Do you have a resistance to admitting that you have a porn addiction?
I admit- when I began my journey to end my out of control porn and masturbation behavior, I simply refused to categorize myself as an addict. After all, I came from an educated, moderately religious family with conservative values. I experienced a relatively happy, and memorable childhood. I never tried any hardcore drugs, and in early adulthood, I tried to live my life by the book.
Yet, I would find myself acting like a possessed heroin junkie anytime I went without porn or masturbating for three days.
Many men find it really difficult to admit they have a problem with pornography because it simply hasn’t been labeled an addiction by the mainstream media or society in general. That’s going to change over the next few years, but in the meantime, I’d like to point out why porn and masturbation addiction is so much trickier to beat than other addictions.
In fact, some of my clients who recovered from alcohol and drug addictions confirm that porn addiction effect, sex, and masturbation are harder to quit than those substances.
There are two simple criteria when it comes to identifying where a person’s porn use is addictive:
1) You have no control over it. This means you’ve made a firm decision to quit, but gave in several times.
2) Negative Consequences. It is affecting your emotions, career, relationships, productivity, academics or lifestyle in a negative way.
BOTH criteria must be met for porn, sex or masturbation to be classified as an addiction.
But the LEVEL of loss of control and the level of negative consequences must also be considered when trying to stop this behavior.
In my experience, the LEVEL of porn addiction varies depending on different factors in your life.
This is one crucial fact that many things all the quit-fapping influencers on YouTube, and even therapists don’t understand.
Excuse me while I rant for a moment.
This is not a game or a challenge – it is a serious problem that destroys lives.
A handful of techniques, tips, and philosophies MIGHT help a 21-year-old who spends 80% of his day glued to his smartphone or computer- but it will do nothing for the 28-year-old young professional who is trying to succeed at his career, or the 33 year old who realizes that he’s thrown away his twenties, or the 40-year-old who feels that he sabotaged his career and serious life relationships perhaps losing his kids to divorce, or the 52-year-old who feels that its pretty much over for him.
Just because a high testosterone 21-year-old feels guilty about masturbating twice a day doesn’t mean that a 27+-year-old man going places in life has the same problems as he does.
Some young men don’t know what it like to go through a break up (because they are so stuck on porn, that they can’t get in a relationship), deal with real-life stress such as paying mortgages, keeping employees on payroll, juggling work and kids, taking care of aging parents, paying taxes, deal with workplace politics- the list goes on.
Any 18 to 24-year-old reading this email is without a doubt above average and has some big aspirations in life. Take your problem with porn seriously, handle it and start living your best life instead of spending years playing 90 Day challenges.
Ever wonder why sometimes, you binge watch porn for weeks and sometimes you have the ability to 100% abstain for months or even years?
I used to wonder the same thing as well.
This happens because your level of porn addiction and your COMMITMENT to quit varies depending on life circumstances such as your :
4) Financial situation
Next time you are watching a video, reading a book, or looking for a counselor to help you with your porn addiction, screen them to find out if they understand this.
Here are the levels of behavior with pornography:
This is the person who watches pornography three or four times a year. In fact, if you can count the number of times you’ve watched porn in a 12 month period on one hand, then this is the level you are at.
Due to the highly sexualized world we live in, there is of course always a risk of increasing involvement with pornography. If you have well established healthy ways of managing your emotions, stress, and family life, you are in a good place.
At this level- you are not addicted either. However, you have watched porn and masturbated to it 6 to 12 times a year. In some of those cases, you were not simply aroused.
One or more sessions may have been triggered by curiosity due to something you came across online or perhaps because of a reference someone made. At this level, you may have watched porn to medicate/feel better about some undesirable situation in your life.
At this point, pornography is quite likely to become a problem. You are viewing porn at least once a month, possibly for a few months or years. You know you are at level three when you try to stop yourself each month, but no matter how hard you try, you always end up slipping. Usually, you binge for a while, then try to quit again.
This is the point where many men begin to use their will power and count down the days which they have spent off porn. It’s not an out of control problem yet, but it does take an effort to quit since the porn you are watching at this point is no longer soft core porn- your tastes are gradually changing.
FANTASY is what moves you from level 3 to level 4.
At Level 3, when you are not watching porn, there is a very high chance that you are fantasizing or sexualizing your encounters with other people.
When you fantasize intensely for prolonged periods of time- away from your device, you release chemicals which make you feel good- a feeling that only gets better by watching porn.
At this level, pornography is having an obvious effect on your life. You may start noticing that porn is affecting your career, your family or your school work.
Your fantasies are out of control at this point. When you are not watching porn, you often find yourself fantasizing about porn and sex. You are watching pornography a couple of times a month and you have been trying to different ways to stop. Usually, nothing works at this point and you start getting worried about why it seems so difficult to quit. This is the point where you may search for how to stop watching porn online.
In my experience, this level is also your final chance to end your porn use on your own. Beyond this, your entire life, whether you realize it or not, will begin to be dictated by your porn addiction. The reason why is that left unchecked, your behavior with pornography begins to generate deeper psychological issues.
