I am trying to kick my internet porn habit, and need suggestions on how to resist my temptations.
August 12, 2006 2:46 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to kick my internet porn habit, and need suggestions on how to resist my temptations.

My significant other and I have decided it would be best for me to try and kick my online pornography habit. I was visiting these websites daily. It was affecting me at work, because I would be late for my shift because I was looking at porn, and I would stay up late and do things behind my girlfriend's back to hide it. For me, it's not the porn per se, but more of the rush of finding websites, getting backdoor passwords, scouring file sharing sites, etc. This has made my girlfriend very upset emotionally, and I don't think it's right for her to go through this anymore, so I'm trying to kick my habit (80gb already deleted).

I have decided to install a program on all the machines in my house that monitors and reports the internet usage, but does not do any filtering. This I believe allows me more freedom (I'm opposed to any blocking whatsoever) while still having accountabiity.

Now I'm not a religious man, and I'm not opposed to pornography in the least bit, but this is something that need to be removed from our relationship. I've had this "addiction" or habit for close to 14 years now.

It's been rough, I've lapsed 3 times in the past month, but we're sticking through it. I'm looking for any suggestions that anyone can give me to help us through this.

Thanks!
posted by ilikebike to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Start a porn link site. Once porn becomes "work" you'll get sick of it.

Maybe find another hobby to get obsessed with, like World of Warcraft or another hyper-addictive MMPORPG
posted by Paris Hilton at 3:12 AM on August 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


Would your girlfriend be OK with three times a month? It's not like alcoholism where one slip means you're back on the floor. If you can stop it for the other 27 days, you're not doing too bad breaking the habits of 14 years.
posted by bonaldi at 4:09 AM on August 12, 2006


yeah trade one addiction for another...
/sarcasm

seriously, i wish i knew. i did watch a movie about this recently: Sex, Love, and Eating the Bones which might be good to watch with the girlfriend. Deleting everything you have is a good start, also get rid of all the bookmarks and file sharing services. The harder you make it to get at, the better chance you will have of resisting the temptation. Like cigarettes, the craving will pass after 5-10 minutes. After a while the cravings will become less frequent. Try the rubber band teqnique (keep rubber band against wrist, snap it whenever you think of porn). Like any other mental addiction, you get a rush of exciting chemicals to the brain whenever you indulge the craving, this is what you are really addicted to. Learned behavior can be unlearned, but there is no sure-fire cure for any addiction besides being forcibly deprived of getting at that which excites you.
posted by sophist at 4:13 AM on August 12, 2006


People are slaves to habits, either good or bad. It's inescapable human nature, so you might as well cultivate good habits and not destructive ones.

You'll need a new hobby, and it should be away from the computer. Maybe watch ESPN sports after work, or go to a local gym that's open at night and have a quick workout and sauna, or read classic literature you've been meaning to but never found time. Or better still, go straight to bed after work and cuddle with your wife until you unwind and fall asleep.

But you need to replace your habit with another, or else you may unwittingly fill that space with another bad habit or fall back on the old one.
posted by raydexter at 4:59 AM on August 12, 2006


If you have only 'slipped' three times in the last month, what you need to do is forgive yourself and move on.

Start a porn link site. Once porn becomes "work" you'll get sick of it.

Awesome! If you were spending a few hours a day at it, but not applicable if the above is accurate.
posted by Chuckles at 5:38 AM on August 12, 2006


Good nutrition will give you more control of yourself. Make sure that you're at least taking a comprehensive multivitamin, and increase your intake of fruit and veg - broccoli and spinach, nuts, seeds, beans and dried apricots are all really good sources of zinc, magnesium, calcium and other essentials. Chances are you're quite run down; if you've been under stress or are using a lot of caffeine magnesium etc can be depleted even when your intake should be adequate under normal circumstances.

