How to Reduce Your Porn Use | Counseling | Therapy

How to Reduce Your Porn Use

Pornography is a sexual tool that has its flaws and benefits. Regardless of its nuanced nature, there can be numerous, legitimate reasons why you would want to reduce your porn use. Maybe you want to focus more on your in-person relationships, perhaps pornography goes against your moral standards, upsets your partner or maybe porn is simply taking up too much of your time. Whatever your reasons may be, this article will help you reduce your personal porn use.

Create A Baseline of Your Porn Use

Whenever you try to reduce a certain behavior, it’s crucial to first have a baseline of your use. In regards to developing your baseline of pornography usage, ask yourself the following questions:

  • “How often do I consume pornography?”
  • "How much time do I spend thinking about watching porn?"
  • “Do I view porn on a consistent basis, or am I more of a ‘binger’?”
  • “How long is each porn session?”
  • “How many days of the week do I view porn?”
  • "In what ways do I hide my porn usage from others?"
  • “When do I tend to watch porn?”
  • "What would I wish my porn use to be?"
  • “Is porn a solitary activity, or do I watch it with others?”
  • "What feelings am I experiencing before, during and after the porn usage?"
  • “What happens after I watch porn?”
  • “What tends to happen before I watch porn?”
  • “What time of the day do I seem to watch porn?”

When reducing your porn use, you have to be aware of your progress. The only way you can know your true progress is by knowing where you started. If I were to say that my current porn use is 3 hours per week, that tells you nothing of my progress. However, if I were to say that I started off using porn 20 hours a week, you would have a great sense of my porn reduction. After creating a baseline, you’re now ready to engage in reduction techniques.

Change Your Thinking

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) argues that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interconnected. By affecting one, we change the others. This is especially useful due to the difficulty of altering our feelings and behaviors. We can’t just force ourselves to be happy, or the most productive worker in the office; we’re not robots. However, we can improve our thinking. This small change can affect the entire system of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

In regards to reducing your porn use, take a moment to reflect on your thoughts surrounding it. When trying to reduce a behavior, it’s common to have doubts and apathy. Thoughts like, “Can I really lower my use?” and “What’s the point in trying to quit?” are quite normal. Using a CBT format, you simply want to challenge those thoughts in a healthy and realistic way. For instance, “Can I really lower my use?” can become “Lowering my use will be difficult, but doable.” With this new thought, the person will likely feel more motivated to engage in a behavior that lowers their use. Overall, replacing maladaptive thoughts with healthy ones makes room for healthy feelings and behaviors.

Alter Your Environment

Despite the effectiveness of CBT, some still need additional help in reducing a behavior. Fortunately, altering your environment works as an additional intervention. Essentially, changing the situation surrounding your behavior can work to prevent it. For instance, if you have difficulty stopping yourself from texting and driving, placing your phone in the back of your car or in your glovebox actively prevents you from texting. A similar strategy can work with reducing your porn use.

Because you created a baseline, you have an idea of the environment regarding your porn use. For example, if you view porn before going to bed, leave a chore or a small assignment during that time. You can essentially make yourself too busy to look at porn. Additionally, try placing your laptop or phone in an inconvenient place during the time you usually consume pornography. For instance, if you tend to look at porn in the morning, place your laptop in your coat closet the night before. If you use a desktop, try moving it into the living room, or some other public area.

To be clear, the above ways to alter your environment aren’t meant to make porn impossible to access. With enough motivation, any adult can bypass barriers to view porn. However, the goal isn’t to make porn accessibility impossible, but difficult. Think about it this way: if you are trying to stop yourself from drinking, is it wise to spend your time at bars?

Be Realistic

Finally, be realistic with your expectations and your progress. Some people are able to go cold turkey on certain behaviors. Though that’s great, not everyone is like that, nor do they need to be. Your goal is simply to reduce your porn use in a way that works for you. Going from 10 hours a week to 9 may seem small to some, but it’s still laudable progress. Be patient with the results of your hard work; change doesn’t always happen immediately. Remember, you have your reasons for wanting to reduce your porn use. Working towards that goal, no matter how long it takes, is truly commendable.

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