What is allowed during recovery?

It is one of the most obvious questions asked other than “ how long will it take for my erectile dysfunction to be fixed” during the reboot process. Moreover, there is no one set process that works for all. The  basic problem with porn addiction is getting hooked to artificial sexual stimuli and the need for change to return to your normal sexual responsiveness.

While it is important to understand that recovery is not just about porn elimination, it is about reversing unnatural dopamine secretion and Sensitisation. As the reward circuitry of our brain only knows squirts of dopamine, it has no idea as to what porn is. It all comes down to whether you are reactivating sensitised addiction pathways. But a finer question should be “ what type of training  does your brain require for changes and am I doing the right things to rewire my brain”?.

You are not advised to quit all dopamine producing activities, you can replace your addiction with fun activities like exercise, socialising, meditation, developing a new hobby etc. Research also shows that these activities actually help regulate dopamine levels and your mood. You might want to use an app that helps in quitting porn addiction and also a website blocker and help you stay on course.

What if I masturbate or watch porn without orgasm

Some persons undergoing the rebooting process believe that as long as they avoid ejaculation, they are successfully rebooting. This leads them to start an unhelpful practice called edging. It is masturbating up to the edge of orgasm, then revving up again.

Three common versions of edging:

  • Watching porn without masturbating
  • Masturbating with viewing of porn, no ejaculation
  • Masturbating without porn and no ejaculation.

Since a reboot by definition doesn’t involve porn or porn substitutes, 1 & 2 make no sense. For those trying to quit porn, edging while viewing porn is worse than having an orgasm.

If you are edging to porn : Edging can keep dopamine levels high for hours. These high dopamine levels push a reward circuit to repeat it again and again. It conditions your sexual arousal to everything related to porn use. dopamine increases when something is better than expected but drops when expectations are not met. When real sex doesn’t match porn, dopamine drops along with your excitement and erections.

If you are edging without porn: this is not similar to being with a partner. Sex means wiring your sexual response to another person. It is important to know that sexual stimulation is the highest level of naturally produced dopamine. It is at a peak while you edge. At orgasm, prolactin rises, which decreases the dopamine to lower levels and hampers its release.

Some urologists also suggest not to edge because it can cause pain in the testicles and cause many problems in the prostate. Conclusion: edging is not the correct way to recover. It just increases your dopamine and slows down the recovery. It is not a good practice and won’t help you to stop fapping . Installing a porn blocker app or a website blocker that will help in staying away from porn.

Studies linking the relationship between porn and less sexual satisfaction

According to a 2018 study, approximately 50% of couples face difficulties in keeping an intimate relationship. As of 2018, over 60 studies have linked porn use to poor sexual and relationship satisfaction.

Below are some studies conducted assessing sexual and relationship satisfaction:

  1. Pornography’s Impact on Sexual Satisfaction (1988): under this, various male and female students were exposed to common and nonviolent porn content. After the consumption of porn, they all reported less sexual satisfaction with their respective partners.
  2. Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Internet Material and Sexual Satisfaction: A Longitudinal Study (2009): between May 2006 and May 2007, a panel survey revealed that constant exposure to porn reduced adolescents’ (male and female) sexual satisfaction.
  3. Sexual media use and relational satisfaction in heterosexual couples (2010): results revealed that high use of porn resulted in negative satisfaction among men. However, shared porn media played a more dominant role than solo watching. They also concluded that men were reported more using porn content for masturbation than women.
  4. Exploring actor and partner correlates of sexual satisfaction among married couples (2010): this study suggested that porn consumption is not good for yourself as well as your partner’s satisfaction, especially when it is consumed by only one spouse.
  5. The Role of Internet Pornography Use and Cyber Infidelity in the Associations between Personality, Attachment, and Couple and Sexual Satisfaction (2017): this study reported that in men, porn use is associated with high sexual desire. However, his desire can lead to a less sexual desire for their partner and less sexual satisfaction.
  6. Is the Relationship Between Pornography Consumption Frequency and Lower Sexual Satisfaction Curvilinear? Results From England and Germany (2017): it concluded that with an increase in the frequency of porn consumption there is a decrease in sexual satisfaction.
  7. Personal Pornography Viewing and Sexual Satisfaction: A Quadratic Analysis (2017): it showed the concave downward curve, (negative association) of porn use and sexual satisfaction.
  8. Pornography use, marital status and sexual satisfaction in a non-clinical sample (2018): this study also revealed the negative association of porn use and sexual satisfaction and it has an adverse impact on married life too.

We can conclude that if porn is causing ill effects on relationships, quitting porn usage might be a helpful remedy. If you’re wondering how to stop watching pornography, BlockerX app , which is a web blocker might be helpful to you.