Summary of Your Brain on Porn - Understanding and Overcoming the Addiction

Here’s a summary of the popular book by Gary Wilson; Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction. Reading this book really helped me in developing a greater understanding of this addiction and what it takes to overcome it. I pray that you find strength reading this, and learn something new to help you in your journey.

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It’s a good book yes… I recently bought it on Audible. And def help me understand the condition better

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Understanding the Addiction:

  • Within the last five years, the world’s top neuroscientists have confirmed that addiction to pornography is real.
  • Multiple studies have linked the addiction to a list of symptoms. They found that participants suffered from;
    • decreasing satisfaction leading to a search for more extreme material
    • sexual problems
    • decreased relationship satisfaction
    • reduced cognitive function and mental health problems.
  • Their studies also found that men were able to cure themselves of these problems by eliminating their use of pornography.
  • A big reason why people continually fail to overcome the addiction is a lack of understanding of the withdrawal symptoms:
    • urges
    • crazy thoughts
    • sleeplessness
    • feelings of hopelessness, despair, worthlessness
    • and many more negative things.
  • These are a part of quitting PMO, as your brain returns to normal functioning again. The flatline particularly scares people - they experience temporary, but absolute, loss of libido and abnormally lifeless genitals with no attraction to women at all. They rush back to PMO to check whether their sexual organ still works, and the withdrawal symptoms seem to fade away for a time for some people. The real cure is powering through and going months without the addiction to be healed.
  • It is easy to estimate that nearly everyone under the age of 30 has seen pornography in different countries around the world. A study in Australia found that 100% of men under 30 and 82% of women had viewed pornography. In Western nations, around 28% of the population are heavily addicted. In 2017, 39% of men and 4% of women aged 15-29 viewed pornography daily. However, science and the media have not yet acknowledged pornography addiction as a genuine issue. This attitude means that millions are unaware that they are suffering symptoms which could be cured by stopping their pornography use:
    • social anxiety
    • low self-esteem
    • concentration issues
    • lack of motivation
    • depression
    • sexual dysfunction
    • and even suicidal thoughts.
  • Moderate or severe addiction is associated with an increased risk of self-harm. However, society tells us that pornography only makes you feel good and that frequent masturbation prevents prostate cancer in men.
  • Pornography producers admit that transgender pornography is made for straight audiences. They know that men will start to desire greater stimulation and arousal from more extreme sources as the addiction progresses. The brain can be trained to find anything arousing. But the straight men who view this will begin to question their sexuality and feel very disturbed with themselves as a result. Pornography addiction even made gay men watch lesbian pornography. A study of addicts in 2016 found that 20.7% of straight men watched gay pornography and 55% of gay men watched straight pornography. This issue is called HOCD or SOCD (Homosexual/sexual-orientation obsessive-compulsive disorder). Again, this goes away with extended time away from PMO.
  • Dopamine is the ‘craving’ chemical in your brain. It produces excellent sensations in your body when you engage in things like:
  • eating food
  • sexual activity
  • experiencing love or friendship
  • when you experience the feeling of something new - a new present, new car, new phone, new game, new movie etc.
  • Dopamine is connected to the search for pleasure, not the actual pleasure itself; it causes the anticipation of pleasure. It motivates you to crave things the brain thinks will be beneficial for you, and it rewires your brain to want those things more and more. It leads us to seek more and keeps us unsatisfied. When it comes to pornography, dopamine drives us to seek video after video, each one more extreme than the last. The brain believes you are really about to interact with these women and prepares to produce a child with as many women as possible and spread your genes. The sexual drive is the most effective genetic motivator we have. As such, an addiction to high-speed internet pornography is the most compulsive addiction possible, even higher than drug addiction.
  • The addiction causes damage to our brain’s prefrontal cortex; this is the CEO’s desk in our brain - the control centre. The control centre is in charge of willpower, avoiding instant gratification and impulse control, and analysing consequences before acting. This damage is part of the reason why people find it so difficult to quit; they’re driving a car with low gas and flat tires. The brain is not working at its best capacity, but the good news is that with months spent away from pornography, this will be repaired as well. We have to push through the withdrawal symptoms to success on the other side, no matter how bad the cravings and urges are.
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Benefits of Breaking Free:

