In this blog, Helena and I will explore the topic of orgasm and its importance in a healthy sexual relationship. Our personal experience led us to the topic, and we discovered that many women face difficulties in achieving orgasm, often leading to feelings of shame and fear. This blog will cover our personal story, research findings, and tips to help couples achieve a fulfilling sex life.
You can listen to our podcast on the same topic.
In particular, this blog will cover:
Our Challenge with having Intense Orgasm
Overcoming masturbation and inability to orgasm
The Challenge of Unrealistic Expectations
The Role of Pride in Sexual Relationships
The Importance of Setting Boundaries
The Biology of Female Sexuality
Male and Female Sexualities are Different
The Role of Communication
Tips for a Fulfilling Sex Life
Before getting started, Helena and I would like to go over what orgasm and pornography are.
What is an orgasm?
According to Cleveland Clinic, orgasm is the height or peak of sexual arousal when the body releases sexual tension and pressure. It involves very intense feelings of pleasure in your genitals and throughout your body.
What is pornography?
Here according to ResearchGate, pornography is best defined as a medium, such as a picture, video, or text, that is intended to be treated as sexually arousing (Rea, 2001)
Now that we have cleared that out of the way, let us dive into our personal struggles with having a healthy sexual orgasm as partners.
Our Challenge with having Intense Orgasm
Early in our relationship, Helena and I faced difficulties in achieving female orgasms. Our experience was not uncommon, and many women face the same challenges. Our research led us to discover that many women pretend to orgasm out of fear of hurting their partner’s feelings or being judged.
We realized that pornography played a significant role in our struggles. Pornography is a pervasive and influential industry that shapes the sexual expectations of many people, particularly young couples. People learn from pornography, but it is essential to recognize that pornography is not an accurate representation of real-life sex. The confusion arises when I began to equate my sexual experiences with what I see in pornography. This confusion leads to unrealistic expectations, particularly for women, who may struggle to communicate their needs and preferences in the bedroom.
The media often portrays sex in unrealistic ways that do not reflect individual differences in biology and personal preferences. We found that men often hold onto these stereotypes and assume that what they see in porn is what women want. However, each woman is unique, and understanding their biology and personal preferences is essential to a fulfilling sexual relationship.
It’s important to note that masturbation has a lot of stigma and shame attached to it. There are varying opinions on whether it is sin or not and if it’s healthy or not. This can make it difficult to feel comfortable discussing masturbation or seeking help if you’re struggling to orgasm during sex. What’s most important is to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying to you about masturbation and to be able to agree with your spouse if it’s healthy or not between the two of you.
Helena struggled with masturbation during our first year of marriage because of my indulgence in porn and that affected her ability to orgasm. And I needed to rebuild our trust in each other. The inability to orgasm as a woman is a common issue that many women face, and it’s important to understand that it’s not something to be ashamed of.
One way to overcome this issue is to talk openly and honestly about it with your partner. It can be a difficult conversation to have, but it’s important to remember that sex is a normal and healthy part of any relationship. If you’re struggling to orgasm during sex it’s vital that you follow some of the steps in this article or the podcast episode shared above to help you begin talking about the underlying problems.
The Challenge of Unrealistic Expectations
Pornography can create unrealistic expectations when it comes to sexual experiences. For example, men may expect that women will always be ready and willing to have sex, or that they will be able to perform for extended periods. These expectations can lead to frustration and disappointment, causing sexual relationships to suffer. Recognizing and challenging these expectations is essential in improving sexual relationships and creating more fulfilling sexual experiences.
Pride in Sexual Relationships
Pride is another significant factor when it comes to pornography and sexual relationships. Pride can prevent individuals from realizing the negative impact that pornography has on their lives. For example, a man may feel proud of his sexual performance because he learned from pornography. However, this pride can lead to unrealistic expectations, causing frustration and dissatisfaction in sexual relationships. Overcoming pride is a crucial step in improving sexual relationships, as it allows individuals to be more open to new experiences and to learn from their partners.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries:
It can be challenging for women to express their sexual preferences and boundaries, particularly when they feel pressure to conform to what is seen in pornography. However, setting boundaries is crucial to ensure that sexual experiences are enjoyable and safe for everyone involved. Communicating what one likes and dislikes is essential to creating a healthy sexual relationship. It is important to recognize that everyone’s preferences are different, and it is okay not to enjoy certain things seen in pornography.
The Biology of Female Sexuality
Understanding female biology is crucial in improving sexual relationships. Many people may not understand the physical aspects of sex, leading to confusion and frustration. Understanding the body of your partner can help individuals have more fulfilling sexual experiences, as they can learn to focus on areas that provide the most pleasure.
The clitoris is a highly sensitive organ located outside the vagina, and many women require clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm. However, because of the way that sex is often portrayed in porn, many people may not be aware of the importance of clitoral stimulation in female sexual pleasure.
