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I Beat My Porn Addiction – How Can I Build Up My Self-Confidence?

Dr R. Y. Langham

Aug 01, 2022

Let’s be honest, porn addiction can take a lot out of a person. It not only affects your sex life, relationships, employment status, and finances but can also cause your self-confidence to take a major nosedive. You have been struggling with porn for a while, and have finally conquered it. Yes, you feel good about that, but what comes next? 

Your “heavy porn use” caused you to dislike yourself and that simply will not do. Although you have recovered from your porn addiction, you still feel…disgusting, immoral, and downright icky. You get that the addiction was not voluntary, and simply got out of control over time, but that does not change how you feel about yourself and what you did. Yes, you had an illness – an “illness” that caused a lot of damage to various parts of your life and you are not sure you like yourself very much. 

You are still ashamed of yourself and cannot stop feeling guilty about your behavior (“porn use”). In your mind, you should have been better and done better. But, you did not. Rather, you became addicted to porn. Porn became your family – the love of your life – your best friend. Your real loved ones and friends meant nothing to you when you were engrossed in porn and that reality makes your feel terrible about yourself. 

Why would anyone want to be associated with you? And, what does that say about you as a person? You do not want to feel that way, but you cannot help it. You are terrified that people will find out that you were once a porn addict and want nothing to do with you. You are afraid that something is wrong with you because you enjoyed porn so much that you lost interest in the things you used to enjoy – non-porn things like spending quality time with your friends and loved ones, working out, going to the movies, volunteering at your local shelters, etc. 

You won the battle against porn, but now you feel empty inside. You just want to feel better about yourself, but the only way you can do that is by rebuilding your self-confidence. If you have healed from your porn addiction but need help increasing your self-confidence, look no more because this article will provide you with some easy and fun ways to boost your self-confidence so you get the life you have always envisioned!

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What is Porn Addiction & How Does It Affect Self-Confidence?

Porn addiction resembles OCD in that both conditions involve intrusive thoughts, urges, mental images, emotions, and compulsive behaviors. Similar to some types of OCD, porn addiction involves intrusive thoughts, urges, mental images, and emotions about porn, and “ritualistic porn use” (compulsions)

Porn addiction occurs when someone becomes dependent on porn. What does that mean? It means the person thinks about porn all of the time. Porn comes first in this individual’s life over their partner, spouse, children, job, family, friends, and even himself or herself. A porn addict would watch porn 24/7 if he or she could.

While watching porn, the addict feels good, sexually excited, relieved, and satisfied, especially if masturbation and sexual release are involved. However, after the “porn high” has worn off, feelings of shame and guilt often arise. This can lead to low self-esteem and self-confidence. More specifically, that is when self-hate and other negative feelings enter the equation. Negative feelings like shame and guilt often cause an addict to vow to stop using porn, but the problem is they cannot stop. He or she is addicted to it, so stopping is not easy.

It may be impossible without porn addiction treatment. If you try to stop using porn but are unsuccessful, it can cause your self-confidence to take another bit hit. It can cause you to ask yourself the following questions, “Why can’t you stop using porn?” “Does that mean something is inherently wrong with you?” “What kind of person becomes dependent on porn?” In other words, it causes you to question yourself. It creates doubt and uncertainty that follows you throughout life – in your relationships, at your job, and even in the bedroom.

Perhaps, your self-confidence has taken a hit because your prior porn addiction has caused you to experience sexual dysfunction, like porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED), impotence, performance anxiety, low libido, or premature ejaculation (PE). Maybe, the embarrassment of not being able to “perform” in the bedroom has affected your self-esteem and self-confidence. If so, you probably shy away from sexual situations because you are unsure of how your partner will respond to this “aftereffect” of porn addiction. Ultimately, you are probably ashamed of what you said and did while you were addicted to porn.

How Can I Build Up My Self-Confidence?

