Who is this Jay Manning guy anyway?
I’m into a lot of typical guy stuff – football, cars, fitness, music, socialising and sharing laughs, extreme sports, travel and adventures.
What I’m NOT into any more is porn . . . but I used to be, big time. This is the story of how I got from there to here.
The Frustrating Past
In the Early Days
I had a pretty uneventful exposure to porn when I was growing up. From time to time, one of my friends would get hold of a naughty magazine somehow, and we’d each take turns in borrowing it for a few days.
Otherwise, there was really just the women’s underwear section of the Kmart catalog, and sometimes an eyeful of boobs in mainstream movies. Revenge of the Nerds was pretty rad for that.
Later, when we got dialup internet (why are you millennials looking at me funny??), I’d check out some sex pictures or read erotic stories every now and then.
Around that time, one or two porn videos would circulate amongst my friends here and there as well. But it was never a big deal and none of it held my attention for long.
Planting the Seeds of Porn Addiction
Once I was a bit older and moved out into my own place, a few factors converged that set the stage for me using porn more often:
- I was living alone;
- I was doing most of my work from home (also alone); and
- I was single a lot of the time.
Although this lifestyle was by choice because it provided a lot of advantages, it also brought some problems as well.
The main one was a low level loneliness that sat in the background in such a way that I didn’t realise it was affecting me until years later.
This loneliness wasn’t an issue whenever I was out or around other people, but would creep in when I spent longer periods by myself – especially on evenings and weekends when I wasn’t working and my time was less structured.
Since I had internet access and plenty of privacy at these times, I began using porn more often. Back then, I thought this porn use was just because I was a young man with a natural interest in women and sex.
While this partially explained things, in hindsight, it’s very clear to me that the main reason was to fill the void in my life caused by loneliness and lack of intimacy.
Using Porn to Escape
Porn was basically a way of escaping from problems I didn’t properly realise I had.
People use all kinds of things to (temporarily) escape from their problems and make themselves feel better – alcohol and other drugs, junk food, internet and social media, gambling, shopping, video games, TV, sex, and even work and exercise.
For me, it was junk food and porn.
The junk food actually came first – I would regularly eat (and even overeat) pizzas, heavy carbs and takeaway food when I was home alone. I used it for comfort without being aware that’s why I was eating it.
With that said, junk food never turned into something I’d call an addiction. Over time, as I focussed more and more on my diet and overall health, I gradually stopped eating junk food.
It wasn’t super easy to do this, and there were plenty of struggles and withdrawals along the way, but junk food didn’t cause any major dramas for me in the grand scheme of things.
However, as I started eating junk food less often, I started using porn more often.
I see now that because my loneliness (i.e. the underlying cause) was still there, but I was using junk food less as an escape, I simply replaced it with porn as a way to fill the gap.
The Escape Escalates
My regular porn use started off with me reading sex stories. Maybe one or two nights a week, I’d be home alone with nothing in particular to do, so I’d read and masturbate to sex stories for an hour or even more.
Things kicked up a notch when I got broadband internet and discovered streaming porn videos. Until then, I’d focussed on stories and hadn’t really looked around much for other kinds of porn, and I was amazed at how much was so readily available.
With that said, I originally had a pretty low data limit on my internet plan, so I never went overboard early on. But as the data on my internet plan increased over time, so did the amount of porn I’d watch.
My Porn of Choice
Despite my growing interest in videos, written stories always remained a staple for me throughout my history with porn. The ones I read had a lot of dialogue and gave context for why the characters were actually having sex, which made it more real and compelling for me.
Looking back, I understand that my porn use wasn’t just about getting off, but also vicariously experiencing human connection via the characters. Probably not too different from the thrill some single women get from reading trashy romance novels I guess.
It was the same with videos – although I checked out a bunch of different genres at different times, the ones I always kept going back to were those with romantic / intimate / sensual sexual encounters.
The stuff I watched most by far was whatever I could find with an actual plot surrounding the sex (i.e. something more than “I’m a man, you’re a woman, somehow we’re in a hotel room, let’s fuck!”) – even if the acting sucked.
This kind of porn was the ideal thing for me to get hooked on – not just a distraction from my loneliness, but a distraction that also gave me a taste of the connection and intimacy I was missing out on and craving.
The First Sign of Trouble
Despite enjoying my porn use over that period, I eventually realised that it wasn’t taking me where I wanted to go in life. I had things I wanted to achieve, and porn was wasting my time with no value to show for it afterward.
So, for that reason (initially), I decided to stop using porn. And that’s when I saw the first sign of trouble. I discovered that porn was unexpectedly hard to give up.