Male and Female Sexualities are Different
Every woman’s body is different, and this extends to sexual preferences and desires. For instance, women take much longer to orgasm than men, and the clitoris is a crucial part of female sexual pleasure. However, many people are unaware of this, and this leads to unrealistic expectations and confusion about what women enjoy in the bedroom. What works for one person may not work for another.
Women, in particular, may feel pressured to conform to what they see in pornography. It is therefore essential to have open and honest conversations with sexual partners to understand their preferences and needs fully. By doing so, couples can work together to find what works best for both partners and ensure that both individuals are satisfied and comfortable in their intimate relationships.
The Role of Communication
Healthy relationships are built on open and honest communication. This is especially important when it comes to sexual relationships. Partners should feel comfortable discussing their needs and desires, without fear of judgment or rejection. Unfortunately, the use of pornography can make it difficult to have these conversations. Partners may feel embarrassed or ashamed to discuss their preferences or may feel that their desires are abnormal or unacceptable.
Tips for a Fulfilling Sex Life
From our personal experience, we learned that the key to achieving a fulfilling sex life is communication and understanding. Couples need to communicate openly and honestly about their sexual preferences and desires. They must also understand that each partner is unique and has different needs and porn can come in the way of experiencing healthy sexual pleasure.
Seeing God’s design for sexuality and growing in the communication of what is in the way of living it out is essential to developing a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship.
Men need to take the time to understand their partner’s biology and preferences. Pornography is not a reliable source of information, and men should not assume that what they see in porn is what women want. They should also be patient and take their time to explore their partner’s body and find out what brings them pleasure.
Women need to communicate their desires openly and honestly. They should not be afraid to tell their partner if they are not enjoying the sexual experience or if they need more time to achieve orgasm. Women should also be patient with themselves and their partners and understand that achieving orgasm takes time and trust.
Achieving a fulfilling sex life requires communication, understanding, and patience. Our personal experience and research findings show that many women struggle to achieve orgasm, often leading to feelings of shame and fear. However, couples can overcome these challenges by communicating openly and honestly, understanding each other’s biology and preferences, overcoming porn, and being patient and supportive. By doing so, couples can experience the beautiful climax that God created for one flesh couple to enjoy together.
We all get sexually triggered, but that’s not the real problem behind your porn addiction. The real problem is that very few men know why they’re being triggered and how to deal with the root issue. This makes it hard to respond to triggers and regulate yourself, which then makes it feel impossible to quit porn.
In this article, I’m going to cover:
● Understanding your sexual triggers leading to porn addiction
● Handling your porn addiction sexual triggers
● Overcoming your porn addiction sexual triggers
● 3 ways to take action and stop porn addiction when triggered
Before all that, though, let’s discuss what porn addiction is.
What is porn addiction?
According to Medical News Today, porn addiction refers to a person becoming emotionally dependent on pornography to the point that it interferes with their daily life, relationships, and ability to function.
An addiction to porn has 3 characteristics (and this goes for any addiction)
1. You have tried to quit porn but can’t seem to give it up
3. You have adjusted your lifestyle to make time and space to watch porn
1. Understanding your sexual triggers: Why do they happen
When we wander through life unsure of the “why” behind it all, we can feel lost and out of control. Does that resonate with you and your porn addiction? Does that resonate with you and how you feel about your triggers? For men who can’t seem to stop watching porn, their sensitivity to triggers can be enhanced simply because their brain is constantly overloaded with sexual imagery and thoughts. This is a really hard place to be! It makes them seem involuntary, without cause, and uncontrollable. However, I want to tell you that they are not random, not beyond you, and most definitely not out of your control. Let’s talk about that more:
Our brain and triggers
The brain is really powerful, especially when it comes to how it gets affected by watching porn. One of its main roles and reasons it’s so powerful is that it stores information about past events. This is really cool, but also really unpleasant when we are reminded of something that caused us pain or pleasure and we get triggered. This happens when something in the present feels similar or the same as what your brain remembers about the past event. It’s this idea of “what you feel vs. what is real”. This is so easy to miss and misunderstand. Without this knowledge, you can feel like your addiction to watching porn is an unending life sentence.
Past events colliding with current events lead to being sexually triggered
As I mentioned already, we can get triggered when something in the present feels like something that happened in the past. There’s often a desire to repeat or reverse a past event because we‘re drawn to what is familiar or we’re drawn to doing the complete opposite of what happened to us. This is so important to know because repeating or reversal ideas will give you a direct insight into the types of porn you watch and what you’re triggered by and why.
Sexual triggers are instigated by an insecurity that has become sexualized.
