I’m Trying To Stop Watching Deviant Porn But I’m Finding It Very Difficult…

Thankfully, I’ve been able to make a little more progress from my therapy sessions–even though I still have a long way to go when it comes to being patient and kind to myself for falling short a lot of times. However, in my latest session with the therapist, he asked about the symptoms I’ve been experiencing and–without getting too specific–I mentioned the masochism and the porn addiction. He seemed alarmed and began to lecture me about how harmful the stuff is to my brain. He mentioned the limbic system and the brain reward pathway and how porn is guaranteed to be detrimental to any relationships I would have with women. I confirmed that watching porn has been very detrimental in that it’s one of the factors in my social retardation and stated that this is the reason I want to continue with the CBT because I recognize that it could help me to correct the beliefs that are driving the addiction, but unfortunately haven’t reached a point where I can stop right now. As a challenge he told me to try to go a month without porn. Masturbating is fine just as long as I cut out everything that I use as a visual aid–including the art that I produce for myself. If I’m not able to complete the 30 days, he strongly recommends that I reconsider trying zoloft. I would honestly really rather not and told him that I feel that taking it wouldn’t really help me due to my subconscious and soul being the parts of me that are stressed.
It’s been four days since the session and I’m already tanking. I’ve tried doing this in the past and in most of my attempts, I can hardly focus because my mind just keeps rapidly flashing from one fetish fantasy to another and I find it difficult to climax when I can’t zero in on a scene. I’ve also noticed that in addition to the fantasies, when I close my eyes I sometimes get flashes of extremely negative and disgusting imagery in between the fantasy material. Violent depictions like gore and dismemberment as well as these forms that look like tendrils one moment and then quickly morph into swarms or spirals. Sometimes they resemble “living forms” constantly undulating. They tend to appear in a mix of reds, greys, black and white. I don’t know what this is, but it doesn’t happen when I just close my eyes during other activities. Only sometimes when I masturbate. As a result of this I just keep my eyes open because I can’t do it without looking at some type of imagery in front of me. Whether I have to view porn on the web or render my own art, I still feel that I have to SEE it to climax. I am hoping you can provide some insight as to what this gross imagery means as well as how I could quickly get to a place where I can focus enough so I don’t need any external visuals.

What you’re essentially asking is for me to help you find a way to do a therapeutic exercise that you don’t think you should be doing in the first place. I am very much against the idea of people aligning with their therapists against their own internal instincts. Ultimately, you need to learn to handle your own life. You can’t do that by invalidating your own instincts just because your therapist has a different idea of where you should be at. I always tell my clients not to agree to do an exercise I suggest unless they feel comfortable with it. If they don’t feel comfortable, we scrap it and come up with something else.

Now it’s inevitable that therapists and clients will disagree at times about the best course of treatment. But when those kinds of conflicts happen, the therapist needs to really listen to why the client feels uncomfortable and look for ways that he can adjust his recommendations to match where the client is at. Pushing someone too hard can damage the counsellor-client dynamic, and once a client starts viewing their counsellor negatively, therapy will no longer be effective.

As I explained in a previous post, trying to work with two counsellors at the same time is usually a mess, because counsellors tend to have very strong views about their methodology, so they aren’t very willing to compromise when they disagree with each other. A counsellor who really cares about his clients will feel a strong moral obligation to give them the best possible advice, so if he feels pressured to compromise his methods to please someone else, he’s likely to resist for moral reasons. In other words, the close-minded attitude of many therapists (myself included) can be coming from their souls fighting for what they believe in, and once souls see something as a moral issue, they can be incredibly stubborn.

