13 Best Ways To Overcome Porn Addiction Withdrawal (2022)

Are you struggling to overcome porn addiction withdrawal? This ultimate guide includes 12 proven solutions to get over this problem.

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients give up the habits that don’t serve them so they can enjoy a more fulfilling existence.

That’s why I’m keen to share this guide with you. 

So, let’s dive in.

What Are The Benefits Of Quitting Porn?

If you’re experiencing porn addiction withdrawal, that means you’ve understood the benefits of quitting pornography and you’ve given it a try.

Still, before we explore the methods to help you manage porn addiction withdrawal, let’s remind ourselves of the benefits you can expect when you quit porn.    

Short Term Benefits Of Quitting Porn

After the first days of quitting porn, you might not notice too many benefits. In fact, you’ll probably only notice symptoms of withdrawal and an increased desire to watch porn.

Still, there are some short-term advantages that should help you push through this difficult early period of giving up porn.

These include: 

  • You save time. Time is our most important currency. When you give up porn, you create more time to do more important and fulfilling things.
  • You save money. In a recent study, more than half of those who self-identify as sex addicts said they suffered serious financial problems as a result of their addiction. 
  • A stronger relationship. Porn addiction can be the source of great tension in a relationship. It can affect your partner’s mental health as well as your own. By taking steps to give up porn, you can hopefully fix this tension and strengthen your relationship. 
  • Increased self-esteem. This should be a benefit, anyway. It can feel degrading to be at the mercy of your urges. You should be very proud to be making moves to take back control of your life. 
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Long Term Benefits Of Quitting Porn

The long-term benefits of quitting porn are essentially a removal of the negative side-effects that porn use can have on your mind and body.

You can expect: 

  • Easier arousal. Regular porn use increases the amount of stimulation you need to experience sexual arousal. Once you quit viewing porn, your arousal levels will reset back to normal levels.
  • Stronger erections. Erectile dysfunction can be a side-effect of needing extra stimulation to be aroused. Once you give up porn, you can eventually look forward to stronger, more consistent erections.
  • Improved focus. Addiction can wreak havoc on your focus, because your thoughts are always being invaded by desires to indulge in your vices. Studies show that even regular non-addicted porn viewers suffer from brain fog, so you can expect to have clearer thoughts once you give up.
  • Delayed gratification. The discipline required to delay gratification will carry across to other areas of your life. 
  • A better experience of sex. All of the above benefits will add up to make your overall experience of sex more enjoyable. 

Why Is It So Difficult To Quit Porn?

Porn addiction might not be taken as seriously as drug abuse or alcohol addiction, but it can be just as difficult to quit as these or any other addiction.

That’s because the dependency and the withdrawal symptoms that arise when you try to quit are more or less the same.

Pornography creates a rush of dopamine to the brain, which can become addictive, especially if you become too reliant on it to feel good. 

The fact that porn is free and so easily accessible arguably makes it easier to become a frequent porn user than a drug user, for example.

Porn Addiction Withdrawal
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The trouble with excessive porn use is: you’ll quickly build a tolerance to the initial sexual arousal of watching pornography. The dopamine production can be so extreme in these early stages that your brain has to balance the dopamine system to lower the amount released next time. The end result is: you’ll need to watch more extreme porn to get the same rush as before. 

(This is why consistent pornography use often leads to erectile dysfunction, a lack of sexual desire, an inability to climax or some other form of sexual dysfunction. Regular intercourse simply doesn’t cause as much sexual satisfaction as before).

When you try to give up watching porn, it will create a dopamine dysregulation in your brain, creating unpleasant feelings and uncomfortable symptoms that may tempt you to relapse.

Porn Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Extreme irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of Libido
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Intrusive Thoughts
  • Depression

These symptoms plus your previous reliance on porngraphy to feel good will cause a constant desire to relapse, just as an alcoholic, smoker or drug addict might experience in the opening days of quitting.

In an effort to cope with these symptoms, you might be tempted to indulge in other addictive behaviors. 