It’s always shocking to the men I work with when they learn that their sexual triggers are deeply emotional. One of the examples I like to give is when a man is at the beach. He may be sexually triggered by what is around him, but deep down, he is emotionally triggered by the wonders of “does she see me?”; “would she like me?”; “What would it be like to be with her?” and so on. Yes, there is a sexual trigger, but our sexuality is so tied to our emotions. This often happens when emotions were felt, and instead of learning to process and regulate, watching porn became the way to cope. This then causes your brain to associate an emotion with watching porn. Do you see how this trigger becomes so powerful?
Men long to be seen, wanted, accepted, desired, affirmed, validated, and so on. It’s these longings that can be hijacked by watching porn, making them easily triggered by what seems predominantly sexual.
2. Handling your sexual triggers – What to do when you get triggered
There’s a famous quote that says “Name it to tame it”. This is really helpful for us to understand that the very act of naming something diminishes its power. What if you began to name the trigger, not from a sexual standpoint, but from an emotional standpoint? Now that you know why you get triggered, you have the knowledge to name the deeper reason and take action. I love this approach because it takes the focus off of your porn addiction and what others are doing/wearing, and puts the emphasis on you, meaning, you have a level of control over this, and that’s empowering!
If you’re not too sure of whether or not you’re addicted, I’ve broken down the 10 top signs you might have porn addiction here.
Your triggers are prophets
When you get triggered your nervous system goes into fight or flight mode. This is a really tough place to be in! It often sideswipes you when you’re least aware. However, becoming aware and pinpointing the things that trigger you to go into flight or flight, and then naming the things that would you bring you back to a place of safety and calm is extremely powerful. You can choose to see your triggers as a curse, or as an opportunity.
I like to see them as “prophets” trying to tell you something about your heart and mind. They often tell great stories as to where you have insecurities, lacks, and voids in your life. Ultimately, watching porn is just an “advil” to a deeper problem. Let your triggers begin to tell you more about what the true problem is.
3 ways to take action when sexually triggered: Start asking yourself great questions
Pinpointing what emotionally and sexually sets you off/turns you on
Some simple ones to try are: “why am I triggered right now”; “What am I feeling insecure about right now?”; “What is this trying to tell me about myself?”; “Am I feeling unsafe right now?”
Practice Deep Breathing
You have to breathe already, might as well have it work for you! When we deep breathe, we’re reactivating the part of our brain that makes good decisions. When triggered, that’s really important to be able to do. This is truly a life hack for men who can’t stop watching porn. It calms them down and helps them regulate in a short period of time
Rationalize the triggering situation:
When you can speak out about what is truly going on, you will begin to reclaim the power the trigger once had. When this happens, you will find yourself regaining control and restoring some levels of confidence. When this begins to happen for a man who has been controlled by sexual triggers for a long time, it’s so enlightening! (works for women too!)
Here are a few ways you can speak out and rationalize what’s going on and reclaim power over your triggers
“This is happening right now because I feel ____” (driving emotion)
“She is really attractive and that makes me wonder if she notices me” (Insecurity)
“This situation is hard for me because I feel ___ and feel as if I need ___ but am empty in that area after this past week” (compassion rather than shame)
This approach takes into account the full picture of your sexual triggers and makes it feel like you have a grasp on what’s going on, even if you don’t deal with it perfectly. You will build momentum each time you do it and feel empowered rather than the typical feelings of shame when you get stuck in confusion.
Getting expert help can be the deciding factor between those who find freedom from porn and those who continue to struggle. Check out our porn recovery coaching page to learn more about our services.
3. How to overcome your sexual triggers: Developing confidence to move through triggers
Pinpointing what emotionally and sexually sets you off/turns you on
One of the best ways to help see this clearly is to ask yourself “What causes me to react with a level 8 reaction when the situation is only a level 2 or 3?” When we begin to pinpoint the areas we overreact or even over-sexualize things, we can begin to see that that’s an area that needs attention. Now that you have learned the why and the what, it’s time to understand how to keep the momentum going and move through triggers so you move into sobriety and ultimately, freedom from watching porn.
Here is the equation: Awareness of the trigger + understanding why it happens = The ability to respond with proactive and healthy choices
Define what you really need in moments of emotional and sexual triggers
You have likely watched porn for so long that it’s the first viable option when you have emotional, physical, and spiritual voids in your life. When your needs go unmet, a void is created and these voids ache until filled. The big question in those times is this, do you grab an Advil, or do you deal with the root of the issue? An advil would be watching porn, masturbating, scrolling social media, eating a tub of ice cream, etc.
Getting to the root of the issue is asking yourself, “What do I really need right now?”; “What would make me feel safe right now?”; Who can I connect with right now?”. Humans have an inherent desire to feel loved, connected, intimate, seen, wanted, and much more. When those beautiful needs go unmet (in healthy ways), we search for something that will fill us up. Sadly, watching porn is a quick fix that brings zero long-term relief. A great way to get long-term relief would be to seek freedom from porn, not just recovery
Develop a self-talk routine when you feel sexually triggered
Self-talk is a great way to engage our reality. It’s best done after deep breathing, so don’t skip that step! Another form of this can be prayer (My personal favorite). When you feel the desire to watch porn and go through the steps to understand what’s happening and why it’s happening, it then comes time to renew your mind.