Zero porn of any kind ever seems unnecessarily absolute to me. Good quality Playboy-level (or even Maxim-level if that's better for the GF) pictures can be found on Fark (now moved to Foobies) and other such places every day. I think if you were to limit yourself to that kind of very generic material you could find something, er, usable within a few minutes and wouldn't get stuck spending hours looking for something very specific.
posted by teleskiving at 5:39 AM on August 12, 2006


I have decided to install a program on all the machines in my house that monitors and reports the internet usage, but does not do any filtering.

Good idea but can I ask who gets the report? I read somewhere on the Internet about a man who cured his Internet Pornography and one of the things he did was to install that program and have the reports sent to a buddy of his. Since it is not the SO who gets it there is less emotional baggage. Buddy could at his discretion block any sites.

Also could you perhaps migrate your pornography taste to some more "acceptable" erotica? I know that the line between the two is fuzzy, but it may sort of help.
posted by xetere at 6:08 AM on August 12, 2006


For me, it's not the porn per se, but more of the rush of finding websites, getting backdoor passwords, scouring file sharing sites, etc.

If it's not porn per se, then don't call it a porn addiction. It's just confusing and you'll feel like you failed if you look at porn every now and then. Looking at porn three times a month (or a lot more!) shouldn't be considered unhealthy IMHO. Maybe you can have set times when it's "ok" to look at porn. (For example, some time where it won't bother your girlfriend and where you aren't supposed to be getting ready for work, etc.)

Oh, and here's one trick that's easy enough. If you're having trouble pulling yourself away from the PC, just jerk off shortly after beginning your porn session. Repeat as necessary. Unless you're pretty unusual, you should lose interest pretty quickly.
posted by callmejay at 6:41 AM on August 12, 2006


Dear ilikebike, after reading your post, it is not entirely clear to me why you completely want to stop watching porn, since watching porn has obviously been a thing you have been longing to do. The only actual problem I can find in what you have written is your staying up late and missing work. Maybe there are less extreme measures to alleviate this problem? Watch porn less often? Order porn DVDs by mail, for example? You could conveniently browse the catalog and have them delivered to your house, eliminating the need for time-consuming internet search.

Also, I don't see why your porn viewing has to do anything with your girlfriend apart from the fact that she doesn't like it. What bothers her about it and why to you agree it is a problem other than that she sees it that way? Surely she also does things you don't want her to?!

On a different note though, you might want to ask yourself whether your porn habit (which in itself does not seem to pose an unsolvably big problem, see above) is the symptom of a different problem. Some questions you might want to ask yourself: Why is it that you like to watch the porn that you watch? Why to you have the feeling that you are watching to much? Are you watching it in specific situations (e.g. to make up for frustrations)? It seems to fill a need and rather than just kicking the habit, I would first find out what this need is and how you can fill it, whether it is by watching porn or persueing other activities or (most likely) both.

Also, just keep in mind that it is also a possibility to just ignore the fact that your girlfriend doesn't like it.
posted by Herr Fahrstuhl at 6:54 AM on August 12, 2006


Also, I don't see why your porn viewing has to do anything with your girlfriend apart from the fact that she doesn't like it. What bothers her about it and why to you agree it is a problem other than that she sees it that way? Surely she also does things you don't want her to?!

If you have a girlfriend, or ever do, I hope she never reads this.

The poster's G/F has a problem because he's seeking sexual release from someone other than her. Whether or not you agree with it, it's her feelings, they're understandable, and she's half the relationship. Kudos to the poster for making the effort.

As for practical advice, have you considered altering your /etc/hosts file (not sure what the equivalent on Windows is for local DNS routing) to send requests to specific domains to, say, a picture of your g/f with some kittens, or helping a starving child?
posted by mkultra at 7:44 AM on August 12, 2006


It's (typically) in C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc and can be edited with Notepad. See here. It doesn't do any kind of wildcards which is a shame but it is useful for when you want to temporarily (or permanently) block specific sites.
posted by teleskiving at 8:12 AM on August 12, 2006


Also, I don't see why your porn viewing has to do anything with your girlfriend apart from the fact that she doesn't like it. What bothers her about it and why to you agree it is a problem other than that she sees it that way? Surely she also does things you don't want her to?!

