How to Substitute Pornography

Two Methods:Making Substitutions for PornCreating a Different Sexual Atmosphere

There are lots of reasons why you may want to cut back or cut out watching porn, such as entering a new relationship, respecting your partner, wanting more control of your thoughts and actions, or not wanting to support the pornography industry. Whatever your reasons, it is entirely possible to stop or cut back on pornography consumption.

Method 1
Making Substitutions for Porn

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    Find fun activities. Instead of temporary pleasure that you may feel guilty about later, invest in your happiness. If you don't have any work to do, then start doing what gives you happiness (porn gives pleasure, not happiness). Find activities that take up a large chunk of time that will allow you to get out of the house or at least be occupied for a substantial amount of time.
    • Invest in some hobbies you find enjoyable, especially social hobbies that allow you to make friends and have fun.[1] Look into sports teams or leagues, running clubs, or sewing groups. Do what piques your interest!
    • Start cooking your meals, go to the gym after work or school, or spend more time with friends. If it’s too tempting to be in the house, get yourself out of the house during any vulnerable times. Go grocery shopping, visit a friend, or do some volunteering.
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    Avoid turning to porn for boredom or anxiety. Because of its relative ease of access and anonymity, porn can easily become a way to distract from unpleasant feelings, avoid anxiety or avoid boredom.[2] If you find yourself about to watch porn, take a deep breath. Ask yourself, “Is this a way I’m trying to escape?” If yes, determine to try something else instead.
    • You may find yourself turning to pornography after an argument, to self-soothe when feeling moody, or as an excuse to to avoid doing something unpleasant. You may also use pornography as a go-to for boredom when you want a time-filler.
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    Distract yourself. Do what you can to push thoughts of compulsive pornography consumption from your mind by refocusing your attention.[3] Distract yourself by reading a book, building model airplanes, talking on the phone, or watching funny videos online. Do what you can to occupy your mind with something other than pornography until the urge passes.
    • If you don’t know what to do to distract yourself, do something simple and repetitive, like folding laundry or washing the dishes.
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    Build your coping skills. Some people use pornography to cope with feelings as a way to escape. Instead of using pornography, find healthy coping skills.[4] When feeling down, take a walk, write in a journal, or confide in a friend. Instead of running away from unpleasant emotions, take a moment and explore the negative emotions and ask if there is anything for you to pay attention to in particular.
    • Practice deep breathing. Sit comfortably and practice elongating each inhale and exhale until you feel completely relaxed.
    • Write in a journal or use art (drawing, sculpting) as a healthy way to cope. Creating or listening to music can also be helpful. You want to connect to your emotions and engage your mind.
    • Coping skills help you handle daily stress and build-up of stress. When exploring coping skills, do things that add to your life, not take away. For more information, check out How to Cope With Emotional Pain.
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    Meditate. One way to get control of your mind is to use meditation. While your body may be turned on, it’s your mind that makes the decision to consume pornography. Be the master of your mind by practicing meditation. Meditation can help you avoid impulsivity and find more balance between your mind and body.[5]
    • When you get an urge, begin to breath deeply. Close your eyes and begin to relax your body and your mind. Allow your thoughts to ‘think’ for a bit, then gently push them out of your consciousness and focus on your breath. Any thoughts that come up can be acknowledged, then sent off. Focus primarily on observing your breath. Reach a place of deep relaxation.
    • Many types of meditations exist. You can focus on clearing your mind, or you can place your focus on one word or phrase, such as “I love myself.”
    • Meditation is most effective when practiced regularly, on a daily basis.[6]
    • For more information on how to meditate, check out How to Meditate for Beginners

Method 2
Creating a Different Sexual Atmosphere

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    Create an pornography free environment. Set yourself up for success by removing any temptations to watch pornography. Delete any files you have on your computer, recycle magazines, and block websites online. If having your computer in your room is tempting, only use the computer in public places or for limited amounts of time each day. You can even adjust your browser settings to block pornographic websites. Reduce any risks that may stand out to tempt you.
    • Anticipate any problems and pay close attention to your surroundings to avoid compulsion.[7]
    • Adjust your search engine settings. Sometimes an internet search may lead to unintentionally stumbling across pornographic images or websites.
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    Use your imagination. Pornography is scripted and often predictable. When you feel turned on, allow your mind to take over instead of pornography. You get to be the creator of your own fantasy using your imagination. Unlike porn, you can create whatever thoughts and images you desire in whatever way you fantasize.
    • Let your imagination run wild. It can be freeing to be the master of your own sexuality and not rely on outside sources.
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    Masturbate. Masturbation is normal and nearly all humans engage in masturbation during their lives. Focusing on your own body during masturbation (and not on porn) can help you discover your likes and dislikes and help you learn your body. Masturbation can also help you know what will make you feel good with a partner.[8]
    • Instead of pointing your attention to pornography, turn your attention to your own body. Pay close attention to what brings you pleasure and what you enjoy, not just what your body is reacting to on a screen.
    • Be mindful while you masturbate. Get out of your mind and focus on the sensations within your body. Don’t allow your mind to be distracted, but stay present with your body’s sensations.[9]
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    Resolve feelings related to intimacy. You may avoid intimacy with another person and replace it with pornography. Consider seeing a therapist to discuss feelings of intimacy and how to resolve them.[10] The fear of being intimate with someone may be so great that you avoid it and use pornography instead. Whatever the case, discover any blocks you have, and consider discussing them with a therapist.
    • If you experienced trauma, especially sexual trauma, it may be beneficial to see a therapist and help you overcome feelings related to experiencing the trauma.[11]
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    Strengthen your romantic relationship. If your sexual relationship with your partner is unfulfilling, it may be due in part to pornography. After all, consuming pornography is linked to lower intimacy in couples.[12] Instead of placing your attention on pornography, give your partner attention.
    • Don’t look to pornography as a “how-to” guide. Ask your partner about sexual preferences and learn to be adventurous in person.
    • Spend quality time with your partner and do things that you both enjoy together. You can make dinner together, read a book together, or take daily walks together. Do activities that engage you in conversation and where you can enjoy each other’s company.
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    Believe in yourself. Know that you can change your habits and feel good about it. There’s no need to live in shame or guilt; be ready for the change and follow through on what you want different in your life.


  • If you have a difficult time staying away from porn-- especially when you are bored-- create a daily schedule for yourself to occupy your time. Have activities to do when you normally would consume pornography.
  • This process will go difficult sometimes but don't criticize yourself.You need your support not your guilt.
  • If you find yourself having difficulties to stop watching porn, ask a friend to change your computer or router configuration to block porn sites for your network.

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Categories: Addictions