Self-talk can be an amazing way to do that because it retrains your mind to hear positive and Godly things in moments of sexual triggers rather than unhelpful and sinful things. This is truly about renewing the mind, which is very biblical and crucial to our healing.
Self-talk example: Hey Shawn, it’s ok to be triggered right now. This is not so much about the attractive women over there, but more about how you’re tired and feeling disconnected from your friends and family. I know you feel sad, and that’s ok. What you really need right now is a time to connect with someone, take a hot bath, and get a good night’s rest. You got this man!
This step is often the hardest for men to walk out. If you need some help overcoming barriers keeping you from living in freedom from porn, check out our porn addiction help page for more information
In conclusion, overcoming porn addiction is possible.
You now know the truth behind your sexual triggers and how to deal with them moving forward. I hope you have been able to go from “I can’t stop watching porn” to “wow, I actually can overcome porn addiction” because I know you can! It takes time, effort, and guidance to work through these steps, but they’re available and possible for anyone and everyone. The next time you get sexually triggered, I want you to stop and reflect on what triggered you, why it triggered you, and what healthy action step you can take that was listed above in this article. I am certain this approach will revolutionize the way you see triggers moving forward. May you be blessed by what was shared and may you be empowered to apply it.
When a man cannot get or stay erect due to the influence of pornography consumption, we call this Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED). It’s a really hot issue right now and it’s affecting men from all walks of life. Porn-induced erectile dysfunction has become an epidemic due to the incredibly high rates of men addicted to internet pornography (some stats show up to 70% of men are watching porn regularly).
PIED occurs when the consumption of pornography causes physiological damage to the brain and psychological damage to the mind. This results in things like atrophied dopamine receptors deteriorated grey matter of the brain and skewed beliefs about masculinity and sex.
How does watching porn cause erectile dysfunction?
Porn is what we call a supernormal stimulus. It creates unnatural doses of chemicals that flood the brain’s reward center each time you consume it. This isn’t shocking news to most people. However, it is shocking when they find out how this over-flooded reward system in the brain is causing issues like erectile dysfunction. To better understand what’s happening in the brain, let’s look at 3 reasons why watching porn causes PIED
Consuming Porn causes dopamine overload
Dopamine is a good thing, it’s the chemical in our brain that helps us enjoy things and fall in love. It’s really powerful and really important. However, there is a dark side to dopamine. The unfortunate thing about dopamine is that when you get too much, too quickly, and too often, your brain receptors get overloaded and they begin to “burn out”. It’s like fruit. It’s so healthy and so yummy but even too much fruit will give you diarrhea! But anyways, back to the dopamine overload.
When this happens, your brain receptors don’t function as they should, leading to less dopamine being detected from things that offer healthy and natural doses. Because watching porn offers so much dopamine, your atrophied receptors can still experience a hit. Sadly, a beautiful evening with your wife that leads to sex simply will not. This is the catch-22 that men find themselves in and this is why porn-induced erectile dysfunction drives marriages crazy.
Watching Porn bonds you to the screen
It’s not rocket science for us to understand that a mother is bonded to her child in a very special way. God made it so that the chemical called oxytocin would be released as a way to bond people together as they connect intimately. This sounds so beautiful when you think of a mother and a child, a husband and a wife, the list goes on. But what about when a man watches porn? The very essence of porn addiction is a longing for intimacy, connection, and love.
It would make sense that the very chemical that bonds a mother and child together would also bond a man and a screen together, right? The sad reality is that when this happens, most men are also masturbating. So let’s lay this out. Their dopamine receptors are shot, they’re bonding to a screen and in that bonding experience, they’re associating it with masturbation. Can you see why porn-induced erectile dysfunction happens? You’re literally programming yourself to get aroused by a screen and your hand, not a human being.
The porn industry showcases a false reality
Many men live in fantasy land. Their brains are so pornified that they are in constant wonder of “what if” scenarios that keep them stuck. A few examples I hear from men I work with would be, “what if that woman at the store wants me”; “what if my co-worker thinks I’m attractive”; “what if my neighbor knew I was home alone”.
Because watching porn causes us to forget what’s real, natural, and healthy, men often forget how to enjoy the simple beauty of their wives and the pleasure of sexual intimacy with them. Isn’t that scary? They forget “how to” as if their brains are dysfunctional. This can only lead to issues like erectile dysfunction because your frame for arousal and sex is completely warped.
How do I know if I have porn-induced erectile dysfunction?
There are some sure signs that will indicate if you have PIED. I want to dig into 3 main issues here that are the most common among the men that I work with. These issues are so tragic as they cause good-meaning men to feel so much shame. They get so fixated on their penis not working that it consumes them.