Related: How To Not Be Horny: 21 Powerful Ways

How To Overcome Pornography Addiction Withdrawal

As troublesome and uncomfortable as pornography withdrawal symptoms can be, it’s important to remember that they won’t last forever.

If you can be strong in your opening days of quitting pornography, you’ll notice the symptoms of withdrawal become less debilitating over time. 

Here are 13 tips to help you overcome pornography addiction withdrawal that will allow you to quit your porn habit for good. 

1. Accept You Have A Problem. Pledge To Give Up Cold Turkey.

The first step to stop watching porn is to admit you’re addicted to porn. You’ll also need to  accept that it’s causing a huge problem in your life.

Without making these admissions, you’ll be prone to relapse as soon as your withdrawal symptoms provide any level of difficulty.

You’ll rationalise that it’s no big deal to indulge one more time again and again, allowing your addiction to destroy your life even further. 

A useful exercise might be to write down all the ways that your addiction is ruining your life – and the lives of those around you.

Once this list is finished and you’ve realized how important it would be for you to quit watching porn, pledge to do so. Tell those who know about your addiction that you’re giving up cold-turkey. This will help to keep you accountable in spite of the upcoming withdrawal symptoms.

As tough as these symptoms might be, relapsing and contuining your addiction will be even tougher in the long run.

Once you realize this, it should be easier to find the strength to overcome this problem.      

2. Face Your Demons Head On

The main reason people indulge in any unhealthy excess of pleasure is because they’re trying to avoid facing something that’s making them feel bad.

Perhaps it’s some sort of trauma from the past they’re refusing to face. Maybe it’s an extreme anxiety over the future. It could just be an extreme hatred of yourself or the life you’re living. 

Either way, an over-indulgence in porn, sex, drugs, alcohol or comfort food is their way of avoiding the problem.

Unfortunately, it’s not a permanent solution. 

These toxic thoughts will return once the high wears off.

Then, so will the choice to either face the demons or escape them via the unhealthy pleasurable activity again.

It’s when you keep choosing the easy escape that an addiction forms.

The more they choose the escape route, the higher their tolerance to it becomes, the more they need it to drown out their unpleasant thoughts.   

The only real way to defeat the cycle of addictive behavior is to face your demons instead of running from them 

When you choose to actually face and overcome these toxic thoughts, you’ll have nothing to run from any more. 

It’s not easy, but it’s the most reliable way to cure an addiction. 

A therapist can help addicts understand what they are running from in their lives and why. They’ll also be able to suggest techniques to help them face their demons and love themselves as they are, without needing the constant high from an unhealthy activity to feel good. 

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3. Know Your Triggers

It’s important to know what tends to trigger your desire to watch porn. Think back to your last few strong urges. What happened immediately before those urges took over?  

If you’re not sure, commit to taking a note of what triggers your next urges. 

When you understand what your triggers are, you can take steps to stop them happening in the future.

Sometimes, your triggers will be sexual; viewing mild sexual content on social media for example.

Other times, your triggers will be emotional; maybe you use porn to cope when you’re stressed out by your partner for example.

Either way, the less triggers you come across, the less temptation you’ll face, the less intense your withdrawal symptoms are likely to be. 

While you’re figuring out how to reduce your triggers, take steps to make pornography harder to access too. 

This might mean only using a computer in public places, putting blocks on internet pornography, or throwing away your porn movies and magazines.

4. Seek Out Natural Sources Of Dopamine

The extreme rush of dopamine is what makes pornography so addictive.

When giving up porn, it’s recommended you replace it with a healthy and natural source of dopamine instead.

This might be:

  • Exercise
  • Listening to your favorite music
  • Eating a diet high in protein and tryosine
  • Sex with your partner (if you have one)  

While your brain’s reward system is still used to the huge rush of dopamine that porn provides, these natural solutions might not do much for you.

However, as your brain rewires during your cold turkey period and fixes its dopamine dysregulation, these solutions can become a satisfying alternative to pornography that calm your withdrawal symptoms. 

5. Keep Busy 

As we’ve explored, a porn addiction can develop from the desire to distract your brain from toxic thoughts.

