Unlike drugs or alcohol, porn flashbacks can hang around in your mind after you stop using. So what do you do when one pops up?
Below are a couple of techniques, but first let's discuss masturbation. Also listen to my radio show - Brett explains how to cope with porn cues and sexual tension (show #21)
If you are trying to free your sexual arousal from porn images (which is a good idea if you want to find real partners more arousing, or regain erectile health), do your best to masturbate (when you must) without using porn or flashbacks. This gives your brain a chance to weaken the connections that are triggering the flashbacks.
Focus instead on the physical feelings. Be sensual. Take your time. Luxuriate in the good feelings. Do not fantasize. If you must use an image, consider thinking about a real (and realistic) encounter with someone you know personally. For more, see How do I masturbate without porn? (and the article under that page) .
Other rewiring techniques can be found at Rewiring Your Brain and here. Also, here's a technique from a forum member, which you can use to prepare for future flashbacks. You need to do it while you're feeling calm. Then you can use it when flashbacks arise the next time.
Suggestion from a forum member:
Focus your attention on something peaceful. It could be a peaceful place, a picture of something beautiful like a sunset, or whatever. Doesn't matter if it's real or imagined, since your brain doesn't tell the difference anyway.
Make sure you do this with a playful attitude, like the way children do. Take the a few seconds to do each of these steps:
1 - Take a deep breath all the way in and out. At the end of the breath, slowly say the word 'peace' to yourself in a peaceful manner
2 - Now imagine seeing something peaceful. See what it looks like
3 - Hear what it would sound like
4 - Feel what it would emotionally feel like to be there
5 - Also get physical: Breathe the way a peaceful person would breath
6 - And change your posture to a peaceful one. Sit or stand the way you would if you were at peace
7 - Again, say 'peace' to yourself slowly, and recall what you see, hear, feel emotionally, and get physical with it.
8 - Repeat step 7 (or 1-7) a few times to reinforce this feeling
You've just created an experience which you can use to your advantage.
Whenever your mind stirs up a pornographic image, interrupt it with a deep breath in, out and say 'peace' in the exact same manner and again, get physical: Sit or stand the way you would if you were acting the role of someone at peace, breathe like a peaceful person.
This will cause your mind to focus on peace. It may not immediately remove the pornographic image if the 'peace' isn't strong enough (though it often does, or at the very least it weakens the pornographic image), so just repeat the word 'peace' several times over and see the peaceful image, and recall what you heard and felt (and get physical too). This will reprogram/recondition your mind to focus on peace instead of the pornographic image. Remember, you must say it the way you did in the above steps.
With enough repetition, the pornographic image will cease, or it will almost automatically trigger your 'peace' response which is still better than trying to 'fight' the pornographic image. Basically, this is a way to 'hijack' your brain so that every time the unwanted image pops up, it leads you to peace, which eventually fades out the pornographic image altogether.
Whereas the pornographic image would lead people to beat themselves up as they're trying so hard to remove it, using the above technique allows you to weaken or remove the image altogether which leaves you in a far more resourceful state. Hope this helps!
I've failed nofap countless times because of this. I see some progress because I feel zero desire to watch new porn videos but the old videos that I've watched in the past are the ones that hunt me every single time.
I don't wanna sound like a whiny bitch. I know that the solution is to not give in to the desire but that advise obviously doesn't work because I keep failing again and again. My record is nine days but most of the times I fail at day 2,3 or 4. Is there anyone with this exact same problem? And how did you overcome it?
I'm tired of this porn addiction.
One man suggested:
During the day video flashbacks of porn movies you have viewed in the past might come to your mind, trying to get you to view porn and masturbate. Try this technique if you want to blow them to smithereens and to start associating them with the pain and negative feelings you feel after masturbation.
If a movie scene pops up in your head, in your imagination put it on the screen in an imaginary theatre and let it play and place yourself in the audience alone. Throughout this don't concentrate on the scene at all, as soon as it's on the screen fast forward it and picture what happens to you after watching it, masturbation, loneliness, grief, inertia, dullness etc etc etc.
After this rewind it back to the start before you put yourself in the theatre and imagine a whole bunch of TNT in it and blow the whole theatre up. This will help you to associate the flashbacks with the negative feelings you feel after masturbation, strengthen your choice muscles, teach you that you control the flashbacks and not the flashbacks you, and hopefully get rid of them once and for all since your blowing them to smithereens.
A recovering user found this technique helpful:
If you close your eyes, you can see the image clearly, right? What you may not know is that you can manipulate that image in your mind. Just get in a relaxed space where you won't be disturbed. Close your eyes. Take two or three deep, slow, relaxing breaths to quiet your mind. Then call up the image. Be curious about it. Look at it as though you were seated in a movie theater watching someone else's film.
Now, push the image far away, then bring it back, then push it to the left and right. Move it around until you're comfortable manipulating it. It may take a few minutes for your mind to get used to this technique. Be patient with yourself. Have fun with it. You could put a clown nose on the person or draw on a mustache. Let the picture become really silly. The picture is only significant to you because you gave it significance. Now, you have decided that other things are more important in your life. You don't need this picture any more.
Next comes the really fun part.
Drain all the color out of the image. Make it black and white. Now make it very small. Now push it far, far away. Now throw that silly image off into outer space. The memory will still be there, but it's power over you won't.
What if it's a movie? The above works really well with images, but if it's a movie, there's something else you can do. Speed it up and run it backwards! Make it really silly. Add some circus music to it. Now kick it off the planet too!
The psychology behind the above technique
The instructions above are based on the Fast Phobia Cure. We store images in a particular way in memory. The subconscious uses emotion to tag memories for later recall. The more intense the emotion, the closer to the surface the memory. When you remember the image, the body actually relives that moment. If you change the emotion associated with the image by laughing at it, you can change the memory. Once intense emotion is no longer associated with the image, it will no longer have the same intense effect. Note that hypnosis is usually used for curing phobias because of the fear involved. In this case you are just calling up a familiar image and laughing at it. It is helpful if your mind is quiet, but the focus of trance is not necessary.
The above is also based on the work of Richard Bandler, who observed that people "see" images in their head differently and the differences can give you clues about the emotional significance of the image. An intense image is big and dramatically colored. If it's not so intense, then the colors aren't either. The image is smaller and farther away. Thus draining the color out of an image and pushing it farther away tells the subconscious that the image is not important any more.