Over the years, I’ve realized that there are only TWO responses to level 4. For the purpose of simplicity, I’ve divided these responses into two groups of men which we will call Type A and Type B.
This is an already accomplished person who understands what it takes to achieve success on a consistent basis. They have usually established themselves in their career, and have a relatively balanced lifestyle. This means that you have friends, close bonds with family, take care of your health and know how to go about getting most of the things you want in life. If you are a student, you are also relatively successful in your academic life.
Type A men, once they understand that they have a problem, see it as an obstacle to their life. Their natural reaction is the same as it is to every other obstacle in their life- to get rid of it by any means necessary because they have places to go. They will usually visit a counselor, get a mentor or invest in something actionable to get back their edge on their own.
When searching for help online, they screen everyone for results and success – that is, whomever they seek help from must be moving forward in their life as well. Action has always worked for them and thanks to this habit, they usually experience positive results in their recovery.
Some of my most successful clients are driven lawyers, engineers, students in law school, student-athletes, salespeople, doctors, and business owners.
It must be noted that some Type A people do not seek help- usually because they are never informed that one could have a compulsive behavior with porn, they are misdiagnosed by a counselor or they are at a level of financial success that insulates them from the true impact of their problem.
This person has usually not achieved their goals or is lagging behind for one reason or the other. Typically, they have good intentions but already have problems motivating themselves, have developed bad habits such as social media/smartphone addiction/internet addiction, bad diets, play video games compulsively or a minor drug/alcohol problem.
They may have a career or be in college, but they would not rate themselves at anywhere near their potential. Some have a genuine desire to be successful and have tried, but their repeated failures have left them with a lot of self-doubts.
As is sadly the case of most men seeking direction, I have noticed that Type B men were often diagnosed with depression, ADD/ADHD or some other disorder at some point in their life. This diagnosis then served as a subconscious crutch throughout their lives- frequently sabotaging their attempts to excel in life.
Type B men, once they understand that they have a problem, will respond as they have to most things in life. Typically, they will seek the opinion of someone who is similar to them. They gravitate towards influencers on social media who are entertaining or are in a similar demographic to them. They are more likely to accept popular opinion as fact as opposed to doing their own research.
The popular way, of course, is usually the easy way. In the case of quitting porn use, it is:
1) Stay off porn for 90 Days and count REALLY HARD
2) Improve your lifestyle and be a man
3) Watch more videos about not masturbating and the more you watch, the more you will understand
Type B men take massive action- but their action is typically limited to watching a lot of videos or reading a lot of articles, comments, and opinions. When they do try to curb their behavior with porn, they usually fail since they don’t have a definite plan.
Their self-doubt, reinforced by underachieving in other areas of their lives kicks in. When the effects of porn addiction on their life become too unbearable, the Type B man start seeks help, but unfortunately, because he doesn’t believe in investing in himself, seeks cheap and quick fixes which usually makes them prey to scams and hustlers looking to make a quick buck online.
If you fall into the Type B category or are a Type A person with a few character traits of Type B showing up in your life, don’t get discouraged.
I was in that category as well till I was fortunate enough to find a mentor who opened my eyes to my self sabotaging way of thinking.
At this point, viewing pornography is a daily habit and a major part of your life. You are watching porn and masturbating just to fall asleep. You sexualize every single woman (and sometimes even men) you see.
Level 5 is when you stop growing and developing as a person. Your career, your relationships with people- everything is set up to maximize porn use.
For instance, you spend a lot of time alone in front of your computer or phone. You never initiate a social meet up of any sort for dinner or a movie. All your hobbies are solitary and you never step out of the comfort zone of those who were already in your life when you reached Level 5.
Anytime I speak to a man at Level 5, I find that he has paid a heavy price for his porn addiction.
Some of the things he has sacrificed at this point are:
1) Career: He has lost a job, or severely underperformed at his career due to his porn use.
2) Relationships: Intimate relationships have ended. Either due to his partner leaving him because of his incessant porn use or due to him sabotaging the relationship due to his inability to fully commit. He always feels that there is a better woman out there..always wondering if perhaps he can upgrade.
3) Education: Mediocre to failing performance in academics
When you try to quit at this point, you begin to experience strong withdrawal symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, irritability, extreme daytime fatigue, headaches, problems sleeping and social anxiety- worrying more than often about peoples opinions.
By this point, you quite literally do not know how to stop. Both Type A and Type B men realize that they need help at this point. Again, their responses at Level 5 are quite different.
If you are a Type A person, you will usually disclose your struggle to a trusted friend or some sort of mentor. This is usually a good step, as it brings your porn and masturbation use out of secrecy. You then have the courage to share it with more people. Many Type A men are surprised to learn at this point that the person they shared it with faces the same problem!
If you are a Type B, you will do one of two things.
Break psychologically and ignore the problem-effectively incorporating Level 5 into your life. You might find rationalizations to back up your decisions such as everyone does it, sex/porn addiction does not exist, on and on…
At this point, you fall for the ideology of sex-positive counselors, MGTOW, or some group with relieves your guilt and shame for viewing porn.
