The 90-Day Porn Detox is a program I have run twice through the MMSL forum, and now hope to make a regular part of my coaching career.
The aim is simple enough – go without pornography for 90 days. But the way I get it done is what makes my program special:
- I refuse to moralize or use scare tactics.
- I don’t ask you to make any major lifestyle changes.
- I offer you a community of men to help you grow during that time.
The detox is there to help you learn about your relationship to pornography and sex.
Refusing to moralize or use scare tactics:
Growing up in the 1980s and 90s, I saw firsthand just how dishonest people who think that they are on a moral crusade can be, and I have also seen the human damage a panic can cause. When it comes to discussions on things like pornography, often honesty is the first casualty.
Accordingly, I have looked at all the writing on the topic of porn and how it affects human beings with an incredibly skeptical eye. I know what is established good science, what is dodgy, ideological science. Likewise I have tried my best between sound, probable, and ideologically-driven and dishonest.
What I have learned is that porn use can be an unhealthy habit, not because it is wrong, but simply because it has consequences, just as drinking alcohol does, and using porn to excess can be damaging to your life the same way alcohol can. Thus, porn, like alcohol needs to be handled with care and used responsibly.
The problem is that porn is so clouded in propaganda that having an honest conversation about it can be infuriatingly difficult. It is also something we (usually) use in private, which means that unlike alcohol there is a lot less peer pressure to use it responsibly.
I also find that most moral arguments about porn are not persuasive because they either rely on an appeal to authority (divine or otherwise) or treating the performers in porn as if they were children incapable of making their own decisions, changing their minds, or facing the consequences of bad ones. If I am not convinced by any of the arguments, why should I expect you to be?
Not Asking You to Make Big Lifestyle Changes
The point of the detox is not to get you to give up porn forever. Only for ninety days. This is just enough time for the major effects of porn use to clear themselves from your system, and for you to try different habits.
Along the way, if you were relying on porn to meet a need, I and the other men in the group will help you work on finding better ways to meet it. If you use porn to kill loneliness, we will help you make friends. If you use porn to help moderate your frustration in a sexless marriage, we will help you find ways to spice up your marriage. If you use porn to handle anger, we’ll teach you anger management. And if you use porn as a way of dealing with boredom we will help you try on some new hobbies.
At the end of the ninety days, you are free to return to the porn if you like, but many men who join me choose never to use it again. Others carry my alcohol metaphor on with them, using it sparingly and when they are doing so only for enjoyment.
Offering a Community of Men
I don’t expect you to do this with no accountability or help. Instead I set you up in a private and anonymous area of my forum where you can talk about your experiences, your porn use, and have people to check in with who want you to succeed. Many of them will be able to help you develop new skills and interests.
Along the way I also share essays to start discussions on masculinity, healthy, and making a better life for ourselves.
I will be starting a new porn detox on Monday, July 6th, and I encourage you to sign up to my forum and join me.