The Porn Page

The demographic that reads this blog is likely the demographic that either is tempted to look at pornography, wishes to quit pornography, or knows people who wish to quit pornography. When I was a college minister (and even now), the most common questions I received from people were:

  1. How can I get somebody to love me?
  2. How can I/Why can’t I quit pornography? 

The questions, of course, are connected. But this persistent page exists to make helpful links, tips, and evidence against using pornography available.

The Best Porn Tips

The tips here are helpful for anybody who looks at porn, but they’re aimed at men, whether they are addicted to pornography or just casual users. 

  1. Only use the internet in public places (in your home, only in rooms where others are present or are likely to be present). 
  2. Delete from your phone that let you “stumble on to porn.” This includes instaGram, reddit, Tumblr, and even twitter
  3. Find three things to do every time you are realistically tempted to look at porn (as in, you have opportunity to use it). Here’s a list of tasks to replace porn depending on where you are:
    1. Drink a glass of ice water or take a cold shower.
    2. Do push-ups until the desire for porn goes away.
    3. Pick up a non-porn, non-e-book and go read it out of arms reach of any electronic device on which porn is accessible. 
    4. Go for a walk (try barefoot, if the environment allows).
    5. Contact an accountability partner.
    6. Engage in some form of spiritual exercise
  4. Find a hobby and practice is regularly. Dallas Willard says that porn is only interesting to people whose lives are lacking key drama and interesting challenges. This is why I recommend weight lifting for individuals in the modern wasteland of western civilization.

The Best Porn Links

Below are links to good advice, porn-quitting support groups, and relevant scientific literature. In order of importance, the first two paragraphs are most important, the third paragraph is helpful but less important, and the final paragraphs (links to pages about science are so-on) are helpful, but perhaps won’t be persuasive to any but the most male-brained.

  1. Quit Masturbating and 10 Reasons to Stop Using Internet Porn are two posts by internet eccentric, Victor Pride. He has e-books to sell, sure (but who doesn’t), but he seems to really want to help people, and he uses his marking skills to try to really help you stop these two destructive habits without any overt-attempt to sell you a specific product. He has great paragraphs like this, “Masturbation is not a biological need, it is a mental addiction. You become addicted to this death-spasm like people become addicted to heroin. It’s great when you first shoot up heroin, then it is a lifetime of hell. Masturbation works the same way.”
  2. Ed Latimore, former professional boxer (so very disciplined) and aspiring physicist (so smart) wrote this good post: How To Quit Porn. He gives extremely practical tips and skips over the “find out why you need it so you can heal” noise and goes straight to ending the habit. He writes, “You don’t tell a crackhead to do some soul searching. No, you just get the crackhead off the rock as quickly as possible.”
  3. For online support groups check out nofap.com or Reddit.com/r/nofap. NoFap, from what I can tell, has moved from a simple spiritual exercise (quitting porn and masturbation) to a full-blown “sex-positive” movement. It’s still useful, though.
  4. Finally, check out Your Brain on Porn.

The Best Argument For Using Porn and Responses

  1. Nothing matters, so I might as well seek pleasure. Porn leads to a hedonic treadmill of diminishing pleasant returns and because it requires no extra effort (like real sex/romance) such as sexual skill acquisition or overcoming interpersonal conflict to enjoy. So the pleasure sought will be minimal. Also, life might not be meaningless.
  2. Porn is consenting adults being filmed by consenting adults to be watched by consenting adults. What’s the big deal? This argument confuses legality with morality and what the government can/should regulate with what provides for an optimal life. It’s also legal to eat until you’re obese, go into debt for a crappy degree, do bicep-curls in the squat rack, and drink Folgers coffee. None of these are good ideas. 
  3. The majority of American women are overweight, many are single mothers by their 20s, and many women appear to buy into an explicitly anti-male ideology, why should I give up on porn to pursue the impossible goal of romance?  This is probably the best argument for porn use. If a happy marriage or even long-term monogamous relationship in which truly fulfilling sexuality can be enjoyed is unavailable, then why should one choose to stop looking at porn? The answer is that like can attract like. If you get in shape, learn to make more money, climb the social ladder, perhaps have a religious conversion, or learn to be funny a different group of partners will become available. But even these consequences do not focus enough on this fact: most people don’t find porn use to be a satisfying solution to their sexual drive and this is not because our culture is Puritannical (most Americans use porn). It isn’t just stigmatized by non-users. It is internally stigmatized like other sub-optimal states like debt, obesity, and holding a grudge. In other words, you can be at peace with yourself if you stop using porn, even if the result of romantic fulfillment does not pan out. There are fulfilling aspects of life one misses out on when one lives in a state of shame, and while romance is a central human drive that hopefully nobody is forced to do without, it is not the only modality of happiness. If you have sex twice a week in marriage for 30 years, that’s 52 hours a year, or 1,560 hours of sex. What’s the point? There is more to life than sex, but there’s not much more to life than how you feel moment-by-moment. And feeling like a failure because you watch other men successfully have sex with beautiful women is not a way to feel at peace with yourself. Watching porn is, in this sense, like watching sitcoms full of people in expensive apartments who never seem to go to work while you are in debt or watching sports while you’re fat. There is, of course, a more powerful religious argument for celibate singleness, but that’s not the point of this page.