There are healthier, more natural ways to distract your mind though.

Why not: 

  • spend more time enjoying yourself with friends and family;
  • dive into a new hobby;
  • start an online side-hustle (although work addiction can also become problematic and unmanageable);
  • work on creating a more satisfying sex life with your partner. 
Porn Addiction
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6. Step Up Your Efforts To Attract A Partner

Porn addiction can affect men and women. It can strike upon singles and those in intimate relationships.

However, a significant percentage of excessive porn users are involuntarily incelibate.

They use porn to cope or distract themselves with their supposed ‘inability’ to attract women and have real sex.   

If they don’t become addicted to porn, they might develop a video game or internet addiction instead.  

The thing is: a lot of these men are barely taking any steps to try and meet women, outside of creating a Tinder account that gets no matches. 

If you’re one of them, why not use this pledge to quit porn as a reason to adopt new habits that will make you more attractive.

  • Sculpt a more attractive body in the gym;
  • Take more exciting photos of yourself to use on your dating profile;
  • Up your charisma at an improv acting or public speaking class;
  • Create a social life that a woman would want to be a part of. 

Now you’re not only keeping busy to distract yourself from porn addiction withdrawal, you’re also investing in a more satisfying sex life for yourself in the future.

I appreciate this is all easier said than done, but what’s stopping you taking the first steps to becoming a more attractive prospect today?

This list of confidence-building exercises could get you well on your way. 

7. Meditate

Meditation is the practice of focusing on the present moment, instead of being stuck in your thoughts.

There are plenty of meditation methods, but a popular one is simply to sit and focus on your breathing for 10-20 minutes. Inevitably, a thought will pop into your mind when you do this. When that happens, calmly shift your focus back onto your breathing. You’ll get better at this over time, allowing you to become more present in your day-to-day life. 

There are countless benefits cited for frequent meditators.

For those experiencing porn addiction (or indeed any other addiction), it’ll help them to stop being distracted by their urges all day. It should hopefully help stop you from being distracted by symptoms of withdrawal too.  

8. Improve Your Sleep Quality 

For a lot of addicts, the urge to watch porn is strongest when they’re lying in bed trying to sleep.

Some have trouble sleeping without the release of an orgasm. Some simply can’t cope with the negative thoughts swirling in their head while they’re lying alone in the dark.

Either way, if you take the steps needed to make yourself fall asleep quicker, you’ll bypass the urge to watch porn when you get into bed. 

My list of hacks for the best night routine ever will help you to do that.

A bad night’s sleep reduces your willpower, making you more likely to relapse. You’ll also increase common symptoms of porn addiction withdrawal such as irritability, headaches, mood swings, a loss of libido etc. 

A better night’s sleep will have you feeling better the next day, making it easier to avoid relapsing and minimise these common symptoms of withdrawal. 

9. Celebrate Small Victories

As much of a cliche as it is, overcoming addiction really is about taking it one day at a time.

If you only focus on the end goal of full porn addiction recovery, it’s going to be tougher for you. 

During your toughest moments, that end goal is going to seem too far away and you’ll be prone to giving up and relapsing. 

When you focus on getting to the end of the day, that’s a more manageable goal.

But why not go further?! Why not celebrate achieving these small goals! 

A small celebration with your loved ones – and maybe a small reward for yourself at the end of the day – can be enough.

Take the time to notice when your withdrawal symptoms are diminishing too. That can give you the motivation to keep going and eventually reach that finish line.

10. Consider Group Therapy

If you don’t like the idea of sharing your struggles with your friends and family, or you simply aren’t able to, consider seeking treatment with group therapy instead.

Talking about your problems with support groups can empower you and make it easier to overcome your addiction. 

Accountability can be a superpower whether you’re trying to treat porn addiction, substance addiction, alcohol abuse or anything else.

So, go ahead and find your nearest group therapy session.  

Family therapy, where your family members are invited to join the sessions, could provide a similar sense of accountability. This is recommended especially if one might need to learn how their relationships might be encouraging a porn addiction, or how their relationships are being destroyed by it. 

