The title of this video distinguishes between edging and relapsing. In reality, the two are related, and the former is a gateway to the latter. Many people who set out to edge wind up relapsing (climaxing), sooner or later, and often after a significant period of compromise. Edging, in itself, however, independent of where it leads, is highly problematic from a porn reboot / porn recovery standpoint. Edging screws with the brain’s reward circuitry and can negatively influence emotional health and life motivation. To my mind, edging itself is relapse; it is an example of going back to the thing we are seeking to avoid. Even so, it makes sense to analyze edging on its own terms due to the key differences between edging and relapse that involves climax.
Today, I’ve transcribed an in-depth video published by Mark Hudson, founder of Pinnacle of Man, that addresses the topic in crystal terms. Hudson outlines 5 harms of edging, and more importantly, provides 3 strategies to avoid edging and manage urges. The 5 harms are 1-) edging trashes your rewards circuitry; 2-) edging alters your decision-making process; 3-) edging eradicates your motivation; 4-) edging destroys your energy reserves; and 5-) edging strengthens the connection between triggers and the act of edging itself, which can further damage dopamine systems.
Hudson shares two proactive strategies and one reactive strategy. The first proactive strategy, in advance of temptation, is to grayscale your phone. Grayscale (black and white) produces less dopamine and is possible to do with any smartphone. The second, and more consequential, proactive strategy is to track your habits. Stress, loneliness, and boredom are the three biggest triggers for most people. Knowing when we are most susceptible to these, Hudson argues, and learning how to manage them in live time can keep us from resorting to edging and other undesirable coping behaviors. Hudson recommends the accountability app DailyO.
Finally, the last strategy, which is reactive, that is, it takes place in the heat of the moment, is to converse with the lower, unconscious part of our mind that supplies us with temptation. Hudson analogizes this aspect of ourselves with a child that only seeks to get what it wants, in the way that it knows, independent of the consequences. I want you to imagine it’s just a younger version of you trying to get a need met the only way it knows how. And when you have the right conversation the right way, and ask the right questions, you become the parent. You have authority over them, and therefore they cannot control you.
Check out the complete video and transcript below!
Basically, what it’s trying to tell you is the longer you sit there and edge and look at photos and videos and have 50 different tabs open, and you’re not releasing or finishing, what this is doing is it’s making a stronger connection between your triggers and the act of edging, which is–as you know by now–destroying your dopamine systems. So it is far worse to spend 1 to 2 hours looking at photos, looking at videos, 50 different tabs, and then not finishing, than it is to just get on and finish in like 1 or 2 minutes. As far as dopamine goes, edging is far worse.Josh Hudson
There is one thing that is far worse than you relapsing to PMO. Now, you probably know it by the title of the video, or if you don’t, it’s edging. Don’t click away though, because I’m going to give you 5 reasons why that is, and then 2 practical tips how to deal with your edging and overcome it, so you never do it ever again. . .
5 Damaging Effects Edging Has On You
Let’s briefly go over the 5 damaging effects that edging has on you. As you can see here, the first one is trashing your rewards circuitry. When you’re constantly getting this immediate pleasure, this thing that gives you a lot of reward through watching PMO, what happens is your brain starts to get confused, “Wait, I don’t need to have as much energy and output to get this massive need we have. Okay, then, how much need do I really have to go get food or talk to a girl, or develop a business or study for this exam?”
You’re destroying your delayed-gratification muscle, and you get confused, or at least your brain does, about what’s a priority in your life as far as needs go. Because if you’re getting this sex, this core need of what you have in life so rapid and easy in succession, your brain is also saying to yourself, “Well, I guess we don’t need to do anything else as hard in our life.” So you go to junk food, so you don’t try to get that job, so you don’t go off and do things that are best for you.
Now the second thing is it alters your decision-making process. Now, as I said before, as your day goes about, your ability to have willpower diminishes over time. Studies show that willpower is like a muscle. And the more you use it actually, it depletes as the day goes on. Now when you’re doing something like edging, just bathing in all this dopamine, what’s happening is that your ability to regulate your emotions and have dopamine released in a natural and orderly and organic way, is diminished. And so your willpower reserves gets massively diminished, as well, and simple decisions give you more fatigue over time, because your brain thinks to itself, “Why do I have to make these hard decisions if I can just be rewarded whenever I want?”
Number three is it eradicates your motivation. I talk about this in every single video that I post about NoFap. However, essentially, between your synapses, your little neurons, they’re firing all this dopamine between the synapses, abundance of it, and your brain is a regulatory system. It produces homeostasis, which means it tries to find balance, and so when you release a lot of dopamine through watching PMO, especially edging constantly for hours looking at tabs, all this stimulation, that access to dopamine—when you’re no longer watching it anymore, there’s going to be less dopamine in between your synapses than normal. Therefore, less dopamine equals less motivation on average.