Most of my clients are addicted to deviant porn, and they are not at a point where they are ready to aggressively get off of it. I never push people to stop watching porn, because I know that their minds will drop the porn automatically when they feel calmer. But if you do not recognize the mind as the separate, intelligent, purposeful creature that it is, you are left trying to understand porn addictions by studying its effect on the body. Does watching porn affect the body? Of course it does. By the time your mind or soul are demanding that your body do a certain activity, that activity is usually negative, because your alpha elements don’t start making demands until they are feeling pretty stressed. Your body has no interest in watching porn. Porn doesn’t mean anything to your body because on its own, it can’t interpret what the visuals even mean (your mind interprets all of the visual data that your body collects). The only reason your body wants to watch porn is to please your mind. Your body doesn’t understand why your mind is demanding the porn, but it wants to keep your mind happy, so it obeys its commands.

Now when your therapist starts talking about porn’s effect on the brain, he’s focusing only on the body. Modern psychology does not understand the human design. Instead of acknowledging mind, body, and soul as the separate entities that they are, they try to explain everything in terms of the body. In modern psychology, there is a useless obsession with the human brain. It is believed that we can understand the mind by examining the brain. But can we?

Suppose a man is very angry so he starts chucking snowballs against the wall of your house. You decide to pretend the man doesn’t exist, because for some reason his reality threatens you. Having decided to entirely ignore the man, you now set about trying to understand why snowballs keep slamming against the wall of your house. Where do these random balls of ice keep coming from? Why are they pelting the wall of your house? How are they gaining such speed? How are they being formed in the first place? These are the questions you are determined to answer, so you start going to great pains measuring, filming, and analysing every detail about those incoming projectiles. As you fill journal after journal with numbers and formulas, you’re not getting any closer to understanding anything. Of course if you’d stop being ridiculous and simply go talk to the man who is hurling the snowballs, you’d soon have all of the answers you want. But since you insist on ignoring the man’s reality, you’re left trying to come up with your own absurd theories, and then trying to tell yourself those theories are more than silly nonsense.

Trying to deal with a porn addiction without working directly with the mind is an utter waste of time. The method your therapist is using (which is a very popular one in any kind of addiction situation) is essentially trying to get your soul to fight against your mind by giving your body counter commands. Imagine a mother and father shouting opposite commands at their son. The father yells “Go clean your room right now!” Then the mother shouts, “Don’t you dare go down that hallway, young man! I want those dishes washed first!” In this moment, the boy can’t win. No matter which parent he obeys, he’ll have the other one mad at him. In this situation, the mother and father are really angry with each other. They have different priorities in this moment, and each one wants their own way. They are both trying to control the boy as a means of trying to override each other. The boy is just a symbolic pawn in this situation. Whoever succeeds at controlling the boy’s behaviour will feel like they “won” the fight with their adult peer. But again, the real issue is between the two adults.

So what’s wrong with this approach of getting your soul to ban your body from watching porn? In my opinion, everything. In deviant porn addictions, we usually already have a lot of tension existing between mind and soul. Since porn addictions are fuelled by psychological stress, the last thing we want to do is increase the mind’s stress load by intensifying its battle with its partner soul. To reduce the intensity of any psychological addiction, we need to try to reduce the mind’s stress load in as many ways as we can. A soul that is constantly bullying and berating the mind with comments like “You’re so disgusting! How can you watch this filth? What’s wrong with you?! I hate you!” is greatly adding to the mind’s stress load. The more intense the addiction, the more urgent it is to get the soul to change the way it is responding to the mind. As the soul develops sincere respect and compassion for the mind’s problems, the mind’s stress level starts to lower, which helps ease the intensity of the addiction. From there, other factors can be identified that are also contributing to the mind’s stress, and as we slowly reduce the stress load, we will usually find the mind asking for porn less often.

Your mind is the part of you that resents this one month challenge. Your soul is the part of you trying to go through with it in order to please your therapist (and to please itself, because it finds the porn morally offensive). Your body is caught in the middle, desperately wanting to please both of its superior elements, yet being given no way to do that. If it tries to pull up a porn video, your soul will attack it. If it tries to masturbate without the porn, your mind will block it from getting sexual release, so it will end up stalled in a very distressing state of torturous angst while it feels intimidated by your mind raging in the background.