This leads to decreased confidence, mental health, and sex drive. This takes a huge toll on a man, and sadly, it takes a toll on his partner too.
Consistent erectile issues are a blaring indicator that you have PIED
When I struggled with PIED, I was having erectile issues 1-3 times per week. And when I say erectile issues, I am referring to the inability to get or stay erect. Typically I would struggle to get erect during foreplay and then give up on sex or I would go soft as we changed positions. Both of these issues on a consistent basis are clear indicators for someone who struggled with erectile dysfunction.
But here’s the real kicker. If you’re able to get erect and stay erect until ejaculation while watching porn but not with your wife, then you definitely have porn-induced erectile dysfunction.
Delayed ejaculation is a demoralizing indicator that you have PIED
When a man takes a longer than healthy duration to reach orgasm/ejaculation, it is called delayed ejaculation (DE for short). There’s also the inability to ejaculate is called anejaculation and the inability to reach a climax (orgasm) is called anorgasmia. For now, I am going to focus on delayed ejaculation as it can be very common in men who watch and masturbate to porn. This happens, mainly when men have spent hours watching porn before ejaculating.
They basically program the brain so that ejaculation takes a longer duration of time. This is sometimes also known as desensitization, where the brain develops a tolerance to pleasure and stimulation and requires more and more to be able to ejaculate.
Premature ejaculation is an embarrassing indicator that you have PIED
When a man takes a minute or less to reach orgasm/ejaculation, it is called premature ejaculation (PE for short). This is commonly seen as more embarrassing for men than delayed ejaculation simply because it seems to show a sign of weakness and lack of experience. Of course, that’s not true. It actually indicates that you’re watching porn, carry a lot of anxiety and have a very sensitive brain-penis reaction. Most men I know grew up watching porn and masturbating as quickly as possible.
They had to make sure mom and dad didn’t catch them or something along those lines. That was my story at least! Sadly, this fear-based and shame-driven protective nature continues into your adult life and you end up programming your brain to signal for a premature ejaculation simply because it’s trained to orgasm quickly. If you’re already worried about cumming early before sex even starts, you’re definitely in the trap of porn-induced erectile dysfunction and it’s being fueled by your anxiety more and more each time.
My 4-step treatment plan for erectile dysfunction?
There are a whole array of medical perspectives that you can find on google. I think there’s some merit in these, but honestly, I have not worked with anyone who didn’t benefit and heal from focusing on the mind, brain, and spirit. It’s been so rare to hear of someone who actually had a medical issue that was physical. It happens, I’m just saying it’s really rare.
Quick story: I worked with a 72-year-old who was told his issue was purely physical and he had been on pills for 10 years. After working with me, we worked to heal the deeper root issues of his ED and now he’s having great sex and thriving with his wife. If you want to learn more about my PIED coaching services, Erectile Dysfunction Life Coaching
Step one is to tell somebody that you struggle with PIED
There’s something so therapeutic about telling someone about a struggle. It allows you to get a load off your chest. The very load that has been keeping you from being able to relax and enjoy life. This person may be a friend, a pastor, or a mentor. Whoever it is, use wisdom, but you 100% need to tell someone and let them pray for and support you in this journey.
Step two is to quit porn and heal the brain
I am a big advocate of guys getting an initial 90 days of sobriety from watching porn and masturbation to recalibrate their brains. I say an initial 90 days not because it ends after, but because things will feel different. After 90 days, you’ll feel better and the journey of further sobriety actually does get easier.
Most men suck at thinking about what they think about. Even more, they suck at naming their emotions. Now, this is not a knock on men. I sucked at it too! Sometimes I still do. But it’s crucial to understand that men are not taught how to do these things. To really overcome PIED and the physiological aspect of ED, you must be intentional with the emotional and mental side of healing.
This includes renewing your thought life/belief system and learning how to regulate your big emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and shame. I go deeper into these concepts in an article I wrote about ED. Check it out here to learn more about how you can apply what I’m talking about (ex. journaling, self-awareness, and being emotionally healthy)
This one is tough because it now involves healing with your partner. That can feel scary, to say the least. However, it’s actually the most beautiful thing when it’s guided well. Now, I don’t expect you to be able to guide it alone. I hope that I can be that guide for you.
Regardless of that coming through reading my blog, or through hiring me as a coach, I want to make sure you understand that there is a framework that you can follow and get the results so many other men have gotten. This framework I am referring to is called the “sexual template”, so be on the lookout for that when you’re reading my blogs, listening to our podcast, or joining our free men’s porn addiction recovery group.
Porn-induced erectile dysfunction is certainly easy enough to pinpoint in one’s life. It’s also easy to see how it develops and overtakes. I hope that this article has helped you see the full picture and gives you a paradigm shift on the cause and treatment of erectile dysfunction. Everything I teach is from my own personal story of a 14-year porn addiction that led to PIED and many sexual struggles. My mantra is for you to “let my failures be your success” and I hope I have been able to do that in this article, God bless.