I have no problem with my husband looking at porn but if it was taking huge chunks of time away from our relationship and giving him problems at work and he was lying about it, I would have a problem. It sounds like this is what is going on here.

To the original poster, I think it's great what you are trying to do. Maybe you could try spending more time with your girlfriend in a sexual way, like finding out what her fantasies are, having special romantic sex date nights, things like that. You could try looking at porn with her, if she's into that.

Try limiting the time you spend online too. What has helped with my computer over use is to turn the computer off a lot, instead of always having it on and available. Develop a schedule where you check non porno sites and your email at certain times, and then shut the computer off. Maybe move the computer to a more public area of your house where your girlfriend could walk in at any time, if you are living together.

Have another computer with no internet if you need to do work on offline things.

Try and keep your time scheduled so that you are not faced with a lot of time home alone with the computer. It's a good time to take up a new hobby or start new interests. Not finding a new addiction to substitute, but other things to take up your time that would help improve your career or social life.

Good luck and don't be too hard on yourself!
posted by Melsky at 8:23 AM on August 12, 2006


Yes, the major problem lies in the fact that she no longer feels wanted by me. I work long hours (10-12 hours daily) and we work at off hours (her morning, me night) and most of the time I would come home and go straight to bed, wake up in the morning, surf some porn, and head back to work. Sometimes I couldn't get to sleep a night unless I masturbated.

We have 3 somputers in a small apartment, and I spend a few hours online a day. I work with computers at my job, and it's a hobby of mine as well. I don't think there's any easy way to limit the PC usage. The program I installed tracks all sites and flags "objectional" content and sends her a weekly report via email. If it is disabled, she is also notified.

I don't feel my GF has a major objection to me masturbating, but mostly to the large amounts of time, the hiding and lying that she is upset about. She is associating any porn with me not wanting her, which is not the case. I do find her very attractive and love her very much.

What can I say to show her that maybe once a week or few times a month is not a personal thing against her, but a healthy male urge?
posted by ilikebike at 9:56 AM on August 12, 2006


ilikebike, there's really no substitute for good professional therapy. Both for you, to help you break the addiction, and for both of you to work on making both of you feel wanted and appreciated.

If you're certain about what you said in your post, that it's not the porn itself you find addictive, but "the rush of finding websites, getting backdoor passwords, scouring file sharing sites, etc", then you need to find a way to refocus that energy.

Partially, I know where you're coming from. You're at home, bored, possibly procrastinating, and the Internet just seems to... run out, of interesting regular entertainment. So you start searching for free porn. It's easy, it's everywhere, there's no end to it, and from so many different sources that the process of finding new sites, new searches, new ways of getting it never gets old.

It becomes a source of pride to you how much you can acquire(You said you've already deleted 80 gigabytes. Is there more? What are you going to do about it?), the high quality of what you have, etc. Let me know if I'm off-base here, but I don't think I am.

One alternate focus I'd recommend is finding a few good online communities. Forums or chatrooms with plenty of people, maybe focused on common interests or maybe just a grab-bag community site. Work on participating, building your reputation, contributing to these communities. It will take the same time and effort, will be as varied and interesting as scouring the internets for erotic thrills, and will provide not only entertainment and good conversation, but also a possible support group of people you can talk to about your addiction or relationship.

People are more interesting than porn. Put your energy there, trust me. And when you're feeling the need for *ahem*stimulation, focus on your girlfriend. Even if she's not there, that's what your imagination is for, right? You don't need no stinkin' porno!

Turn your weakness into a strength. Look at what your addiction says about you: That you have free time(What else can that be used for?). That you're persistent and creative(What else can that be used for??). That you're a person with a healthy sex drive(What else can that be used for!? ;-)).

