How to deal with porn flashbacks?

  • 2
  • Question
  • Updated 1 year ago
Dear covenant eyes,

I was addicted to heavy pornography use and masturbation between the ages of 13 and 20. I was depressed, guilt-ridden about it, experienced brain-fog, had to feed the addiction multiple times daily, couldn’t break it, and couldn’t get with a real girl.

For 7.5 years I have not looked at pornography or masturbated to it. What really helped me to quit in my case was my faith in God, especially praying to him and getting closer to him, and confessing to other Christian buddies who held me accountable.

Later I got married. My wife and I have sex regularly and it feels amazing.

However, at times we are unable to have sex, for example because we are apart from each other for work.

During these times, and sometimes when I am really tired, upset, or frustrated if we have a really bad fight, I sometimes get a strong temptation and urge to look at pornography again. I can have flashbacks and remember parts of it.

I do not want to look at porn again and I am not going to because I love my wife, but during the times the urge can be very powerful and it can feel like my memory of the porn use is that it is more pleasurable than sex, and that I will never experience this pleasure again because of not looking at porn (though I have no way of verifying or quantifying this beyond what my brain seems to be trying to make me think).

 It feels like because those old dopamine-producing pathways are still there, my brain can try to revert to them when the new, healthy ways of obtaining pleasure are not available to me.

 My questions for you are:

-Can it be shown that real sex is more measurably and objectively (whatever that means) pleasurable than masturbating to pornography?

 I do not know whether this is possible, but I feel as though it could help tell my brain to shut up. So far I have found a couple of articles that suggest that the health benefits of sex over masturbation are greater and that the brain releases 4x the amount of the sexual satisfaction hormone (prolactin) after sex than masturbation.

-Is there anyone who has had the experience of successful long-term quitting who can share tips on how to avoid/lessen future temptation and how long it can take for the experience of it to diminish and flashbacks to fully weaken?

Maybe they will never fully diminish/weaken, but I’d still be interested to hear in the similar experiences of any other quitters.

Thank you

Photo of Rebooter09

Rebooter09

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 3 years ago

  • 2
Photo of Kevin

Kevin

  • 24 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
I'm by no means an expert but through daily dependence on God have had coming up on three months of successfully battling temptation each day to not look at porn, masturabate, or lust. Before this success I had lived almost 20 years addicted to lust, mastubation, and porn. I can tell you with certainty that long term quitting is possible. It just takes hard work, accountability, and dependence on God, temptation by temptation, day by day. I highly recommend anyone wanting to break free download the Covenant Eyes Overcome app, go through all the lessons, and apply what you learn. You can be free. The work is worth it!
Photo of Chance

Chance

  • 165 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Thank you for sharing your struggles. I too am someone who has been porn free for 12 years. My last job was one where I would be gone for 2 week trips a few times a year and it was difficult at times.
What i dealt with was the urge to masturbate, and it was tough at times. But I had an accountability partner I would call and talk about it. I would also share issues I had with visual temptation - I was on a tropical island.

Also, I would avoid needless Internet surfing and channel surfing late at night. You probably know how it is - you should go to bed but your wasting time - that's when you get into trouble.

As far as porn flashbacks, keep in mind that your brain is going to remember all the fun and good times with porn, and not the pain and heartbreak as strongly. The temptation comes but it does not last forever each time.

As far as those pathways, i try to really take in my wife visually during intercourse. So, my need for visual stimulation, I redirect that to her. I'm not saying it completely eliminates desire for porn, but it helps. Now, I say this with some caveats. If, when tempted by porn I focus mentally too much on my wife, then I get worked up and I want to masturbate when I'm away from her. Also, if you focus too much on visual stimulation you can get to the point where you "use " your wife. You may want her to wear sexy lingerie that you've seen other women wear, but she may not be comfortable with that. So, enjoy your wife and her body, but keep in mind she's not your personal porn star. And be patient with her if she's shy about her body, especially if she may be sensitive about your past porn use. And don't every time look at her body during sex; sometimes she'll like it if you just look into her eyes. Point is, sometimes you may focus on turning your visual side off that you forget to enjoy your wife completely.

So I don't know if I answered your questions. I'm still figuring this out myself.
Photo of Kevin

Kevin

  • 24 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
Very helpful. Thanks so much for sharing. So encouraged by you being porn free for 12 years.
Photo of Stewart McCallum

Stewart McCallum

  • 5 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I really appreciate you sharing your struggles! I've struggled with the same things pretty much my entire life. I am in my 50s now and I am ashamed to say that I still turn to p***every few weeks - please let me know that you have read this and perhaps I could stay in touch with you occasionally to let you know how I'm doing? I need help and I want to be free of this !!!
I will say that the pleasure you get from being with your wife is so much better, because it is true - and pornography is a lie and you get nothing but shame and guilt from it. every time Satan tells you it's going to be the most amazing thing , but the truth is there's nothing better than the wonderful Joy of sharing love making with your wonderful wife!
Thanks for sharing,
Stewart