So many men that I know have had a poor experience when it comes to porn addiction recovery groups. It’s not that the group was “bad”, but it just felt “off”. Often I hear about a sense of stagnation in the growth of the participants and leaders and a posture of comparison between the members that can create competition rather than camaraderie. Rarely do these dynamics happen on purpose, however, they happen all too often in recovery groups and they can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Again, it’s not because you don’t like the people, but because the focus is often far too fixated on the addiction and you’re left with the same problem you had when you started… And this is FRUSTRATING
This is why I want to tell you about the 8 elements of a porn addiction recovery group coaching dynamic that really impacted me. It was truly refreshing, therapeutic, and healing, and I want that for you. Heck, It was so impactful that I have begun to lead these groups myself! Before I tell you about the 8 things to look for, I want to tell you 3 reasons this group experience impacted me so much more than your typical recovery group
The 3 differences between successful porn addiction recovery groups and unsuccessful ones:
1. We don’t talk about success, porn relapses, or even sexual behavior
We focus on people, their sexual and non-sexual stories, pain, and desires. We spend the bulk of our time sharing stories and offering attunement, compassion, and curiosity. This is the key to everyone realizing that true change happens from the inside out, not through hype or motivation
Because focusing on success, porn relapses, and sexual behavior just causes men to stay at the surface of the problem, we want to turn the focus onto what’s deeper. This is what helps men feel as if they can be successful in recovery, healthy, and free from porn
2. We focus on men experiencing love, acceptance, and brotherhood
We focus on the deep-rooted areas of your life and sexuality that carry shame and condemnation so you can experience love, acceptance, and brotherhood as you share about things that maybe nobody has ever heard before. This is rather different than the typical “share your relapses and what you could have done differently”
Imagine for a moment, sharing your darkest sexual fantasy, your most embarrassing sexual trigger, or a shameful sexual story from your past, and through all of that, being met with love and care from men who want you to be free from porn and all the pain behind your addiction.
3. We focus on helping men live confidently so they can dream again
Uprooting past stories, healing the lingering pain, and writing new storylines for your life is such exciting ways to re-program the mind. This leads guys to feel excited, hopeful, and confident about their future. Rather than many men struggling to believe they can keep their sobriety because they’re so laser-focused on “not watching porn”.
When we set our minds on what’s ahead and get excited, we actually get a release of dopamine each time. This is called “anticipation” and I want men to anticipate being sober and free from porn every chance they get! When you start fixating on what you can do rather than what you can’t do, you’ll feel a sense of direction, confidence, and satisfaction that can only come from a renewal of the mind and shifting your focus on what’s ahead.
Do you see the differences here? Maybe you have been in a porn addiction recovery group and experienced some of the less than helpful things I’m sharing about? If so, I’m so sorry. It doesn’t means everything is terrible and you wasted your time, but it sure can feel like you were left with lackluster results and still wondering if anything will actually help you get the freedom from porn you’re looking for. If that’s you, I totally get it. I have been a part of some really unhelpful groups and other forms of therapy. They always left me feeling really discouraged, busy, and frustrated with myself. If you know anything about recovery from porn, these are unhelpful things to be going through! We want guys to be feeling encouraged, connected, seen, wanted, heard, loved, and empowered. Here’s how we do that
When we take a step back and look at the formative moments of our lives, we will realize we were set up to believe things about ourselves and those around us that are simply unhelpful to the flourishing of a person. This may have come through abuse, neglect or even pleasure. When we can see where we came from, we can understand where we’re at. When we can get to this point, we are able to offer ourselves what we really need, and this is where true healing begins
Getting to the point of understanding takes curiosity toward our story. It’s a learned skill (that I want to help you develop) to ask ourselves questions rather than condemn bad behavior. Isn’t this what Jesus did? And doesn’t this sound much more helpful than what you have been trying for a long time now?
This lays the groundwork for us to become compassionate towards ourselves because we can see that it’s through the hurt that we got here, not by being “stupid” or “weak”. When we offer ourselves compassion, even though struggling with porn, we are looking at the contributors to our struggle, rather than only seeing ourselves as the problem. This is a major shift for the men I work with and it’s really fun to see it in their faces when it clicks!
3. Opportunities and Guidance to Engage Your Story
When you not only offer curiosity to your sexual stories but begin to write and share them, you’re literally defying and dismantling shame one word at a time. This is what it means to “engage” your story. To not just understand it, but to use it as a tool to find deeper levels of healing with God, yourself and others.
Sometimes it can be hard to remember “your story”… An expert tip is to look through some old photos from when you were younger. It’s amazing how seeing an old shirt, your mom’s hair-doo or your dad’s car can stir up some helpful memories. It’s through exercises like this that we begin to engage our story so we can grow in curiosity, compassion, and also courage when we begin to share what we’re learning.