Best of luck, and let us know how it all works out.
posted by ElfWord at 10:39 AM on August 12, 2006


ilikebike, I've been in the position of your girlfriend, in which a partner spent a disproportional amount of his time, attention, and energy on porn (and resorted to lying, duplicity, etc. to support his porn habit), and it helped destroy our relationship. I've also been in Melsky's position, where my SO's porn usage is much more casual and occasional, with no negative impact on the relationship -- that is, he's not lying or being secretive about it, it happens once or twice a week, and (most importantly), it doesn't take away any emotional or physical energy away from me. So, in a way, it wasn't the porn per se that I had the problem with the first time around either -- it was the fact that it was so time-consuming, and that it was combined with so much secrecy and lying, that hurt me so much (and made me feel rejected).

I say all that to illustrate two points: first, that I used to believe that porn was inevitably hurtful in a relationship, but now I don't believe so anymore. And second, I agree with the posters who suggest that perhaps eliminating all porn from your life isn't necessarily the solution here either, and that you should give yourself a break for your "lapses." We all have the right to our private lives, even in the most intimate of relationships; IMO you have the right to spend some of your private time looking at porn if you want. So maybe this isn't about eliminating porn from your life, but rather re-integrating it into your life in a less compulsive way -- maybe you check it out once a week for an hour (so it becomes scaled down to an item on your "to do" list: "wash car, pick up dry cleaning, jack off, walk dog"). If it's not totally forbidden to you, your craving to see it is probably less likely to overwhelm you.

On preview: I don't feel my GF has a major objection to me masturbating, but mostly to the large amounts of time, the hiding and lying that she is upset about. She is associating any porn with me not wanting her [...] What can I say to show her that maybe once a week or few times a month is not a personal thing against her, but a healthy male urge?

In my experience, being told "it's not a personal thing against you" didn't really help until I was shown that it wasn't a personal thing against me. In other words, show her you want her more than you want the women in the porn -- demonstrate how sexy you find her in words and actions. Focus the majority of your sexual energy on her, not on your computer. Tell her how hot she makes you. Touch her affectionately (kissing, caressing, whatever) on a regular basis. And, of course, have frequent sex (assuming there's no major mismatch in your underlying sex drives) -- and ask if there are fantasies, toys, etc. that she'd like to incorporate into your lovemaking.

Seriously, for me, it all comes down to one thing: if I'm getting all the satisfying sex I want (as well as a steady diet of affection in general), I just plain ol' don't care what my bf is looking at now and then when he gets home from work.
posted by scody at 10:47 AM on August 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


The way you describe your porn use definitely meets some of the requirements for it to be labeled an addiction. Some have said that it isn't a problem, or it shouldn't be a problem, but that doesn't seem to be true based on how you describe it.

As for help, I'd look to google to point me to some online support groups/sites that deal specifically with overcoming porn addiction.

It might be fashionable to say that anyone who has a problem with porn must be a religious nut and can therefore be ignored. On the other hand, there is a lot of literature out there about the potential impact of porn. It can be an addiction--as in "I cannot control myself when it comes to porn. I am doing things that I do not want to do." It can ruin your life/marriage/career etc. So, if it is an addiction for you, then you'll realize the folly in saying you should be okay if you "ramp it down" to playboy- or maxim-level porn.

As to your significant other, it does bother her, so whether it should or not is a bit beside the point (unless you're willing to ditch her over it, I guess). Oh, and I think you already know it's not just the naked pictures that you are "choosing over her," but it's also the trust issues caused by you being sneaky.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
posted by claytonius maximus at 10:55 AM on August 12, 2006


Sometimes I couldn't get to sleep a night unless I masturbated.

