Alright, you are here because you have already felt the negative impact of fapping (slang for masturbation to Internet pornography, especially for males).
So you are looking for answers on how to stop masturbation and also how to stop watching porn.
And perhaps you have looked at a lot of infographics like this.
But to really successfully change any habit, we would need to understand its 3 components: Cue (what "triggers" the behaviors); Routine (what you do); Reward (what's the feeling or pleasure that the behaviors give you). The difference between applying the right strategies versus not being able to change is how deeply we understand why we do what we do and the motivation for change.
So let me tell you a quick story of my interview with Jake, Habitify’s long-time user, as he shared his personal journey to answer the questions: how to stop masturbation, how to stop watching porn and how to start living a better life.
When asked to use one adjective for his life in general, Jake used the word: “mediocre”.
Jake felt like he had wasted his entire college life. Not joining any club, not accumulating any employable skills. Trying to land a Marketing internship and getting rejected three times last summer, he started to believe that maybe he just didn’t have what it takes to be successful.
His social circle had frozen since Star War: The Force Awaken was still in theater. Jake was particularly awkward around girls. Jake dated around during high school but the relationships didn’t last for long. Now, he had crushes on a lot of girls but never could muster enough confidence to ask them out.
In his personal life, Jake didn’t have many distinctive hobbies that sparked joy in his life. Days and months were filled with mindless entertainment then attending school just enough for credits. Most of the time, Jake would be late for classes, dozed off during lectures and leaving home with nothing noted down.
Like most 21 years old male students having an Internet connection and a personal laptop, porn was there to numb Jake’s anxiety and stress. Jake masturbated to adult videos every day during his high school and college life. Over time, he developed a mild addiction to Internet porn alongside with chronic masturbation.
But what truly bothered Jake was that he used to be somebody. And now, he was slowly turning into nobody. He was different back in high school: bright kid, good at sport, having that southern charm with a good look. Deep down, Jake knew he was losing his potential day by day in college.
With only 9 months left until graduation, Jake knew he had to make a radical change.
One fateful night on Reddit, as all good story starts, Jake discovered the NoFap Community. He found out the connection between chronic masturbation, watching porn and his problems on energy levels, emotional instability...
Now, Jake knew fapping to adult videos was taking away his life juice, keeping his mental capacity in a hazed, foggy box and wired his dopamine level like other substances such as cocaine! Jake was intrigued by the benefits of NoFap and how this practice could turn his life around.
It was the perfect timing for Jake, he was determined to break this bad habit for good.
Needless to say, Jake was in for a rough start.
A lot of NoFappers couldn’t abstain for more than 15 days.
Even with the fire devotion to change his ways of life, Jake found himself slipping after 5 or 6 days. During the first month, he started to feel some benefits of NoFap: waking up with more energy if he managed to curb his urge the day before; being more productive because he didn’t spend 1 hour every day looking at the dark side.
But the “superpowers” of NoFap was far from presenting itself to Jake.
The first breakthrough came when Jake took the time reading the new classic of Charles Duhigg with the quote:
“You can’t extinguish bad habits, you can only change it.”
Jake had just been suppressing his urge not to look at porn and masturbate without finding an alternative. And the way he had been living his life created an environment in which looking at porn was the norm: easily accessible through mobile phones and laptop, one-person apartment, constantly tired and needed of entertainment after lectures.
No wonder it was hard to resist. Sheer will power would only get Jake so far, he needed a more fundamental change.
So Jake would go home after class, pleasured himself with pornographic then carried one with the rest of the night. And being in the same environment sent cues to trigger the same patterns of behaviors, every single day.
That was Jake’s habit.
Being at his room too much would inevitably tempt him into giving in.
Luckily, as a student, it was quite easy for Jake to find opportunities to go outside.
Instead of going home right after classes, now Jake hit the gym instead. Not necessarily to work out every day, but simply being in the gym kept him away from relapsing in the same environment during his moments of numbness. Plus, Jake was re-discovering his love for sports which had been lost since high school.
“It was a real change in my lifestyle, which felt awkward at first. After a few weeks though, it was quite obvious that this was much better for my overall health and social life.”
Gradually, Jake shaped his environment so that the urge would be significantly reduced and found better ways to help himself during the times of stress and boredom.
Jake recorded that ever since he started going to the gym again, he managed to last for 3 full weeks before relapsing. A new record for Jake.
Mixing up his physical environment was not enough. Jake shared that the thought of sex and fantasizing about women was still constantly hijacking his mind at every turn.
“I found myself looking through my Instagram feed and was suddenly turned on.”