Since my porn use hadn’t caused any significant problems yet, it wasn’t a big deal to me that I didn’t succeed right away. But on one level, it did bug me – I had a lot of my life together, and it was uncomfortable that I couldn’t get on top of this area easily.
Still, not uncomfortable enough for me to take any serious action. So I kept using porn . . . all the while also acknowledging that it wasn’t serving me, so also kinda trying (in a half-assed way) to give it up as well.
Little did I realise that my porn use was steadily causing harm under the surface without me even noticing.
The Next Sign of Trouble
With that happening, eventually I encountered my first big consequence of porn use. I’m not gonna lie here: I reached a point where sometimes I couldn’t keep a proper boner when I was getting busy with a chick.
There, I said it. It’s easier to admit something like this once the problem is over, but it sure wasn’t easy to face or talk about at the time. In fact, it’s one of the most painfully embarrassing things imaginable for a man.
If you’re reading this right now, maybe the same thing has happened to you too? As I’ve learned, it’s very common in men who use porn a lot. There’s even an official term for it – “porn-induced erectile dysfunction” (PIED).
Because this issue just slowly crept in under the radar, I was blind to the cause for a long while.
I remember thinking at times that maybe porn had made me desensitised, but I didn’t know for sure if that was really possible, and I didn’t ever think about it for long.
Basically, I didn’t want to face the idea that using porn was causing erectile dysfunction, especially since it was hard for me to stop using it. Somehow I thought I could bury my head in the sand and the problem would disappear by itself.
Of course, that didn’t happen. The opposite did.
Do You Want More Problems with That?
As I continued using porn regularly, more problems started to appear in my life. At different times, these included negative effects on my emotions, my self image, my dating life and even the relationship I had with a girlfriend at one point.
By then, it was clear to me that I needed to stop using porn, but it had become more difficult than ever to quit.
The Realisation of Addiction
Sometimes, you don’t realise you’re addicted to something until you try to give it up.
Before my own struggles, I’d never even considered that it was possible to be addicted to porn.
But it is. Heavy porn use leads to behavioural patterns and physical brain changes that parallel the mechanisms behind addiction to substances such as alcohol and other drugs.
In my case, I was what would be called a “high functioning” porn addict – outside of the times I used porn, my life was normal. I did my work, spent time out with friends and family, and enjoyed recreation and hobbies just like anyone else. On the surface, you wouldn’t even know there were any issues.
But consistently (anything from once a fortnight to a few times per week and even a couple of times a day/night), when I was alone in the evenings or on weekends, I kept getting drawn back to porn.
Afterward, I’d feel frustrated or down or beat myself up for the rest of the day . . . and then I’d go back to my normal life.
So, for me, my porn addiction was quite compartmentalised. It didn’t dominate my whole existence, but instead was a constant struggle around the edges.
With that said, I still experienced just about everything that people with all levels of porn addiction go through (as I’ve since learned about in depth through my research and coaching work with Porn Free Power).
Porn addiction was a big enough issue that I wanted it out of my life, but it still wasn’t in my face enough for me to really step up and do what it takes to overcome it.
The Frustrating Quit-Relapse Cycle
Since I wanted to quit porn but wasn’t taking any serious action to do so, I entered a frustrating cycle that lasted a couple of years.
I’d give up pornography for a week or two (sometimes even a few months), then relapse once or twice or three times . . . then feel like shit about it and stop watching porn again for a while . . . then relapse again, over and over and over. And over.
Stomp your feet and hollah if you can relate to this shit!
The problem was that I had no clue how to stop watching porn for the long term, so I just relied on willpower. That was my entire strategy. And willpower by itself might work for a short time, but it sure doesn’t stop porn addiction in any lasting way.
What I really needed instead were effective strategies and a solid process to act on, but deep down I felt I should be able to beat this challenge without any of that.
I’m a very strong-willed person, so it was hard for me to accept that I needed more than just my resolve to succeed with quitting porn. But I did. Anyone with porn addiction does.
A Lame Band-Aid Solution to Help Me Stop Watching Porn
Eventually I saw that I couldn’t just use willpower alone to resist porn urges.
So I installed website filtering software to block all porn sites and every media site except YouTube. Then I locked it so I couldn’t turn it off or uninstall it without requesting a password reset and waiting a week.
What I didn’t see at the time was that this was just an ineffective, superficial band-aid solution. It was never going to help me overcome porn addiction without me working on a deeper level and getting to the root of my addiction first.
