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August 9, 2020

Why Porn Is Ruining Your Life.

Convincing arguments abound on both sides of the pornography debate.

In a largely puritanical society, it can be difficult to discern which of our arguments for or against something as polarizing as pornography are founded upon personal truth, or instead based in our subconscious conditioning.

Thanks to modern science, we understand the ways in which mirror neurons make it nearly impossible for our brain to distinguish between visualizing something and actually doing it.

When we pair this with our evolutionary drive to procreate with someone who embodies the pinnacle of our physical attraction, we find porn to be quite enticing indeed.

Add in the rush of dopamine, our brain’s reward chemical, and you’ve got yourself a dangerously alluring cocktail.

Whether or not pornography is addictive remains a topic of contention, but the simple truth is that as pleasure-seeking creatures, an experience of this magnitude is bound to draw us in on some level.

I’ve been exploring the intricate effects and impacts of pornography on my own personal experience in depth for the last four years. I’ve examined the scientific aspects from a neurological and psychosomatic perspective. I’ve felt into the spiritual implications of pornography exposure and use. I’ve revisited my own childhood experiences with porn, starting at age 10, and have begun to unearth the innumerable ways this habit has impacted my intimacy as a teen and as an adult.

But only once I put some meaningful space between myself and my involvement with pornography did I begin to discover the incredible wealth of experiences that lay beyond regular porn use.

The first thing I noticed was that my relationship to self-pleasure changed. I noticed differences in the way I touched myself, the way I fantasized, and the way I interacted with my erotic energy.

But it went further.

I began to appreciate the beauty of women in my world in a drastically different way. I no longer found myself aroused only by a woman’s breasts or the shape of her face or body. I found myself perpetually intoxicated by her voice, her eyes, her energetic presence. And along with that, my standards for body type shifted as well. I found myself in awe of the beauty of literally every woman I saw.

Then I slept with someone, and I realized that the magnitude of my growth went far beyond my initial assessment.

The pleasure I experienced—derived this time from the thrill of her touch, the scent of her hair and body, and the energetic exchange occurring between us—sent me floating into an ocean of bliss and power. But this was not the hungry power of past sexual passion. Instead, this power was steady and strong, designed for holding space and anchoring safety so that we could each bloom into vulnerability together.

I discovered myself attuned to her experience in ways I’d never known possible. I felt her shifts, her movements, and her arousal, and noticed my body responding to hers. I felt the incoming wave of her orgasm as clearly as I felt my own, and I experienced my pleasure explode in response.

Afterward, lying naked atop a tousled bed with fitted sheets pulled off one corner and the smell of sex in the air, I noticed something else. I noticed the depth of my feelings for this woman. I noticed how, after ejaculating, I wanted to continue to guard her and keep her safe. And I wanted her to keep wanting me.

Feeling into my own vulnerability in that space, I realized how deeply sex engages our subtle bodies, and how thoroughly it enmeshes our energies with the person with whom we’ve been intimate.

I lay there, suddenly startled by the ways in which I’d done a grave disservice to my heart and my desires in continuing to engage in casual sexual encounters. If I felt this drawn to a woman after sleeping with her, what had been happening to that energetic experience when my partner had been an actress on a screen in my bathroom?

My heart open, my back sweaty, and my lover lying on my chest, my world came crashing down around me. I saw sexual intimacy for the incredible gift it is, and quietly wept for the ways in which I’d taken it for granted.

What I’ve come to realize since those formative early experiences is that many of us are fully capable of living pretty good lives with or without pornography.

And, additionally, that our capacity for pleasure, compassion, connection, and fulfillment are drastically improved when we opt to live without it.

Porn may not ruin your life—at least the life you know today.

But I promise you, when you see the life you could be living without it, you’ll realize how much it’s been holding you back.

~

If you need a place to start, I encourage you to checkout the reddit community NoFap. I’m also happy to share more about my journey or lend support, and can be reached directly at the email address in my author’s bio.

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Josh Greene  |  Contribution: 14,990

author: Josh Greene

Image: Will Mumu Silva/flickr

Editor: Lisa Erickson