TIPS & TOOLS
Porn can affect our mental health in lots of different ways, so here’s some simple tips that can help…
Step ONE: Self check – What’s on my mind?
☐ The amount of porn I watch
☐ I just can’t stop watching
☐ My porn use is a secret
☐ The types of porn I’m watching
☐ The way it makes me feel about my own body and performance
☐ How it affects my relationships or sex life
☐ How I’m imagining people sexually now
☐ I don’t know, but I just feel bad about it
Step TWO: Self check – HOW do I feel?
Once you’ve figured out what’s on your mind, it can help to figure out how those situations make you feel.
Do they make you feel…
☐ Out of control?
Step THREE – WHERE to next?
Waking up with crappy feelings on the daily can be tough.
So here are some tips to help…
Dealing with the feelings
It’d be sweet if you could magically make your feelings disappear. But, they usually don’t go away unless you deal with them. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try the feeling uncomfortable tab.
Or try this mindfulness exercise that can help you chill and get into the present: Start with naming 5 things you can see… move to 4 things you can hear.. 3 things you can feel.. 2 things you can smell.. and then 1 thing you can taste. There are heaps more tips HERE.
Culture, faith and shame
People from cultures or faiths where porn is a no-no often feel more shame and guilt about their porn use, regardless of how much they watch. They are also more likely to feel anxious about getting help.
If this is you, you’re not alone, so try reaching out to a trusted friend, adult, school counsellor or call the pros HERE – it can really help.
Switch up your day
Changing up your day can help break the cycle. You’ll feel heaps better too. Make a mental note of when in your day you tend to watch porn – and try doing something else instead.
Go for a walk, surf, drive or just call a mate. Ditch your phone when you’re going to bed. Yep, that’s hard, but super worth it.
Shake it off
Sometimes a ‘change of state’ can help shake off a feeling.
Try popping in the shower, putting your face or hands under cold water, or going outside into the cold air to help hit the reset button.
Kia Tau, Mindfulness and breathing
It sounds simple, but the experts tell us that doing simple breathing exercises can help our mental wellbeing.
Hikitia Te Hā is a series of te ao Māori breathing exercises that anyone can learn. They are a super helpful way to calm our body and mind, check them out.
If these tips have just scratched the surface, here’s more specific tips for what you might be struggling with…
☐ When porn’s impacting your relationships or sex life – CLICK HERE
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Watching lots of porn can be brutal on body image – seriously, in real life everyone’s ‘down below bits’ are super different. Here’s some tips to help…
Be a porn critic
If you’re watching porn, be a savage critic: “Porn is fantasy…. that’s not real…. nah – I don’t have to look like that”.
Love the skin you’re in
If there are parts of your body you think are a bit average, that’s normal – you don’t have to like everything. But don’t let porn make the calls on how you feel about your body.
If you’re having a hard time being kind to yourself, it’s never too late to learn to be okay with who you are, as you are. Give this app HAPPY NOT PERFECT a go.
Cleanse your social feed
Try unfollowing profiles that make you feel bad about yourself. Constantly seeing unrealistically tall, skinny, and ripped bods can be savage for your body image.
Next time you’re scrolling, check how you feel. If it’s crap, unfollow them for a couple days and see if you notice a difference.
Silence the inner critic
When you notice you’re hating on your body or your self-talk is getting a bit nasty, check it.
Ask yourself if you’d talk to a friend like that?
It happens to best of us
Our recent survey showed that porn’s impact on mental health and body image can be an issue for many young people.
If you’re comfortable with it, try chatting to a mate about it. Chances are, they’re in the same boat as you.
Pubes are all good
Some people shave their pubes – that’s their choice. But you shouldn’t feel pressured to do this. It’s hair. It’s normal. And pubes actually help prevent STI’s. Yep – crazy, but true. #bringbackthebush
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Porn and mental health
The experts tell us that watching lots of porn can sometimes impact our mental health. This depends on how much porn someone’s watching, what type of porn they watch and how they feel about their own usage.
Some young people say they have a healthy relationship with porn and don’t experience any mental health impacts, and others find porn is really impacting them.
People who feel ashamed about their usage (despite how much or little they use) or have strong cultural or religious backgrounds where there are big taboos around porn, are more likely to experience some mental health effects.
Porn, the brain & ‘addiction’?
Porn can make us feel great when we’re watching it, so it’s normal to want to go back when we want that feeling again. The more we do this, we can teach our brains that porn is a good comfort and it can start an unhealthy pattern of using or needing porn to escape our feelings. It’s pretty common for young porn viewers in NZ to want to cut back on how much they watch, at least sometimes(5).
Some young people say they feel ‘addicted’ to porn – this usually means they feel uncomfortable about their porn use or they’ve got a habit they’re struggling with 😔 (check this out) If you’re worried about your own porn use or someone has mentioned porn addiction to you, click HERE.
Porn and body image
It’s super normal to compare ourselves to what we see in porn, but it’s not always helpful. Many young people struggle to live up to the body images in porn… like ‘big this’ or ‘small that’. Check out this article on body image and porn.
FEMALE, 15, OFLC research
Porn and body size – the lowdown on what’s real, what’s more normal and what’s not.
If most of the nude bodies you’ve seen are on porn, it’s hard to know what’s in the vaguely normal spectrum of bodies and what’s not, so here goes…
- Penises – “Penises are as unique as the people they hang from. There’s no such thing as a bad shape or size — just bad information on how to use it”. They can be curved, upward/downward, C-shaped or straight, circumcised or not. Check out this funny PG health article on different penis sizes and shapes. FYI flaccid (soft) penis size has little relationship to erect penis size (6).
- Vulvas – (the outside part of vaginas): There are about NINE different labia (vaginal ‘lips’) shapes, and variations within those. Colours, shapes and sizes are ALL different, and they keep changing when aroused. Check out this fun PG health article on what real vulva are actually like.
What’s ‘up’ with porn and penis size?
Some young people worry about the size of their penis and porn doesn’t help – porn actors usually have much bigger penises than the average person. FYI the average range in size goes from 9cm (soft) to 13cm (erect). But remember, bigger doesn’t mean better.
Porn and your peeps
Some young people who watch a lot of porn say they feel isolated from friends or family. This could be because they’re spending more time on devices than with people in real life or because they feel too ashamed to tell anyone about their porn habits.
CHECK OUT THESE COOL APPS!!
Porn & sleep
A lot of people start watching porn at night to help de-stress and get to sleep. It may help at first, but when you end up relying on it to de-stress before bed, it can become a hard habit to kick. Other young people end up staying up later than planned to watch porn.
Either way, random fact… “Using devices before bed can delay your body’s internal clock , suppress the release of sleep-inducing hormones and make it difficult to fall or stay asleep(7).“ Okay wow.
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Women's Ideal Body Types Throughout History
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Fun fact: Research shows that simply talking to someone about how we feel can actually improve our mental wellbeing. It can get stuff out of our head and help shift how we feel. Wow.