As far as medications go, this is another body-focused approach. In a case like this, the goal of feeding the body medicines would be to try to block your mind from being able to express itself in certain ways through the body. When minds are harming the body (which is often the case in psychological addictions), it is often necessary to try to ease the body’s suffering in some way. Many view medications as an ideal way to do that.

Imagine an angry man violently jerking the steering wheel of his car back and forth as he drives down the road. His emotion driven behaviours are causing the car to be harmed by crashing into things. Suppose in this situation you want to protect the car from further harm, so you find a way to temporarily disable its steering wheel and gas pedal. Now the man inside can’t make his car go speeding down the road or jerk the steering wheel all about. Of course by performing these mechanical overrides, you’re inhibiting the car from being able to function normally. You’re also not solving the root problem, because once your temporary fixes wear off, the man will go right back to abusing the vehicle.

Porn addictions are undeniably hard on the body, but when the mind is the driving force, simply medicating the body won’t fix the addiction. In many cases, psychiatric medications become less effective the longer they are taken, and since they interfere with the body’s ability to function normally, they can end up being more of a hindrance than a help. I prefer to use gentler methods to help the body’s stress when it is under attack by its superior elements–methods that focus on easing the body’s stress instead of reducing the mind’s options. It’s vital to understand that your mind is a very logical being, and you can’t fix logical problems with pills. While some kinds of medications can be beneficial for the body in the short term, they will not help the mind feel better. To help the mind, we must work with it directly and slowly convince it to change the logic it is using.

It’s quite natural to want to identify a physical fix for psychological problems–something quick that you can do to magically get your mind to change. But psychological problems must be dealt with using psychological methods. Your mind is not a physical entity like your body, so simply using physical tools (which medications are) will not be enough. Physical methods are best suited to help physical problems. If you trip over a rock and badly gash your leg, that’s a physical problem. Simply talking to your body in such a moment won’t be sufficient–you need to use physical tools (like bandages and painkillers) to resolve its physical problems. But your mind is an entirely different kind of entity, and when we try to fix psychological problems using physical tools, we never get the results we want.

Since deviant porn addictions are driven by the mind, it’s very important to respect the mind’s perspective when it comes to trying to scale back how often you watch the videos. While it’s very easy to make a strong moral argument for why you shouldn’t watch porn, such an argument only appeals to your soul. When your soul isn’t the one craving the porn, it’s very easy for it to sit back and play the role of the condemning judge. But you can’t use soul logic to get your mind to reduce its porn watching. You need to talk to the mind on its own level, and that means focusing on the issue of harm.

Your mind wants to protect you, and watching porn puts you in danger: it’s that simple. Even if you’re not watching the kind of porn that can land you in a prison cell, being outed as a deviant porn addict is guaranteed to harm your social status among other humans, and that is something your mind cares very much about. Then there’s the stress being put on your body, which your mind also wants to protect. Notice here how I’m presenting a motivation to scale back that your mind can actually resonate with. If scaling back your porn watching can lower your risk of being harmed, your mind can see value in it. But simply lecturing your mind about the immorality of it all won’t be effective because your mind doesn’t care about morals the way your soul does.

Now should your mind decide that it would like to reduce your risk of being harmed by cutting back on porn videos, then you have a chance at trying to get it to ease back if you use a positive approach. But this thing you’re doing now of just ripping away the porn despite your mind clearly telling you that it doesn’t want to let it go is only causing your mind to become aggressive and angry–very angry, by the sound of it. A key problem here is that you didn’t get your mind on board with this idea at all before you tried it. Your mind has to be a willing partner in these kinds of exercises. Minds resent being forced to do things they don’t want to do. Remember that it was feeling forced that caused your mind to develop a porn addiction in the first place, because this kind of addiction is a reaction to a form of psychological trauma in which things the mind didn’t like were being forced upon it. So we really don’t need more force at this point. Force is triggering an aggressive response because your mind is very angry at your soul for blatantly disregarding its boundaries. A change of tactic is urgently needed before your mind decides that it hates both your soul and your therapist (at which point the man won’t be able to help you anymore because your mind will refuse to work with him).