The website blocker stopped me from accessing all the blatantly pornographic sites, but then I just started spending extra time trying to find sites that weren’t blocked.
Even though the software (K9 Web Protection) was very sound, it still wasn’t perfect, and somehow I always found some kind of pornography.
Then, after I’d jerked off to it and was feeling the emotional battering of another relapse, I’d set the software to block that site too. This meant that next time I’d have to search somewhere else to find porn . . . and the cycle continued yet again.
I now know that website blockers are a helpful safety net to support the process of quitting porn, but they aren’t the complete answer.
My Extraordinary Failure Record
I struggled to give up porn for about 4 years in total. I wasn’t counting, but I’d guess I tried and failed at least 80 times over that period (probably even more).
And I’m not talking about how many times I simply read porn stories or watched porn videos.
I mean there were at least 80 separate times where I promised myself I was going to stop using porn for good, and genuinely intended to follow through, but then slipped up again (generally because I was relying on just willpower and website blockers).
All this happened in private, in the background of my normal life.
The Critical Turning Point
Finally, one day I hit rock bottom after another relapse (there’s an audio about it in the free Actions and Insights resource series). I had a moment where I just totally snapped and said “that’s it – I’ve had enough!”
In a storm of internal rage, disgust and shame, I vowed that I’d do whatever it took to stop watching porn for good. From that moment on, I committed myself to discovering what worked and taking serious action to smash all my porn problems.
I’d love to say that historic moment was the absolute end to my porn use, but I’ll be honest: I still relapsed many times after that while I was trying to figure everything out.
The difference was that this time, I was totally committed to quitting for good, regardless of any setbacks along the way. And to succeed for good, I knew I needed to get serious about finding strategies that worked and taking action.
This Just In: Porn Addiction is Complicated
Although the main reason I started using porn regularly was loneliness when I was home by myself, overcoming my porn addiction wasn’t just as simple as getting rid of the loneliness (even though this was an essential part).
As with any addiction, there are physical brain changes that occur as the behaviour is repeated. These changes themselves can then perpetuate the addiction, even after removing the original cause of the behaviour.
There are also unpleasant physical, emotional, mental and psychological experiences that can come up when quitting and recovering from porn addiction, and these things make it even more challenging.
The good news is that the brain changes can be reversed and porn addiction can be overcome to a level where it stops being any kind of problem.
Achieving this goal, however, needs a full spectrum approach that addresses everything from the root causes to the daily logistics and behaviours while also navigating all of the recovery challenges and pitfalls that come up along the way.
I know this now, but I didn’t know this at the time until I did a lot more learning.
The Problem with Existing Online Porn Addiction Tips and Resources
Of course, the first place I looked for answers was the same place I’d always looked for porn: the internet. I soon discovered that people with the same problem as me were sharing tips on how to stop watching porn in online forums, blogs and videos.
Although these online tips were well intentioned, most weren’t very effective by themselves.
As I learned from experience, these tips worked only on the surface level, and they didn’t attack the very core of porn addiction. They were also very scattered and didn’t have any kind of structure or process – I didn’t even know the best place to start.
Hence the existing tips and resources were obviously only part of the porn addiction cure, and as I discovered, they wouldn’t lead to lasting results by themselves.
Discovering Exactly How to Stop Porn Addiction
Since I couldn’t find anything already out there on how to stop watching porn permanently that really worked, I started looking in other fields.
I began doing massive research into psychology, other kinds of addictions, brain physiology, behaviour change and personal success (the awesome thing about my addictive personality is that I take beneficial things to the extreme too!).
I’d already been into personal success and psychology for years, but this time I looked at everything in terms of how it could help me to stop watching porn. And this time I got some very powerful answers.
I began discovering more and more strategies for overcoming porn addiction.
This included everything from the core fundamentals and the root causes of my addiction . . . to my inner game and mindset . . . to my views and relationship with porn . . . to a thorough plan for stopping my porn addiction . . . to ongoing practical strategies in my everyday life.
For me, the implementation was pretty haphazard while I was learning and figuring things out (I’ve since come up with a logical process that is much easier to execute). But I just kept taking action on whatever strategies I came across, hammering as many nails as I could into the pornography addiction coffin.
The more I worked on the roots of my addiction, the less I felt like the surface solutions were important. As a result, I soon uninstalled the website blocking software, which had been my safety net for years.
In truth, I actually did this a bit too early before I was fully on top of things, which made my final relapses easier, and that became another learning experience.
But it wasn’t long before the deeper porn addiction strategies I’d discovered really gave me momentum, and I never needed to go back to using a website blocker again.
