Have you ever struggled with any form of pleasure addiction?
Whether you’ve been unable to put down the sweets or even your cell phone, we’ve all experienced some form of addiction in our lives.
My guest today, Jeremy Lipkowitz, shares the work he is doing to help men break through a very common struggle – pleasure and porn addiction. In our interview, he shares his own struggles and how he used mindfulness practices to break free of pleasure addiction.
Jeremy Lipkowitz is a transformational coach and secular meditation teacher. He’s been practing meditation for over a decade and have been teaching for seven years. He even ordained as a monk in Burma and has worked as a mindfulness expert with schools, start-ups, and recovery centers all around the world.
What I love most about Jeremy’s style is how he combines his science-based expertise with a hunger for personal development. He holds a Bacherlors and Masters degree in Genetic and Genomics, and spent several years at Duke University working towards a PhD in Systems Biology before he turned to mindfulness teaching full-time.
I met Jeremy through one of our amazing Tribe teachers, Lara, while working from a café in Chiang Mai. I’m so glad I did. Today’s interview brings an important conversation currently missing from my blog – struggles that are primarily facing men. I know many of my readers are women, but just as we want men to better understand us, I think it’s crucial we work just as hard to understand what they’re going through.
Meet Jeremy Lipkowitz
In today’s interview, we discuss:
- Jeremy’s own story
- Understanding the damages of pleasure addiction
- Finding happiness through mindfulness
- How to create supportive environments
Jeremy’s Story: His Own Addictions
Jeremy has a story that I relate to myself. In college, he seemed to be doing great. Jeremy was working his way through a degree in genetics and genomics and was looking good in the eyes of his professors. He was social and physically healthy.
But on the inside, Jeremy was suffering.
His addiction to pleasure and porn were at an all-time high and he was consumed by feelings of lust. While this may seem like it’s not a big deal, Jeremy tells us that pleasure addiction can wreak havoc in one’s life, causing:
- Inability to focus on tasks or feel fulfilled in life
- An increase in love self-esteem and insecurity
- Perfectionism caused by comparison and the desire for validation from others
He was unhappy and caught in the familiar trap that most of us have found ourselves in at some point. Jeremy believed that, “until he achieved or had _______ (always changing), he couldn’t be happy.”
If you can’t find happiness, you become addicted to things that make you feel good temporarily. It becomes a way of avoiding emotions and life in general. For some, this leads to binge eating, obsessions with social media, or alcoholism. For others, it leads to porn addiction.
Understanding Pleasure Addiction
Why is porn such a big problem? A large part of it is the accessibility. With most young boys, porn is introduced very early in life and is normalized in today’s culture. When it’s such a common part of life, it becomes harder to see when porn is leading to more damaging effects.
The industry of porn is big money. It’s purposefully designed to be addicting and to suck people in. Jeremy tells us that it’s one of the most common addictions that are seen in treatment centers.
The damages of porn culture heavily affect men (as they also do women). The biggest problem is that is crushes self-esteem. When this is the most common form of sexual education, it can drive people to compare themselves to porn stars, causing the feeling of inadequacy. Men seek to reenact things they’ve seen in porn and have been miseducated on how to please women.
Can you see where that would lead to even more insecurity?
Furthermore, pornography causes problems in relationships in a number of ways. There is the added addiction to novelty, increasing the desire for experiences with different partners. Additionally, the pleasure seeking is often an avoidance of emotions, making it challenging to be genuinely intimate with another person.
Finding Happiness Through Mindfulness
When Jeremy hit his low point, he became obsessed with finding information on how to bring happiness into his life. Pretty quickly, he realized he wasn’t going to be fulfilled externally. It was time to look into meditation.
There was some hesitation to begin with. As a science guy, Jeremy as a “no bullshit” approach to meditation. His goal was to remove the “woo woo” and dogma around mediation and focus purely on the scientific benefits of the practice.
“Meditation is the science of the mind,”– Jeremy Lipkowitz
As Jeremy looked deeper into positive psychology and neuroscience, he says the benefits of meditations are undisputable. Benefits of mindfulness:
- Taking control of what you focus your thoughts on actually changes the way your brain operated.
- Gives you the space to know how to react to things, allowing for more control.
- Strengthens the skill of being content and grateful for what you have.
It’s ultimately about compassion to oneself and others. Jeremy tells us that mindfulness is ultimately about awareness and kindness towards oneself. However, kindness is even more important than awareness.
Creating an Environment of Support
Remember that the industry is designed to get men (and women) addicted to porn. There has been an environment of shame surrounding those who suffer with pleasure addiction for too long. I encourage you to be understanding of that with friends and family who are struggling with these forms of addictions.
How to be supportive:
- Create safe space to talk about it, remember that it feels shameful and avoid speaking in a way that would increase that shame feeling.
- Fully accept that it’s not about you. This is especially important for partners to remember, as we often feel defensive about our partner’s desire to look at other women. Know that their addiction has nothing to do with you.
Men have emotions and traumas, too. We must release the shame and let them know we stand by their struggles.
How to Find Jeremy Online
To follow Jeremy’s food and mindful living adventures on Instagram, follow @jeremymindful. Check out his blog and website, JeremyLipkowitz.com for more on mindful living, his programs, and individualized coaching. For men looking to find an online brotherhood of support, check out his Facebook group called Authentic Self-Mastery: Fulfillment Through Healthy Sexuality.
Join the Conversation
Do you have any questions about today’s interview? Please drop them in the comments below.
Ladies – I’d love to know. What did you learn from today’s interview? Has it changed your perspective on anything?
Let us know down in the comments!
We’re happy you’re here!