How can I stop relapsing again and again? (NoFap)

I know you have been asking this question to yourself a number of times. “Why do I keep relapsing in my journey to quit porn, even when my determination seems bulletproof?”

Even after putting in all your efforts and still not getting the desired output is quite frustrating at times. And if not addressed, you may feel like giving up on this mission.

Firstly, let’s clarify the actual definition of a relapse. There are plenty of opinions about what is considered a relapse and what is not. For some watching porn is considered a relapse. For others only Masturbation. But a wider range of audiences believes that even watching porn is a relapse. And to take it to a further level some even consider fantasizing or having thoughts about sex or even physical sex with a partner as a relapse (Monk mode).

Now let’s discuss the 7 most common reasons leading to a relapse.

So let’s dive in.

1.TRIGGERS

Relapsing is similar to a domino effect. The first piece is the Trigger and the last piece is the Relapse. If we can manage to avoid the first piece from falling then we can save ourselves from another guilt-filled cycle of porn addiction. Triggers are sounds, sights or experiences that cause you to resort to an old habit that you’ve been trying to quit.

In the case of smokers, a trigger could be an ashtray on a table. In the case of alcoholics, it could just be a mere bottle opener or watching their friends drinking. Such triggers exist when it comes to Porn and Masturbation as well.

There are a few types of Triggers which we should discuss.

  • Sexual triggers: These are easy to notice because they make you horny, they arouse you, you feel something in your loins, your stomach feels tight, your heartbeat rises. These include sexual thoughts, fantasies, sex scenes in movies, erotic novels, magazines, and ads, or just staring at the opposite sex.
  • Mental triggers like bad mood or even a stressful day at work or some sort of intense feeling of anxiety, sadness or even happiness can lead to a edging session as our brain craves for dopamine.
  • There are also Physical Triggers like a touch from someone which we end up fantasizing about.
  • Then there are Behavior Triggers like carrying your smartphone into the bathroom or using a computer late at night in your bedroom or touching yourself in the shower. Small things like this which we often ignore lead to a relapse.

There are different techniques to deal with triggers but the first step is to NOTICE them in the first place. For physical or sexual triggers you can get rid of the sexual stuff by limiting your time on your phone or installing a dedicated ad blocker on your computer. Unfollow the provocative or NSFW pages on Facebook and Instagram. Along with this practicing Meditation, Mindfulness, Gratitude, and the things which make you feel good can help you immensely in the long run.

Also in case of urges or triggers, the panic button feature inside the ManDontFap app has proven to be quite helpful to the users. As it provides you with random but impactful lines/quotes that can shift your mindset and help you get back to reality.

2. Edging

Edging is an act of masturbating to porn or other sources without actually reaching an orgasm. It is one of the main reasons why an individual fails in his NoFap journey. Your urges and desires take you to the edge of a cliff, where you want to look over while trying not to fall. But, the fact is 90% of people fall. You have to avoid these traps in order to take back your self-control and beating off a porn & masturbation habit. Edging is a cunning lure, pulling you back to the old ways with empty promises and fake, lie-filled pleasure.

Edging during NoFap is probably the most debated thing. A lot of people think that edging is completely fine during NoFap if done without orgasm but this is where most people get it wrong and end up losing their streak. Although edging is not considered a relapse (by some) but it destroys your nofap progress and rewiring process. Edging makes it extremely difficult to get back on track after a relapse. Edging is more harmful than watching porn. The average porn session lasts for 15–20 minutes while an average edging session lasts 40–60minutes.

When you try to quit porn, your brain starts to break the old addictive pathways which were responsible for your porn addiction. But as you make progress in your NoFap journey, these pathways get weaker and weaker until they completely vanish. But when you engage yourself in edging, these addictive pathways start to reopen. That’s when your porn addiction gets back or even gets stronger than before.

Here are some tips that may prevent you from edging and relapse:

  • Do not use your phone in the bed or watch NSFW content.
  • Leave the place and socialize (if you feel the urge)
  • Take a cold shower or just wash your face with cold water.
  • Meditate, even for a minute or two will do.
  • Think about your goals or why you started when you feel like edging
  • Do push-ups or sit-ups ( if you feel strong urges ) your energy will get transferred.