  • Men who developed an understanding of how their brain worked and how they were reinforcing negative, self-destructive habits were able to cut pornography out of their lives completely. They were once again attracted to their wives and girlfriends, and the symptoms disappeared. The brain is changeable - you can reverse your symptoms and replace your negative habits with positive ones.
  • Of the few scientific studies that ask participants to give up pornography which have been conducted, those who gave up pornography saw improvement in:
    • their sexual health,
    • loss of penile dysfunction,
    • the return of natural arousal and intimacy in their relationships with wives and girlfriends,
    • more exceptional success skills,
    • better mental health
    • and being more extroverted and engaging with others.
    • Those who didn’t experience these results were the people who had failed to quit their pornography addiction during the study.
  • Addicts become less attracted to real men and women, authentic relationships with wives or husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends. In Japan, more than 20% of men no longer are interested in sexual intercourse. Similar results were found in Italy, France and the United States. They prefer pornography over real people. But after quitting pornography, those in relationships found that their sexual relations were better than ever before. They became so much more attracted to their wives etc. that they no longer considered pornography to be appealing.
  • People find after quitting that their social anxiety and shyness disappears. They can look people in the eyes again, have higher self-esteem and better senses of humour, and have increased female attraction. They become able to go to parties and events and enjoy social time at work or school, which they couldn’t do previously.
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Tips and Strategies for Overcoming the Addiction:

  • Delete all pornography. All downloads. Clear your browser history. Remove your bookmarks. Delete your dating apps and unfollow sexual pages on social media. Don’t just leave it in the Recycle Bin. Purge it from your computer. No matter how extensive your collection is, or how long it took to collect, get rid of everything.
  • Change your environment. If you usually watch pornography in your room, re-arrange your furniture. Re-arrange your desk. Move things around to change the cues in your brain.
  • Use a pornography blocker and an ad blocker - don’t rely on it; use it as a reminder that you don’t want to watch pornography. Every blocker has loopholes you can get around, so don’t rely on it. Use it as a tool to help build your self-control while your brain repairs its willpower.
  • Get an accountability partner - have someone who is going through the addiction as well who gets how difficult it is and will not judge you. Don’t go through this alone. Speak to someone and support each other out of the addiction. Encourage each other, help each other through urges and work on your strategies and methods together.
  • Keep a journal and record your progress. It will motivate you at times when it seems painful, and you want to quit, or you feel like you haven’t made any progress.
  • Engage in regular exercise. Exercise distracts your brain from urges, improves self-confidence and fitness, helps improve your mood and even enables you to heal from sexual dysfunction faster. It provides a good source of dopamine to counteract the urges to go back to PMO.
  • Try out cold showers. They help build your willpower and improve your mood - after you’ve got out of the cold water!
  • Get outside in nature, walk through the park, breathe the fresh air and get some sunlight on your skin. Your brain will heal much faster, and you’ll experience the benefits sooner.
  • Get outside and socialise. Spend more time with family and good friends. Interacting with others will heal your brain, as well. If you suffer from social anxiety, find a straightforward interaction which you can do and make a game of it. For instance, try making eye contact and smiling with as many people as you can who pass by you on the street. You’ll notice that you start getting better and your natural charisma will come out; you’ll start saying ‘Good afternoon,’ and ‘Hi there’, to people. As you keep going, even working up to a conversation will become more comfortable!
  • Meditation and prayer help repair the control centre of your brain. Many people who have rebooted swear by their new practices of meditation and how it has improved their self-control.
  • Engage in exciting, meaningful and productive habits and activities. You could learn a language, musical instrument or skill. Start cooking more. Work on personal projects and make use of your creativity. Read books you’ve always wanted to. You’re showing your brain that you can enjoy other things, and with time, you’ll gain more pleasure from them than you ever received from PMO. You’ll also heal and experience the benefits of quitting faster.
  • Go easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall, pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, refine your strategy and keep going. Appreciate that you’re on this journey and making a difference to improve your life.
  • Learn more about what’s happening in your brain and how addiction works. Learn about the withdrawal symptoms and what to expect, so they don’t lead you to relapse. Thousands of people who learned this found it much easier to understand their triggers and urges and were able to succeed.
  • Keep yourself inspired regularly. Read success stories of the thousands of people who have succeeded in quitting pornography.
  • Recognise that you don’t need 90 days of constant willpower, you need to build the habit of choosing to say ‘No’ every time the urge comes. This realisation makes the journey more bearable. It’s not as much of a fight.
  • Get over the shame of what you’ve done and your previous lack of self-control. Find a way to come to terms with your past and remove the guilt and shame. Shame increases the addictive tendencies and encourages binging. Be compassionate towards yourself, and look forward towards the future instead of back at the dark past you’re leaving behind.
  • Prepare yourself from urges before they happen. Decide what positive activities you will engage in instead of giving in to the urge. Figure out your reasons why these activities will help you at that moment. Think about what situations you can do them in - can you do them when you’re tired? In the shower? At work or at school?
  • Make a list of all the reasons why you want to quit PMO, and the reasons why you want to be free, and have the list ready to consult whenever the urges come.
  • Don’t ignore your urges. Always take immediate action by acknowledging them. Say this to yourself, ‘Here are cravings. They came out of nowhere, and they have no real power over me. I am not my thoughts; I did not summon them; I do not want them, and I do not have to act on them.’ Within 15 minutes, the urge will go away, and you’ll be fine until the next urge comes.
  • Recognise that you’re stronger than the urge. Always. No matter how long it takes, you can overcome it.
  • Some people do this every time a sexual thought like a pornographic flashback comes into their mind;
    • They envision a large, red X over it, and imagine hearing loud, ambulance sirens.
    • They do this immediately, and the process becomes automatic with habit.
    • For insistent images, they go further and imagine the red X exploding.
  • Do you keep giving yourself an excuse like ‘I will do it one last time’ or ‘Today is the last time’? Change it to ‘Just today I am not doing it’.
  • Live as if porn didn’t exist. Completely forget about it. Don’t spend your day fighting urges. Don’t ‘try hard’. Be OK with the idea that you will never watch porn again in your life.
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@emoro0220 It definitely does brother!

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Dear bro, I think you can pen a good book on PMO and breaking that addiction.

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@acarnegie743 Thank you for your kind words brother. I hope what I’ve shared helps you.

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This really does help me look at porn addiction in a new way, the urges are a sign of me becoming normal again. If I can avoid giving in to them I will be getting one step closer to living a normal life again. This also made me realize that every time I fail I have sexual thoughts in my mind that I allow myself to keep thinking about.

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@IWantToBeHappy That’s a great realisation brother!

Absolutely, these increased urges we experience are signs of our brains fighting the change as we go back to normal levels of stimulation. Avoiding them means we’re healing.

Relapses all start as thoughts in our mind. When we entertain those thoughts and allow them to play out, we keep following them until we act out and eventually relapse. When we remove these sexual thoughts straight away, we can keep ourselves from relapsing and continue to heal and improve our lives.

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I have to contradict this statement…Avoidance and Neglection lead to nasty psychological side effects. In my opinion and experience it’s all about conscious transmutation. Taking in the energy, feeling it in all it’s intensity and metaphysically sublimating it into ones higher structures leads to an unbeliavable growth of soul-and willpower. You can’t and shouldn’t “run away” metaphorically speaking, as this will make you a victim for the rest of your life, always being afraid that the “evil thoughts” may haunt you again.
Face mother nature eye in eye and state clearly to yourself that the life force will not be channeled through the genitals anymore, but into your heart and soul.

