

Turns out, quite a lot! Things such as insomnia, depression, and a lack of concentration to start. Restlessness, irritability, and loss of libido followed. All of this was mixed with horniness and even more insomnia. My brain was rebooting and the task of renewing my neural pathways after years of pornographic stimulation was like scrubbing down the inside of a volcano.

I stopped eating and lost five pounds. I couldn't sleep, but kept my fighting weight thanks to an improved diet. Then, in a sudden, counteractive splurge at the beginning of April, I began eating burgers, pizza, and all kinds of fatty, high glucose foods late into the night in an effort to give my body a kind of "hit," a drug high to calm the cravings left behind by the daily loss of pleasure chemicals.

During this time, with the help of an amazing, recovery support system, I somehow managed to keep my eyes straight ahead and my hands off myself. As it stood, I made it thirty days without looking at porn or masturbating to it. Next, I almost didn't make it to sixty. Now I have a chance to do something I've never done before: complete one hundred twenty days before the year is halfway over.

In my thirty-eight years, there was once a time when I did not even think about watching pornography. I was a teenager and had not discovered it yet. I had built worlds within worlds without its existence.

Now I have arrived at a place where, though I can never fully erase the memory of porn, I can move forward without it. I don't need the fleeting pleasure that it provides and I can replace any shred of its fantasy with a confident, imperfect life of my own.

With that in mind, consider this a small, status report. A to-be-continued if you will.

I'm still alive and kicking through the worst of it. I'm living a simple, peaceful life in the midst of a pandemic and it's one I never dreamed I would achieve.

If I seem a little out of it to you, it's just because I've never been here before. That’s all there is to it and that's enough for me.

sexual wellness

Stephen Phillips

Black coffee and late night flights. ☕️✈️✨

📧: [email protected]

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