Speaker 1** ((00:00:00)) - - Yo, yo, yo. What is up, my man? Welcome to Unleash the man within. Thank you so much for listening. I am so glad you're here. Oh, my goodness. Guys, I'm about to share with you an epic interview with a guy named Connor Beaton. A bunch of you probably already know who he is. He's got a pretty large platform online. But in case you don't, this is the founder of Man Talks, and this is a guy who has been through the ringer. He has been through a lot. But out of his journey and struggles as a man, he has created a resource, He's created platforms and just a whole bunch of really valuable information to help men go through issues that men go through, you know, mental wellbeing, relationships, sexual challenges. He covers the whole gamut. And I would say he's one of the more articulate voices that we have in this arena of healthy masculinity with kind of a clinical flair, if I can put it that way.
Speaker 1** ((00:00:59)) - - He's um, very well studied, really well spoken. And this was a very robust interview. We talked about everything from porn to AI to addictions and attachment, and then kind of capped it all off with fatherhood and nervous system regulation. If you applied even a fraction of the things that we discussed today, like either you did some of that we talked about like some practical activities and exercises. So if you either did those things or if you even just internalized some of the concepts, like even 1 or 2 concepts that really stick out, you internalize it for like the next week or two, you will become a better man. And that's the goal. These are the kinds of interviews that I'm trying to bring you every week, because I want you to become everything God made you to be. I want you to step into your fullness. And I know for a fact this interview will help you do exactly that. Now, one quick disclaimer Connor cusses. And so if that's something that you're not comfortable with, we've bleeped all the words out, but it's just something I want to give you a heads up on because I know some of you are a little sensitive to that.
Speaker 1** ((00:02:01)) - - So without further ado, this is my interview with Connor been. So here's the million dollar question How are men like us who work hard, have good motives and a God given purpose supposed to fulfill the calling on our lives and the dreams in our hearts, all while establishing sexual integrity, thriving relationships, and a meaningful connection with God. That is the question, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Sasha Sam. Welcome to Unleash the Man Within. All right. Well, I'm here with Connor Beaton, founder of Man Talk's author of I'm going to make sure I got to make sure I get this right. What's the what's the book called again? I apologize. I'm trying to blank here. Men's work. Men's work. Yeah. Yeah. I put men's workbook in my notes and I'm like, I know that's not what it's called. Men's work. Dude, congratulations on your work. And you've been really doing some incredible things. One of the earlier pioneers of healthy masculinity, I would say, especially on an online format, and I'm just super honored to have you on the podcast.
Speaker 1** ((00:03:05)) - - Hey, thanks for being here.
Speaker 2** ((00:03:06)) - - Thanks, man. Appreciate it. I appreciate the invitation and looking forward to our convo.
Speaker 1** ((00:03:10)) - - Yeah. So okay, let's jump right in. Most of the the men's like the bigger men's platforms that I speak with. We talked about Ryan Miller before we hit record and and I've been connecting with a guy named John Harvey who leads Keens community and I always ask them, hey, what like what are the what's the number one issue that comes up in your community or what's the thing that guys seem to be really struggling with? And it's usually a conglomerate of loneliness and porn addiction. Those two are pretty much at the top. So our work here is dedicated almost exclusively to helping guys with porn addiction. That's kind of what we focus on. And I guess I wanted to just ask you the question straight up. You know, is porn addiction something you're observing in your following and your client base? Is it as prevalent as maybe it's cracked up to be? And and then I guess the second question would be, what are some of the solutions you're offering to guys in that scenario?
Speaker 2** ((00:04:00)) - - Yeah, it definitely is.
Speaker 2** ((00:04:03)) - - This is something that I actually wrote about in the book. I wrote a whole section on porn because, you know, my my late teens, early 20s, I definitely struggled with porn addiction. It was something where, you know, multiple times a week I was watching it sometimes for 2 or 3 hours at a time. It was it was pretty bad. You know, it's pretty bad losing sleep, you know, not going out with friends. It was it was rough and all while in a relationship, you know, and being unfaithful in that relationship, which I think porn had some contribution to that for sure. Not, you know, it wasn't in sort of like the entirety of my decision to be unfaithful, but it certainly, I think, contributed to it. So, you know, I think a lot of men. Here's how I'll put it. We as men have access to more women on the digital space like you. If you go watch porn for a couple of hours, you're probably going to see more naked women than most men throughout the entirety of human history saw in their entire lifetime.
Speaker 2** ((00:05:06)) - - You know, And so the the over the desensitization, the overstimulation that you get in watching pornography is, you know, there's a lot of research that's coming out. It's not great for your brain. It's not great for your your sexual body. Right. Your sexual energy. And it's not super great for your relationship. And this isn't to shame it. You know, I'm I'm less I was trying to, like approach this conversation from the standpoint of I'm not here to tell you that, like, porn is bad, porn is wrong. You should never watch it. You know, I think there's a lot of porn shaming that's out there. Definitely. I don't think that necessarily supports. I think there's a lot of stuff out there that's that's good. You know, I had Dr. Anna Lemke on the show. She's a Stanford professor. Yeah. The dopamine about. Yeah, dopamine detox. And so, you know, I think a lot of guys are struggling with it and. Imagine being an alcoholic who had a liquor cabinet in their pocket.
Speaker 2** ((00:06:11)) - - You know, it's just we just I think we undervalue and underestimate the accessibility problem that porn offers, right? Like for an alcoholic, you have to go and buy booze or you got to go make it for a drug addict. You know, you got to go and procure the drugs and, you know, find a place to take it and yada, yada, yada. But with porn, you literally can access it at any time from any place, no matter what you're doing. And so the the use of the word addiction, I think, is a little controversial for a lot of guys because they hear that and they're like, how can you be addicted to porn? That's ridiculous. But the reality is, is that if you are you know, I think somebody said addiction is giving up everything for one thing and sobriety is giving up that one thing for everything. Yeah. And so for a lot of guys, the reality is that they are giving up a lot of stuff in their life in order to prioritize pornography.