As we have established, porn addiction can make you feel lousy – even after you have recovered from it. Why are you still feeling bad about your previous “porn use?” Because of residual feelings. Residual feelings are “leftover feelings” from a past event or experience. Although you successfully beat your addiction, remnants of it are still hanging around. In other words, the addiction is still lurking in the shadows ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. You are healed, but your mind has not forgotten your previous “porn use.”

Memories of your “porn use” keep beating you down – when they are not trying to entice you into returning to the seedy world of porn. Because you still remember using porn and how your “porn use” took over and damaged various parts of your life, your self-confidence suffers. The good news is that there are ways to build up or improve your self-confidence.

There is no reason you should live in darkness now that you have come out on the other side of your porn addiction. That is why listed below are some easy and fun ways to build up your self-confidence in and out of the bedroom.

Listed below are ways to regain your “mojo” in every part of your life:

  • Surround Yourself with Positive Affirmations

If you are having a hard time feeling good about yourself and confident enough to “put yourself back out there,” you may have to convince yourself that you are a great person who is worthy of love, regardless of your past transgressions. How? Well, you could purchase a box of positive affirmations from Amazon or your local store. Or, you could find positive affirmations on the internet and print them off. 

You could also make your own positive affirmations by making a list of the things that you like about yourself. If you cannot think of anything, ask your friends and family what they love about you. Then write them down on index cards. Once you have your positive affirmations in tow, place them all around your home – i.e., on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, in your bedroom, living room, home office, garage, on the porch or deck, etc. 

Place these affirmations in your car and in your purse, lunch bag, briefcase, locker, and book bag. Pin them up on your walls. Everywhere you look you should feel positivity surrounding you. The more you read these positive affirmations, the stronger your self-confidence will become. In other words, over time you will start to believe the things on the slips of paper or index cards. Positive affirmations can also be purchased in workbook form with interactive exercises included within if that is something that interests you.

  • Develop a Strong Support Team

The truth is we all need support from time to time. Well, when you are addicted to porn, a strong support team is a necessity if you stand any chance of beating the addiction and remaining “porn-free” indefinitely. It is easy to assume that you no longer need help and support once you beat the addiction, but that could not be further from the truth.

Once you recover from the porn addiction, you still need people in your life to talk to and help you get through those “rough patches” – the ones that will make you want to return to porn. You also need people to be there to remind you just how great you are when you do not feel so great. 

A strong support system can help you stay on the right path while providing you with a shoulder to cry on and arms to hug you when you accomplish your goals. Ultimately, a strong support system can make you feel good about yourself. Once you feel good about yourself your self-confidence will skyrocket. 

  • Venture Outside of Your Comfort Zone

A good way to build up your self-confidence is to venture outside of your comfort zone. What does that mean? It means to try new things – things you have never done before. This can be applied to your personal life, social life, and even your sex life. 

Trying something new, especially when it involves overcoming a fear or mastering a hobby, skill, etc., can excite you and make you feel good about yourself. It can also make you feel “accomplished” which will boost your self-confidence. There is nothing better than overcoming a fear or accomplishing something. 

It is self-validating. So, start thinking outside of the box and try something new – i.e., a new type of cuisine, salsa dancing, a new musical instrument, or a new language. In the bedroom, try a new sexual position with your real-life partner, try sexual roleplay, add chocolate, whipped cream, or fragrant oils to your foreplay routine, dress up in costumes, and/or try some sexy new games. In other words, spice up your sex life. Do something different and your self-confidence will soar! 

  • Help Others

Helping others can also boost your self-confidence. When you help others, you also help yourself. Think about it this way, when you were amid your addiction, did people help you? If so, how did it feel? Truthfully, you probably would not be where you are today without the help of others. So, why not pay it forward and help someone else? You can volunteer as a “sponsor” for another recovering porn addict. 

You can be that person’s point of contact when he or she feels depressed or anxious. Perhaps, it is you who prevents that person from returning to porn. Maybe, you are the person who helps another addict boost his or her self-esteem and self-confidence. Helping someone else reach their goals, remain “porn-free,” or simply being a supportive force in someone else’s life can do wonders for your own self-esteem and self-confidence. 

