Pornography has become a tricky issue in all relationships.

More and more couples are seeing coaches for porn related issues and it has become a large contributing factor in divorce. A 2016 study presented at the American Sociological Association found that men who began using porn in the 2nd year of a marriage doubled their chances of divorce! I have met many men who agreed to stop watching porn when they married but started back into it after about two years.

Most pornography is viewed by men. Thus we are responsible for what it causes in our relationships. For the last ten years, I have been working with men to change their porn viewing habits. I encourage them to contemplate what they will receive and risk losing if they pause or reset their porn use. Considering that most Millennials grew up on Porn, that can mean changing a 20 year daily or weekly habit. While I often hear points like, “It’s a good stress reliever” or “It actually increases my desire for sex with my partner”, more and more men are discovering what research now supports: regular porn use actually decreases all of these. According to a recent Psychology Today Blog:

*Steady porn use (daily to three times per week) leads to decreased libido and desire for a real woman.
*Steady porn use can actually trigger heightened perceptions of stressful situations- making mountains out of mole hills.
*Steady porn use decreases men’s energy and motivation for achieving goals.

While research reflects that steady porn use is not good for a man’s relationship, it also shows that people don’t change unless they see that change benefits them. If you are a regular porn user, I invite you to deepen your understanding of how it works for you by asking yourself these questions, “Is what you have in your life right now, professionally or personally, fulfilling?”, “Does it reflect your highest intent for your life?” It is impossible to manifest the “new and different” if we maintain habits that keeps energy stuck in the same place. As men use the tools of Intentional Living and Mindfulness, they begin to see correlations between steady porn use and the negative or same old same old experiences that keep showing up for them. Since everything begins with energy, siphoning off our energy through porn and masturbation means that our energy is not available for the intimacy with our partners, or the new projects and ideas that we want to create.

The Ancient Indian Health system called Ayurveda states that chronic low level anger is aggravated by repeated denial of desires. Porn offers a lot to desire but delivers nothing! It continually evokes a dopamine drip into our hormonal system and dopamine creates one thing, more and more desire. Porn use like all sexual expression is up to the individual. We can’t dictate for each other how often we should be watching. Couples that have tried arrive at the same high divorce rates. No one can change a behavior for another person. Instead, men can begin to experiment with altering their own viewing habits.

I have men experiment with no porn for two weeks (and if we can’t do that then we may have a habit or addiction and these, too, can be healed with effort). If they truly stick with it, they are often amazed at how much easier it is to harness the power they used to siphon off through porn use and masturbation in service to other creative endeavors. Time and again men express feeling more energy during their day and more clarity and ease at sticking with and completing what they started. Steady porn use decreases our self esteem, sense of self worth, and diminished sense of achievement in the world. And, if we are in a relationship, it creates more distance with our partner and even leads to recurrent anger or fighting.

Most importantly, I have observed that over time men who decrease steady porn use report a certain satisfaction in recognizing that they are growing up. This is when daily life becomes awesome! When this happens they realize that the childlike state of having unlimited access to and fantasies about bodies, bodies and more bodies is the cause of a lot of the struggles and conflicts. They also often recognize that stopping what seems like a harmless habit can open doors for intense creativity, confidence and a sense of well being. And don’t be surprised when money starts showing up!

So, how do you change a regular porn habit? Many men have been using porn regularly since they were pre-teens. That means they can be in the same childlike mindset even into their thirties, forties or fifties! Whenever I hear a female client tell me, “Yeah, I have four kids, one of them is just over forty” I start exploring what she knows about her partner’s porn use. If you are willing to take the two week challenge, start by writing down what you notice about your life now with regard to energy, creativity, and intimacy. Then, stop all porn use (including the easy pics and videos you can get through basic social media) for two full weeks. After two weeks, ask yourself:

*How do I feel different than I did two weeks ago? What effect do I now see porn use was having on my energy and creativity levels?
*How has my relationship changed? What does it look like porn was doing to my spontaneity and communication in all my relationships?
*What changes in those areas when I go without it for two weeks, a month, six months!?
*What has changed in my relationship with myself?

Give it a try and see what you think. What have we got to lose by trying it?

Feel free to message me with your results or with questions or comments.

Happy Experimenting!