Speaker 2** ((00:07:09)) - - Right? They're they're giving up sexual connection with their wife or the girlfriend. They're giving up, you know, sleep. They're giving up time for work or working out. They're giving up the energy that they need to go to the gym the next morning. You know, like they're giving up a lot of stuff to go and watch porn. Yeah. And the reality is, is I've dug in with a lot of men. I've worked with tens of thousands of men over the last decade. And there's a couple of things that I've learned over the years. One, a lot of men have ritualized pornography. And so one of the things that I talk about in the book is, you know, you need to write out what your porn ritual is because a lot of men have habitually said it. It's like a Pavlovian response, right? Yep. So getting clear on what your porn ritual is, do you watch it every night before bed? You watch when you wake up in the morning. Is there a certain type of porn that you're drawn to and really starting to dig into? Why are you watching it at that time? Why does your ritual look like that? You know, what about the content that you're watching seems to be appealing, you know, what's happening within you, within your psyche, within your life, within your relationship that's pushing you down this path of watching that specific type of porn.
Speaker 2** ((00:08:20)) - - So those are some of the things that men can do. I like I said, I just want to finish the thought on on is it an issue? I think it's one of those things where. Where it's easy for men to not talk about it, and it's very uncomfortable to talk about it. You know, like how do you broach with your buddies like, Hey, I've been watching too much porn lately, You know, it's like, how do you say like, so, you know, because you're probably not going to be like, Hey, like I stayed up last night watching porn for two hours. You know, that's most guys don't have that type of conversation with their with their bodies. And so the reality is, is that it can become this this kind of. Coping mechanism that a lot of men use to deal with stress, to deal with anxiety, to deal with not being able to sleep, to deal with their their anger or their grief or their depression or whatever it is.
Speaker 2** ((00:09:19)) - - And it's very uncomfortable to talk about it. And so I think it's one of the the biggest problems that men face and the least talked about issue that men will discuss. I think that men are generally more likely to say, you know, I've been drinking lately more than I'd like to or I've been smoking more weed lately than I'd like to or I've been playing more video games lately than I'd like to. Then then we are to saying, Hey, I've been watching more porn than I'd like to. I think that that's so. So it kind of flies underneath the radar. So, yes, I think it's an issue. There's a lot more things that I think I could say about what could help men, but maybe I'll just pause there to get your thoughts.
Speaker 1** ((00:09:58)) - - No, I mean, I was just going to add, I think every time I tell usually usually when people ask me what I do, I say, you know, I'm an addictions coach or whatever. And then they're like, oh, what kind of addictions? Like alcohol, drugs, Like, no more behavioral stuff.
Speaker 1** ((00:10:09)) - - You know, like I, I give them a couple of chances before I actually say it's porn. And when I'm talking to guys, the response I almost always get is, Oh yeah, I used to struggle with that stuff, but I know the numbers and I know that at least probably 60% of those guys are lying and actually still struggle with it. It's just that, like that's, that's the story you get even if you do go and broach the subject. So I totally agree with like just the the barrier to entry is not easy for this conversation. And that's why I'm really grateful that you do talk about it, you know, on your platform, because I know your guys, I'm sure benefit a lot from it. I wanted to ask you, you made a great analogy, which is that today it's like having like having a Mickey in your pocket at all times for an alcoholic. And the direction I see things going in technologically is people are actually going to have like their own liquor store all to themselves with artificial intelligence, virtual reality, some of those developments that are that are kind of brewing.
Speaker 1** ((00:11:04)) - - I mean, they're already here, but obviously the technology is going to get better. Do you have do you have some thoughts on on what that might look like? What do you think the impact is of AI and technology developing? And do you think this gets worse? Because I I've heard different opinions. I think some people think it's going to get worse and some people think that as the technology pushes a more extreme version of it, it might actually create a more polarity and maybe more people deviate from it and kind of revolt against it. Well, I don't know. Do you have any thoughts about it?
Speaker 2** ((00:11:32)) - - I do have many thoughts about this, I think, um.
Speaker 1** ((00:11:36)) - - Uh, well, let.
Speaker 2** ((00:11:37)) - - Me just break this down into a couple categories. So one. My framework is that all addictions are attachment issues. Yep. So we can maybe circle back around on that and we'll love that. A lot of the times when men are when men are struggling with any kind of addictive behavioral pattern, it is because relationships are a threat.
Speaker 2** ((00:12:01)) - - Relationships close, intimate relationships aren't as trustworthy, aren't as safe as they need them to be. So that's one piece in terms of I. You know, I think we see this huge kind of revolt in, you know, on Reddit. I see guys, you know, checking out from porn, checking out from dating altogether, which is a different story. But, you know, I see a lot of men that are like, you know, no fap, no nut. You know, they're they're sort of practicing this regain your sense of autonomy and sovereignty and your what I would call your your self leadership, your ability to lead yourself, your ability to make powerful decisions that are aligned and congruent with your own internal values and the man you want to be in the life you want to live. Right. And so I see a lot of men that are like, not that I know I've gone down that path. I know that when I'm living in that way, when I'm watching porn, you know how many times a week for however long that that's just out of alignment with the man that I want to be? That's out of alignment with the values that I want to live.
Speaker 2** ((00:13:13)) - - So I think there's already this big cohort of men that are checking out.
Speaker 1** ((00:13:18)) - - Yeah.
