6 Reasons Why Men Must Give Up Pornography

Note: a shorter version of this blog was recently featured on “The Good Men Project.”  It’s been reposted/shared over 50,000 times in just a few days. It’s proving controversial. To be clear, I do not promote sexual shame or banning pornography. This article is intended to invite men into a deeper conversation around how we express and experience our sexuality, particularly in regards to online pornography.

In my boyhood teenage days of yore, using pornography required patience, even imagination.

One of my early adventures with porn occurred on weekday afternoons when I got home from middle school. Before anyone else arrived, I would sneak into my parents’ bedroom closet with a small foot stool. I have no idea how I first found it, but resting atop the center ceiling panel, just inches from my horny little brain, was my step-father’s erotic treasure trove of betamax video tapes with titles like “The Oriental Babysitter” and “Taxi Girls.” I’d pop one into the black betamax box, hit play, and kick back on the lounger as sounds and images of ecstasy flooded my lusty synapses while I enjoyed myself a dozen or so times (oh, to be a teenager again).

A few years later, during high school, my tastes grew more sophisticated when mom started getting Victoria Secret catalogs in the mail. Although I kinda already knew what the big secret was, these glossy mags made my imagination work harder at unlocking it each time, and I delighted in that. But a new catalog once every few weeks was far too infrequent for my insatiable teenage libido, and I could barely wait for the spring issues when lithe Victorias would return to wearing sexy sundresses and seductive short skirts.

Those days of porn patience and teasing my imagination are gone.

At this very moment, I – and most every other man in Western Civilization – have in my hands a little device loaded with the entire known universe of pornographic material ready to stir my lust and blow my loins wide open. I never have to wait till Spring again.

Enough is Enough” and “CovenantEyes,” two internet safety organizations, offer these sobering statistics (note: CovEyes is Catholic-based; I am not):

• Every second, 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography.
• American children begin viewing pornography at an average age of 11.
• The pornography industry is a $97 billion industry worldwide.
• Men are 543% more likely to look at porn than are women.
• More than 1 in 5 searches are for pornography on mobile devices.

“If you have the Internet, you have pornography in your home.”
— Jill Manning, Ph.D., Marriage and Family Therapist

Porn is ubiquitous. You might be surprised who uses online porn.

I have amazing male friends, attractive and dynamic, who’ve spent countless hours over many years caught in the sticky pornographic web. You would never imagine these men using online porn. But they have. And do. I have also used it.

As a single man for the last 4 years, great sexual encounters with women have been a rare luxury. My iPhone, on the other hand, is all too willing to dance for me, undress for me, tease me, lick me, suck me, screw me and all around indulge me, whatever I want, any time I want.

I do not generally have an addictive personality, yet I have at times gone weeks using internet pornography every night to quickly arouse and then satiate myself. There were times I seemed to need it just to fall asleep.

I would watch up to an hour or more in bed before exhausting myself enough to fall asleep, which ironically carved into an already sleep-deprived entrepreneurial lifestyle. At one point using porn actually gave me repetitive stress injury, messing up my otherwise formidable basketball game. I experienced other disconcerting side-effects of porn, too, some of which I’ll detail below.

There’s nothing wrong with masturbation. I also don’t believe in sexual shame. But modern pornography can be a serious detriment to everyone, not just to men, but to the women we love, too.

Here’s 6 reasons why I believe men must give up consistent use of pornography for personal stimulation:

1) Porn ruins our erections with actual women.

After I had been using porn moderately for about a year, I began to notice that I couldn’t sustain erections with women as long as I once could. I was horny as ever, but without the constantly changing visual erotic stimulation that watching video after video offered, one woman’s body couldn’t hold my erotic focus as effectively as it used to. To my frustrated surprise, real sex had become somewhat under-stimulating. Tragic. Since I gave up porn, even morning wood has made its return like an exotic tree rescued from the brink of extinction.

(Reference: http://globalnews.ca/news/1232726/porn-causing-erectile-dysfunction-in-young-men/)

2) Porn tunes our bodies to premature ejaculation.

I never had a problem with quick climax before I consistently used porn. I could always match, if not outlast, my female sexual partners, with or without a condom, with solid erections.

With porn, I could watch a short video and within minutes have myself rocketing towards climax. But I’d stop myself before I went too far, because I always wanted to see what different erotic adventure awaited me in the next video, just a click away. I would do this for an hour, rapidly rising in mindless bliss with every new short video, stopping myself at the edge each time. Eventually, I’d realize how much time had gone by, so I’d choose the best video I’d seen and let it throw me over the edge.

