In our modern-day lifestyles of over-consuming and overindulging, saying no to what we want feels uncomfortable, and sometimes even wrong. But not satisfying your desire, whether that’s for food, porn, or anything else, could be getting in the way of your true happiness and wellbeing.
In purity culture, men are conditioned to believe they need a certain amount of sexual stimuli and that they deserve it, while women are taught that it’s their job to fulfill that desire. This messaging is so harmful, but it’s no surprise that then, having our urges fulfilled feels so important, and exercising restraint is far from ideal.
Join me this week as I show you the price you pay when you choose the short-term pleasure of overindulgence over your long-term wellbeing. I’m offering that it’s not only safe and loving to say no, but that it could even be beneficial to feel an unanswered desire.
You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 45, Overindulgence.
Welcome to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast, the show that will teach you to stop viewing pornography and never go back to it. If you want to learn how to train your brain out of a pornography habit, completely shame-free, then this is the show for you. I’m your host Sara Brewer, a certified life coach and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Hey, you guys, welcome to the podcast episode this week I am so glad you're here. Before we hop into the content today, I wanted to share an awesome review that one of you left me on the podcast. And just thank you, thank you to all of you who have left reviews. It really, really helps me get my work out there, helps me get this podcast out there.
We've seen a lot of growth in the podcast the past couple months. And that really is thanks to you guys and you sharing it and you leaving me reviews and ratings. And so thank you, this is one of the most helpful things you can do for me is leave me a review on Apple Podcasts. So thank you so, so, so much.
This review is titled, the last solution and method that you will need. They say, “I've been working off of willpower for decades and struggling to overcome my habit of porn. I felt shame that I couldn't experience a change of heart. I found this podcast and it has been completely game changing.
I am free of pornography now because I finally understand my brain and how to process urges. Literally, overnight a whole new future opened for me. I'm using these techniques on every aspect of my life, everything looks like a nail for my new hammer. My mind is now my ally instead of my enemy.” I love that. “Thank you so much for sharing this information and saving lives, Sara. Now I am worthy, now I am healed.”
I love that. Thank you so much. And just a few notes, you have always, always been worthy. Not now you are worthy. Now you are recognizing how worthy you are. And I love this. I love your example of being able to change and how changing your mind and your perspectives and learning about your brain can really change things for you very, very quickly. It doesn't always happen that way. But it can happen that way. And so don't limit yourself.
Sometimes we get in this mindset where we're like, “Well, it's going to take me a couple years to really do X, Y, or Z or to really start believing X, Y, or Z or since I've been believing this for so long, it's going to take me a long time to change beliefs.” It's not always true, sometimes it can happen really quickly. Let's just be open to change happening quicker than we thought it would, while being completely patient and loving and not in a hurry to change at the same time.
Okay, you can allow something to happen very quickly without needing it to happen so that you feel better about yourself. See what I’m saying? So thank you, I love that. I love, love, love, love that.
I want to talk about overindulgence today. We are conditioned in our world to be overindulgent and to not say no to ourselves. When we feel that discomfort of saying no to ourselves, we're told that's a bad thing and that something's gone wrong when that happens. Especially when it comes to sex and sexual stimuli. Men are conditioned to believe that they need a certain amount of sexual stimuli and that they deserve a certain amount of sexual stimuli.
And I say that in a loving way, I’m not saying that all of you think that way or everyone is terrible for thinking that way. It's just something that's been conditioned in us. The conditioning about how men are supposed to behave sexually and how women are supposed to behave sexually. And this is just like conditioning and things that the world teaches us.
Men get this body that you have a sexual body, and it's really difficult to control. They get this message that you have a sexual body, and you need to make sure that it gets what it needs. Women get the message that, hey, men have very sexual bodies and it's your job to fulfill them so that they don't get that in other ways. So that they don't go do something wrong. This is a really, really harmful message that I think most of us were taught growing up in purity culture, a lot of women too.
So those of you who aren't women who are listening to the podcast, just to give you a little view on what it's like to be a woman growing up in purity culture, that's the message that you receive, is you are responsible for men's sexual reactions.
And so the clothing that you wear is important, because it could cause a man to have a sexual reaction. And you don't want that. And then when you're married, it's your job to fulfill all of that for your male spouse. And if you don't, he's going to need to go look for that somewhere else.
It's really important to be aware of this messaging and these messages that we get from the world. So I get messages or emails or DMs often that say something like, “I'm single, so what am I supposed to do? How am I not supposed to look at pornography if I'm single?” Or “My wife won't do X, Y, or Z. And so what else am I supposed to do? Porn is the only way for me to get that.”