4. Learning Self-Regulation
To understand where we were hurt is to understand why we get sexually triggered. The weird concept right? It’s actually emotional triggers that trigger sexual triggers in most cases. Personally, for me, I was affected by an insecure attachment growing up that caused me to believe “hope is pointless” and that I can’t rely on others to help me the way I need to be helped. This is a tremendous insight into why I was triggered by things not going my way and why I would run to porn to numb my pain. Can you see the connection there? It’s so powerful to learn these insights because you can then learn what you need to regulate in moments of being triggered.
What if you could find the deep truths behind your triggers and inability to regulate them? Wouldn’t that lead to so much more strength and courage to face the truth instead of watching porn and masturbating again and again?
5. Facing Sexual Fantasies
Fantasies are often the very thing men cannot imagine facing, sharing, and understanding. These are the fetishes they wish they didn’t have, the stories that play in their heads when they escape to fantasy land, or the re-enactments of past experiences/memories when they’re having a rough day
These carry A TON of shame for most guys. Imagine the scales falling off simply by the act of you sharing a fantasy with some trusted brothers. Imagine learning about your fantasies from a no-shame approach that helps you understand the deep longing behind your escape to a false reality. Imagine learning the skills to be able to redirect these longings and stay in reality, free to live in the now.
I remember when I learned about what’s behind my fantasies. It was absolutely groundbreaking and has led me to deeper levels of freedom from sexual and emotional triggers over the past 2 years than ever before.
What if you could embrace the truth and beauty of your desires? What if this was the key to understanding them, redefining them and even more, actually getting them met in healthy and Godly ways?
7. Learning How To Take Redemptive Risks
Fear is a liar. Sadly, most men who get caught up in addiction to porn are full of fears that rob them of redemption. And it’s because redemption takes risks! Once we learn why we’re so afraid and that it’s not irrational, only unhelpful, we can begin to allow God into the places of fear and let him fill us with the courage to take calculated risks that lead to redemption.
This happens on its own in a well-led and structured group (such as the ones I lead) and it’s really sweet! However, it gets even better when you begin taking redemptive risks in your day-to-day life and experience the dignity that comes when you find your voice! No longer a slave to the lies of satan, the shame of pornography or the pain of your trauma.
8. Group Dynamic To Give And Receive Love
God is love. He is literally love. But how hard is it for us to receive it? It’s because we often go through life unsure if we’re loved simply for who we are. That’s something that this group dynamic I am sharing about shoots to offer: love for the person, the story, and the bravery, not for the performance. You will learn what it feels like to truly receive love in ways you have never received before. This not only feels incredible, but it’s also the building block to a lasting recovery from porn and a heart that finds satisfaction in the Lord.
On top of that, you’re going to learn to give love. Scripture says it’s better to give than to receive. When you show another brother love after he shared a story of deep trauma, pain or one that carried shame for so long, you can’t help but feel a shift in your spirit. It becomes clear that love, compassion and mercy are keystones to the porn recovery journey and it’s a skill you will learn to develop one week at a time.
I hope you can now see why these 8 elements are key to a successful porn recovery group coaching experience. I really hope you consider just how important they are. If you want to experience lasting freedom from porn, they’re crucial! Take it from someone who has gone through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Iv spent many years now searching for the best content, programs, and dynamics and this is certainly one of them. Also, I have seen this curriculum and structure evolve as I have watched my good friend Drew Boa from Husband Material tweak and update it until it’s been perfected.
Inner child healing has become a really popular concept of late. Just recently, I became an Inner Child Recovery Specialist. It’s becoming so popular because it makes a ton of sense and the approach really works! If you have felt stuck in your addiction to porn, are acting out in ways that are far from mature, and continually feel confused about how you got to the point of relapsing once again, then this approach is definitely for you.
The concept of how to heal your inner child is one thing, but what I want to do is walk you through the 9 steps I am helping my clients with on a daily basis. Let’s unpack this so you leave feeling like you have a grasp on the ideology as well as the practicality.
What is inner child healing?
Simply put, inner child healing is this: In your past, you experience pain, loss, and pleasure. Those moments get seared into your brain and stored in your memory bank. These moments produced feelings, emotional responses, thoughts, and beliefs… all of which are stored in your brain as you grow. Now, as an adult, you go through life living one day at a time, however, being fully present one day at a time is basically impossible… Why? Because your stored memories from when you were younger get activated on a subconscious level and can send you into “child mode”.
Basically, when something in the present moment triggers what you felt, thought, or believed during a formative moment (pain, loss, or pleasure) that has been stored in your brain, you will experience a flood of how you felt when you were just a kid. This is the concept that Eddie Capparucci talks about in his book “Going Deeper”. We must separate what we “feel” vs. what is “real” to be able to understand what is going on when we begin making seemingly immature and childish decisions. And to bring clarity to these immature decisions, it’s best to look at times you live from a fight, flight, freeze response… These can be amazing indicators as to what is going on inside of you (feel vs. real).
