In my last article, I hit on 7 Toxic Beliefs That Keep People From Quitting Pornography. I invite you to check that out if you haven’t already. Today, I want to look at the other side of the coin by elaborating 7 powerful benefits of quitting pornography. These are some of the most common effects that I and others have noticed after going substantial periods of time with no exposure. Some of these benefits kick in within days, while others may take weeks and months to fully materialize. Let me know in the comments any I have left out!
Without further ado..
7 Powerful Benefits Of Quitting Pornography
1. Greater energy
Sexual activity is energy-intensive. Thinking about porn, watching porn, and climaxing all drain energy from the body. The end state also tends to be decidedly negative for most people. You feel less energetic and motivated to get after it (post-nut syndrome?). You also feel like you wasted time and did something that was bad for you (shame/regret), which compounds this effect. Few people genuinely believe watching porn is healthy, and that’s because it isn’t. Bottom line: watching porn, and lust more generally, is an energy-intensive (and energy-inefficient process). It diverts resources that could be going into building healthy relationships with others and other productive activities, which leads me to my next point..
2. Increased productivity
Time is a finite resource. Time spent doing one thing is necessarily time that can’t be spent doing something else. One of the most obvious effects of kicking a bad habit is increased productivity in other areas. In the case of porn, it not only frees up your time, it frees up your energy to work, exercise, study, build relationships, meditate, and so on. Whenever we kick an unproductive, energy-inefficient habit, we make space for something positive to take its place.
3. Better romantic relationships
Sexual energy is fuel to get out there and pursue romantic relationships with members of the opposite sex. People who watch porn and masturbate often observe that their sexual interest in real people increases substantially after kicking the habit. This was always, after all, a big part of nature’s design. It follows that porn stunts our social development, and prospects for romantic relationships, in a big way.
Absent porn and masturbation, a man’s sexual urges drive him to go out and interact with women. Through these interactions, a man receives feedback on the qualities that women find attractive in a partner. The end result is typically a more sexually attractive man, and a stronger personal overall. Porn and masturbation severely hamstring this process. Unlike women, they demand nothing and communicate nothing of value. Porn and masturbation are an enemy of personal growth.Cultural Quote #99: Porn And Women
Quitting porn also increases our physical attraction to our current or potential partners. People who watch porn consciously and unconsciously compare their partners to porn actors. The problem is that these actors are selected, and often surgically amplified, with the goal of maximal sexual arousal. It follows that when we quit porn, our attraction to, and appreciation of, natural bodies and beauty increases.
When we quit porn, our attraction to, and appreciation of, natural bodies and beauty increases.
4. Better social relationships in general
Give and take is the essence of every healthy adult social interaction. We get our needs met in the context of other people, and they get their needs met in the context of us. There’s reciprocity. There’s people being mindful of each other needs. There may even be love. Porn, on the other hand, doesn’t care about any of that. It is an anti-social activity that only takes into account the needs of the self. Porn, in a word, is training in selfishness. And its selfish fruits most definitely carry over into other areas of life.
5. Greater self-confidence and self-respect
The idea may sound new, but, in reality, it isn’t radical or difficult to follow. As I elaborated in integrity increases self-esteem, every time we act consistent with our values, we gain respect for ourselves, and our self-esteem increases. On the flip side, every time we act inconsistent with our values, we lose respect for ourselves, and our self-esteem decreases. The brain, as it were, is always keeping score of our lives. It makes us feel weak when we do things we know are bad for us, things we know we shouldn’t do. And it makes us feel strong when we do things we know are good for us, things we know we should do. Number five has nothing to do with what other people may think or say about us. It is ours, and ours alone, for the taking.
6. Better mental health and happiness
Porn increases social anxiety (link), and is often accompanied by feelings of shame and guilt. It feels good to know that we are not participating in an exploitative, often criminal industry, that thrives off human trafficking. It also feels good to know that we are not incentivizing free adults to make decisions that harm their lives, even if those decisions are perfectly legal.
When we quit porn, our capacity for joy and connection increases. We create time and space to build relationships, businesses, learn, explore, and simply be.
7. Better spiritual health
I happen to be a Christian, as you know if you have read around on this blog. That said, every major (and minor) religion that I know of, and every spiritual worldview centered on human flourishing, warns of the spiritual consequences of lust. It creates separation between us and other people, as we know, but it also creates separation between us and God. Every step in God’s will increases spiritual health. Every step outside of God’s will increases spiritual sickness.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.Matthew 5:8
Remember, porn is one area of life. It is not the be-all, end-all of our struggles here on earth. However, for anyone hooked on porn, quitting is always a massive step in the right direction.