So first, how I respond to that and how I want to respond to that, is first, you get to realize that you get to do whatever you want. You're not supposed to do anything, you can do whatever you would like and whatever is good for your life. You can.
And second, recognize that it's not like you just have two options. It's not like the only other option out there if you're not getting sexual stimuli from a partner, it's not like the only other option is you have to go find sexual stimuli somewhere else.
There's a third option, which is allowing yourself and practicing being okay without the sexual stimuli, which comes back to this idea of overindulgence. It’s just not what we're really taught to do in our world.
What happens is my clients, and you guys, you get nervous when we feel this urge. You feel an urge and you get really nervous because you've never been taught that it's something that you can just sit with. You've been taught that it's a scary thing and that you need to answer it, or you need to make it go away.
You've been taught that when you feel this urge, when you feel this discomfort, you need to satisfy it somehow. Like I said, if that's you, there's nothing wrong with you. This is just the messaging that we've received being in our world.
Really think about it, think about what the world has taught you. Are you craving sweets? Go and get it, you deserve it. You deserve to be happy and to enjoy this pleasure. and you shouldn't say no to yourself.
Can you guys think of any movies or TV shows where people wanted something sexually and exercised restraint? I can't think of any and that's not really the message that we're taught to think, is that exercising restraint isn't the ideal situation. The ideal situation is to fulfill that urge that you have.
And the only problem with this is that those actions can get in the way of true happiness and true wellbeing. Choosing short-term pleasure often comes at the price of long-term wellbeing. And so the message is, “Hey, you can be happy. You deserve happiness, you deserve pleasure, indulge in your urges.”
Of course, I agree that you deserve happiness, and you deserve pleasure. I think a big part of life is coming down and learning how to have that. But the problem is, is that often these things aren't getting us that real happiness or that real-long term wellbeing. And you get to decide for you in your life what you're allowing and what's creating that and what's not creating that.
We’re in so much consumption mode, just our culture, or world is all about consuming. We are over consuming everything and we're not creating what we really want. We're over consuming entertainment, and spending less time creating the things that we really want in our life. We're over consuming food and spending less time creating the bodies and the health that we want. We're over consuming porn to satisfy this urge and not creating these trusting relationships and these real relationships that we want.
So in order to stop this over consumption or this overindulgence I want you to challenge this belief that you have to find satisfaction and relief from urges. That when you want something, you have to satisfy it. Because the truth is that you don't. And the truth is, is that it's really safe to say no and it's good to sometimes feel that deprivation if it's because you want something better.
Like I said, so many of us feel these urges and we freak out. We have this craving for sugar. We're like, “Oh no, oh no, I'm feeling this. I need to make it go away.” Or we're having a craving for porn, we’re like, “Oh no.” We try to find a way to curb the craving. We eat sugar free food that is technically sugar free, but has a lot of chemicals in it that I don't know if they're better or worse for our body. Or we read the articles that are like 10 foods to help you get rid of your craving for sugar.
I'm not saying sugar is bad, I absolutely love sugar. But we're trying to solve this craving for sugar, trying to curb this craving for sugar instead of just I have this craving and I want this and that's okay. I can want it and say no to myself. I don't need to make this go away. It's the same with porn.
Instead of trying to wait to curb this craving for porn, what happens when you're trying to just make it go away? Some of you we're like, “Oh, let's just get this over with and hurry and look.” I know some of you do that, we coach on that in the program where you’re like, “I don't even want it. But I just don't like feeling the urge and so I just look at it. And I don't even get any pleasure out of it. And I just view it to make it go away.”
Or you try to push it away. Or you try to replace this feeling was something like connection. How many of us have heard that? Replace porn with connection. And I like the idea, but it doesn't work. It doesn't work because the porn gives you this big dopamine hit, it gives you this really big high that connection doesn't.
Connection is much better than pornography long-term. But the thing is that connection and relationships, they get better and better over time. It's like they start out kind of low, but then they get better and better and better as you put more time and effort into them.
Whereas with pornography, you get that initial hit that you're not going to get somewhere else. But it gets worse over time. But it gets less pleasurable over time, and you need more over time to get that same amount of pleasure.
Whereas relationships are the opposite, it gets better as time goes on. Porn gets worse as time goes on. But you're not going to be able to replace that urge or get rid of that urge with connection because they're just two very different things. Instead, we want to learn how to just be okay, with not having that desire fulfilled in this moment because we want something better.