I was tuning my body to quickly rise and climax. I can immediately stop moving my own hand when I masturbate. A real woman’s aroused body doesn’t stop moving so fast. It’s like trying to slam on the brakes of a speed boat in deep water. I just couldn’t often handle her enthusiasm, and I started getting really concerned.

Thankfully, quitting porn has allowed my body’s nervous system to retune itself to a less hurried sexual pace and rhythm.

(Reference: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-sex/201005/premature-ejaculation-the-two-causes-mens-1-sex-problem)

3) It’s a cop out from interacting powerfully with actual women.

Most men in our western culture generally do not know how to interact powerfully with women in the everyday world, certainly not as mature healthy masculine men. We routinely fail to proactively step up to women we’re attracted to in effective and honorable, respectful ways. So many of us routinely let our silent crushes slip away forever into the dark painful cave of our regrets. Masturbation can take the edge off all the resulting frustration, so much so that we don’t then have to do anything useful about it, like learn how to be more powerful (and still respectful) in our interactions with actual women.

4) It’s such a waste of time.

Watching porn alone and a lot is a stupid use of our precious time on Planet Earth.

5) It creates unrealistic expectations of women.

Porn just makes us think women should be easier to get into bed. It makes us think we might get laid more if we were more bold or clever, or simply more aggressive. Which is actually probably true. In fact, there is surely room for western men to be bolder with women, but not at the cost of genuine care for women.

Women in porn videos are always willing to let a man (or men) aggressively open them up and do whatever they want. They’ll take the money shot right in the face, on their knees beneath a cock and a camera, as if to fully underscore their willingness to be conquered and owned by a man, and for all the world to see.

In my experience, actual women don’t react to calculating male aggression by opening their legs. Even if they do – and sometimes they probably do – that doesn’t create an authentic intimate relationship. It just creates two bodies slapping into each other.

Women are lusty, sexual creatures, for sure. Just like men. But when men are ready to relate to women in deeper ways, ways that include sexuality and also transcend it, porn is an awful study. The wondrous feminine mystique of a woman, the mystique us men so desperately crave to experience, is only made available to the men who learn how to cherish a woman in her fullness. That doesn’t happen anywhere in porn.

(Reference: http://www.wnd.com/2013/11/porns-part-in-sex-trafficking/)

6) When we watch porn, we support human trafficking, slavery, rape, and blackmail of women all over the world.

Despite my tame taste in porn and the fact that I never paid for online porn, I still unwittingly saw videos on the average free porn site that disturbed me.

I am horrified that I almost surely watched men manipulate, even outright blackmail, women into otherwise unwanted sex in fake taxi cabs, fake doctors offices, fake casting sets, and more. The camera never showed the man’s face; always the woman’s.

Since I started researching this, I’ve discovered countless examples of criminal cases worldwide where people, mostly men, have been arrested and prosecuted for creating pornography with women they trafficked from other countries; women who were enslaved in buildings they could’t leave; women kept in place by physical violence; women threatened with exposure to their families; and more. I know now that I must have watched videos where women did sex acts they were forced to do. And my tastes in porn were tame.

I’m not implying a direct link between porn and criminality. I am simply saying I couldn’t easily avoid watching videos of questionable, disturbing origin.

(Reference: http://www.wnd.com/2013/11/porns-part-in-sex-trafficking/)

I’m still tempted to watch porn sometimes. Even as I write this, my iPhone sits quietly beside me, able in a matter of seconds to unleash a marauding army of sexy oriental babysitters straight into my lizard brain. But clearly nothing good ever comes from that, so to speak.

Men, we’ve got to stop using porn. I know it’s a quick fix. I know some couples even use it to spice up an otherwise fading sex life.

Find other ways. Get creative. Porn is easy, low-hanging fruit. It’s beneath our brilliance. It’s not just hurting us; it’s also hurting our women. 

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A former US Air Force Captain, Bryan Reeves has survived multiple dark nights of the soul and done really stupid things with women that he deeply regrets and has learned a great deal from. Bryan is now a Life Coach & Relationship Coach for men, women, and couples, and is the author of the viral blog, "Choose Her Every Day (or Leave Her)," at www.bryanreeves.com.