The second thing a Type B man does is send desperate emails, comments, and one-liners to others online asking for advice. Since you haven’t developed the habit of taking action like the Type A man- which involves a small element of risk, you take action any way you know how- by seeking help in the most risk-averse way.
This level is characterized by feelings of being completely out of control. Every single day of your life involves thoughts of pornography and in an age of free porn, you are spending money on porn in the form of paid sites and cam sites.
Depression and hopelessness are two common feelings at this level. This doesn’t mean that you have no desire to quit, on the contrary, you do want to quit, but your self-doubt and lack of hope are overwhelming. Many men at Level 6 continue using pornography, even after being caught with it.
The type of pornography you are viewing has drastically escalated to violent material including bestiality, gore, snuff ( death), incest, rape, extreme violence, and other depraved material. These are the only genres of pornography that can elicit an orgasm and sometimes even an erection. Staying in Level 6 leads to acting out.
This means seeking real-life sexual encounters to satisfy your addiction. This can range from seeking female, male or transgender escorts via different websites and apps, searching for random hookups, or in some cases, predatory behavior towards vulnerable people.
At Level 6, every aspect of your life is filled with lies as you need to do so in order to cover up your secret life. A man at Level 6 can maintain this behavior for years-even decades. When discovered, there is always a very high price to pay. Relationships fall apart in traumatic ways, careers are destroyed, sometimes, men end up in jail.
The good news about Level 6 is that the stakes are so high when you get caught, that it can trigger a very strong emotional desire to quit.
The bad news is that in Levels 5 and 6, you are delusional in your beliefs- that is, while you may acknowledge that your behavior is out of control, you don’t see its true impact on your life. You have also incorporated compulsive lying and manipulation into your day to day life since your behavior must be maintained in secrecy.
Breaking The Armor
Over the years, I’ve developed an exercise which I call breaking the armor. The purpose of this exercise is to help a man at Level 5 or 6 drop his conditioning for a brief moment and actually see what his life could look like without porn.
In my opinion- this is VERY important. After years of porn use and masturbation- let’s say you started between the ages of 8-14 and carried on for 12-15 years, you truly have no concept of what a life without pornography looks like.
Porn is your first “relationship”.
Its comforted you as a teen when you were anxious.
It kept you company when you were lonely.
When you were stressed and overwhelmed, porn was always there to take off the edge.
On restless nights it helped you fall asleep.
It taught you about sex and perhaps even gave you some sexual confidence.
It was always there for you when your heart was broken.
Unfortunately, porn overstayed its welcome…
But how do you let go of the one thing you could depend on for years?
What would life look like?
That where Breaking The Armor comes in.
Through a series of coaching questions, we gradually remove all your emotional armor or conditioning. This is a temporary process- but for a brief moment, you are free of your shame, your guilt, your lies, and your rationalization.
You are YOU.
This is a powerful moment for many men.
When some of my clients at Level 5 and 6 see the incredible damage porn has had on their families, finances, careers, relationships, self-esteem, social life and on their emotions, some break down and cry.
It’s like being possessed against your will and knowledge by a different personality which pretended to be you for years…and one day realizing who you really are for the first time.
The loss, self-betrayal, and lies you told yourself become evident. You see the man you COULD have been if porn didn’t get out of control in your life.
At that moment, most men decide that they are done for good. This is when the recovery process truly begins- when you have actually FELT what it’s like your greatest self.
Understanding these levels are so important to your recovery. This is why I have never paid much attention to all the fapping/not-fapping movements. It is a willpower solution that only helps men at Level 3 or below.
To effectively recover, you or the person guiding you in your recovery must first determine what level you are at.
Once I determine what level a man is at, I know the exact steps needed to help him recover.
He will be able to identify his boundaries, develop the right amount of self-awareness, control fantasies, dialogue with himself, anticipate urges, deal with strong emotions of sadness, loss or hopelessness, accurately examine his rationalizations and much more- depending on the Level he is at.
Withdrawal symptoms are also experienced differently at each Level. The effects of withdrawals are physical and emotional. In the past 7 years, I have not met a single client out of 400+ who could identify more than two withdrawal symptoms. They are able to identify them weeks later.
Now, at this point- a Type B man will be thinking:
“J.K…man, I really want to quit, but you make it sound so complicated and even impossible.”
If that is you, understand that your habit of taking the easy way is kicking in right at this moment. Fight it.
The Type A man will be thinking of how he can best put this information to good use.
I could keep going, but I’ll end up writing a book. The point is – take the first step of identifying your level of addiction to pornography.
- Bookmark and review this blog post again and ask yourself whether you have moved from one level to the next (up or down) over the years.
- Honestly identify whether you are a Type A or a Type B kind of man.
There is nothing wrong with either-such is life, although the Type B man is clearly at a disadvantage. As I mentioned earlier- I was a typical Type B guy with a few Type A traits until I broke my armor and dedicated several very painful years to change my life.
If you want to hear a little bit about how I changed myself to more of a Type A man, watch this Video:
I would REALLY like to know your thoughts on what Level you are at and what Type of man you are.
Leave your comments below and share your story with me. I may not respond right away but I do I read every single comment here in this blog.
You brother in this struggle,