The problem is that often we don't trust ourselves and we're afraid of our bodies. And so we think we need to do something to control this urge. You're feeling this urge and you don't really trust yourself, you don't trust your body, and you're like, “I need to make it go away. I need to control it.” And what I want to tell you is that you don't.
You don't have to control the urge. Now, don't misunderstand me. I’m not saying you don't have to control yourself or learn how to control your actions. But you don't have to control the urge, the feeling. You just have to learn how to sit with it, and how to feel it, and how to let it be there. You have to learn to sit there with it without needing it to go away.
You needing it to go away creates the overindulgence, creates the over consumption. And remind yourself too, it is safe to say no. It's safe and it's okay to say no to your cravings.
I had a conversation with my awesome sister-in-law once, she was telling me about how she quit soda. And I remember her saying like her big mindset shift was it's okay to say no to this and it's okay not to have this. That in her mind for so long it was like, “I can't feel this urge. I can't feel this desire, I need to get rid of it.” And her just switching her mind being like, “It's okay to say no to this. It’s okay to not have this.” allowed her to quit drinking soda, which was one of her goals.
Often when we feel that urge, when we feel that desire, our brain, our lower brain part just wants to go, “No, no, no, no, we need this. We need this. We need this.” And so what I want you to do is I want you to practice creating safety in your body around urges.
This is a new term that as I've been learning a lot about trauma, a new term that I'm using all the time is creating safety in your body. Reminding yourself it's safe to say no. It's safe for you to feel this urge. And how you do this, how you learn to do that is you just get really, really intimate with the urge.
You become really mindful with what the urge actually is. Ask yourself, where do I feel it? And go and feel it and breathe into it. What does it feel like? Does it feel sharp? Does it feel heavy? We've talked about this on the podcast before.
And what you'll find is you really get intimate with the feeling, less of the thoughts in your head and more the feelings in your body. What you'll find is that it feels like restlessness, or it feels like an antsy-ness, or it feels a little bit anxious.
And then remind yourself is safe and okay to feel restless, antsy, and anxious. It's okay to feel some deprivation. Instead of this other message that we've been conditioned to believe, that deprivation is bad. And it's bad to not get what you want. And it's bad to feel an unanswered desire.
And remember too, it's just your brain freaking out. When your brain has this desire and it wants something and it’s telling you to go and get it, it's freaking out because it's trying to keep you safe. It's trying to make sure you're eating, it's trying to make sure that you're going to save our species and repopulate the earth.
This reward system that I've talked about in previous podcast episodes, it's just your lower brain that's a little bit confused that's trying to keep you safe. So if you can access and remind yourself, it's okay. It's okay for me to feel deprived. It's okay for me to get exactly what I want here in this moment. It's okay and I'm not in danger, it'll help you out a lot.
One of the most beautiful, loving things that you can do for yourself is learn to stop overindulging. Not because there's something wrong with you if you overindulge, not because we need to feel shame about it. But just because it will allow you to create a really beautiful life full of things that you really want. Instead of what so many of us do, which is just being okay with a life that's decent. Being okay with a life that has a lot of things that we don't want in it.
Learning how to stop overindulging will allow you to create that really, really beautiful life that that you would like to have. And so remind yourself that too. Sometimes we're like, “Well, I deserve it. I deserve this pleasure right now.” Like I said, there's nothing wrong with that. But really take a step back and be really intentional. And be really intentional with what it is that you want in your life and what you do think that you deserve. And then create that.
So do you really deserve the porn right now? Do you really deserve the pleasure from the porn in this moment? Or do you deserve something better? This ideal future that you imagine, that doesn't include pornography, if that's what you want. Because, you guys, you all deserve to live the life that you really want, to live that ideal life. You deserve that way more than you deserve a life of overindulgence and over consumption. It's really a loving act and a loving thing that you can do for yourself.
All right, you guys, have a great, great, great week. We'll talk to you next week. Bye bye.
I want to invite you to come and listen to my free training called How to Quit Viewing Pornography Even if You've Tried in the Past. If you like the podcast, you will love this free training. We talk about, number one, how to not rely on willpower or phone filters so that you can actually stop wanting pornography.
Number two, how to guarantee that you won't fail no matter how many times you've tried in the past. And number three, how to feel good about yourself while becoming someone who doesn't struggle with pornography. You can access this training at sarabrewer.com/masterclass.