It’s tough, especially for beginners, but it’s the only way to actually overcome and dominate one’s inherent given power. Running away and counting the days you’re hiding…I wouldn’t wanna do that.

P.S. Funny thing btw, if you take the word “remove” in a literal sense, it actually indicates to re-move something, so conscioussly putting it from one place to another. So you would re-move the upcoming desire from the genitals and M fantasies conscioussly into useful actions and your higher self^^

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@Svami-MahaGanja This is an interesting idea, brother. You’re not the first person to suggest there may be negative psychological effects from this method.

I’d like to know more, could you explain how this conscious transmutation works, and what exactly to do?

It’s a complex thing, I do incorperate many traditions on my path to god and for that particular matter the metaphysics and methods of yogic Tantra have shown me a new dimension. Basically it works with the system of chakras and pancha-koshas, and trough specific asanas, breathing techniques and meditation practices with energy-channeling you move the energy within your structure.
Transmutation is basically the transformation from a gross substance/energy into a more subtle and refined one, and in this matter it’s the transmutation from gross horniness into a devine eros. Even angels can feel that.
Sublimation then is the (upward) movement of those refined substances.
A tantric master can have 10hours of ecstatic sex with multiple inward orgasms, without losing a drop of semen all while turning the life force into Ojas.
I think the term “Ojas” is quite well known in the NF Community, the sexual force that turns into an inherent, brain and mind nourishing substance.
I’ve spent 3 years in a tantric school now and it takes some time and dedication until you wrapped your mind around this and start to have the actual abilities to do that. If you’re from London and interested I might send you an adress of a school.

About the psychological side effects the psychology of Sigmund Freud depicts it perfectly as he dealt with this his entire carrer. If the energy is not used in any way and only condemned and neglected it will accumulate into other aspects of the psyche and lead to disorders and blockadges. To me it also makes sense somehow from the pure logical evaluation.

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It does sound complex!

I must admit I don’t know much about tantra. I’d have to do more research on the topic.

Maybe my brief way of describing the process makes it sound restrictive, but I could be wrong. Here is the whole process I follow when urges or sexual thoughts come to mind. I change the first step depending on whether it’s a temptation to view pornography or to ogle a woman in the street, etc.

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It’s a good method for the mind. And it is consecrated to god, something that only few people do.
But have you also considered that the sexual force is a present from god in the first place?
The horniness itself is not the temptation, the temptation is to use it for fast dopamine pleasure.
Sure, the demons will try everything to steal it, but it’s yours and it inherits the most seeked magic in the universe - life force. Once you’ve consciously claimed it you can spend it freely.
Your step 5 is actually a kind of tranmutation.

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I agree with you, certainly. Your thoughts on this are intriguing and I’d like to know more.

Well this goes a lot into personal world view and I’m still on my path as well, but so far I’m convinced that this life that we have, is given to us in order to grow and develop on the soul level. The soul gets nourished by deep spiritual experiences and deep states. And for those to arise it is needed a lot of life force…which again is accumulated by transmutation of semen retention and high level aspiration. So it all comes together on what you truly strive for. I made a statement on this on the pinboard lately, will post it.

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Urge=Energy. After several years of research I can say that. An Urge is upcoming life force. Don’t neglect it, respect it and use it!
Imagine mother nature would give you 30 Dollar several times a day. Fapping is like wasting all the money for prostitutes, leaving you poor and unaccomplished.
If you use all the money for your health, education and self improvement you can turn into an accomplished MAN. Think about it that way, in reality energy is infinitely more worth than money, many millionaires would do everything to be YOUNG again, wake up to the reality of potential that you have right now!!
Just imagine that every urge that you transmute will grow your soul bank account, and soon you will be rich of life force.
Stay focused. Peace

So with this metaphor you would decide to invest every urge of energy into your soul nourishment. What bigger is there to accomplish as a human being when finding that out? What’s left is to help others on their path…

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This is a great reflection! I like the idea of a soul bank account.

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