11. Learn More About The Horrors Of The Porn Industry 

It might seem like the actors are having a great time in the pornographic material you’re watching, but there are a lot of dark secrets being hidden in this industry. 

Do your research and you’ll find stories linking amateur porn and sex trafficking.

Even in the “legitimate” porn industry, you’ll find plenty of scandals regarding sex performs, coercion and violence. Many adult stars are dealing with their own traumas. Others have addictions, which they believe they can only fund by making more sexually explicit material.

The reality of the adult industry can be disgusting enough to cure your porn addiction. 

12. Medications For Porn Addiction

Medications for porn addiction and withdrawal symptoms are still being researched. Tests are ongoing to see whether medications for substance abuse can also help to treat behavioral addictions.

There’s a lot of interest in Naltrexone, an opioid blocker, in particular. It’s believed this may lessen one’s interest in watching porn, although more research is needed at this point. 

Still, it may be worth asking your GP about any progress with these studies.  

13. Recovery From Porn Addiction

Whenever porn withdrawal symptoms hit you hard, take a moment to remember what you’re working towards.

It’s not just eliminating all the horrible consequences of your addiction, it’s also your happy new porn-free future. 

You’re suffering a bit now, so you and your loved ones can be far happier in future. 

The recovery process isn’t easy, but it’s important to remind yourself that it’s worth it in the long run. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About Porn Withdrawal

Let’s round off this article with the answers to some frequently asked questions about porn addiction and withdrawal.

How Common Is Porn Addiction?

A 2019 study suggested “hypersexual disorder” had a prevalance rate of around 3-6%. This included a range of behaviors associated with sexual addiction, including masturbation without porn, sex with a consenting partner, visiting strip clubs etc.

There aren’t too many reliable sex addiction or porn addiction statistics, partly because there’s no official medical definition of what porn addiction, sex addiction or excessive porn usage is.

There is a frequently-cited survey from Australia suggesting that around 4.4% of men and 1.2% of women consider themselves addicted to porn. These figures wouldn’t include those in denial over their problematic porn use.

We can certainly assume that porn addiction has become more common since the introduction of free internet porn in recent decades. Studies suggest around 25% of internet search queries and 35% of online downloads are related to porn. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Porn Addiction?

Here are some reliable signs that you’re addicted to porn.

  • You’ve tried to stop watching porn, but you can’t. 
  • You’ve lost a lot of time to porn use, failing to complete other important tasks as a result. 
  • You’ve watched porn in public, or somewhere there would be significant consequences if you were caught. 
  • You’re often distracted from important tasks because you’re thinking about porn. 
  • You’ve created financial problems by spending money on porn. 
  • You’ve lost interest in sex with your partner. 

How Long Do Withdrawals Last From Porn? 

It’s hard to give an accurate average, not only due to a lack of research in this area, but also because there’s likely to be a high amount of factors determining the length of withdrawals.

For example:

  • How long has the subject been watching porn? 
  • How do they consume it? Videos or images? Smartphone or big screen TV?
  • How often have they been watching porn?
  • What do they do when watching porn? 
  • How intense was the porn addiction in the first place? 

How Does Quitting Porn Affect The Brain?

Pornography Addiction
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When you watch porn, your brain reacts by relasing high amounts of dopamine, which feels great and inspires you to watch more. 

The more porn you watch, the more likely you’ll rewire your brain to develop a tolerance and release less dopamine over time, meaning you’ll need more extreme porn to get the same rush.

It’s this desire for more that helps to create an addiction.

Thankfully, studies have shown you can undo this brain re-wiring by giving up porn, just as you can by quitting other addictive substances and behaviors.

You may experience withdrawal symptoms as your brain struggles to adapt without this constant flow of dopamine, but these have been shown to disappear over time as well.   

Any Questions?

Thanks for reading my guide. I hope you’re now more comfortable understanding porn addiction withdrawal and how to overcome it.

If you have a question about how porn use affects your mental health, feel free to write it in the comments section below. 

It would be great to hear from you.