I Gave Up Porn For A Month And It Was Way More Difficult Than I Expected

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Porn has always played a pretty prevalent part of my teenage years and early adulthood; I wouldn’t say I was obsessed with it – I’d have always described it as a necessary evil that I’d been forced to indulge in during particularly barren times when I’ve appeared to be completely invisible to the opposite sex. But after trying to give it up for a month, I think I might have underestimated my obsession with it.

The subject of sex these days is nigh on impossible to avoid; turn on the TV and you’ll see some wannabes have it off on Sex Island or whatever it’s called, or turn on the radio and you’ll hear some RnB singer croon about licking the sex sweat off his latest conquest. But it’s the massive influx of porn, through free sites such as Pornhub, YouPorn and Redtube, amongst many others, that’s the most interesting, and obvious, of all recent sexual trends. It has turned a certain percentage of men (of which I am included) into mindless, unimaginative, wank zombies – totally dependant on a fantasy world that increasingly renders them incapable of conjuring up or getting excited by anything that doesn’t push their sexual boundaries to the absolute limit.

‘So why go on a porn free month?’ I hear you ask. Well, above all else, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. In the past I’ve kidded myself that I was able to stop at any given moment, but not long after, found myself regressing back to my old habitual ways of whacking on porn in what became a sad and rather pathetic part of my daily routine: get in bed, put on porn, have a wank without particularly enjoying it, go to bed feeling largely unsatisfied and repeat the next day. God life’s relentless isn’t it? In this cycle I’d convince myself that not only was this how everyone behaved, but that a) it was under control and b) I could stop at any given time.

The second reason for living like it’s a pre-internet era was due to the nature of what I was watching, which I’d noticed was starting to grow in its extremity. No longer was the usual boy-girl, blowjob or lesbian scene doing it for me, as I increasingly chose to watch more graphic and niche genres of porn. Bukkake, feet worship, and BDSM were all becoming regular categories that I’d visit, and I can only explain this as my brain becoming bored and accustomed to ‘normal’ sex.

Porn had desensitised me to the point where nothing but explicit, hard-core content was going to cut it; in fact, the idea of real-life sex with one specific girl just didn’t seem that exciting to me anymore, and had even stopped arousing me like it used to – why would it when I had a world of unobtainable, dream girls at my fingertips who were willing to do anything I desired? That thought alone scared the shit out of me, and I figured that I probably wasn’t the only twenty-something male to experience something similar. As much as I didn’t want to, I had to give up porn to buck this way of thinking.

The first porn-free week or so was pretty plain-sailing; I had been travelling for most of last year, and for anyone that’s ever shared 32 man dormitories in stifling Cambodian heat, they’ll know that masturbating in general can be pretty difficult. Most showers/bathrooms are pretty rank as well, so I’d question anyone that felt at all turned on stood in such filthy, unsexy conditions. Add in the awful wi-fi connections and it’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

The second week, however, is where I started to experience some real problems. Now, initially, I said I was embarking on a no-porn month, which was a big enough deal for me as it was, but that wasn’t to say I was going to go completely masturbation free. I thought that if I attempted that I’d either kill myself, or someone close to me, and I didn’t want either of those to happen. So, feeling pretty horny one night, I decided that I was going to wank using only my imagination, which is something I hadn’t done for ages.

I shit you not though, and this is brave of me to admit, but I genuinely couldn’t get it up. No matter how hard (excuse the pun) I tried, I just couldn’t get aroused relying on memory alone. It’s not that such experiences were so few and far between that I couldn’t really recall them – I’d had several sexual partners throughout my teens and beyond – it’s just that most of these memories were your standard, run of the mill experiences – all intimate and passionate, but precisely the emotions vacant in pornography which I was so used to masturbating to.

My dick, in its limp and unresponsive state, completely vindicated my whole reasons for going porn-free; clearly, porn was affecting me in more alarming ways than I ever thought. What 24-year old, straight male can’t physically get a boner at the thought of having sex with a naked girl? Most lads my age get spontaneous erections whilst walking around the fecking supermarket, and here’s me over here like Johnny Flaccid. I was going to have to bite the bullet and go the remainder of the month completely orgasm-free in order reset my mind and body back to a state of normality.

I’m going to be honest – the last two weeks were hell, and it’s fucking embarrassing to admit that going such a relatively short amount of time without looking at porn, was so tough. Like a puppy that’s just discovered something between its legs, I wanted to dry hump everything in sight, just to have some sort of release. A pillow, the fridge, my flatmate’s leg, anything would have done as long as I could feel that physical contact and get myself off.

In every sense, I was going cold turkey – not quite like that Trainspotting scene where heroine addict Renton experiences all sorts of hallucinations and extreme psychological and physical tribulations after being locked in his bedroom by his parents in an attempt to stop his addiction – but not far-off. It consumed my thinking as I slowly transitioned into some sort of sex demon, hell-bent of cuming wherever he could. My mind felt poisoned at the intoxicating lure of watching something dirty and giving in to temptation. In truth, all I wanted to do was just cave in and go to town on myself, but I knew that was accepting defeat, and I wasn’t about to do that.

Image result for renton cold turkey

After a while though, particularly during the last week, those temptations subsided, and it became apparent that in almost every circumstance where I wanted to wank, it wasn’t because I was particularly turned on at all, it was because I was bored and my mind was wondering. In my idle state, where I would often lay in bed on my phone, rarely exerting myself in any way, I had turned wanking into a kind of hobby – substituting any genuine, meaningful physical and mental stimulation with the totally mundane and uninspiring process of jackin’ off.

Once the proverbial penny had dropped, I tried to fill my remaining time with whatever I could; reading, writing, running, swimming, working out, going out with friends – I tried to do it all – and it quickly occurred to me that I wasn’t interested in wanking anymore, mainly because I was knackered, but largely because I was receiving pleasure and satisfaction through other more fulfilling avenues. By the time the month had come and gone, not only was I not missing porn and wanking a lot less, I was actually leading a more active life.

So where does that leave me? Well, I wouldn’t dream of telling people not to wank to porn; bemoaning porn as a whole would be counter-productive – I could have just done that without having to give it up. Having experienced what I have though, I’ve really come to appreciate that wanking to porn should probably be the exception, rather than the norm; a pat on the back (cock) of sorts, every now and then for doing well at work, or a birthday treat from you, to you. Most people wouldn’t have a McDonald’s every day of their life would they, and most people probably wouldn’t have a bottle of wine every day either, so why is porn any different? The old adage of ‘everything in moderation’ is probably the most pertinent thing I could take-away from the whole process.

It remains to be seen whether I will continue in a similar vein to how I have been living over the past month, or whether it’s inevitable I will revert back to old ways, but now that I’ve proved to myself I really don’t need porn in my life, I’m pretty content at trying to carry on without it.

Images via iStock/GIPHY

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