Alright, I stole this pic from a famous Tumblr. Still funny to me, though.

What It’s Actually Like to Walk Away from Porn Addiction.

“The only time you should watch porn is when you’re falling down the pit of self, and the only thing you can do to stop your fall is grab hold of your own penis.”
– Marc Maron, Comedian

Earlier this year, I was invited to attend a housewarming party of some friends of mine who had moved in together. While sitting around a circle at a large table, I listened in on what the other guys were saying. As we’d already gotten somewhat familiar with each other, soon enough someone jokingly asked what kind of porn everyone was into. It’s something us guys will sometimes bring up when there’s no women around, or when we’ve gotten too liquored up to mind the few who are.

You know, “Locker Room Talk”.

A friend of mine sitting next to me laughs, turns to me and says “That’s almost more of a personal question than asking for someone’s social security number!”

I started to chuckle a bit at everyone’s responses – it was a situation I’ve been in before. At the time I didn’t have the courage to say what was really on my mind, though. I didn’t want to tell everyone at that table that I’d been trying to quit for several years.

I didn’t want to be “That Guy”.

I realize that people have a wide range of highly-charged opinions on this topic, so much so that I can’t address them all here. Some will say that pornography is harmless, that it doesn’t affect their sex lives in any negative way, and that it inspires some creativity in the bedroom. Others might say that it ruins relationships, promotes violence against women and distorts young people’s perception of what sex really looks like.

What I can say from personal experience is that from the moment I started seeing any nudie/pornographic material, I didn’t like it. Or rather, I should say – I didn’t like that I liked it. I vividly remember some of the boys at school flipping through a dirty magazine, then saying: “Hey Ro, look over here.” When I looked to see the photo they were holding, my face got hot with embarrassment as I quickly turned away.

I’m not sure how I learned to feel ashamed for experiencing pleasure upon seeing a woman’s body. At this point, I’m not interested in searching for what part of my upbringing/ culture/ media influence created that belief within me. I can, however, take responsibility for changing my ways going forward. I think there is a way that men could learn to appreciate women’s bodies, in all their various shapes and sizes, without all the gawking, objectifying, non-consensual grabbing – or worse.

But I also think we should probably do so, away from our laptops.

At this point, I want to define the word “addiction”, as it seems be a heavy word, one that I’m probably throwing around too much. I simply mean anything that you continue to do, despite not wanting to. Drinking too much coffee, overthinking, and scrolling through Facebook also count. Even though my habit didn’t seem to interfere with my social/work life, and even though I’d go six to eight months without viewing anything, I’d end up going back – usually after feeling pretty bummed out.

When it comes to quitting, it can be a challenge to find someone in your life to turn to for support. I remember numerous times when I’d tell someone about my decision, and they’d end up finding it kind of funny (alright… maybe it is funny). Either he didn’t feel like his porn habit was actually a “problem”, didn’t watch it at all, or didn’t want to continue the conversation. Whatever the case may be, I’m not judging – sometimes I unknowingly open up to people, expecting that they’ll do the same with me.

Without anyone in my immediate circle to turn to, I found out about the good people at nofap.com (which is a hilarious title to anyone who gets it). It’s an organization that helps people break their habits around pornography. There are plenty of listed benefits that people claim to experience after making this shift in their lives, including:

– Increased self-esteem.
– Increased drive and motivation to achieve their goals in life.
– Feeling more connected to other people.
– And many more…

As soon as I found out about their forum, I started a small “accountability group” with some of its members. It was then that I discovered how much shame people experience around this. Usually, I’d be the one to check-in with people to see whether or not they’d kept their commitment. Many of those times, I’d wait a few days before getting a response laden with self-judgement. They seemed like genuinely good, earnest people who wanted to save their relationships, or improve themselves in a meaningful way. But still I’d read their messages, knowing that they were beating themselves up time and time again for not following through on their word.

I haven’t heard from them in a while.

As for myself, I was doing pretty well. To ensure that I wouldn’t have another “relapse”, I went so far as to pledge to pay $300 to an organization I don’t support for breaking my agreement. I was out traveling at this point, and was focused on other things that took my mind away from digital nudity. On this end, things were going great until…

Until…

Until I moved back home.

Back in August, I went to a personal growth & transformation seminar called Evolving Out Loud, which I’d highly recommend checking out. The only issue was that afterwards, I’d never felt a bigger discrepancy between who I wanted to become in life and who I was being. Jobless and back to living with Mom and Pop, I heard familiar voices in my head come up:

“You’re not getting laid any time soon, anyways!”
“Who cares – everyone else is doin’ it!”

Well… “it” happened.

*Cue temporary self-loathing*

In the end, everyone gets to choose what is right or wrong for them. Since I decided this is wrong for me to do, I’ve had to live with the consequences. Through these experiences, I’ve learned to accept myself, as I am, in both my highest highs, and lowest lows.

Although not every guy will agree with me, I’ve had enough discussions to know that many find their habitual consumption of porn to be very disempowering. I also feel for all the women out there who quietly (or loudly) resent their partners’ habits, resigning to the old adage that “boys will be boys”.

I’m not writing this to say “I’m not like those other guys – I’m one of the noble ones!” – because I also know the state of mind leading up to the act itself. I’m not out to shame anyone for the decisions they make.

But I do want to encourage you to love whatever aspect you find repulsive in yourself, including your addictions.

Especially that which you find repulsive in yourself – not to stay “screwed up”, but to bring you back to Wholeness.

The internet has added so much to our lives, and I genuinely believe it’s one of the reasons why there’s never been a better time to be alive than today. And yet there’s never been anything quite as effective at keeping you as distracted, sad, and horny as possible to keep you from experiencing how precious you actually are.

Hopefully you’ve made it to the end of this post without switching tabs to look at nudez (it’s alright if you did – still love ya!). Here’s to making whatever choices serve you best.

With love, as always,

Rolando

ps. brb, everyone – Going to Hell.

Shout out to Esau Woods for shooting this footage of me Going to Hell.
Keep reading my stuff!

Fill this thing out and get my email reminders when I've posted something new.

I am going to spam you.