Speaker 2** ((00:13:19)) - - I would say that that's not the average, though. I would say that that's not the that's not the average guy. I would say that the average guy is probably still, you know, watching porn quite a bit. Just an example of this is only fans in 2021 made $5.4 billion. Right. So like where did all that money come from? The majority of it is coming from the pockets and the wallets of men, right? Like that's just the reality of it. So. So there are men checking out from watching porn and checking out from using these these platforms. Things like I I've talked about this quite a bit because it is somewhat alarming. There's there's this there was this Instagram influencer named Mila Sophia. I don't know if you saw this, but Mila Sofia is a part of this new wave of social media influencers that are completely AI generated. So I haven't seen all of all of these images. Are AI generated, all of her her quote unquote content is generated and then it's driving guys towards a towards an onlyfans page where there's more scandalous, you know, photos and content that's all generated.
Speaker 2** ((00:14:37)) - - And when you interact with, quote unquote, Mila Sophia, you're interacting with an AI chat bot that has been designed to flirt with you and sext with you and all that kind of stuff. And so the reality is, is that for for some men, for quite a few men, you're going to start to see guys having digital girlfriends, you know, where there's this already exists. There's apps where you can create your own digital girlfriend. You can create what she looks like, you can create her personality, you can create how she talks to you. And so I think that more and more we're going to see this sort of checking out. I was calling it like the simplification of modern men, but maybe that's a little too too harsh. Right? But like you're going to see this kind of like mass checking out where it's going to be so much easier for you as a man to kind of have your your internalized fantasy of what you think a woman should be like. Look like sound like how she should talk to you, all that's going to be available, you're gonna be able to create that.
Speaker 2** ((00:15:41)) - - Is it going to be satisfying? No, for the most part, absolutely not. Yeah. Are there some men who want that? Sure. You know, maybe there's some guys that are like, Listen, that's just easier than. You know, having to deal with the hardship of a relationship or the rejection of approaching women. And that's just the life that I want to lead. Like, okay, cool. You know, no, no shame, no judgment. Like, that's that's not what I would promote or advocate for or the life that I would live. But I realize that other people are going to make different choices. And so I think it's going to become easier and easier for you to check out. I don't get the sense that I is, you know, going to revolutionize the porn industry per se. I think it's going to revolutionize things like onlyfans. I think that's where you're going to see this big shift over the next few years where a lot of the only fans profiles are going to be completely AI generated and then who you interact with is going to be an AI chat bot that is just exceptional at, you know, human behavioral manipulation, flirting, sexting, you know, figuring out exactly what you want to do or hear or say, and then being able to give that to you, right? And so it's like, Oh, you want feed pictures, Let me give you let me AI generate the perfect foot based on your criteria and send that to you for you to get off to.
Speaker 2** ((00:17:09)) - - And so like all of that is going to be possible. But I think what's going to start to happen is. When we remove ourselves from the human connection, Right? Because if you're a guy that's watching porn, you know, right now that you're watching a real person. Right. You know that you're watching a real woman masturbate or get laid or whatever it is that you're watching. Right. You're watching real lesbians, maybe not real lesbians, but you're watching two women, you know, get it on. Yeah. And and what's going to start to happen is we're probably going to see a segregation within the porn industry where just like there's things like hentai which by the way Pornhub just released their data last year and hentai was like the number one guys.
Speaker 1** ((00:17:54)) - - Were Japanese one two Yeah.
Speaker 2** ((00:17:57)) - - Yeah. And so but you're going to see this segregation where you're going to have sort of quote unquote real life porn or real real human beings and they're going to have generated porn. Because make no mistake about it, we're only a couple years away from having completely AI generated and rendered, not just photos, but entire videos.
Speaker 2** ((00:18:19)) - - Right. And so that's going to be possible as well. And so I think you'll probably start to see different camps, right? It's like, oh, I only watch real people have sex, right? Like you like, that's going to be the conversation a couple of years. Like, Oh, do you watch AI generated porn? Kind of like, Oh, when you watch porn, do you watch VR porn? So Right. I don't get the sense that it's going to make it more addictive. I think it's like the the product itself is already very addictive and has all the markers that are necessary. I think it's going to be what it's going to do is make it more easy or make it easier for a man to tailor to his specific preferences. Right? If like you can't get your only onlyfans girlfriend to do something that you want or say something that you want to create a video that you want or send you a photo that you want, you can get the AI onlyfans girl to do that right? Because you'll just basically program it.
Speaker 2** ((00:19:18)) - - So I think that's how it's going to shift it. It's going to make your preferences, which my fear is that it's going to pull men even further away from what real human sexual intercourse and sexual experiences is actually about. Yeah, because when we get so myopic and so fixated on. You know, I got to watch this specific thing in order to not. That's a problem, right? Because you are you're sort of Pavlovian conditioning yourself to only get off to one specific thing. And a lot of men that have porn addictions go down that path. Oh, yeah. They're like looking for the perfect frame or the perfect scene or whatever it is. And then they need that to get off. And then real life sex just isn't as exciting because it's not that specific scene, you know? So I'll pause there because I'm curious to get your thoughts on this. And I just saw this time.
Speaker 1** ((00:20:18)) - - No, it was really good, I think really, really insightful. I would agree. I think the if you look at like what kind of emerged when porn Internet porn was just starting to kind of become popular.
Speaker 1** ((00:20:29)) - - The reason that a site like Pornhub became so, so popular and kind of the number one is because you could basically find anything you wanted and that that whole customization and personalization has become so integral to the porn consumption experience. Because as you alluded to earlier, I'm really glad you did. There are individual reasons at a heart level that are driving a lot of these behaviors in the first place anyway, and so that that ability to get a tailored experience has already existed to a pretty incredible degree with Pornhub, just when you consider the diversity of content that's available. But that's my concern as well with AI, which is that now people can get literally exactly what they want down to the last micro detail. And one thing I would maybe I might have a different opinion is I think that will actually make it more addictive because I think the nature of the attachment that's formed when you get something that's so customized is actually stronger. And I think that stronger bonding that takes place in the consumption process could actually drive a deeper sense of addiction, maybe not more addictions, but just a deeper sense of addiction.
