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How can I manage my pornography use?

How can I manage my pornography use?

If you’ve come to this section, it may be because you think your pornography use has become a problem.

Or you might just want some information and advice about managing the way you use online pornography. 

The first step to managing this behaviour is deciding to do it, so well done for exploring this. There’s lots of support and advice available to help you. 

Sometimes, people use pornography to help them cope with bad feelings. This is because it can:

  • release positive hormones (endorphins) 
  • distract them from their negative feelings

But it’s important to learn other ways to feel good – ones that are healthier than relying on pornography. 

If you would like to stop looking at pornography, here are some tips that might help you stick to that choice:

  • ​Delete all pornography from your devices. 
  • If you’ve got any bookmarks or favourites for pornography on your devices, delete them.
  • Tell someone you trust that you’ve made this decision, so they can support you.
  • Get someone else to install software that checks whether you’re using pornography, and tell them not to give you the password​. Programs like this include Net Nanny, Covenant Eyes and Accountable2You.
  • Think of other things you can do when you find you want to watch pornography, or at times when you’d usually end up watching it. (See the section below.)
  • When you do find yourself wanting to watch pornography, remind yourself of ways it’s affected your life. Sometimes it can be helpful to write a couple of them down on your phone or on a notepad by your computer.
  • Think about other ways to become aroused, such as mindful masturbation.
  • Remember it’s okay to have setbacks – don’t punish yourself. Try again and keep moving forwards. 

If there isn’t anyone in your life you trust enough to talk about this, or you don’t feel comfortable talking about it to anyone you know, you can always contact us through our email service – you don’t have to say who you are.

What could I do instead? 

Finding positive experiences to have instead of watching pornography can:

  • be a good way to distract yourself
  • help you live a more positive life

What you do instead depends on why you were looking at pornography in the first place. 

For example, if you access porn because: 

  • you’re bored … find positive ways to occupy your time 
  • you’re lonely … find ways to feel more connected to other people
  • you want to find out about sex … learn from organisations that can provide you with reliable information. (See our page safe places to learn about sex.)

Here are some ideas:

  • Do something you enjoy, that gives you pleasure and fun. This could be a hobby, a sport or just spending time with friends.
  • Talk with your friends, and find activities you can enjoy doing together.
  • Look after yourself – do some exercise every day, try to eat healthily and go to bed in time to get enough sleep.
  • Try other online activities such as gaming (but make sure you spend plenty of time offline too).
  • Put limits on the amount of time you spend online. 
  • Talk about things that worry and upset you – to a family member, a friend, or a professional like a teacher or social worker.
  • Help other people – for example, doing more housework, getting shopping for your grandparents, or volunteering at a community centre.
  • Set yourself small goals that you know you can manage. These can be to do with things you enjoy and want to do more of, or things you want to try out. Examples are trying a sport, baking, painting or going for a walk.

Once you’ve read this page, if you still want to use pornography it can be helpful to make a plan to help you manage how you use it. Download our digital safety plan below.

For more tips on how to manage online behaviour and build a good, balanced life, visit our page on building a good life.

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Building a good life

Find out about the Good Lives Model, to help you understand your behaviour and set goals for a good life.

Read more

There are lots of organisations that can give you advice, information and support about:

  • any worries you have about your pornography use
  • how pornography can affect sex and relationships

If anything on this page has upset you, or something has happened in your life to upset or hurt you, then you can get help. Speak to someone you trust to ask for support. 

Are you struggling?

Our advisors can give you support and advice, and you don’t have to say who you are.

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