Stop Watching Porn And Relish Real Life

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Are you overloading your pleasure system?

Every human being on the planet has an exquisite built-in enjoyment system.

Think of it like one of those old High Striker carnival games, where you use a big hammer to smash the lever. The harder you swing, the higher you score. If you hit it hard enough, you launch the puck all the way up the tower and ring the bell.

Many of our everyday activities send the puck at least partway up the tower. We may eat oatmeal in the morning for fuel, but we put brown sugar and cinnamon on it to make it palatable. We could have gotten a job doing lots of different things at lots of different places, but most of us chose the work we’re doing now because we thought it would be more satisfying than other options.

Porn Burns the Brain’s Enjoyment Machinery
In the course of life, we run onto pornography. It rings our bell. Now, thanks to the internet, it can do so with very little cost or effort. Even a starving student can access enough to minor in the subject.

And the stigma is vanishing. Young adults are so accepting and immersed in porn they’ve been dubbed Generation XXX, and without ever having laid an embarrassing magazine or video down on the counter.

If it seems to you that there might just be a problem with all this effortless bell-ringing, you’re right. Enjoying porn is like building a fire in the sexual room of the brain. It gets too hot in there. The nervous system doesn’t like being overloaded. Because of the heat created by the fire, the thermostat signals the furnace to shut off.

Research psychologist David Solomon observed this “opponent process” in addiction. Overload leads the system to self-dampen as the body tries to restore equilibrium. A low follows the high, a hangover the intoxication. And the low lingers longer than the high because a shortage of pleasure chemicals doesn’t jump-start production as quickly as an overabundance shut it down.

Instead of tolerating the dearth of pleasure that follows the dump, the budding addict may go looking where the first batch came from for more. If the cycle continues, actual physical damage is done to the brain’s pleasure system. Exquisite as it is, it’s also delicate.

Subjecting your brain’s enjoyment system to pornography is like handing your priceless Stradivarius violin to Pete Townshend as he’s about to go onstage. He’ll make music with it, probably loud music, but his rough handling will limit the music it can make in the future.

Relish Other Pleasures to Help You Abstain
As you try to abstain from porn, don’t view it as a time to forgo pleasure but as a chance to decrease your dependency on that one avenue and reestablish a broader repertoire of enjoyments.

Walk the nature path at lunchtime–or rollerblade it for that matter. If it only registers a two on your High Striker pleasure tower at first, that will change over time.

Have a snack of celery and nuts instead of your usual box of jelly donuts and Big Gulp of Mountain Dew. In time your pleasure system will recover, adjust, and you’ll find those raw almonds are more tasty than they were at first.

In the bedroom, cling to your real woman’s warm body. Whisper in her ear and pay close attention as she whispers back. Over time you’ll remember why you fell in love with that voice. Nuzzle into her neck and breathe for a minute at the end of the day. In her scent there’s a hint of what makes her the woman you chose. It won’t take long before you’ll catch that again, giving you more to keep building on from there.

Once you get the hang of it again, there’s no shortage of other things in life to relish. Here are some examples I’ve heard from clients recently:

A couple of chocolate covered Oreos in the middle of my shift at the hospital
Reading stories to my step-daughter at night
Mowing my lawn both directions for the putting green effect and standing back to admire it
Grilling marinaded chicken thighs on the back porch in February
Growing my tomato plants from seeds
Hearing a new song on Pandora that perfectly fits my taste
Rushing over to the park during my lunch break to fly a remote control airplane
Hanging on the swing in the backyard

Watching their faces light up as they talk about what they’ve recently relished, it occurs to me that we amplify enjoyment when we relive it to share it. How different from how we feel after skulking around the web in some dark corner. We emerge hoping that our demeanor won’t betray to others what we’ve just indulged.

Restoring Your Natural Enjoyment Set Point
Although your nervous system has adapted to a new set point, it will also readjust to a changing context again. It adapts and recovers this way all the time. Our eyes adjust to lower levels of light after we come indoors from a blindingly bright day. We get hungry again no matter how much we ate on Thanksgiving.

Of course, the recovery of the mechanisms within us that produce, release, and register dopamine take a while. In fact, much, much longer than it takes to dilate our pupils or regain our appetite for food. But don’t give up. Remember, you’re exiting the land of instant gratification, the realm of living life on credit and pretending the debt will never come due.
Anyone can get a buzz from porn; appreciation of beauty is a discipline that must be practiced.

Your investment in disciplined enjoyment today will have long-term consequences of its own. One of the most delightful of those will be the settling down of your threshold for pleasure. Before long you will be relishing simpler joys. Your formerly overloaded, desensitized, depleted pleasure system will be showing signs of resuscitation. At times you’ll feel like a kid again, staring wide-eyed at a bird’s nest or letting peach juice run down your chin.

Ahhhh! Welcome back to real life, my friend, welcome back!
Are you brave enough to admit that you’ve struggled with porn? What have you done to successfully overcome its effects? Leave a comment below and help others!

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Craig is the founder of LifeGuider, he is dedicated to improving not only himself but also others in being more physically fit and mentally capable of handling life’s challenges. He is not your regular life coach, no fancy clothes or fast cars, just a regular “Ole Joe” who has experienced the ups and downs of life like everyone else.

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