Speaker 1** ((00:21:34)) - - And obviously, that's that's to be determined. But let me use that to segue into the attachment component of this. I'm so glad you mentioned it. And I think we're very aligned in that way. I really do believe I think attachment theory covers a multitude of sins. That's sort of my my psychotherapeutic theorem of all that. How do you how do you see the interplay between addiction and attachment?
Speaker 2** ((00:21:55)) - - So my my colleague that I lead all my men's weekends with, his name is Dewey Freeman, and he's 73. He's got 90, you know, 80 to 80 5 to 90,000 clinical hours under his belt. He's been doing gestalt therapy and developmental psychology for 40 plus years. He's taught 5000 plus therapists. So he he co facilitates all the all the live weekends that we do. And he's actually built his own attachment models over the years based off of what he's seen. And in his model, which I really love. It's absolutely incredible and it's the foundation of my work now in his model attachment, when we can't attach to a primary caregiver or we feel like our primary relationships are tumultuous or volatile or there's neglect or there's abandonment, we can have these interruptions in our ability to really form rooted and proper relationships with our primary caregivers and our primary caregivers.
Speaker 2** ((00:23:02)) - - From the ages of zero to about 5 or 6 will in those formative years, that will form the foundation of how you go through relationships, right? So, for example, if you're 2 or 3 years old and, you know your parents go through a divorce and you don't see your dad anymore, you know, you see your dad once a month or twice a month or something like that, that's going to create an interruption within your attachment style as a child. It's going to psychologically, semantically, like in your body, teach you that there are certain elements of relationships of quote unquote attachment that are unsafe, that are untrustworthy, and it'll create an interruption in your ability to pair bond, most likely with men or most likely with sort of masculine traits and characteristics. And so for for for a lot of people and that's just one example. There's tons and tons and tons more I could I could give. But what ends up happening is that when we have those interruptions within our ability to actually create some type of healthy attachment with our caregivers later on in life, what ends up happening is that we develop all of these behavioral patterns and coping mechanisms that actually keep us detached just enough within our relationship that we have to rely on other mechanisms weed, booze, porn, sexting, you know, thirst traps on whatever social media platform you're on, you know, having your onlyfans girlfriend on the side, etcetera, etcetera.
Speaker 2** ((00:24:38)) - - Yeah. So when we and so here's the simple version, okay? When we can't or struggle to create a healthy attachment with a significant other, we then rely on attaching or creating some type of connection or relationship with a substance, an object or a behavior. Okay. Substance and object or behavior. So a substance, alcohol, weed, etcetera. A behavior is like watching porn. That's a type of behavior. You could have other things like neuroses, like needing to clean things a very specific way, needing your sock drawer to look a very specific way. Right. So that's a that's a behavioral pattern or an object. Right? So you, you you can be you can start to become very fixated on very specific onlyfans girls because they have been they have become an object. They've become objectified. Um, other objects, I mean, you know, certain video games, that's an object and a behavior, you know, a car that all of a sudden becomes like the be all and all certain possessions that you have.
Speaker 2** ((00:25:50)) - - So when we, when we don't feel like we can connect properly in a in an intimate relationship, we will then sort of subsidize or substitute these substances, objects and behaviors in order to fill the gap that we feel in our relationship. So if you're a man that's out there to just sort of maybe simplify this, if you're a guy that's out there and you're struggling with porn, the likelihood is that there's a part of your intimate relationship. Let's just say that you're dating somebody or you're married and you watch porn all the time and and you're struggling to quit it. There is a high, high, high likelihood that early on in your life, in your early childhood development, you had interruptions in your ability to create foundational attachment. And what's happening is that later on in life you're using something like pornography as a pseudo attachment. So any time that you feel dysregulated as a man, this is the biggest reason that I have found the number one reason why men watch porn and can't stop watching porn. Number one reason is that you are experiencing something internally.
Speaker 2** ((00:27:01)) - - Loneliness, anxiety. Anger. Fear. Stress, overwhelm, etcetera, boredom. And you don't know how to regulate that experience. And there's an unconscious belief that bringing that experience and co regulating with another person and saying, hey, I'm feeling anxious or hey, I'm feeling lonely, or Hey, I'm pretty frustrated. Bringing that to a partner or a friend isn't okay. And so what you've done is you've actually replaced human relationship and human interaction with another person saying, you know, I feel really stressed out about this work situation or, you know, I feel kind of bored or I feel pretty lonely in my life rather than, you know, calling up a buddy or bringing that to your girlfriend or your wife, you just go watch porn. And what happens when you watch porn? It numbs out that experience. It floods your brain with dopamine and, you know, the motivating chemicals, the chemical of more, the chemical of feel good and you get off, you climax a whole bunch of other chemicals flood through your body.
Speaker 2** ((00:28:03)) - - And for a short period of time, you feel a little bit better, Right? And so what that's taught you is that if I'm feeling something, I don't want to feel that I don't like the fastest, easiest, simplest way for me to feel better is to go watch porn and get off and then I won't have to deal with it again. And so in some ways, it's a very pragmatic, you know, our brain is like this magical machine, right? That figures out how to solve our internal problems. Yeah. But sometimes the way that it solves our internal problems, it actually creates more issues in the long run. But it's always looking for replicable familiar patterns, like your brain is just a pattern recognition machine. And so it will always choose the pattern that you know over the pattern that is unknown. And if porn has become something over the years, that is a known pattern that's trustworthy in terms of helping you feel a little bit better, that's trustworthy and helping you offload all that stress and anxiety or boredom or loneliness or whatever it is that you're going through, then your brain will try to move you towards that time and time again.