Scattered Attention

Before we get into tactical changes, let’s talk about the chaotic imagery you’re experiencing. First, we have this inability to focus–what I call “scattered concentration.” Minds can have very different reasons for behaving this way.

In some cases, your mind will prevent you from focusing on anything by constantly leaping from one random thought to the next. The result is an inability to concentrate, and you feel “scatter brained.” While the thoughts in these cases appear random and unrelated, there is a very purposeful strategy at work. To identify what that strategy is, you need to start by looking at the kinds of thoughts the mind is generating. When the thoughts are non-stressful, it’s likely your mind is trying to create a distraction that will prevent your body and soul from picking up on its personal stress. This is rather like turning up the volume on some music to drown out the sound of a baby crying. If the music is loud enough to drown out the crying, you won’t be stressed by the crying.

There are many reasons why stressing minds want to keep their personal struggles secret from their partner elements. I won’t get into all of those reasons here. The point I want you to understand is that an inability to focus is never random; it is always happening for a reason, and that reason can be very different from person to person. In this first scenario, the mind has a positive reason for scattering your attention: it’s trying to hide its distress from your body and soul so that they will not be negatively impacted by it.

Now when the same kind of mental chaos is happening, but the “random” thoughts your mind is producing are stressful, we have a very different kind of situation. In this second scenario, the mind is feeling very agitated for some reason, so it starts hyperfocusing on what it considers to be its most pressing problems. All minds maintain a list of unresolved problems which they keep trying to work on between all of their other tasks. As problems are resolved, they are dropped off the list while new problems are added on. But in cases of psychological trauma, the original life events which caused the trauma tend to remain at the top of the mind’s “pending problems” list for a very long time because the mind can’t find a way to resolve them. When a traumatised mind becomes very agitated, it starts intensely focusing on those traumatic life events. This produces a whole slew of negative, symbolic imagery as the mind expresses its feelings and concerns regarding what happened in the past.

There are other forms of scattered attention which can result in severe hallucinations and an apparent breakdown of memory organisation. These kinds of symptoms can attract labels like schizophrenia or dementia. The caution here is to realise that there is often far too much focus on the physical brain in these cases. While people are being told that their physical brains are malfunctioning, the real source of the problem often isn’t physical at all, but a case of a mind feeling so upset that it is overwhelming the body with confusing input. To learn more about this complex subject, see Understanding False Memories: Why Your Mind Makes Stuff Up.

It sounds to me like you’re dealing with the second scenario I described: your mind is feeling very agitated, and it is expressing that agitation by hyperfocusing on your history of sexual assault. All of those “random” images are very meaningful to your mind and not random at all. Fetishes are not just random quirks. They are symbolic behaviours which your mind uses to communicate very specific concerns and beliefs. To work productively with a fetish, you need your mind to decode the behaviours for you and explain what those behaviours mean to it personally. Ten people can engage in the same sexual behaviours for ten different reasons, so you should never just lump yourself in with other people who have the same fetish you do and assume you all have the same underlying motivations. Your mind is a unique personality with its own perspective of life. Every image it comes up with in these moments of mental chaos is communicating something specific. A lot of those images will be communicating the same message, they’ll just do it in slightly different ways. Trying to identify common themes is more useful than just saying “what a bunch of mental static.”

Core Temperament

As a general rule, an inability to focus indicates psychological stress, and we should respond kindly to a mind that is stressed, even when we find its behaviour irritating. Now given the situation you’ve described, it sounds to me like those violent, graphic additions are actually your mind expressing rage.

