5 Signs You’re Watching Too Much Porn

By Dominick Quartuccio, Co-Host, The Great Man Within Podcast

“How do I know if I’m watching too much porn?”

It’s the #1 question that I—a former sex addict who subsequently took 4 years of celibacy off of porn (as well as masturbation, mind you)—get from men who are starting to do an honest inventory of their sexual behaviors.

Over the 7 years I’ve been getting this question, it’s dawned on me that I haven’t met a guy who’s not watching enough porn. (If you are out there, sir, identify yourself!)

But alas, this is not a porn shaming conversation. Quite the opposite. Instead, I come to you with the intent of helping you develop a healthy, conscious, and intentional relationship with porn, just like I did. Hey, if a former sex addict could do it, so can you. 

I’m a believer that porn—when incorporated in a conscious, intentional, and ethical way—can bring excitement, novelty and dynamism to your relationship with your own sexuality (as well as your interpersonal love life). The problem is that most guys consume porn the way subway rats scavenge for crumbs: indiscriminately. 

Over years and decades of indiscriminate porn use, you will inevitably build some bad, secretive, and potentially even shameful habits. Those typically show up in a variety of ways. Here are 5 of the most common signs you’re watching too much porn:

You fantasize about porn while having sex. 

  • Scenes pop into your head while you’re in the act. 

  • You can’t get aroused or finish without it. 

  • You’re disengaged from your partner because you’re caught up in the fantasy.

  • You may have even stopped pursuing sex, because porn is easier and always available 

You feel shame afterwards (or yucky, regretful or empty)

  • You make a half-hearted promise not to go there “next time.”

  • Yet “next time” comes, and you’re back watching the same porn that feels conflicting to you.

  • You don’t know why you can’t break the pattern.  

You’re watching increasingly more extreme porn 

  • Think back 1 or 2 years ago…what worked for you then? 

  • How much more extreme does what you’re watching now need to be in order to get the same effect?

Real human bodies don’t “do it” for you anymore.

  • Your partner’s real body is unappealing to you…you need “porn bodies.”

  • You feel shame about your own body as compared to what you see in porn. 

You can’t stop.

  • Maybe you’ve wanted to put a pause on porn to focus on intimacy with your partner…but you can’t seem to hold on for very long.

  • Perhaps you make a commitment to stop but find yourself back in the trough again before you wanted to. 

  • These are indicators that porn is more deeply embedded into your patterned behavior than you’d want it to be. 

If any, or all, of these 5 signs apply to you, don’t fret. Awareness is always the first step to creating change. Here are some simple ways to break old patterns of behavior and establish new choices that feel good for you:

Take a temporary abstinence period from porn. Try a 7-day, 21-day or 30-day fast from porn. Chances are you’ll get really clear about when and why you reflexively dive into porn…once it’s temporarily not an option. 

Get clear on the relationship you desire to have with porn. As Yogi Berra said, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” For example, here’s how I defined my relationship with porn:

“Porn is a choice, not a compulsion for me. I intend to use it a couple of times a month, or less. When I do choose to use porn, I will feel good about it afterwards. Meaning, the porn I watch is ethically-sourced (see suggestions of ethically sourced porn below) and is in alignment with the sex I want to be having in real life.”

Have an adult conversation with other men about their habits. Some guys are ready for this conversation, others aren’t. Go to the adults, and ask them a series of questions, such as:

  • What adjectives would you use to describe your porn habits?

  • Do you think you could stop using porn without suffering…and if so, for how long?

  • What would a healthy relationship with porn feel like for you?

If you want more honest, practical and real talk about porn, I encourage you to listen to my co-host Bryan and me on our podcast The Great Man Within

Here are a few relevant episodes where you can get started:

Ethical porn sites:

www.Lustery.com – homemade porn with consenting couples 

www.Bellesa.com – women choose the porn scenarios and partners 

Dominick Quartuccio is an author, international speaker and co-host of The Great Man Within Podcast. His books—Design Your Future and On Purpose Leadership—are field guides for those who wish to master the art of leading themselves and live a life of their own design. He runs the Great Man Mastermind, a collection of high-performing men living their purpose and fullest potential. Dominick spent four years in sex addicts anonymous recovery and now speaks to men about developing healthy sexuality. His work has been featured on NPR, the NY Times, and the TEDx stage.  

Get to know Dominick on Vault’s “Get It Up” podcast

Dominick opens up to Vault’s Dr. Myles Spar, Dr. Alex Pastuszak, and CEO Jason Feldman about that critical moment where he realized that sex was more than just normal male obsession. We hear about his journey to a healthier relationship with sex and the warning signs to look for when guys think they might have a problem.

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