Hate to admit it but the Tumblr porn ban has been good to me

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Any Tumblr fan will tell you that porn is at least half of the reason they go on the site. When the Yahoo takeover was finalized, they promised that things wouldn’t change. And for the most part, they were right. Unfortunately, their hand was forced by Apple’s app store due to their policy on pornography.

I don’t blame Yahoo, although I do love the memes blaming them.

My Tumblr dashboard at the start of the year was disappointing. So many of my go-to accounts stopped uploading and reblogging content that I had to consider if I should follow suit. And it wasn’t just that not safe for work (NSFW) stuff was missing, safe for work (SFW) stuff was as well because users simply left the platform.

Lots of people have their own low-key porn blog that they curate with their specific tastes but now your avatar is blurred out and no one can access your blog page anymore, not even you. Overall, the functionality is very limited now.

Having said that, it’s been a revelation for me.

Before Tumblr, I never had a complicated relationship with porn; never been addicted, never had a problem. The reason is that when I first got into porn, dial-up was too slow and ultimately frustrating. Then when DSL came out, that too was a revelation, but it was an overload.

Basically I fried my teenage circuitboard with a porn binge that made me stay away from it for months. When I revisited, I still had the pain in memory, and so I visited a site or two for no longer than fifteen minutes.

I could feel the physiology of my brain change and so I’d back off before I started to binge. It was very simple for me and that kept the… self-love sessions to a respectable amount.

Then Tumblr came along.

I sort of feel like I’m selling out my fellow (and former) Tumblr users by saying this, but for me, Tumblr was a perfect kryptonite for me. I didn’t have sex ads popping up on my screen while I’m watching a video, thereby causing my brain to overload. I didn’t even need to watch vids, I could watch GIFs instead. I could go to a site’s archive and scroll through scores of shrunken images, videos and GIFs until I found something I liked.

Because the sex and girls weren’t obnoxiously pushing themselves in my face, I was very content. However, it had such a gradual effect on me, I couldn’t tell my brain was changing. Not only that, I started to polish the bannister more and more.

In this DIY project in the dark, I had more than enough material to last me until I passed out. It was glorious but it came at a cost. There would be times I was genuinely tired but I had developed the habit of playing five-on-one so much I was compelled to do it, even when I didn’t have to or want to.

I always had a good relationship with playing my oboe solo. I loved this line from Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Choke:

Initially, I thought I was going to get myself pregnant but the sentiment is about the same: it’s pretty darn cool. But what you don’t want is to have your relationship with your body get strained.

I’d see the NoFap campaigns on YouTube and scoff. I’ve never been able to do No Nut November past the first week. I assumed that jacking the beanstalk was just something that had to be done, like eating and procrastination. I didn’t think I had a problem because in my mind, I wasn’t watching porn.

If it shows up on the dashboard, “Hey man, that’s not my fault. But since you mentioned three consecutive GIF sets of deep penetration and jizz, I might as well crack open another tab and check out some… stuff.

Naturally, when I got word of the ban, I got defensive just like everybody else. “How can they do this? They can’t do this! I’m leaving!” But because my daily intake of NSFW content was decreasing, whether it was a video of someone getting their back blown out or just a picture of a sexy girl, my brain started to recalibrate itself.

My need to get the mayonnaise out of the jar diminished but I thought it was just because I was busy with work, until I caught myself actively searching for porn. That’s when it clicked — the tyrannical tech companies had actually saved me from myself.

Now, the onus is back on me to not mindlessly go in search for spank-bank material. I’m back to holding myself accountable. That’s not to say that to revisit pepper-grinding is a bad thing in and of itself, but as the saying goes, everything in moderation.

M. Scott Peck wrote in The Road Less Traveled,

This quote has haunted me ever since choking the chicken became habitual. Waking up was harder, my energy levels weren’t bad but they could’ve been better and I could no longer claim the pride of not being a slave to a dopamine rush.

So, while I hate to admit it, I’m thankful the ban happened. And now my hairy palms and failing eyesight will finally have a chance to go back to normal.

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

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