Based on information you’ve shared in the past, your mind sounds like it has a very passive temperament. When I talk about passive vs. aggressive temperaments in my material, I’m only talking about your mind, not your body or soul.  All minds prefer to use symbolic imagery to communicate their feelings, and graphic, violent imagery is used by both passives and aggressives.  A key difference is how often these two temperaments will use violent imagery to express certain emotions.  Generally speaking, aggressive minds will express a broader range of emotions through violent imagery—anything from mild irritation to extreme rage.  But passive minds tend to view violent, graphic imagery as only appropriate for expressing very strong emotions, while they consider such imagery to be overkill when it comes to communicating milder sentiments. 

Considering your mind’s base temperament is an important part of correctly interpreting its behaviour.  Because your mind is a strong passive temperament, the fact that it is producing this new, dark imagery at a time when it is already very agitated suggests it is communicating intense anger.  It sounds to me like this is your mind telling you just how much it resents this 30-day challenge idea.  For passive minds, intensely violent imagery should be considered a serious indicator that your mind is very upset about something and that you need to make immediate changes to the way you are treating it.  For aggressive minds, such imagery is far more common, so it should not be treated like a red flag unless there are other stress indicators present. 

The Influence of Gender

Another thing we need to consider here is your gender.   Gender is a concept that is relevant to both your body and mind (but not your soul).  While all minds consider symbolic imagery to be the most efficient form of communication, male minds are intensely drawn to visual imagery, while female minds find verbal communication to be quite enticing.  The result is that females consider verbal communication to be a critical tool for venting any kind of stress out of their systems, while males tend to find it quite tedious to try to translate their feelings into words.  Meanwhile, on the visual front, females simply don’t find visual input to be nearly as fascinating or stimulating as males do. While females can certainly appreciate a beautiful scenic view, their instinct in such a moment will be to verbally share their emotional experience with their companions.  It’s the verbal sharing that enhances the experience for females—simply taking in the sights alone is kind of…meh.

For males, visual input can be as stimulating as verbal communication is for females, only in a different way.  When a set of large female breasts comes jouncing into view, a male will find the mere sight of those body parts to be extremely alluring.  It’s not the person that’s attracting him here—it’s the visual. Because female minds are not wired like this, females simply do not experience what men experience when they look at human anatomy.  The result is a major misunderstanding between the genders, as females attach false meaning to the male gaze.  A woman who sees her man’s head turn to follow the sight of another female’s body bouncing along can easily assume her man is preferring that other woman over her.  But in reality, the man is simply locking onto the sight of breasts for the same reason a female would lock onto the sight of a purple bird flying through the sky.  It’s an instinctive fascination with a surface appearance, nothing more. 

Because women are not wired to appreciate surface appearances nearly as much as men are, they tend to look past the surface to find something to hold their interest.  A man who projects certain character qualities, for example, will attract women towards him in mass, while simply having a large, shifting chest is all a woman needs to turn many male eyes in her direction.  These two kinds of attraction are very different.  For the male, the attraction is a momentary fascination, nothing more.  When females assume that they must have certain anatomical qualities to get males seriously interested in them, they are quite wrong.  While everyone will stop to look at a purple bird flying by, no one will want to rush out and marry it just because it has interesting anatomy.  Males do not base their serious commitment on breast size, but while mature males will seek out a woman with good moral character who they can form a deep emotional bond with, they will always be fascinated by bouncing breasts and butts.  It’s simply wired in, and the sooner females understand that these things are all just purple birds to men, the sooner females can stop feeling so threatened by their men being obviously distracted by these things.  From the male point of view, you can find purple birds fascinating and be completely devoted to your wife.  This isn’t a case of either/or. 

Now the reason I explained all of that is to help you understand that your core wiring as a male is playing a role in this intense need you feel for external visual input while you masturbate.  Since your therapist is also male, I’m surprised he is not more dialled into the visual wiring issue here.  But it sounds like he’s been taught to focus on neural responses so much that he’s lost sight of the other factors involved.  We all have our biases and blind spots.