My Turbulent Ride to Freedom from Porn
I’ll be honest again: even once you’ve quit porn, it still isn’t a smooth ride at first. Quitting is only part of the overall process . . . recovering from porn addiction is a thing all by itself.
Personally, I went through a lot of different porn withdrawal symptoms, along with severe cravings and temptations during recovery.
This was a new experience that nothing had prepared me for. Half the time I didn’t even make the connection that the things I was experiencing were actually porn withdrawal symptoms.
Once I did, there were also times when I felt like I’d made progress in getting past these problems, only for it to seem later like I’d gone backwards. As I learned, the process isn’t linear.
The good news is that all of those challenges were just temporary. For me, it took about 3 months or so before all the porn withdrawal symptoms stopped, and at least 6 continuous months of total porn abstinence before all my porn-related problems went away.
Now I’m happy and proud to say that my porn use and all of its consequences are a thing of the past. Woot woot! :)
The Awesome Present
Looking back, the journey of quitting and recovering from porn addiction was a real turning point in my life that led to a lot of awesome stuff.
I’ve evolved so much, and today my life is the best it’s ever been. Of course things are never perfect, but life is pretty amazing and I feel blessed.
Here are some of the main highlights that I can personally attribute in a significant way to quitting porn:
I’m grateful that I’ve always been a fundamentally happy person and have never experienced depression.
However, once I realised that pornography was a problem for me, I used to beat myself up and feel like shit for a few hours or even a day or two after every time I used it.
Not only that, but the brain changes caused by addiction can numb a person’s emotions, and I definitely felt the effects on my overall emotional state.
These things ended as a result of quitting and recovering from porn addiction, leaving me free to feel awesome without any dampeners lurking in the background or on the horizon.
Compared to when I was using porn, my short-term and long-term emotional state is at a whole new level these days :)
Skyrocketing Self Image
My entire self image massively improved as a result of quitting porn. Along with the other negative emotions every time I watched porn, I also used to feel a spike of self loathing and my self image would nosedive.
After I’d stopped watching porn for a while, my self esteem, self respect and sense of self worth all skyrocketed. Plus, being able to finally rise up and crush this gigantic challenge after failing so many times gave me a huge confidence boost.
Ever since, I’ve felt and believed that if I could overcome my pornography addiction, I can do anything. Now, watch me smash through this concrete wall with a single head butt. Booyah!
An Extraordinary Relationship
Within a few months of giving up pornography, I started a relationship with an extraordinary woman. This is something I’d wanted for years and years.
It’s fascinating how if you make room in your life for genuine love and connection by getting rid of the false connection you’re getting from porn, something better fills its place.
My beautiful lady constantly lights me up, and our relationship just keeps getting better over time. We’re now married, growing even closer with time and more in love than ever. Nawww! :)
A Super Satisfying Sex Life
Ever since I recovered from porn addiction, our sex life has always been incredible too. No more floppy boners for me any more – like granite every time, baby! Oh yeah!
I can’t express how incredible it was (and still is) to get over a painful problem like porn-induced erectile dysfunction and to know that I could always perform with no doubts or issues whatsoever. It’s such a free feeling!
Also, I wanted to say that no matter what kind of arousing stuff there is in porn, regular, passionate sex is so much more pleasurable and fulfilling than porn could ever be – there’s just no comparison.
Purity, Congruence and Inner Peace
Since I quit porn, I’ve felt purer, more natural and more congruent with who I really am. I also feel much more honest, like I have nothing to hide any more.
And once I stopped consciously harming myself through my actions, I became free of the internal conflicts that I had when I was using porn, and I’ve felt at peace.
These days, my inner world is like . . . like a pure Scandinavian waterfall. Ahhhh :)
The Crucial Future
I can say with certainty that I will never, ever use pornography again in future – there’s just no way I’m ever going back to all that crap.
I did everything the hard way and it was a long, painful process getting through it all. But I eventually succeeded, and I’ve learned a lot from the journey.
I’ve also seen that there’s a huge need for porn addiction help and resources that really work. So I’ve now committed myself to showing others how to stop watching porn by sharing the strategies and secrets I’ve discovered.
This is a big passion for me now, and my aim is to always be the very best and bring you the very best.
Since I decided on this path, I’ve done a ridiculous amount of extra research and personal development, and I’ve also learned a ton from personally working with people from all over the world to help them overcome their own porn problems.
You can read what some of those people have to say here.
Now It’s Your Turn
Are you ready to step up and do what it takes to stop watching porn and make your life awesome?
If so, subscribe to get your free Actions and Insights resources and we’ll get started right now.