Sex Or Porn Detox: 4 Steps

Detox Wooden Letterpress ConceptIf you struggle with compulsive sexual behavior, what about “detoxing” from porn and/or sex? Detoxes seem to be all the rage. People are removing certain types of foods from their diets; experimenting with lessening or simply removing the levels of alcohol consumed, all in an effort to rid the body of toxins and to hopefully feel better. Comedian Jim Norton recently spoke openly about his sexual addictions and how difficult it was for him to stop: “You gotta detox and then see who you really are and what you really like…”

The purpose of detoxifying or cleansing the body in the most basic definition is, well, pretty much just what it sounds like: cleaning (or helping clean) out the body. Some people cleanse with a specific goal in mind while others do so for the overall effects that are meant to come from detoxing — like increased energy, feeling better physically, and increased mental capacity.

Detoxing from sex and/or pornography speaks to some of this too, but the deeper story is an emotional one. Similar to Norton’s observation of seeing who you really are, what exactly happens when you stop using porn or sex addictions as a coping strategy? Have you ever really tried to see?

The Cleansing Process

1. Define the toxins

What exactly will you be removing? Be specific. Think of a specific sexual compulsion, people, porn sites, etc. You may want to start small and work your way up (gradually) or simply go for it and omit everything you feel is addictive.

Quitting porn is different from stopping smoking or drinking alcohol. What complicates stopping porn or sex addictions is that you still want to be sexual. You need to learn how to sort through your behaviors and patterns and determine if they are “normal” sexual urges or addictive tendencies. If this is difficult or next to impossible for you to determine, then it may be best to simply cut out masturbation (at least for a long while) and certainly cut out viewing pornography.

2. How long will your detox be?

Set a realistic goal for how long you want to try to detox. It could be a month, a week, or even a day. During this process, keep a log of your feelings, actions, and reactions. No matter how long you plan, do expect to feel some type of withdrawal. Similar to other types of addictions, like alcohol, smoking, coffee, exercise, your body will react to not doing something you have depended on and are used to doing. Understanding withdrawal will help you as you make the transition.

3. Replacement behaviors

What types of activities would you like to do while you are transitioning? Think of developing a sort of wellness plan, because you will likely need one.

Exercise — it’s important to try to replicate the energy bursts you get from acting out sexually compulsion. Physical movement not only helps with that but makes you feel better too.

Hobbies — creative endeavors, like painting, music, woodworking, and gardening are examples. Choose something you have enjoyed in the past or choose something new.

Mindfulness — make the time to quiet your mind. Meditation, prayer, or simply breathing all provide avenues to access the present moment.

4. Rewards and Compassion

If you are able to reach your goal(s), treat yourself to a suitable reward. Plan something in honor of your accomplishment. If you fall short, remember to treat yourself with kindness and regroup. A slip does not need to be a slide.

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