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Porn: are you addicted?

You can change the pattern...

Change the way you masturbate, change your life

I work with hundreds of clients a year (men and women) who have identified that they have an unhealthy relationship with porn, that they are stuck in habitual & dependent patterns and they want to know how to get healthier. This is an issue that often is not just affecting their masturbation habits, it's affecting the rest of their life:

- poor body image exacerbated by seeing only 'perfect' bodies in porn

- ashamed of their desires and unable to open up to others

- self-conscious and not confident in approaching relationships or intimacy

- ‘hiding' at home and reducing social interaction

- bored with work and only stimulated by porn

- difficulties in concentrating and often procrastinating

- high stress and low depression, not able to regulate these 'peaks and troughs'...

I could go on. Do any of these resonate for you? If you want to make small but sustainable changes to the way you connect with your body and porn then read on…

I am not the porn police…

When used healthily and consciously porn can be fun and arousing and really great. It is part of our nature to want to be exhibitionistic and voyeuristic. I am not here to tell you to stop watching porn, and I don't care what kind of porn you watch (as long as it's consensual and doesn't involve children or animals). The underlying causes of addiction can be addressed through therapy, or the book 'Your Brain On Porn' is an insightful read. What I can help you with is undoing some of the damage that repetitive, habitual and unconscious porn watching has done to your body & nervous system, and ultimately giving you tools to create the changes you want in your life. Here are 5 typical problems I see in my work…

  • When you watch porn you don't breathe: this triggers the sympathetic nervous system, the part responsible for 'fight or flight'. You are basically telling your brain that stress is present, that you need to be alert for danger. This increases the output of stress hormones like cortisol and literally shrinks your brain. So, pay attention to your breath next time you're watching porn - is it restricted, tight, shallow, in your chest, are you holding your breath?
  • When you watch porn you don't make any sound: most of us grew up with some level of negative conditioning around masturbation, sex and pleasure more generally. For many of us our discovery and initial explorations with masturbation were done in secret, trying not to get caught or found out. So any vocal expression was a no-no! Not making sound reinforces this old pattern of shame. It also means you are typically tense and tight through your diaphragm, throat and jaw. Gentle vibration and sound stimulates the vagus nerve and supports relaxation in your body.
  • When you watch porn you only touch your genitals: and usually in only one tried & tested way, the rest of your body gets ignored. This can lead to a form of sensory motor amnesia - a reduction in sensation and interruption of nerve signals to the brain. Basically, you become less sensitive to touch everywhere else on your body, and your genitals get used to the dogmatic masturbation routine. Your entire body has the potential to be orgasmic. Your skin is your largest organ. Focussing only on your genitals, and not varying your touch, totally limits your experience of pleasure - it’s like eating exactly the same meal every day: eventually you become numbed out and bored.
  • When you watch porn you sit/lie/stand in one position and don't move: this habitual posturing and positioning of the body might be effective in getting you to that goal of orgasm, but it’s seriously limiting your pleasure & sensation experience. One of the simplest changes you can make to interrupt your habits is to STAND UP! Position your laptop/device at eye level and just see what happens in your body. You might find it incredibly difficult to concentrate, you might even fall over, but you will definitely become aware of your body in a whole new way!
  • When you watch porn there's usually a goal of ejaculation/orgasm: this is a big one. For most people, masturbation is perfunctory and serves a purpose. The trigger might be boredom, craving, procrastination, avoidance or the purpose might be stress relief, a dopamine ‘hit’ or a before-bed lullaby. Acknowledging that you might be using ejaculation/orgasm and masturbation in a habitual way means you can then begin changing the pattern. Let go of the goal, go PLAY instead. Set a timer, commit to 15, 20, 30 minutes of exploring pleasure and sensation in your body without an agenda or trying to get somewhere. 

Simple 'hacks' to change your habits…

In my coaching sessions we work with a number of simple practices, 'exercises' and tools to help you start addressing these common problems as well as looking at more specific issues you might have. Through your life you will have just one relationship that stands the test of time; that relationship is with yourself. The relationship you have with your own pleasure has an impact on every relationship in your life: work, family, friends, lovers. An unhealthy relationship to your own pleasure has ripple effects out into your wider life. Spending time cultivating this relationship - exploring, enquiring, practising, enjoying - can create positive, lasting change in your sexual life and beyond…

So, if you'd like to address and change your negative habits associated with porn and masturbation then get in touch to book your first session. You can drop me an email on elizabeth@touchofhappiness.co.uk.

With Love,

Libby

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