Our on-screen environment also takes enormous attention of our waking hours, and a large chunk of it is spent on social media. So every time he used social media (which is another potential compulsive habit), a high chance that a post from a model or a hot Instagram account would “remind” me him of his old habit. And oftentimes, they worked.
Jake was pulled back before he realized he just ended another 20 days of wholesomeness.
“Reflecting back, those Instagram accounts were like soft-porn. I guess this always primed me into thinking about porn which later would trigger masturbation when I could be back in my room.”
So Jake changed his digital environment promptly. Unfollowing "triggering" accounts and eventually deleted his Instagram. Installing porn-block apps on both his iPhone and his Mac, which then made watching porn a multi-step process instead of Command+shift+n and press the word porn (or Ctrl+shift+n for our Windows readers out there).
Jake recalled this was especially helpful during his early days of NoFap. Making it difficult to reach porn provided him with enough obstacle to control himself, one urge at a time.
With this decision, Jake propelled himself to another level of NoFap, officially finished the 30 days challenge.
Jake shared that one of his reasons to succeed on this NoFap journey was his companies.
“Fighting this battle alone would be impossible, especially when you are now entering new levels of weirdness. Having someone around to keep me accountable was the key.”
That “new level of weirdness” Jake mentioned can sometimes be coined as “Blue Balls” stage, when withdrawing from heavy masturbation would lead to physical discomfort, sometimes even pain in the male’s testicles.
Jake experienced Blue Balls after 30 days, and that was when he seriously questioned if the NoFap positive effects would be worth this pain.
But Jake was devoted. This was not a challenge or experiment that Jake did for fun. This was Jake’s commitment to getting his life on track again. And he decided he would go until the bitter end.
Jake reached out for help at this stage. He asked one of his friends to be the supervisor. He will be reminded daily about his progress. Checking-up happened in the morning to set his mind straight for the day and Jake would “report” during the evening on how the urges were during the day.
“The deal was simple. I made a commitment to go dry for 3 months. I would give my friend 100 bucks as the “hostage money”. If I relapsed before the challenge ends, he can keep the money. If I won, I can have my money back. And after the 3 months, I would give my friends 20 dollars for supervising me. That keeps me think three times when the urges rise up and keep my supervisor literally invested in my journey. Besides, 100 bucks are no small money for me.”
And with this final strategy, Jake made the biggest breakthrough and got back his 100 dollars.
It has been more than 1 year since Jake first decided to commit to this new life.
Interviewing Jake, I can see the smile of Jake reminiscing about all the struggles and how he overcame them during the last 12 months.
“This is definitely the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. At first, my friends didn't get why I was so committed to quit porn and stop masturbation. And it’s 100% worth it.”
I see in Jake the confidence of a man with a clear sense of purpose knowing what he wants and knowing his values. It’s also an honor knowing that our app was also there along with Jake’s incredible journey, helping him get the habits life on track, day by day.
Currently, Jake has just finished his 3 months internship in a Marketing firm.
Jake managed to get in the best shape of his life by channeling his energy to hitting the gym almost every day for the last year. He eats clean and exercises with a vigorous intensity. This led to him having a much better sleep pattern and energy level in general.
Jake no longer feels like he’s fatigue every morning. After passing the Blue Balls phase, he felt grounded, centered and “light”, as Jake described.
The brain fog effects of porn and masturbation have dissolved after the 1-month mark, which enables Jake to focus deeply on classes and boosts his memorization capacity. Making exams and quizzes not that much of a dread.
For his social life, Jake got to know a lot of new people at the gym. He has been dating again and actually now looking for a serious and long term relationship. Being free from porn dispels Jake from all the unrealistic perceptions towards women, and actually, made him feel connected and more appreciative of the opposite sex.
Alongside with successfully stopping the combo of chronic masturbation and daily porn consumption, Jake installed a lot of new productive and healthy habits. He ended the interview with his thoughts on his future.
“Peter, this is far from over. I’m aware that I can do so much better on a lot of things. And this is just the beginning of a new life for me. So I hope I would be able to share with you another journey soon.”
Jake identified that chronic masturbation to Internet porn was a bad habit which is holding him back from living his life to a fuller potential.
He found out about the NoFap community on Reddit and decided to join the movement.
Along the journey, Jake came across many difficulties that made him failed again and again.
But now, Jake has a streak of more than 200 days of NoFap. I can pinpoint these were the three strategies that helped Jake achieved his goal.
I hope you can get something from Jake’s story. I know I am applying these 3 strategies to start my NoFap journey this August!
What’s your own strategies on how to stop watching porn and how to stop masturbation?
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