7 Ways to Stop Watching Porn

Woman working on her laptop in her bedroom at night

Carlina Teteris / Getty Images

Watching porn can be a sign of a healthy sexual appetite. However, if you find yourself watching it excessively, this might signify that you have a porn addiction.

While having a porn addiction might seem harmless, it can be detrimental to your general well-being. People with porn addictions often use it as an unhealthy coping mechanism with stressors in their lives or as a replacement for having a healthy sexual life.

If you recognize you have a problem with the amount of porn you consume, here are some tips to help you stop, along with signs of porn addiction, and potential treatment options.

Signs of a Porn Addiction 

A person who has an uncontrollable desire to watch porn at any time of the day and in any space, especially where it might not be considered appropriate, might have a porn addiction.

Recognizing a porn addiction is tricky as there’s no official diagnosis for it. There’s also a thin line between people who have a healthy desire to consume porn and people who are addicted.

Here are some other signs that point to porn addiction:

  • You find that it’s impossible to stop watching porn even when you desire to stop
  • You experience immense guilt or shame about the time and resources you put into watching porn
  • You start to neglect work and personal relationships to spend that time watching porn 
  • You find it difficult to enjoy sex or any sexual acts without involving porn 
  • You notice that watching porn has begun to interfere with your daily functioning 

There has been some controversy around recognizing porn addiction as a real addiction. However, there is enough research to point to people having real struggles with porn. Like with any addiction, if porn addiction is ignored, it can have negative consequences.

How to Stop Watching Porn

If you think you might be dealing with a porn addiction, below are some tips to help you to stop.

Understand Why You Are Giving It Up

You don’t have to have a porn addiction in order to decide that you are giving up porn. You could be doing so for religious or ethical reasons. You could also be doing so because it’s causing a rift between you and a romantic partner or simply because you just no longer want to watch porn.

Coming to terms with the reason you are giving it up, helps you stay accountable whenever you are tempted to watch it. 

Accept That You Have a Problem If There Is One

If any of the signs of a porn addiction listed in the section above resonate with you, then you might be dealing with a porn addiction.

Many people keep a porn addiction problem to themselves as they feel they’ll be judged by society, but remember that you are not alone. 

Get Rid of the Porn

This includes any physical or digital evidence of pornography content in your life. You need to make a clean sweep of all of that kind of content. There’s no excuse to hold on to any of it, even those vintage porn magazines that might have some sentimental value.

Once the content is readily available around you, it’s easy to slip back to old habits. On your phone, television, and other devices, you should install filters that block pornographic content and sites.

Get an Accountability Buddy

This could be a close friend who you trust or even an app on your phone that reminds you of how long you’ve come in your recovery journey and why you are doing it.

Join a Support Group

A support group helps you remember that you are not alone. It also eases your recovery journey if watching porn isn’t just a habit that you want to quit but an addiction.

These groups provide a safe, anonymous, and judgment-free zone for you to share your struggles with pornography and hear from other people who are going through similar experiences. 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up If You Fall Off the Wagon

Trying to break a habit or recover from an addiction is a journey. Unfortunately, on that journey, you might find yourself slipping back into old habits. Whenever that happens, don’t waste any time beating yourself up.

Do your research, try more coping mechanisms and treatment options and get back on the wagon. 

Replace Watching Porn With a Healthy Habit

A trusted way to rid yourself of a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit whenever you begin to feel the urge to indulge in that bad habit. For instance, going for a run when you feel the familiar urge to watch porn is a great way to healthily distract yourself.

Treatment for Porn Addiction

If you think you have a porn addiction, then simply trying to stop watching porn will prove to be incredibly difficult. So the first thing to do when considering treatment for porn addiction is to speak to a therapist. They will be able to recognize if you do indeed have an addiction and plan the next steps to take with you.

The following steps typically include a combination of psychotherapy and, in some cases, medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is most commonly used with people who are living with addictions. CBT aims to help you replace your negative behaviors and thoughts with positive ones.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is another popular form of psychotherapy used in porn addiction treatment. ACT focuses on helping you identify and cope with your negative feelings about watching porn and could eventually help you continue to consume porn at lower rates in a healthy manner. 

A Word From Verywell 

If you or someone you love is displaying signs of porn addiction, it’s important to get help, as it’s challenging to overcome addiction alone. However, it’s also important to remember that watching and enjoying porn in healthy doses is perfectly fine. 

Was this page helpful?
1 Source
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. de Alarcón R, de la Iglesia JI, Casado NM, Montejo AL. Online porn addiction: what we know and what we don’t—a systematic review. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2019;8(1):91.