Think of inner child healing this way. When there’s a problem in your life, there’s a response. The question is, where is that response coming from? You as an adult, or you as a child? That’s the question at the heart of this approach and it’s crucial to keep in mind as we move forward.
To learn more about how your inner child and porn addiction are related, listen to this interview from Eddie Capparucci (The author of “Going Deeper”) at mantalks.com
Why does inner child healing matter?
So many people go through life struggling with porn, masturbation, erectile dysfunction, drugs, etc, all without any inclination as to why they struggle… That’s point one. Point two is that 99% of them condemn the heck out of themselves! This is why inner child healing matters! It offers you the chance to understand your pain, temptations, triggers, and coping choices… not because understanding them is everything, but because it opens the door for you to say “Oh! That makes sense why I fear this, or hate that, or want this, or being triggered by that!”
When we can get to this point, we can then offer ourselves compassion. What? Offer compassion? Yep! We all need love and care when we’re in the dumps, not condemnation and rigidity. That’s why this works. You’re going to practice the art of “loving before you lead”.
One of the best ways to understand this idea is to look at Jesus. It’s His LOVE that draws us to repentance, not wrath. This is the perfect example of love leading us to do what is right in the eyes of the Father. This is why this inner healing approach works! It allows us to locate our inner child, see the area of need, understand it, and then speak love and truth into it… even better, it opens the door for Jesus to enter into a part of you that has been hurting for a long time, likely, a part of you that has not trusted Jesus. This then has the opportunity to lead to a rock-solid identity in Christ as you align your inner child and wounded parts with the love of Christ one by one.
If you’re wondering how to heal your inner child then consider working with a coach from Secret Habit! Shawn is a trained specialist in this approach and has seen so many men find freedom from porn through it! Read our blog on: where to find porn addiction accountability partners
How to heal your inner child
The steps of how to do inner child healing may differ from person to person, but my approach is a combination of the inner child, internal family systems, and inner healing prayer. I love how these 3 pair together to create a Christ-centered deep healing practice that has worked on countless people from all sorts of backgrounds and cultures.
I care so much about this because it’s intended to help adults be adults rather than children! We need mature adults leading marriages, families, churches, and businesses. Without maturity, we see what happens, and it’s not pretty… Here are the 9 steps I walk my clients through to help them develop understanding, care, and leadership with their inner child. (Written to men (my main audience), but applicable to women as well)
Ask your inner child what he’s afraid of (how does he protect himself?)
Ask your inner child what triggers these fears (What triggers him to feel the need to protect himself?)
Ask your inner child what he does to protect himself when he gets triggered
Ask your inner child what he really needs when he is experiencing these triggers and begins protecting himself
Offer him compassion for what he’s gone through, offer him understanding, sit with the pain of him not getting his needs met, and thank him for how hard he has worked to protect you from his greatest fears becoming reality.
Explain to him that his way of protecting may have seemed to work for a while but it is no longer working and you need him to take a step back and relax while you take the lead
Explain to him why facing the fears matters to you and how it will lead to a better outcome than what he has been experiencing
Invite Jesus into the pain of your inner child and one by one, tell your inner child that when he gets triggered by ___ or fears ___, you and Jesus will be right there to support him and help him get what he needs.
Remind your inner child of the truth found in the Word, Promise, and Character of God, and help him experience the loving touch of his savior
These 9 steps of inner child healing help you do 6 key things:
They help you pinpoint the fears keeping you from mature decisions. This will allow you to see clearly when feelings are overriding what is real
They help you name the things that trigger the inner child to activate. This will help you plan ahead and strategize for when these happen.
They help you understand what the inner child does to protect and cope. This opens your eyes that certain decisions you make and actions you take are a sign that your inner child is taking charge.
They help you become aware of what your inner child needs so you can see what the real problem is
They help you grow in love, care and leadership so you can help your inner child feel seen, supported, and led to follow your leadership as a mature adult
They help you invite Jesus into the very areas that need His love so you can experience more and more of His goodness.
Now you know all about inner child healing and how to heal your inner child. You’re well on your way to the deep healing available when you practice an approach like this. Remember, this is all about you growing in reflection, introspection, curiosity, compassion, and leadership. This is not about you fixing yourself, but rather growing in ways you have yet to grow so you can outgrow what is immature. May you be blessed as you experience Jesus in all of this! I pray that all of Jesus would enter into the parts of you that need His touch.
If you need help getting started with the inner child healing process but don’t know where to start, check out our porn addiction help page to learn more about working with Shawn
* Much credit to Eddie Capparruci and his “inner child recovery process”, as well as “Going Deeper”; Kim Miller for her work in “boundaries for your soul”; Drew Boa for his work with Husband Material (Where I am also a certified HM coach)