Edging is looking at porn and getting stimulated without actually having orgasm. Often this is appealing because you think you’re only slipping if you actually finish the deed. You might be thinking that you’re not relapsing as long as you don’t orgasm. This is an appealing idea to many recovering addicts because quitting is hard and it’s fun to look. Newsflash: this is NOT helpful.
It is actually the searching and looking at porn that is addictive, not the orgasm. Your brain gets hooked on the novelty and the stimulation that comes from the looking and searching. So, edging will enforce your addiction and not allow your brain to change back to its natural state. In other words, edging is reinforcing your addiction and continuing your addictive behavior. You will not recover if you are edging.
To explain the science behind this it’s all about the Dopamine. Dopamine is the pleasure seeking chemical that is released in anticipation of the reward. As you search for porn, in anticipation of the reward, you are releasing that Dopamine and strengthening the pathways in your brain. These pathways are what keeps you addicted. So if you look at porn but don’t orgasm you are still reinforcing your addiction. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but now that you understand it, you don’t have to!
Another perhaps more obvious reason not to edge is that you’re asking for disaster. Just like the scenario with the alcoholic in the bar, you’re begging for failure. You will slip at some point and this will hit your self esteem hard. If you’re serious about quitting then don’t edge, it’s that simple.
Additionally, you should avoid anything even resembling your porn habit. Don’t look at bikini models or lingerie models or anything of the sort. These are all examples of playing with fire. And as annoying and cliche as this sounds, we all know what happens when you play with fire: you get burned. Sorry readers, I had to “finish” that sentence.
Stay strong and thanks for reading! For information on habit change read the post on changing bad habits to good habits.
What’s one experience you have of playing with fire where it didn't work out for you?