The Black Hole of Pornography
Pornography is definitely an undetected and undiagnosed parasite that is growing every day in our current world. It’s very easy to fall victim to porn because of its omnipresent existence and rapid availability. Porn addicts (like any other addicts) are either reckless people with self-sabotaging patterns or clueless victims unaware of the repercussions of watching porn on a consistent basis. They don’t completely realize how addiction to porn can ruin their success socially as well as otherwise in their lives.
I fell victim to pornography during my college years and it went on unnoticed for a long time. When I went to college, the availability of porn among my fellow hostel mates as well as the advent of the internet got me deeper and deeper into the quicksand of watching porn every day. I denied my addiction and thought that it was not a serious attachment as everyone was watching it. But as I went ahead in my 20s, the easier access to porn on the internet totally consumed me and made me reach out to porn whenever I felt lonely or bored. It became my source of entertainment and relief from the boredom and struggles of life. Whenever I faced obstacles or I came across anything that challenged my mental faculties, I sought refuge in porn. Watching porn and masturbation became a coping mechanism and an escape for me.
Deep inside, I always knew that everything was fake but the excitement and rush of dopamine that I felt after masturbation was irresistible and I kept on doing it again and again with zero self-control. I felt ashamed and guilty and hence did not reach out to anyone for help and support. It was not until a few years back when I watched a TED Talk on the repercussions and fakeness of porn, that I made a firm decision to give up porn for good.
It is not possible to get rid of porn completely as it is everywhere on the internet these days. There are TV shows and movies containing nudity as well as random advertisements and posts on social media on the Internet that come up out of nowhere and can get you down the rabbit hole if you’re not aware and present. Enticing YouTube videos containing nudity and sexual imagery are available just a few clicks away. The truth is that it’s difficult to escape from seeing naked bodies on the internet these days, but we have to commit to doing the best we can. We need to come up with strategies so that we stay away from all these temptations until we reach the stage where we can exercise a good amount of self-control. It is an uphill battle and we need to be proactive about staying away from porn and sexual imagery even if it involves staying away from certain TV shows, movies or internet websites. Nudity, when captured in an art form or aesthetically, is a different story, but when it is done for commercial reasons and without any relevance or rational context just to get clicks, likes, and eyeballs, it is not acceptable as it can be morally degrading and a negative influence on people.
Watching pornography is synonymous with using a credit card as you don’t realize how much it is affecting you negatively until you come at a stage where eventually you have no choice but to pay the price. In addition, you end up losing the two most precious assets of your life: your time and your attention.
If you think you are having an unhealthy addiction towards porn, the best way to get started is to give it up cold turkey. Taking up a 30-day or possibly a 90-day challenge where you don’t watch pornography can help you reset, rewire your brain and recalibrate your sexual desires. If you keep slipping back to watching pornography despite all your efforts and you don’t seem to be getting a grip on this bad habit, I would encourage seeking professional help. It is natural to feel shame and guilt, but it is important that you resolve this problem as soon as possible.
Below is a short meditation that I wrote inspired by the book Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson. I hope it adds value to you and helps you open up to the repercussions of pornography and unhealthy masturbation.
Many of us have watched or continue to watch porn consistently. Some are okay with it as it does not interfere with their daily lives, whereas some people can develop a serious addiction towards it.
The human brain craves for novelty and gets excited when different kind of sexual images are available to us within few moments. Due to a wide variety of sexual imagery, a plethora of options are available online. As the websites provide a supernormal and unnatural stimulation, the dopamine surge caused by sexual excitement is unbeatable. Because of this, the brain gets desensitized over time and spending time with a physical partner seems less appealing. Basically, internet porn addiction contributes to turning on the reward system designed around genuine and intimate connection. The brain gets tricked by the visual stimulation that the websites offer and gets fulfilled by it. But, in this way, the naive addict doesn’t crave for social contact anymore. This is dangerous as it can pile up feelings of shame and guilt , and trigger the feelings of loneliness and isolation within him or her. This further stops the person from seeking help personally and professionally.
Along with the psychological repercussions, porn addicts also experience the manifestation of physical disorders such as erectile dysfunction, diminished libido with real-world partners, inability to reach orgasm, depression, anxiety especially in social situations, memory loss, as well as lack of concentration and self-control.
As porn is available to us 24/7 and can be accessed anywhere in private free of cost, this is a kind of addiction that is hard to overcome. Younger porn addicts face an even bigger challenge as their brain gets accustomed to watching porn to fulfill their desires at the peak of neural plasticity, instead of real-world partners. Hence they never crave for real physical connection and are satisfied by the deceptive pixels on screen. An effective strategy is to get away from porn and its substitutes cold turkey. With time, the brain will rewire itself to its natural state and all the physical and mental repercussions caused by this heinous addiction will wither away. The journey can get immensely difficult but with online support groups and the easy access to NoFap movement and its forums, slowly but surely the porn addicts can reclaim their health and work on building a better life for themselves.
If you would like to read more helpful meditations with regard to human sexuality and desire, check out my book Meditations for the Learning Mind: Sex on Amazon.
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