Speaker 2** ((00:29:14)) - - Even if you're like, I don't want to watch this morning anymore, like, I actually don't want to do this. I'm trying to quit. And it's why, you know, for me, I'm very candid about my journey. It took me years to stop watching porn years, like literal years. It was the most frustrating, embarrassing, anger inducing experience. You know, I tried everything. I tried bargaining with myself and God. I tried. I tried everything. I was like, why can't I let go of this? And the more that I studied and research, the more that I understood how my brain was actually trying to keep me safe by moving me back towards that experience. So that's that's a lot. That's attachment. The main piece I'll wrap up with and give it back to you here is just the simple version of this. If we want to overcome porn one, we have to understand what we are feeling and experiencing when we have the urge to watch it. That's the trigger point.
Speaker 2** ((00:30:12)) - - Okay. If we don't understand the trigger point because most guys, when I get into this work with them, they're feeling something they don't like. They're feeling anxious, they're feeling numb, they're feeling bored, they're feeling lonely, and they don't want to feel that way. And so we have to start to recognize what is that experience that you're having that's triggering the desire to go and watch porn? Because 90% of the time it's not that you're horny, it's that you're feeling something else and you've conditioned yourself to use porn as a feel better tool. Yeah. So that's one thing. And the second thing is we have to prioritize secure, healthy relationships, which for many of us is foreign, period, Right? It's just foreign and it's scary and it's the unknown and it's frightening. So we have to be willing to do those two things. So I'll I'll pause there.
Speaker 1** ((00:31:03)) - - Oh, that's fantastic, man. That was very articulate. Thanks for explaining the framework and the interplay there. I totally agree. My follow up question would be, okay, so somebody identified.
Speaker 1** ((00:31:14)) - - Yeah, there's there's an uncomfortable emotion or there's something going on that is always affiliated with my triggers or generally affiliated. And then I know I need to pursue more secure attachment, more secure relationships. Used a great word that we use a lot on this podcast regulating and talked about co regulating and the importance of that. What does somebody do if they're hearing you? They're like, okay, Connor, I get it. I know I need to regulate better, but I don't feel like I have those places I can go or maybe I just don't know how to actually regulate in a healthy way and create these kind of new, better superior attachments. How does somebody get started on that journey?
Speaker 2** ((00:31:56)) - - Yeah. So a couple of things. One is there are tons of men's groups that are out there, right? I have one. I think you probably have one to support men with this. So there are a ton out there. It's the uncomfortable thing that will produce change that you don't want to do, right? Just notice if you are resistant towards joining a group of men like, you know, I have the alliance.
Speaker 2** ((00:32:20)) - - There's 450 plus men from around the world. A lot of those guys talk about quitting porn all the time and they're very open and they have an accountability partner. They pair up and they're like, okay, here's the agreement. I'm going to call you. I'm going to text you when I feel like I want to watch porn. And a lot of guys just are embarrassed or feel ashamed to take that step. But it can be so freaking helpful because the majority of the time when you're feeling that urge to go and watch porn, there's no one to talk to, right? There's no one to say like, Oh, there it is. And if you look at something like AA, a more traditional, you know, Alcoholics Anonymous dealing with addiction, that's the number one thing, is that you call a friend, right? You call your sponsor. And there's a reason why if you look at AA, it's actually very attachment based. One of the primary things that that AA will do is that it will replace your addiction with a person.
Speaker 2** ((00:33:17)) - - So when you feel the urge to use, when you feel the urge to go and buy drugs, when you feel the urge to do that stuff, you call a friend, right? It's like, yeah, you know, so you're so you're repairing your trust in the people that you're surrounded by. So that's one is go find a men's group, go find a group that's working on this, that's open and transparent, find one that aligns with you. Try a couple of them. You know, what I always say to men is like, when you're looking for a therapist or a coach, don't settle, right? Like, you know, go and try a couple groups and find the right one that you can stick with, you know? So that's one piece. The second piece is and this is probably the part that. Is going to be harder to hear, which is you need to learn to build your tolerance to that internal experience. So I work a lot when I work with men. Part of my frame is I have I talk about something called the DF, the direct felt experience.
Speaker 2** ((00:34:14)) - - Your direct felt experience is what you are experiencing in any moment. Could be numb, could be overwhelmed, could be stress, could be anxiety. It could be anger. It could be grief. Could be sadness. It could be joy. It could be love. It could be happiness. Whatever it is. That's your direct felt experience is the experience is happening within you in any given moment. Now, most men I would say the majority of men have a pretty good awareness of what they're there. DF The direct felt experience is in any given moment. The challenge is that very few men have been taught what to do when their direct felt experience is something that they don't like, something that they don't want. Oh, I feel anxious. I don't want that. I better get away from it. Oh, I feel angry. Well, that's dangerous. I better shut that down. I feel frustrated. Overwhelmed. I can't show that. So I've got to shove that down. So once we get clear on what we're experiencing in those moments, part of learning to regulate is, number one, you have to choose to actively build your tolerance to what you are experiencing.
Speaker 2** ((00:35:20)) - - And two, you're going to do that in one very simple way. And again, I write about this in my book. I would encourage people to go check it out. Is what I did was I would set a timer for five minutes. I would sit down, I would close my eyes and I would breathe. And I would use a very specific breath pattern to feel into what I was experiencing in that moment that I was wanting to avoid, that was causing me to want to go and watch porn. Most of the time what I was feeling was lonely and bored or completely stressed out. Right, Right. So it was a mix of those things. Sometimes I was angry, but like I, you know, you know, that was that was a less experience. You know, It wasn't so much like, oh, I'm pissed off, I need to go, you know, jerk off. It was more like, What else should I be doing? I'm bored, you know, or I feel alone.
Speaker 2** ((00:36:17)) - - So I would set a timer. I would sit down and close my eyes. And what you want to do is inhale through the nose for a count of four, pause for two, and exhale out the mouth for a count of seven. Pause for two. So it's like. Pause and then exhale. And then pause. What you're doing in that moment is something called Downregulation. So the count of four on the inhale and the count of seven on the exhale, 6 or 7 on the exhale. When you have a longer exhale, what you're doing is, number one, you're regulating your breaths per minute and your breath is the actual modulating dial for your autonomic nervous system. Now, why is that? It's because when you regulate your breath, you regulate your heart rate. And when you regulate your heart rate, you regulate your nervous system. Right. So that's the order. So if you can sit for 4 or 5 minutes, even three minutes, right. It's not a long time. It's going to be hard.