The fourth thing is that it destroys your energy reserves. I don’t have to explain how that works. You know personally the last time you relapses, the last time you edged, you just felt like, “Eh. I don’t feel like doing anything.”
Edging And Dopamine
Number five is absolutely insane. Of course, I stayed the best for that. Science Daily posted an article saying habit formation is enabled by gateway to brain cells. I’m not going to go through the whole thing with you, I’m going to give you the most meat-and-bones of it, alright. Research published here in the journal Neuron shows that the NMDA receptors on dopamine neurons in the brain’s basal gangla are essential for habit-formation.
Basically, what it’s trying to tell you is the longer you sit there and edge and look at photos and videos and have 50 different tabs open, and you’re not releasing or finishing, what this is doing is it’s making a stronger connection between your triggers and the act of edging, which is–as you know by now–destroying your dopamine systems. So it is far worse to spend 1 to 2 hours looking at photos, looking at videos, 50 different tabs, and then not finishing, than it is to just get on and finish in like 1 or 2 minutes. As far as dopamine goes, edging is far worse.
In fact, I was recently talking to a client one-on-one. He said, “Josh.” He gave me a really good metaphor for it all. He goes, “It’s almost as if I was taking a dopamine bath, just bathing in all this dopamine. Except you don’t feel clean after. You feel weak, shameful, and dirty, and just empty as a man.”
Two Strategies To Manage Urges And Prevent Edging
The first proactive strategy, proactive meaning before you actually have an urge. It’s proactive, you’re doing it before, and then reactive will be later. The first proactive strategy is a very simple one. A lot of guys in the program, they’ll do this. It helps a lot. The first proactive strategy to reduce your urges and the prevention of edging is to grayscale your phone. Studies show when it’s grayscaled, which means it basically black-and-white–every phone has the ability to do this–there’s less dopamine when you look at it. Color produces a lot more dopamine, so simple small tip, the second one’s a lot bigger.
The second thing is to track your habits. Look, if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing or what’s causing your urges, you’re never going to be able to prevent it. Now [these are] the main triggers for your urges as I say in every single video. What’s the first one? Stress. When you’re stressed out, you want to go escape to your preferred habit. Boredom. Loneliness. Now there are other triggers, as well, clearly.
So what is a daily habit that you can measure with both of those that counteracts these things. So for stress, how can you manage your stress? How can you measure your stress? For a lot of people, simply just a 1-10 scale is enough. So you have a little sheet, and you say today was this level stress, or this level. Or you can say meditation. Did I meditate today? Or did I do whatever habits you have that reduce your stress level. Eating healthy, working out, all these things that are primal in importance that reduces your stress.
The next thing is boredom. The opposite of that is connection. Asking yourself, “When is the last time I connected with someone?” And measure this. Every single day, or most days, when I walk around the Bay after I’m done with work, I call someone, or I’m already walking with someone I know. I play soccer twice a week. That’s my connection, as well. Hanging out with people on the weekend that I know. Are you having connection when you’re bored? Sorry, connection is loneliness. Boredom is just purpose.
How much time did you spend on your purpose in life, whether it’s school, whether it’s finishing a project, whether it’s some side hobby you have, whatever you’re passionate about in life. Now when you can quantify all of this through an Excel sheet or different apps. I use the app DailyO. It tracks your habits and you connect to the bottom a little note what your urges were that day.
And you can see through a graph what it is, and you can measure like “Okay, cool. I’m noticing a new theme here that every time on the weekends, I have strong urges, and the reason why that is is because I have alone time. When I have alone time, I get stressed out. Or I lack purpose on the weekends because I’m not at my job. Or I’m pretty lonely on the weekends because I’m single and I don’t know what to do.”
When you can measure and understand what’s causing your urges in the first place to go edge, and you can quantify it and see it on paper or a phone, you can do more about it.
The reactive strategy is when you’re feeling the urge already, right, when you’re in the middle of watching. You just have all those tabs open, and you hear that little voice in your head. It’s telling you, “Just exit. Just tap that exit tab. You can walk away, man. You can walk away from all this, man.”
Right, well here’s how you can actually walk away and avoid further destruction of your dopamine system. Now I go into a deep-level understanding of this, but essentially your brain has a higher self and a lower self. You can call it the subconscious mind, the conscious mind. There’s a lot of ways you can quantify or label these two selves within you. But your ego, or your lower self, your subconscious mind, essentially it wants to stay the same. So all these different habits it wants to keep. So when it gives you an urge, it’s giving you an old way of protecting yourself, of meeting a specific need that you have.
I want you to have a conversation with that lower self. I want you to imagine it’s just a younger version of you trying to get a need met the only way it knows how. And when you have the right conversation the right way, and ask the right questions, you become the parent. You have authority over them, and therefore they cannot control you.
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. But if you’re able to have that conversation and gain authority over it, that’s when you have full control over your being.