Trigger Warning

Today, we’re talking about pornography.

We might cover things that make you uncomfortable.

I might state opinions that you disagree with.

If you don’t want your teen listening to this, and you’re driving around in the car, turn this episode off and come back and listen when you’re free to listen without worrying about other’s ears.

Also, please don’t feel like you have to agree with everything that I say. You don’t even have to agree with anything, and we can still be friends.

I’m sharing my thoughts, opinions, and experience to help you gain a more intentional awareness of your own thoughts, opinions, and experiences when it comes to porn.

I also want to be clear. I do NOT support viewing pornography, especially for teens. I think viewing porn can be compared to gambling, drinking, eating junk food, and a ton of other bad habits.

Can you use pornography responsibly? Sure.

It it easy to abuse and slip into bad habits? Absolutely.

How You Talk is a Reflection of How You Think

One of the biggest problems that I have with our modern relationship with porn is the way that we talk about it.

We talk about porn like it’s a death sentence. Like it’s the worst thing possible. Like it’s something shameful and something that needs hidden.

Let’s stop promoting fear!

Here are a few of my concerns.

  • The problem with calling pornography an addiction is that it disempowers the “addict” and it gives more power to pornography.
  • When we blame, we disempower ourselves and the person we’re blaming.
  • When we refuse to talk about it in a constructive way, or at all, it becomes even scarier.

How you talk about anything is a reflection of how you think, what you believe, and how you see reality. Be aware of this.

You might want to have a conversation with YOURSELF about porn, record it, and play it back and explore, “What is the way I talk about this telling me about me?”

Let’s take power away from porn by changing how we talk and think about porn.

It’s not the end of the world. It’s not a death sentence. It’s not something that people have to struggle with for the rest of their lives.

Let’s be a part of the change!

Disempowering Beliefs about Pornography

  • Pornography will ruin your ability for connection.
  • If you look at porn, you’ll become addicted.
  • It only takes one look.
  • Those images will never leave your mind.
  • This will never go away.
  • The desire to look at naked people is bad.
  • It will take me months or years to quit looking at porn.
  • This means something’s wrong with me.
  • My teen is evil if they’re looking at porn.

Basically, any believe the victimizes you is disempowering.

Be careful about what you CHOOSE believe when it comes to porn. What you believe is your reality.

Change the Narrative

I’ve worked with several young men, and even a few dads, when it comes to pornography and helping them quit viewing pornography.

Most of them, along with the parents, thought that it was something that they would struggle with for the rest of their lives. The truth is, most of them were able to decrease their porn use after just one week. Some were able to completely eliminate porn use after just one week.

Rather than talking about how destructive and addictive it is, I talk about how easy it can be to overcome.

When I talk about porn, I don’t have any judgement or shame or embarrassment. I accept my clients as they are, where they are.

When clients come to me seeking help with pornography, they usually come to me feeling some shame, hopelessness, and fear.

After our first conversation, they feel hopeful, confident, and connection.

Separate Porn from Masturbation

One of the things that I think is important to talk about is that everyone’s definition for porn is different. We don’t really have a clearly cut definition of what porn is. When I talk to my clients, I like to clarify what porn means to them. For some it’s looking at any image that sexually arouses them. For some it’s super mild, for some it’s pretty hardcore.

Also, peoples’ definitions of masturbation differ. Typically I define it as arousing yourself to the point of orgasm.

Now, I think it’s important to separate porn from masturbation.

One of the things that makes it extremely hard to quit viewing porn, is to use porn as an arousal tool for masturbation.

The reason is because masturbation cerates a huge dopamine rush. It’s orgasmic. It’s supposed to feel good. It’s supposed to leave you wanting to come back for more. That’s how we’re designed to ensure the future of our species.

And, if you look at human beings 10,000 years ago, we were designed to have babies at a young age and have as many as we could with as many people as we could to diversify our genetic make up.

So, in modern times, we’re trading being sexually active for masturbation. Which I don’t have a problem with.

The problem is when you’re viewing pornography, coupled with masturbation, the climax that comes with orgasm is a powerful pleasurable experience that reinforces the habit of viewing porn.

This might be controversial, and it’s okay, you don’t have to agree, but when I have clients who want to quit viewing porn, I tell them to separate porn from masturbation. They can masturbate, but not to porn.

The cool thing that happens is, when they masturbate without looking at porn, immediately afterwards their desire to look at porn decreases.

Some of my clients have had success quitting porn by masturbating before having an uncontrollable desire to look at porn. This often led to a decreased amount of masturbation afterwards.

Understand the Underlying Driver

Ultimately, it’s your emotions that drive you to look at porn.

The better you get at developing your emotional intelligence, the better you will understand the driver. Once you understand your emotional driver, you can address that.

What happens with humans, and you and I are no different. We do things that give us an emotional response, and based on the pleasure of the emotional response, we’ll either seek it out in the future to recreate the same emotional response, or we’ll avoid it to avoid an undesirable emotional response, and with time this becomes our habitual nature, our way of BEING.

When you understand the underlying emotional driver, loneliness, boredom, shame, guilt, desire, you can start creating new habits.

If you want to end your dependency on porn, or if you teen wants to end theirs, it’s all about identifying the old unintentional habits and developing new intentional habits.

Control the Controllables

I can’t control if my teens look at porn or not.

I can control the streaming tools that we purchase.

I can’t control what my teen looks at on their phone, especially if their at a friends house, but I can control the filters that we use.

I can’t control what my teen thinks about porn, but I can have empowering conversations with them about porn.

I can’t control how my teen behaves, but I can be intentional about the boundaries and expectations that I put in place.

Get Your Teen Help IF They Want Help

Don’t force your teen to get coaching, go to therapy, or talk to their church leader if they don’t want to when it comes to porn.

Your teen will only quit looking at porn if they want to.

Help them get to that place.

Additional Resources

Podcast:

Mormon Marriages Episode 41 – Changing the Narrative Around Pornography w/Dr. Cameron Staley

TEDx Talk:
Changing the narrative around the addiction story | Cameron Staley | TEDxIdahoStateUniversity

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