This is normal, and is more about stress than sex. Try some ambient music or massage or yoga or whatever to release your tension. With respect to your porn viewing, if you would rather masturbate to pornography than make love to your girlfriend, then you have a problem. Porn is an incredibly efficient orgasm inducer, and it allows you to sample a myriad of different women every night. It is no wonder that long-term lovers can't compete with that. Complete abstinence is not an option and trying to go that route will only make you crazy, but you should try not to consume pornography unless or until your woman is satisfied. In fact, I'd say the perfect time for a harmless, well-deserved, furtive wank is after making love when she's fast asleep.
posted by Crotalus at 11:04 AM on August 12, 2006


How about a porn jar in the kitchen? Stay with me, I'm serious.

Whenever you watch porn, throw 20 bucks in the jar. By doing this, your scouring for backdoor passwords and free sites as well as your use of file-sharing services will become pretty ridiculous, as you could probably have spent less than 20 bucks on a monthly subscription to any number of sites.

And if you can't break the habit? Well, at least you could take your girlfriend out to a nice dinner once in a while.

Good luck.
posted by elr at 11:27 AM on August 12, 2006


This site helped me with addictive-like behavior. I didn't pay for a membership or anything, but just read the material they have available for free. The idea that breaking addiction is a matter of simply doing it was enormously empowering for me (no, it wasn't a destructive habit). The site is not religious and is rabidly anti-12 step, which I don't know if really valid or not, but their arguments seem reasonable to me (I have a relative in AA and though it has helped her stay sober for years, she also seems totally dependent on AA to stay sober).

This may not be for everyone, but might be worth a look. Good luck!
posted by lhauser at 11:45 AM on August 12, 2006


What Scody said.

I think you might also want to shift your perspective a little on what the problem actually is.

Is porn the problem?
Not for you! Despite being late for work, etc. you were personally fine with it, right?

Is porn per se your girlfriend's problem?

It doesn't seem so from what you said.

Apparently the problem is that you have been kind of ignoring your girlfriend when you two don't have much time together to begin with. Like most unhappy girlfriends, she will probably leave you if you don't treat her better. You don't seem to want her to leave you.

So treat her better. Simple.

She is not depriving you of porn. Nor need you deprive yourself of porn. (I personally would feel some disdain for a guy who wanted to send me his online usage log -- I don't want to be a cop or his mom) Just be a good boyfriend.

And good boyfriends maybe don't lie and sneak, nor do they spend entire evenings jerking off in front of the computer, when the flesh-and-blood women they love are lying in bed alone.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:51 AM on August 12, 2006


Melsky: Good luck and don't be too hard on yourself!

Heh!
posted by sour cream at 12:26 PM on August 12, 2006


haha this is ridiculous. if you want to stop watching porn, stop watching porn. you are not a victim of a disease or a mental disorder. like all people you are responsible for yourself and can control your actions to the extent you wish.. so conjur up a little willpower, get the fuck off the computer and spend more time with your girlfriend! :)
posted by petsounds at 12:31 PM on August 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


cancel your internet service at home and wipe your hard drive of any porn. now if you use the internet, it's at work or in a public place, where social stigma and/or rules should keep you away from the porn. (and you definitely don't want to be that guy.)

if it really is an addiction, you need to get serious about kicking it. what you describe (opposed to any blocking whatsoever - you still want the freedom etc etc) is like trying to quit smoking while insisting that you keep a pack of cigarettes in your pocket. abstinence is a LOT easier than moderation. remove it, and the things that enable it, from your life entirely for a while, until you can stay in control. otherwise you're really going to struggle.

good luck!
posted by sergeant sandwich at 12:49 PM on August 12, 2006


For me, it's not the porn per se, but more of the rush of finding websites, getting backdoor passwords, scouring file sharing sites, etc.

Like a couple of other people have noted, this is your thing, not the porn. Can it be replaced even partially by a similar interest for finding other material? What's your (or, even better, your SO's) favorite kind of music?
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:22 AM on August 14, 2006


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