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Posted in Loneliness, Relationships, Sexuality
17 comments on “6 Reasons Why Men Must Give Up Pornography
  1. Reblogged this on LilPhilosopher and commented:
    Shame seems to be a big part or the Male Sexuality, we are sometimes controlled by our adolescent sexual urges, and there sometimes seem to be no cure to quench our lustful urges. While we all share this problem, we also all struggle with healthy ways to react to it. As I had talked about in recent posts, we’re currently looking at Male Sexuality in my Church, and it seemed to be a theme on my mind the past few weeks. Here’s an interesting article about the effects of pornography, I’d be lying if I said I’m not sometimes tempted to indulge in the private release of a short video. Bryan brings up a good point in his article, with the addictive nature of porn, we need more stimulation and different kinds of videos as we continue to watch it. Taking us away from interacting with real people. In essence we continue to look to unnatural ways to deal with our sexual tension. Taken in contrast to some of the other things he talked about, “learning how to not react every time we’re sexually aroused”, a clearer picture begins to be revealed. Acknowledging that we have these sexual urges, we must also learn how to harness them. As a young male as I learn more about my sexuality, I can learn how to treat women differently, with respect, and not as objects of my sexual frustrations. This knowledge can lead to a more authentic healthy relationship, that takes sexual interaction to a higher plane, to experience a higher level of sexual chemistry by knowing my partner on a different level.

  2. Mary MacCurdy says:

    Thanks for courageous and honest statements of what is true. Don’t often see someone speaking from the heart about this matter. Gratitude in abundance.
    Mary Mac

    Mary MacCurdy

  3. Mike says:

    Bryan, while I honor you for inviting men to take a closer look at whether porn is serving them. I don’t particularly support or like the way you write about it.

    I do love the way you share your personal experience. Awesome actually. I think you are quick to assume that everyone who watches porn has the same experience.

    1) “Sobering” Statistics. I could come up with similar statistics for activities such as hiking or watching football on TV or anything really. High numbers in themselves does not make anything sobering.

    2) Despite porn usage, I have had relationships with women where I NEVER had an erection issue. I have had erection issues from too much alcohol, nervousness, being worried about what a woman might think, etc.

    3) I’ve never had premature ejaculation issues. If anything, I’ve on multiple occasions gone so long that my partner has orgasmed & is tired and I still haven’t ejaculated yet. Still wonderful experiences for me. Within the past year, I had a partner joke “I must be doing something wrong”, because I hadn’t ejaculated yet.

    4) A cop out from interacting powerfully with actual women? I get what you’re suggesting here and I agree this can be the case for some men. To suggest this happens just because of pornography. I’m more confident and engage more powerfully with women with regular porn usage moreso than when I never watched porn at all.

    5) A Waste of Time is the strongest argument you have. Are you watching porn so much that you’re not getting your work done? That you’re not going out on dates? That you’re not spending quality 1 on 1 time with your wife? That you’re not getting a decent amount of sleep? If so, cut back or take a break from porn usage. Maybe give it up for 30 days.

    6) I never assume that a woman should be easier to have sex with. I never assume if I am more aggressive, I will get anything. Basically, I never assume.

    7) When we watch porn, we support human trafficking, etc. WOW. Really? I understand that there are SOME websites that might do this. I also know that the most profitable websites use adult performers who want to get paid for having sex on camera. Should you point out that some of these things and encourage people to make sure they are not supporting illegal activities? Absolutely. But to outright say x = y kind of angers me.

    I’m actually surprised you didn’t cover addiction. It is VERY addictive and men can get addicted to the fact that so much variety and body perfection is available, and how that overstimulation can have a lot of the effects you described. That’s an issue and men should be aware.

    However, as I have found if you lead a healthy life, love yourself, meditate regularly, practice Tantra, etc. You can have a healthy relationship with porn and still have amazing sex with your partner. I still prefer sex with my partner. Actually when I am in a serious relationship, I don’t really enjoy porn and don’t watch it. But, being single, I am sometimes not in a relationship and fantasies can be healthy.

    Although you stated early on that you don’t believe in sexual shame, I do feel like your article shames. I believe you when you say it’s not your intention, but sometimes there are unintended consequences. When you use the words SHOULD or MUST, you’re really shaming. When you tell me I am supporting illegal activities by watching porn, when in fact a very small % of porn is such, you’re shaming.

    I love the fact that you’re covering this. This should be talked about more and men being honest about saying they do or have watched it make it easier to talk about. Because I believe most men have watched porn and many have had problems due to its usage. I just hope the next time you cover it, you cover it in a slightly more open way rather than imposing your experience.

    • Bryan Reeves says:

      Hey Mike. I always appreciate your thoughtful replies, even as you disagree with me. I do think there are healthy ways people can interact with porn; I just don’t believe that’s the norm. I’m a pretty healthy person all around, and I definitely don’t have a normally addictive personality, yet porn slowly grabbed me by the balls and then really fucked with my system. It also then force fed me images, even if briefly, that I don’t ever want to participate in creating a demand for.

