Tubesteak

How to Quit Porn and Not Entirely Ruin Your Life

By Brian Moylan

Hi, I’m Brian. Welcome to Tubesteak, a regular column where I talk about penises mostly and what I do with mine and what you should do with yours. There will also be some discussion of cocks, cocksuckers, cuckolds, and maybe, just maybe, a clitoris or two. But, honestly, mostly just dicks.

There I was, lying in bed ass-naked at 1 AM on a Tuesday night with my eyes closed pulling on my limp dick like a bird trying to get a worm out of the frozen ground. This is what jerking off had become for me. I never should have given up porn.

In a valiant effort to prove that my cock wasn't indebted to images of manufactured sexual abandon, I had decided to give up pornography altogether to show that I could still beat off like a 15-year-old who just discovered what happens on Cinemax after midnight. But I couldn’t. It had been a week and I hadn't gotten wood of any kind but the morning variety since.

Before going any further, I should mention that I probably have a more complicated relationship to porn than most people. I wish I could say it's because I’m hot and hung enough to star in it, but I am neither. Like most horny uglies with small dicks and big opinions, I took to writing about porn, covering the industry and its gossip on Fleshbot for about four years. Watching people fuck had lost its magic for me—it was work and I was "doing research" nearly every day.

It’s not that I became desensitized to it. Oh no, I was still slapping my salami as often as possible, but I had only done it in the company of visual stimulation for as long as I could remember. In high school I had underwear catalogs (and, yes, Cinemax), and then, after getting a job in a bookstore, I purloined stroke mags that were supposed to be mailed back to the distributor. In college I graduated to VHS tapes before DVDs took over. Then, when the internet hit, I had every type of porn known to man just sitting there in my room, waiting for me to masturbate to it. The straw that broke the camel’s penis, however, was when keeping up with it became my professional obligation. My member was more dependent on seeing poles going into holes than I ever imagined.

After quitting Fleshbot for some non-porn opportunities, I decided I would give it up for good and find the boners deep within my soul. Unfortunately, my soul was empty.

My nightly ritual had been to pop on a movie (or three, or 24) and punish the pope in bed before turning off the computer, rolling over, and passing out with one sticky hand thanks to nature's Ambien. Now that I couldn’t watch strangers having sex, I was having trouble getting hard. Without that visual stimulation, I would rather just watch some reality shows and pass out on the couch.

I had made the idiotic choice to start this experiment while my boyfriend was out of town, and after about five days without shooting I could feel the ammunition building inside of me. The desire to get it out was overwhelming. Every attempt I made to paint my balls a color other than blue was for naught. It was like watching so much porn for so many years had atrophied my erotic imagination. Even trying to remember past encounters of my own or my favorite fuck flicks didn't put any lead in the ol’ pencil.

When my boyfriend returned, he became my dick dealer. I was a masturbation addict who couldn’t get a fix on his own and had to rely on his enabler for even the smallest of stiffies. But no one wants to owe their pleasure entirely to another person (and, as much as I like fucking my boyfriend, no one can make me feel as absolutely filthy as I can on my own), so I decided to get professional help.

I called my friend Don Shewey, a writer and sex therapist, who I figured might be able to cure me of my porn addiction. After talking to him about my past habits and current predicament, he told me that my mind was so used to the excess stimulation of bodies rutting on screen that it was having trouble remembering how to enjoy a good old fashioned stroke like my grandparents used to. He suggested breaking all of my usual habits during "gentleman's time." He told me to experiment with a new time of day, new positions, new lube, and maybe even some new hand movements to shock myself out of complacency. We did some "body awareness" exercises, where I explored parts of myself other than the organs surrounding the taint to see what else gave me an erotic charge. He also taught me some new strokes—taking your dick and rubbing it with both hands like you're trying to start a fire sounds ridiculous until you give it a whirl.

All of those things helped, but the most important thing he told me was to not worry about squirting. I should enjoy playing with myself just for how good it made me feel, he said. With that advice, I started self-molestation all the time: in the morning, at work, in an empty row at the movies, while watching Real Housewives of New York… just about everywhere. Well, at least everywhere that wouldn't put me in legal danger.

I wasn't getting off, but the exploration was fun. It was like when you're an adolescent and have that uncontrollable desire to put your hand down your pants, coupled with the idea that what you're doing is the filthiest thing on Earth. There's no bigger turn-on than breaking the rules. 

After about a week of not shooting a wad (stupid boyfriend and his damn business trips!) I was horny as fuck and distracting myself by innocently cleaning out the drawers in my dresser. That's when I found them in the bottom of the junk drawer: three old porn mags. I don't know why I saved these mid-90s dinosaurs, but after six weeks of seeing only my boyfriend’s cock and the occasional glimpse in the locker room, I couldn’t help taking a stroll down memory lane.

It was like the first time I saw porn all over again. A rod stronger than He-Man and firmer than the hair on Jersey Shore popped in my pants almost immediately. I was excited and aroused and, because of the ban, felt like I was breaking some sort of rule (again, always the biggest turn on). Then, while rubbing my jeans and scanning the pages, I was consumed by an overwhelming sense of guilt about breaking my self-imposed smut celibacy.

I threw the mags away, but I couldn't get rid of my boner so easily. I decided to try everything that Don had told me: a new room in the house (bathroom), a new position (sitting perilously on the edge of the tub), some different lube (something called Stroke 29)… everything out of my comfort zone. But this was comfortable as fuck. As I had done for the past few weeks, I enjoyed it for just what it was, but after a couple of minutes I knew I was finally going to cross the finish line (and after a week, what a finish line that was).

While cleaning up I felt triumphant, albeit in a sort of Lance Armstrong-y way. Yes, porn had given me the initial, um, courage, but I relied on all my other senses and training to get the job done. Maybe this was a way of weaning myself off? I decided this meant I wasn't 100 percent cured, but I was definitely on the way to becoming porn-free.

I finally reached my goal at the eight-week mark. While sitting around the house (again on a Tuesday night), I figured I'd go touch myself just for kicks like I had been doing for weeks. As soon as I tapped my rod I could tell this time was different. My left hand, which is usually as useless as a pork shoulder in a kosher kitchen, started to get in on the action, pleasuring parts of my body that had never gone inside another human. Nipple tweaking, thigh-grabbing, ball-stretching—I was like a one-man visit to a back room. I closed my eyes and didn't think about porn or sex or anything—just felt all the things my skin could feel, focusing on what my body was telling me and how good it felt.

Yes, it sounds more annoying and new age-y than an Enya song stuck on loop, but it's true. It was like getting back to basics. I realized this wasn't going to be one of my fruitless romps with myself, and as I felt the conclusion welling up, I pulled off, happy to let the fun go on for as long as possible. Jerking off suddenly wasn't a chore—it had nothing to do with work—it was like an all-you-can-eat buffet of fun. After a while I became a little bit afraid I would lose it for good, so I pulled the trigger on one of the better orgasms I’ve ever had. I didn’t weigh myself afterward, but I probably lost about half a pound.

A few days later, when the need for some self-flagellation arose, I decided to give porn another shot. It was quick, easy, and, as always, fun. I had proved I didn't need it, I just wanted it. Yeah, I might have found enlightenment by giving up porn for a couple of months, but I wasn't going to scrap it altogether. I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid.

More from VICE's penis expert, Brian Moylan:

An Etiquette Guide for Straight People in Gay Bars

How to Jerk Off at Work

Lies Everyone Tells on Dating Sites

Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianJMoylan

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