To be clear, I have no affiliation with Your Brain on Porn. When I was trying to overcome my addiction I read a host of books on the subject and did tons of research. Most books are religious based, 12-Step based, or written by Psychologist's with limited knowledge and experience on the topic. None of these things worked for me. Typically they treat porn as sinful or wrong and lack objectivity. The website, Your Brain on Porn, was extremely helpful to me in overcoming my addiction. It was a breath of fresh air: finally, an open-minded look at porn addiction and the science behind it. So without reservation, I recommend this book to anyone hoping to overcome their addiction. The price is minimal but the value is tremendous.
Some of the topics covered in this book include:
- A brief history of porn addiction
- Great testimony from recovered and recovering porn addicts
- Covers pretty much all the problems you can think of that are associated with porn addiction and compulsive porn use
- The science and research behind addiction and porn addiction in particular
- A sobering look at addicts that are being diagnosed for the symptoms of porn addiction and being prescribed false treatments since many health-care professionals don’t acknowledge porn addiction
- Tips and advice from recovered porn addicts
- A glimpse at some of the naysayers of porn addiction
As someone that has done extensive research into the topic of porn addiction, I still found this book full of goodies: new information, helpful presentation of known information, and takeaways. I’d like to share some of the insights and key points that I pulled from reading it.
- My first insight is that the way porn rewires our brain and hijacks our reward circuit has profound effects on us. Things that used to be enjoyable no longer are. Natural rewards become less appealing. Friends, partners, sex, and achievement, things that usually cause our brain’s to release dopamine and make us feel good, become less significant. We are desensitized. As we abstain from porn and recover, it is helpful to reengage these natural sources of dopamine instead of porn. Some ways to fill the void include working out, writing, reading, achieving mini goals, meeting new people, trying new activities, and deep friendship.
- A second insight is the concept of edging. Edging is looking at porn and getting stimulated without actually having orgasm. This is NOT helpful. It is the searching and looking that is addictive, not the orgasm. So edging will enforce your addiction and not allow your brain to change back to its natural state. Additionally, trying to define porn and look at “non-porn” is a losing strategy. Even if you look at girls in bikinis or lingerie, you’re enforcing the brain changes and addiction. It’s not about how naughty the content is. Your brain is addicted to the searching and the novelty so any kind of searching enforces your addiction, as do residual porn fantasies. The only way to really quit is to give it all up. Permanently. You have to change your behavior for real if you expect real change.
- My third insight is that two things work against you with porn addiction. The addiction erodes your will power and the desensitization means porn will be the thing that turns you on the most. So with your reward circuit hijacked you have less willpower and you will derive the most pleasure from porn making it very hard to quit. But ironically of course, quitting is the only way to regain willpower and undo the damage. The good news is the longer you go without porn, the more willpower you will regain helping to make the rest of the battle a little easier. This is because as you abstain from porn, your brain begins to change back, lessening the desensitization and strengthening willpower with time. So no matter how difficult it is, hang in there!
Finally, I’d like to share one piece of encouraging testimony from the book. This is from a porn addict 90 days into his recovery:
“Since I've started this 90-day streak, I've lost over 20 pounds; I've started swing dancing; I joined a band; and I’m seeing a girl. I’m not talking about superpowers here. All this potential was already inside of me, trapped behind my porn habit. I have more confidence. I love myself. I look in the mirror, and I don’t feel regret. I think this is how normal people feel. I hate the amount of time I've wasted feeling guilty and ashamed, but I now look forward with a clear conscience. I love my life.”
(Your Brain on Porn, Page 159-160)
I've just scratched the surface on some of the great information in this book. If you find any of this information helpful, I strongly encourage you to buy the book and check it out for yourself. At $4.99 it’s the most effective help you will find for the cheapest price. I fully recommend it for no other reason than I genuinely believe you will find the information enlightening and helpful.
Already read the book or have insights of your own? Please share them in the comments.