3. Get rid of old habits.

We all have been exposed to porn at such a young age. What used to be a once-in-a-while activity has now become a ‘Habit’.

Most of us use Porn as a coping mechanism like a lack of satisfaction with our life or a feeling of weakness or dis-empowerment or any emotional trauma. It is often used by us to fill a void. Every time when we are stressed or depressed we go to Porn. But what we don’t understand here is that porn isn’t the solution as it will only make you feel good for some time but will cost you a lot in the longer term.

The solution to this is that by consciously observing our thoughts, we can break the cycle. Relapse is caused by nothing but thoughts and thoughts can be changed. Simple activities like

  • Changing your position or getting out of the room when an urge strikes
  • Talking to someone
  • Taking a stroll
  • Just washing your face with cold water

can help you avoid a relapse.

4. COUNTING DAYS.

You might have surely heard about this one but if we dive deeper then we realize that it is the human mentality to keep a track of things. We get bored while trying out new stuff and after some time our mind also tricks us into thinking that ‘Just one time’ won’t hurt. But trust me it does. And you’re well aware of that.

By counting every day, you are subconsciously reminding yourself of masturbation and this might look helpful in a shorter period but very harmful for the long run. Some people like to keep counting the days till they reach 90 or beyond and it is absolutely okay if that’s what motivates you. But once you reach 45 or 90 or beyond then the ‘Count’ won’t help much because you have already used it as a source of motivation for the past 90 days. Now you have to train your mind to completely forget about masturbation. Think of every day as your first day. As the proverb goes

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

5. FIND A REASON TO QUIT

After relapsing multiple times there comes a point when you sit back and wonder if you’ll ever be able to quit Porn. You ask yourself that is there something missing in helping you fight this addiction. And the answer is YES. You need a strong “Why”.

You have to ask yourself whether you actually want to quit or not. If yes then how badly do you want to quit?

It could be anything from feeling guilty after watching porn, your increased depression, Erectile dysfunction, creating a healthy relationship with your partner, feeling more confident, sports/academics performance or just getting your life back on track.

But the problem is that none of these reasons pops up in your mind when the urge hits. You never think about it. It’s all about getting the fix. This is because, even when you find reasons to quit, you don’t actually FEEL them in THAT moment. This is the only solution to your issue. You’ll have to connect with the reason. You’ll have to give it your all. Then only your brain will help you out with it.

Find motivation. Be a free man who wanders at will. No more a desperate slave with no control over self-fate.

6. FLATLINE

Flatline is a period of Nofap when you will have extremely low or non-existent libido (pleasure or satisfaction). This usually happens between 20–40days depending on your level of porn addiction. The Nofap Flatline occurs when your brain no longer receives the dopamine you once supplied so easily with porn and masturbation, therefore, creating a drought of pleasure chemicals released in your brain. This is the reason flatline feels like depression. Experiencing flatline is like experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

In order to overcome flatline, you have to change your environment or a change of scenery. Start watching a new show or read a motivational book or do some activities or indulge in your favorite sport. All these things will give your brain a decent dose of dopamine. Join a Nofap community or think about the reason you started. Hence making the flatline period less harmful.

7. DON’T LEAD A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE

NoFap will leave you with a lot of energy (testosterone) throughout your body. A lot of energy gets trapped in your body, so it’s not hard to give in to the temptation of relapsing. People often abstain from PMO during their NoFap streak but don’t exercise or perform any activities like cardiovascular exercises and even mental tasks that challenge your brain, which helps in clearing the brain fog and thinking clearly.

When you exercise, steroid hormones fill your body and make you feel better, lymph gets filtered through the body, cleaning up the joints. Because rebalancing the body and brain is the point of rebooting. Doing this would definitely speed things up.

Additional tips:

  • Practice cold showers.
  • Make a good meditation schedule.
  • Start watching and reading Motivatonal content.
  • Fix your nutrition.
  • Socialize more.
  • Say no to fantasies.
  • Join a NoFap community (like r/nofap or ManDontFap)

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