Speaker 2** ((00:37:26)) - - It's going to be uncomfortable. The first couple of times I started to do it, I was squirming. I was like, This is so stupid. Like, what am I doing this? I hated it. I hated it at first. But then slowly over time, just doing that over and over and over again, regulating the breath, regulating the heart rate, my nervous system would sort of slow down. And what I realized was I had a tremendous amount of energy in my body and I had a lot of I just had like a lot of momentum that I was constantly trying to deal with. I, you know, I still do. So I do stretching every morning and breathwork and cold showers and I work out six days a week. It's like, got a lot to go, right? Yeah. Yeah. So, so for a lot of guys using the breath to regulate the heart rate, to regulate the nervous system, to shift out of this sympathetic nervous system response, maybe I'll just unpack this very, very quickly because I think this would be helpful.
Speaker 2** ((00:38:25)) - - There's two parts to your autonomic nervous system. There's a sympathetic and parasympathetic your sympathetic nervous systems like the gas pedal, that's the go part of your nervous system. It's going to be very helpful. And then the parasympathetic is rest and digest. So that's like the slow down, calm down, feel relaxed. Right? So the extreme versions of that is when you're sleeping, you're in full parasympathetic and when you're awake and you've just had two cups of coffee and you're like running around the office doing that's like, you know, full on sympathetic. So when you're in sympathetic, which a lot of us as modern men are, we are in this state constantly. Yes, Right. You have a lot going on. Your kids are yelling at home, you know, or you're trying to figure out for your boss and your career. You're trying to get your task list done, balance your finances, etcetera. That puts you into your sympathetic that's your stress state. And many of us in modern culture live in this sympathetic state.
Speaker 2** ((00:39:27)) - - And the problem is that we can't get out. Now, when you're in this sympathetic stress state, a couple of things are happening. One, you have more stress hormones and chemicals floating through your body, right? Adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine, all those things are going through your body and higher doses, which is not good for inflammation or your long term health. And two, your respiratory rate and your heart rate are elevated. So the more in your sympathetic system you are, the more stressed you are, the more overwhelmed you are, the more breaths you're going to be taking per minute, and the faster your heart rate is going to go. Okay. Now, one really important, crucial thing that is not conducive for getting a hard on. When you are stressed out, when your heart rate is elevated and your breath rate specifically is super elevated. So you're taking shallow breaths, right? Guys that have performance performance anxiety are going to feel this right. They usually have breath like right up here near their collarbone.
Speaker 2** ((00:40:30)) - - Yeah. They can't take a deep breath into their belly. Their body is super tight. And so what's actually happening is that they're in a sympathetic, dominant state. And so blood flow is constricted to your extremities, aka your penis. And so you need to be able to use the breath to move out of that stress state and down into a more parasympathetic state. So in order to get an erection, what most men don't know and what for whatever reason we don't teach in sex ed, is that in order for men to get an erection, we need to be in a more parasympathetic dominant state. We actually have to be more in a rest and digest state in a relaxed state. So how we do that is by training our bodies, training our minds to use the breath to down regulate. And again, that one breath that I gave you in for a count of four, hold for two, exhale for 6 or 7, hold for two. That is clinically proven. It's not something that I'm just giving you that I just made up that I just tried.
Speaker 2** ((00:41:35)) - - It's clinically proven in studies to help down regulate your nervous system, and it's what they often give to people who have PTSD or severe PTSD when they're dealing with. You know, manic episodes or PTSD responses or panic attacks or a high level, high levels of anxiety. So that's what I did. I set a timer, I sat down, I connected. What am I actually experiencing right now? And then I breathed. I just, you know, use that breath cycle for three, five, six, seven minutes. And over time, what ended up happening was I conditioned my body to know how to regulate, right? So any time that that experience came up of like, Oh, I have to watch porn where I felt out of control before and I felt like I didn't have a choice, I now had a different choice. Breathwork meditation, stretching all these different modalities that could use so you can self regulate, you can co regulate by calling, you know, your accountability partner or your friend and saying, Hey, I'm wanting to watch porn.
Speaker 2** ((00:42:49)) - - Yeah, can we just talk this out? Those are just some simple options that you can do immediately to you'll see results within a week or two. I promise you. You might not be able to, like quit immediately, but you will see results in being able to feel more grounded, feel more calm and and to have a different choice in that moment other than I got to go watch porn, I got to do something to distract myself from what I'm from, what I'm feeling and experiencing.
Speaker 1** ((00:43:18)) - - Yeah, that's really good. Very relevant. I think for me, I probably just discovered about six months ago how stuck I am in a sympathetic state and, and working to kind of just learn these things for myself and the I haven't heard of that specific breathing technique, so I'm going to try that one. That's cool. So 4 in 2 second pause, seven on the way out, and then a pause at the end. You said, Right. How long is that pause at the end? Two, two seconds.
Speaker 1** ((00:43:45)) - - Okay. And then repeat.
Speaker 2** ((00:43:46)) - - You can do you know, you can do box the box breath for for Yeah.
Speaker 1** ((00:43:49)) - - For four.
Speaker 2** ((00:43:50)) - - Yeah. But and that one works great but this one the key is the longer exhale when you have a longer exhale than, than an inhale, that's what's actually slowing your heart rate down. So it's that's a pretty important part.
Speaker 1** ((00:44:05)) - - Yeah. Because that's what actually engages the parasympathetic part of your nervous system, right? It's the exhale. That's right. Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. And you mentioned setting a timer, which is a really good idea because it's going to be so uncomfortable when you first start. And three minutes is a good a good threshold to start when people are trying it. Is that what you recommend?