If you do not want to volunteer as a “porn addiction sponsor,” you can volunteer at the Red Cross, your local animal shelter, or domestic violence or homeless shelter. You can even help someone by donating your money or time to a worthy cause – all of these actions will help improve your self-confidence.

  • Give Yourself a Much-Needed Break

Understand that it may take time to fully bounce back from your porn addiction. Yes, you have recovered, but that does not mean everything will be rosy from there on out. Rebuilding your self-confidence takes work – just like staying “porn-free” requires effort. If you try to stay positive and work on respecting and bettering yourself, your self-confidence will return, probably stronger than before. But, do not rush the process.

Also, do not beat yourself, if you fall off the wagon and your self-confidence starts slipping. Pick yourself back up and try again. But stop blaming yourself for the addiction and for how you feel now because that will only cause your self-confidence to fall lower. Rather, focus on and celebrate the things that make you special, unique, and great! Why? Because that is the way you increase your self-esteem and self-confidence. 

  • Seek Porn Addiction Help

If nothing is making you feel better about yourself, you may need to seek porn addiction treatment. A porn addiction therapist will help you identify the root cause of your low self-esteem and self-confidence. Contrary to popular belief, porn addiction therapists do not just treat people in the throes of addiction, they also help people remain “porn-free” which means that they are also available once porn addiction treatment formally ends.

In other words, porn addiction therapists also offer post-addiction therapy for recovering addicts – to help them stay on track and provide them with the support and resources they need to live their best “porn-free” lives. Post-recovery therapy will likely involve cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), but it may also include trauma counseling, sex therapy, couples counseling, family counseling, group therapy, etc. 

The goal of these therapies is to help you understand why you lack self-confidence and help you reframe how you look at yourself, others, and the world around you, so you do not view your porn use, addiction, and recovery as a negative thing. More specifically, a porn addiction therapist can help you “see” your experiences in a new life, even the ones that include your “heavy porn use.”

Instead of viewing “porn use” and porn addiction as “failures” or thinking about yourself in negative or unflattering terns, a therapist can help you embrace your mistakes as “teachable moments.” a therapist will likely help you “see” how those experiences have made you stronger – not weaker. And, he or she will teach you how to concentrate on strengths and the things that make you great, instead of dwelling on all of your “imaginary flaws” and the things that have gone wrong in your life. 

  • See a Sex Therapist or Urologist

If you are experiencing sexual dysfunction, you may need to see a sex therapist or urologist, who deals with porn-related sex issues. A sex therapist can help you better understand why you are having problems in the bedroom. He or she may also refer you to a psychiatrist or urologist, and this doctor will likely prescribe medicine and/or therapy. Seeking help for your sex issues can help your self-confidence rebound – in and out of the bedroom.

Note: Researchers suggest that deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the ventral anterior limb of the internal capsule (vALIC) may boost a recovering porn addict’s self-confidence. However, more research is needed in this area.

Is There Anything Else I Can Do to Improve My Self-Confidence?

Yes, there are some other things you can do to improve your self-confidence!

Mindfulness meditation, yoga, journaling, apps, books, revamping your diet, trying hypnosis, and signing up for an online porn addiction recovery program, like Stop Together, can help your boost your self-confidence while remaining “porn-free.” The good thing about these natural remedies and alternative porn addiction treatments is that you can use them in the comfort of your home. No prying eyes or judgmental smirks.

Taking charge of your health and life will probably be one of the most fulfilling things you do in your life. It will make you feel strong and confident because you are being proactive. With the right tools, resources, and support, you will regain your confidence and become the person you have always wanted to be.

References

  • Kiverstein, J., Rietveld, E., Slagter, H. A., & Denys, D. (2019). Obsessive-compulsive disorder: A pathology of self-confidence? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 23(5), 369–372. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2019.02.005

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