If you want to try to scale back the porn watching, I would suggest that you try using still images instead.  Your own artwork could be especially useful if you feel it is well done (meaning it came out the way your mind wanted it to when it had you create it in the first place).  Another more realistic option is to use a single downloaded video, which will at least get you away from browsing online. 

Setting aside the fact that everything about the porn industry is horrific, from your mind’s perspective, porn is very frustrating because it is never exactly what your mind wants.  Your mind’s self-produced fantasies have the ideal imagery in them, because your mind was able to choose that imagery itself.  When your mind creates fantasies, it essentially cobbles together bits and pieces of images it has collected in your massive memory database.  If you find a porn video that your mind really likes, you’ll find it borrowing a lot of that imagery to use in some of its own fantasies. 

To your mind, the whole point in focusing on negative sexual imagery is to vent its psychological distress over what happened to you in the past.  The physical climax plays a key role in venting the emotional stress out of your system.  When you can’t climax, you’ll notice that feeling of having a bunch of tension welling up inside that can’t find a way out.  This causes your mind to feel frustrated, so it’s best to move through the entire arousal-climax cycle to help your mind calm down. 

Given how your mind is reacting, I’d suggest it is quite unrealistic for you to do this 30 day challenge.  If you want to try to cut down how often you masturbate, you can’t just tell your mind “We’re not masturbating today.”  Focusing on what you don’t want to do is still focusing on it.  If you want your mind to think about something else, you need to give it a different activity to focus on.  That activity needs to be intellectually stimulating or forget it.  Your mind is far too intelligent and capable to have its attention held by something that is too boring or simple. If you want to avoid triggering a need to masturbate while staring at forbidden images, the alternate activity needs to be unrelated to your personal trauma (meaning no themes of sexual assault or domination). If you focus on those kinds of themes, you will trigger a fear response in your mind, which will express itself in the form of sexual arousal.  Remember that in cases of sexual deviancy, the primary sexual arousal is a fear response, not true sexual attraction.  The goal is try to avoid triggering that kind of arousal because what you’re really doing is making your mind feel afraid and threatened.  When you identify the kinds of things that cause your mind to panic, you can then try to avoid those things.  It’s not always possible in this trauma filled world, but it’s useful to put some effort into giving your mind friendly, calming input just to give it a chance to relax.

Now when it comes to trying to get your mind to stop doing a negative behaviour, you should avoid threats and punishments.  When it comes to porn addictions, the more helpful soul attitude is “Let’s try to not watch it today, but if you need to, we will.”  When your soul acts understanding, your mind will be more willing to try doing what your soul wants.  If your soul is bossy and threatening, your mind will likely dig in and refuse to try anything your soul wants it to do.  We win over the mind with kindness, but it has to be sincere kindness, because your mind is very good at seeing through phony acts.

As for timing, you shouldn’t try to make your mind commit to a set number of days at this stage of your addiction.  Just focus on one day at a time.  When you manage to go a day without the negative arousal kicking in, reward your mind with positive feedback and a fun activity that it can enjoy.  When your mind gets stressed and wants to masturbate, don’t make a big deal out of it.  Be understanding and kind, and invite your mind to talk to you about its fears.  Then see if you can go the next day without masturbating.

As I said, I don’t use this approach with my clients.  I believe that trying to immediately halt a trauma coping behaviour is a forceful and risky method that should only be used in cases where there is serious harm being done or a high risk of serious harm being done.  If you try to use too strong of an approach at the wrong time, it can easily backfire and you can cause a mind to double down on its defences and refuse to budge at all.  That said, there are obviously times when forceful methods are absolutely needed in order to prevent harm being done.  But when there is room to stall on the use of force without risking harm, I believe it is better to hold off on the force and use gentle methods instead.  I believe gentle methods will give faster, longer lasting results in most cases.

This post was written in response to OneRoughDiamond.