Speaker 2** ((00:44:23)) - - Yeah, three minutes is fine. If you're doing that breath for three minutes, you'll notice the difference. Another one that can be helpful is Dr. Andrew Human has this guided. It's called R and non sleep deep rest. Okay. And that's another one.
Speaker 2** ((00:44:44)) - - I wouldn't necessarily recommend that in the moment where you're trying to not go watch porn. Yeah that might be a little bit harder because there's a visualization visualization component to it.
Speaker 1** ((00:44:56)) - - Yeah.
Speaker 2** ((00:44:57)) - - But that can be, that can be good as well for just, you know, implementing during the day at some point to help your body just come down from the from the stress that we're you know everyone's normally carrying.
Speaker 1** ((00:45:09)) - - Yeah that's really good. Very, very good. Let me let me ask you this. Like your your father, you have a two and a half year old. How does some of the stuff you've learned in your own journey, how is that impacting the way your fathering? Because like we've talked about attachment and the importance of or how significant rather, an interruption can be. And obviously, as a father and a parent wanting to reduce those limit those, limit their impact, and even some of this stuff like nervous system regulation, is so important for a child, especially when they're just kind of developing.
Speaker 1** ((00:45:42)) - - They rely so much on their parent for that co regulation because they can't self-regulate yet at least not not well. How how is it influencing your your role as a father? And obviously I'm asking for very selfish ambitions. I'm about to become one myself. So give me all you got, man.
Speaker 2** ((00:46:01)) - - Well, you know, I was I had a lot of mixed. Feelings around becoming a dad. I was very excited, you know, especially when I found out that I was going to have a son. I didn't know that I actually cared. You know, in the beginning I was like, I don't really care if I have a boy or a girl. Like it doesn't really matter. Yeah. And then I found out that I was going to have a son and I was like, Oh, man, that's that's exciting. And then I felt this pressure starting to set in. And because I work with so many men who, you know, are in some in some areas of their life just crushing it and exceptional, you know, I've been fortunate enough to work with some really incredible human beings over the years but are struggling in other ways.
Speaker 2** ((00:46:45)) - - Yeah. And I look out at the world and some of the challenges that are happening in dating and the question mark of I, and I was like, Oh, he's going to have some serious obstacles, you know, to go against and how do I prepare him for that? Right? And then the big, big, big piece that I was worried about was personally was losing my own freedom. You know, I had built a life before my son came along of being able to travel, like to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted with who I wanted, you know, like I really had designed my life to have some good freedom. So my wife and I wanted to go travel for a couple of weeks. We could do that if I wanted to go hang out with some buddies, you know, in wherever in Idaho or California or, you know, in Vancouver, Canada. I could go do that for a week or two. Yeah. And so I had this this like, you know, kind of fear that started to mount as my son was getting, you know, closer to being born of like, am I going to lose my sense of freedom? And I realized one major thing, which was that, you know, I would I would literally take a bullet for him.
Speaker 2** ((00:47:52)) - - I would I would stand up for him. I would die for him. But I wouldn't I wasn't going to choose to live my life for him or any of my kids. And so I decided that how I wanted to live was to because I really believe that especially young boys, they learn how to be a man, how to be a man in the world through modeling, through what they see. Yeah. And I see this with my son all the time now. And so how I've prioritized regulation and supporting him, you know, I see he's very much like me. He's got, you know, like a nuclear power plant within his chest of energy. He's just this big bundle of energy. But I do some very simple things. I've taught him to breathe. He's two and a half, but for the last year. I'll give you some very specific things that I did. So after he was born, every single morning during the spring of the summer, when it was warm enough, I would take him outside and put him in the grass.
Speaker 2** ((00:48:50)) - - I would lay him down in the grass and I would have coffee with him outside in the morning, even if it was just for five minutes. So we would sit, be with the trees, be with the silence, be with the wind blowing through the leaves, that kind of stuff. So just planting him in nature was one piece. The second piece was about a year ago when he would start throwing tantrums or he would be upset and he was starting to learn speech. I would point to my nose and I would say, inhale. Exhale.
Speaker 3** ((00:49:22)) - - Mm.
Speaker 2** ((00:49:23)) - - Wow. It took probably about a month, but then he caught on to it. And so now when he's really upset, I'll let him, you know, throw a little bit of a tantrum because all kids need to get their that energy out. And then if it's reaching a certain point where, you know, he kind of needs some regulation, I'll pick them up, I'll wrap my arms around him and I'll say, inhale, exhale.
Speaker 2** ((00:49:49)) - - And not every single time will he do it. But the majority of the time, after I take a couple of breaths, Tuggle, he'll look at me and he'll roll his eyes and, you know, and he'll start to breathe with me. And then it immediately shifts his tantrum. He like, immediately shifts away from it. And his it's like, you know, the duck getting into a fight and then shaking their bodies and getting all that energy off. Right. Or the dog getting into a fight with another dog and shaking their bodies and getting all the energy off. That's that's actually what animals are doing when they have a tussle or an interaction with another animal. When they're shaking their bodies afterwards, they're actually resetting their nervous system. They're actually using a physical release to let go of the energy of moving into that sympathetic, you know, dorsal vagal, which is a poly vagal term, but dorsal vagal response of fight flight or freeze. Right. And so we can train our kids to do that.
Speaker 2** ((00:50:50)) - - And then the last thing is sometimes I'll today still, if he's really throwing a tantrum, the breath isn't working. I'll pick him up, I'll carry him outside and I'll literally just sit him in the grass or stand him in the grass outside and I'll just sit down with him and. And I'll just breathe and calm my nervous system. And if I can hold him and have some type of physical contact with him, I will. And then he'll he'll calm pretty quickly. Yeah. Or I'll say look at the trees or listen to the wind. Or do you see the sun or do you see the moon? And those types of things help him to reorient. Yeah, because what can happen, what happens for kids when they're that dysregulated is their their systems just in like complete explosion mode, right. Like the emotions just coming out. They're completely dysregulated and they need an external source to help bring them back into some type of regulated state. And what happens, unfortunately for most kids, is that when they get dysregulated, their parents get dysregulated because their parents never had anybody to be calm, to be grounded, to breathe and to pay attention to what was happening in their own bodies.
