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5 Surprising Ways Your Porn Habit Is Costing You More Than You Think

If you think that porn that you’re watching is free, think again, brother. You might not have to whip out your credit card and pay anything the moment you open up your browser and start watching, but your daily porn habit is actually costing you way more than you realize.

In this article, I’m going to walk through the ways that your daily porn habit is not only costing you time and money, but is also holding you back, professionally, physically, and emotionally.

5 Surprising Ways Your Porn Habit Is Costing You More Than You Think

Time

How many hours a day do you watch porn? (Or, insert your digital addiction of choice). How many hours are you numbing out on your screen?

When I was in college, I was watching on average close to 2-3 hours of porn every night. On some days, for example, if I was hungover from a heavy night of drinking, or stressed about an upcoming exam, you could add a couple of hours to that total. Now multiply that daily tally by about 10 years, and you get around 10,000 hours. That’s how long it takes to become an expert in something!

I often wonder what I could have accomplished in my life if I had spent that time more wisely. Learn a new language? Master an instrument? Get my purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? When I work with clients around porn addiction, I often hear a similar phrase in our initial discovery call, “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize I wasted all my time watching porn.”

Porn has a hidden opportunity cost. You’re spending massive amounts of time on something that is not making your life any better (aside from a temporary fix), when you could be spending that time doing activities that provide more meaning or growth. Let’s say I could wave a magic wand and give you 2–3 more uninterrupted hours each day to spend however you like. What would you do with that time? When you get to the end of your life, how would you like to have spent your time on this earth?

Income

If you’re a professional, an entrepreneur, or have a job of any sort, it helps to know what your hourly rate is. You might know it already, otherwise, you can do a simple calculation to figure it out. Take your annual income and divide by 2080 for a rough estimate. If you make $100,000 per year, your hourly wage is around $50 per hour. One of the clients I work with makes around $675 an hour as a lawyer. If he’s spending 5–6 hours of screen time every day (split between porn, social media, and checking the news) it’s easy to see how much money he’s leaving behind because of digital addictions.

What about you? How much more money you could be making if you eliminated your porn watching habit altogether. How many new clients could you add? How many more courses could you create? How many new projects could you start and finish? Once you look, it’s hard to avoid the truth that porn is costing you money, you’re just not paying for it upfront. Again, it’s the opportunity cost.

Focus & Attention

What we know from modern neuroscience (and especially the understanding of neuroplasticity) is that what you think, do, and even pay attention to changes the structure and function of your brain. Neuroscientist Donald Hebb who once wrote, “neurons that fire together, wire together.” In other words, the more time you spend watching porn and fantasizing about sex, the stronger those neural pathways become. One of the disturbing effects of porn addiction is that it is hardwiring your brain to be thinking about sex — all the time.

When I was in the midst of my own porn addiction struggles, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that I thought about sex every 5-10 seconds. It was the default mode of my mind. I couldn’t focus on anything for long before my thoughts and images of sex started creeping into my mind. If you’re a knowledge worker, or someone who needs to think and work deeply, this attention-trap can be hazardous for your career growth (not to mention your sanity — but that’s another topic).

You want to write a book, but you just don’t seem to be able to ever get in the zone. You want to create a new online course, but you just can’t find enough focus or concentration to sit down and draft an outline. Your mind keeps thinking about the cute girl you saw earlier, or you’re planning when you can sneak off to go look at porn. Porn costs you in one of the most valuable resources known to man: your attention. Your attention is your whole world. It would be wise to take care of it and nurture it well.

Energy

Porn has a physical energetic cost too. I don’t know the mechanism behind this, maybe it’s about chi, or something else “spiritual” that is beyond me. I don’t know, and I don’t really care, to be honest. But the truth is, I’ve felt it, and so have thousands of other men. When you are spending hours each day turning into a zombie in front of your screen, it drains you physically. It makes you feel weak, tired, and unmotivated.

I’ve experienced first-hand and seen with my clients, that giving up porn actually gives you more energy and vitality. It starts a little fire inside you, motivates you to take action, to be more decisive. What would you do if you woke up feeling energized? What would you do if you could let go of your indecision? In what ways would your life improve if you had more strength?

Satisfaction

Finally, let’s look at one of the most important aspects of porn addiction, how it affects your overall life satisfaction and happiness. Another of the side effects of watching porn is that you get hooked on novelty. Modern-day porn is different from your grandfather’s porn. Instead of pulling out an old magazine, or renting a VHS tape, now it’s more about the “tube sites”, online databases with hundreds of thousands (maybe millions?) of videos.

In a typical porn session, you spend your time searching for that perfect video, that perfect girl. On any given night, you could see hundreds or thousands of different women. On a neurological level is that every time you see a new face, or a new body, you get a little dopamine dump. What’s happening is that you’re getting addicted to novelty, rather than learning how to find satisfaction in a single beautiful woman. This is the reason you won’t watch a video you’ve seen already, will you? You always want something new. Each night becomes a hunt for something new and exciting. Sometimes this is referred to as Hedonic Adaptation, that you get used to whatever pleasant stimulus you give it. You need to keep feeding it with more to experience the same level of satisfaction.

Now translate that into your life. Your brain has been trained (hardwired) for years, or maybe decades, to only be satisfied when you give it that novelty. When you get it a new relationship with a real person, they might satisfy you temporarily, but after a time, that honeymoon phase wears off, and you start getting bored. Rather than realizing it’s your own brain that’s messed up, you blame it on the partner (“they must not be the right one for me…” or “I just need someone a little more fit…”). Porn creates a neurological environment that craves “perfection”. The existence of these tube sites with millions of searchable videos makes you feel like perfection in your partner is attainable. It limits your ability to feel be content and appreciative. Instead, it makes you constantly hungry for finding someone better.

Feeling fulfilled in a relationship will be impossible if your mind is always focused on what could be better about your partner. This is perhaps the most damaging aspect of porn addiction because it not only affects your own happiness, but it also affects your partners as well. If you want healthy relationships, it’s time you stop feeding your mind junk food.

What do you think? Has porn negatively impacted your life in other ways? Or does it bring benefits that outweigh the negatives? If you’re looking for help breaking free from porn addiction or other compulsive online behaviors, head on over to my coaching page to get more information about how you can start on the path of reclaiming your time, energy, and satisfaction.

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