      I know I titled my article in strong terms, and I stand by everything I wrote. I also still make allowances for other possibilities, always. I’m fascinated that it should provoke anger in you, though. What’s that really about?

  4. Alison says:

    The fact that this man had an erection so long that his partner orgasmed and he didn’t ejaculate IS the problem. Porn caused this woman to feel less than adequate when she felt that she couldn’take her man ejaculate. He has become so numb to orgasm and it takes so much to stimulate him that he has trouble ejaculating in a normal amount of time with a woman who is supposed to be able to stimulate and arouse him to completion. To ME, THIS IS Proof that porn causes sexual issues in relationships.

    • Bryan Reeves says:

      regardless what it causes and in what direction (lasting longer? coming faster? needing more kink? etc.), consistently bringing porn into one’s experience creates consequences. It sounds like for some people those consequences are actually desirable. Still, I just can’t past the fact that so much porn out there only promotes disdain towards women … or at best, indifference.

  5. carascrows says:

    Reblogged this on Randomisms 101 and commented:
    #6 is a big must-read

    • Bonita says:

      I think this is a great article and hits a lot of things right on the head (pun intended)! Here’s a good article on porn (more about how teens get misperceptions about sex) http://www.alternet.org/story/154699/the_absurd_myths_porn_teaches_us_about_sex?page=0%2C1

      If you google myths, porn, etc you’ll find many things written about the negative effects of porn on both men and women, and teens, so your article is nothing new. I agree with all of your points in this article. Its the CONSISTENT use of porn that is the problem, the addiction to it, and the myths perpetrated by porn. In this digital, online age that children are now being born and raised inside of are teaching them that you make friends online and that’s “connection”. As a society, especially in the US, we are spending less time interacting out there in the world with live people and more time interacting online i.e. Facebook and think we have 500 friends.

      Then add in the online porn that you KNOW your teens are watching (deny it all you want) and what myths are these teens learning from online porn? Did you also know that there are hookup sites for teens as well…one is called myyearbook.com….and yep, its a hook up site for teens…that is exactly what they are doing on there.

      While yes, porn, sex, and prostitution have been around forever, it doesn’t mean we need to keep it going. There needs to be more discussions about this topic and how porn contributes to how men and women do not respect each other, that our teens are learning these things really early in life. We need to change our perception and thinking in regards to this subject.

  6. Zodak says:

    i agree with you, porn is bad. i’ve blogged about it too: http://zpatriarchy.blogspot.com/2014/03/nofapious-of-borg.html

    it’s too bad women don’t write similar posts discussing how vibrators have the same effect.

  7. I watched Taxi Girls once while babysitting. The kid’s went to bed and their Dad’s video was near the TV. From about that time until age 31 I was addicted. I know addiction is debatable these days because our culture is obsessed with sexual freedom. But I was trapped hiding in my office while my wife slept downloading porn and compulsively masturbating. It wasn’t freeing or positive. I experienced almost all of your six points.

    The worst thing was the shame. Not some sort of religious shame or guilt. And by the way speaking out again porn is not shaming.

    Shame goes deeper. At my core felt unlovable from some trauma in early childhood. Porn continued to offer false love and never delivered. The deeper I got, the more cut off I felt from love. Even the love of my wife, friends, and family.

    I am 43 now and have completely sober for almost 5 years. I still have dreams some times that I act out with porn. I wake up and have tell myself I did not look at porn. It’s such a relief to be clean.

    This year I took a huge risk and started sharing my storing in a podcast, called Pornfree Radio. Some of my friends think I am crazy but I felt so alone in my struggle back then. I thought it would help.

    Love your 6 reasons. We definitely need more open dialog like this.

    • Bryan Reeves says:

      Wow Matt. That’s really inspiring man. Thanks so much for sharing your story. The only kind of people who might think you’re crazy for speaking your truth are people horrified to speak theirs. Keep going brother. We all need your insight in this conversation. Awesome. Thank you! Bryan

  8. Hello everyone, it’s my first go to see at this web site, and piece of writing is genuinely fruitful in support of me, keep
    up posting these types of articles.

  9. wannabemgtow says:

    While I agree with everything you wrote, the simple fact of the matter is that a man can give up porn but women are NOT going to give up their entirely ridiculous, over-the-top expectations of relationships and marriage. American women are especially programmed from birth into this “happily ever after” philosophy of relationships that becomes completely unrealistic just minutes after she says “I do”.

    50% of 1st marriages end in divorce
    62% of 2nd marriages end in divorce
    75% of 3rd marriages end in divorce


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