Men Therapy Toronto | Counselling Services for Men
Why Men Watch Porn? & Tips To Stop

 

Why Men Watch Porn? & Tips To Stop (if you want to)

 

In May 2016, 60% of all men (ages 15 plus) in Canada used the Internet to watch porn at least once.*  The data implies that roughly 9.1 MILLION Canadian men are watching pornography on a monthly basis.

What’s the Problem?  Isn’t Porn Watching Normal?

It depends.  There is a subset of men who may incorporate pornography as a healthy expression of their sexuality.  These men have no real attachment to porngraphy and very little shame associated with viewing it.  However, there is another subset of men (generally larger) who are watching porn compulsively or some may say addictively.  For these men porn has moved from want to need.

This article is written for men struggling with an addiction to porngraphy.

Why Then Do Men Watch Porn (compulsively)?

Powerlessness.

Men who feel magnetically and compulsively drawn to the repeated viewing of pornography are feeling a deep and excruciating pain of powerlessness.  No man wants to be sitting alone in front of a screen potentially for hours masturbating to pornography, yet millions are.  The act of watching pornography offers a man a fleeting and pseudo sense of power.  To feel this excruciating pain powerlessness a man need simply try to not watch porn right at the moment they most desire to.

Powerlessness as Shame & Barrier to Intimacy

The pain of powerlessness is so excruciating and intimately connected with how men feel about themselves as individuals and men.  The fundamental paradigm and belief they these men have of themselves is that they are deeply flawed, inadequate, unworthy and ultimately unlovable.  This shamed based belief (shame as in ‘I am bad’) of themselves becomes ingrained as real and creates in them a barrier to intimacy.  Pornography acts as a barrier to intimacy for men. It is much safer to express one’s sexual energy through porn then it is to risk being vulnerable in an intimate relationship. The alternative is to open themselves to others in a way that is both vulnerable and authentic.  Many men choose not to open up in that way because at core they have terror around what people will actually see if they did.

Porn is the Symptom and Not the Problem

Countless men attempt to stop watching porn however success is often fleeting. It is this way simply because porn is not the problem but rather simply the symptom.  Dealing with the symptom (porn) will do little to achieve the desired change in behaviour.  Men must invest their energy into coming to terms with why they feel so deeply inadequate, unworthy, unlovable and ultimately incapable of genuine intimacy.  These very difficult feelings have generally been long avoided by men but a man must meet them face on if they want to get better.  There is no other way.

Men Need Men

Men often carry their negative shame based beliefs in isolation and assume that other men do not carry these same pains.  As a result, intimacy (i.e. genuine friendship) with other men is something that they avoid.  However, a key component to piercing a hole in ones shame based beliefs is expressing their vulnerabilities and fears in a supportive environment amongst other men.  In that environment the man learns two primary things:

  1. He is not the only man in pain.
  2. He is just as ‘man enough’ as every other man on the planet.

Learning to develop genuine intimacy with other men is foundational to being able to achieve it with women.

Tips to Stop Watching Porn (if you want to)

  1. Stop Trying to Stop Watching Porn (Porn is just the symptom so simply trying to stop watching porn won’t change anything.)
  2. Decide if You Are Really Ready To Change (This is something you will need to truly want to do for yourself and not for anyone else.  There is no shame if you are not ready at this moment.)
  3. Become Emotionally Aware (Porn is being used to medicate very difficult emotions and feelings.  You must become aware of your emotions so that you can start to deal with them more effectively.)
  4. Join a 12-Step Group or Men’s Group or Both (This is a critical step.  It is in my experience impossible to recover without the support of others.)
  5. Get Professional Help (A good therapist could help you work through your shame based beliefs.)
  6. Do the Work (You can only change if you do the work whether it be 12-step work, going to a men’s group, practicing emotional awareness, etc.  Change involves using your will power but not to stop watching porn but rather to deal with all the pain that is driving you to watch porn)
  7. Have Fun (Compulsive porn watching is not a condemnation on who you are but rather it is just showing you a part of yourself that needs some work.  It’s providing you with a road map to get healthy if you decide to stop.  Have fun in the sense that you’re doing something amazing for yourself).

Additional Resources

Contact Info.

Eric Pierni, Registered Psychotherapist (Q), Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (Cand.) | Founder of  Men Therapy Toronto | Counselling Services for Men specializing in therapy and psychotherapy for men in Toronto, Ontario (GTA).  Offices are located in the midtown (Yonge & Eglinton) area of Toronto.

*Data based on a leading Canadian online measurement company.

Why Men Watch Porn? & Tips To Stop

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