Speaker 2** ((00:52:04)) - - Because I'll tell you, when your kid is dysregulated and throwing a tantrum or screaming or throwing things or whatever they're doing, it is going to cause you internally to feel something uncomfortable. You're going to feel dysregulated. You're going to feel that anger, that frustration, you know, especially if you're out in a public place and it feels a bit embarrassing, like your kid's just yelling and screaming or like, throwing a tantrum and you just want to get them to stop in that moment immediately. Yeah. Um. So the best thing that we can do as parents is to regulate ourselves when our kids are dysregulated. So everything that we've been talking about in this podcast is going to set you up for success.
Speaker 3** ((00:52:48)) - - Yeah, for dealing.
Speaker 2** ((00:52:50)) - - With a dysregulation.
Speaker 3** ((00:52:51)) - - That.
Speaker 1** ((00:52:52)) - - It all came together.
Speaker 3** ((00:52:53)) - - Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 1** ((00:52:55)) - - That's really cool. I think even just the visuals is really helpful. Like pointing to the nose point of the mouth. Yeah, I love it, man. I want to ask you another 500 questions, but we're approaching our time here.
Speaker 1** ((00:53:07)) - - I want to I want to honor that. The book is called Men's Work. The organization the podcast is called Man Talks. I highly recommend you guys go check it out. I think, Connor, you're probably one of the more articulate voices for, I would say, like just healthy masculinity. I've really appreciated what you're doing and this was a fantastic interview. Thanks for just sharing all your wisdom and knowledge. Did I leave anything out? Is there anything else we can direct the audience to to go check your stuff out?
Speaker 2** ((00:53:34)) - - No, that's it. I mean, the yeah, the book men's work is it's what I will say is it's chock full with questions and exercises meant for you to actually go through and do work, not just read. So make sure you have a journal with that. But this was great, man. Thanks for letting me unleash some of this.
Speaker 3** ((00:53:53)) - - Stuff and just just.
Speaker 2** ((00:53:55)) - - Drop drop some of the knowledge that I've collected over the years.
Speaker 3** ((00:53:58)) - - Oh, it was.
Speaker 1** ((00:53:59)) - - Really good, man.
Speaker 1** ((00:53:59)) - - Appreciate it. And thanks so much for your time. Oh, man. Oh, man. What an interview. That was so incredible. I learned a ton and I just like it when guys are so articulate. Man, He was just spot on the stuff he was explaining. And you can tell he's really, uh, walking the walk. And so very grateful for Connor. Look, we're doing something a little bit different here. Connor's actually just launched a course on quitting pornography for men. If that's something that you are interested in, there's a link in their shownotes for you to go check it out. It is an affiliate link, which means we get a bit of a kickback if you sign up. If you don't want me to get a kickback, that's fine. You can just go to his website and sign up for that way as well. But what I what I would recommend you ask yourself is, did I resonate with the message? Is he somebody I would trust enough to do things that I wouldn't trust myself to do? That's what that's how, you know, you're actually going to be primed for breakthrough.
Speaker 1** ((00:54:52)) - - That trust has to be there. So don't just do it because I told you to do it or because it's reputable, because he is very well respected. Make sure that you go and you vibe with what he's doing and you trust him enough to do the things that he's going to ask you to do. And if for whatever reason, maybe his approach or his messaging isn't quite landing with you, that's okay. There's other options out there. One of those is our program, which is called Deep Clean, and this is my full time work. We help men quit porn addiction. We have a team of several coaches now and several people that are helping us help hundreds of men quit porn every single day. If you want to be part of that group or you want to at least find out more about what we're up to, there's a link in the show notes for you to book a call with someone on our team. This these calls are reserved for people who are serious about quitting porn. They're ready to make a full commitment to the process.
Speaker 1** ((00:55:40)) - - And they've resonated enough with our message. Like I said, you shouldn't just do it because I told you to do it. You should do it because you actually think we can help you and because our approach seems to be a good match for your approach or what you're looking for in an approach. So the link is in the show notes and you can find out more there as well. So click on that link. You can book your time and then there's some videos and stuff that will explain everything. In the meantime, guys, thank you so much for listening. I so appreciate you guys. Have an amazing day. We'll talk soon. Bye bye. Hey, everybody, it's Lithia again. Thanks for listening to Unleash the Man Within. I wanted to take a quick moment to let you know about a free e-book that I wrote for you called The Ultimate Guide to Porn Recovery. It provides a basic framework for the recovery process and a few of my top tips completely free of charge. You can get it now at WW dot ultimate recovery guide.com that's W WW Waltman recovery Guide.
Speaker 1** ((00:56:34)) - - Com. Now if you've been impacted by the podcast and you want to show some support in less than 60s, there are three ways you can do that. First, you can leave a rating or review on your podcast platform. This lets people like you know that the content here is valuable. Secondly, you can share this episode with someone in your life that might benefit from the content. If you're passionate about helping other people experience freedom and success in their lives, this is one of the easiest ways to do that. And lastly, you can subscribe. I personally only listen to the podcast that I subscribe to. If you're seeking daily encouragement, guidance and insight in your recovery journey, I highly recommend subscribing to Unleash the Man Within. Thanks for listening. I look forward to connecting with you very, very soon.
Speaker 4** ((00:57:20)) - - The information, opinions and recommendations presented in this podcast by Sathiya, Sam and his guests are for general information only and should not be considered medical, clinical or any other form of professional advice. Any reliance on the information provided is done at your own risk.