The Economics of Porn Addiction

Discussion in 'Porn Addiction' started by letter, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. letter

    letter Distinguished Fapstronaut

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    One of the most dangerous things about porn addiction is how we trick ourselves into believing it isn't doing us much harm.


    PRELIMINARIES:

    The truth is that we don't really know the extent of the harm we are causing ourselves. Those of us who are here on NoFap have caught on to the destructive pattern and nature of porn addiction, but as is easily seen with a precursory glance, there are many here who are still relapsing. I believe part of this pattern is that we don't fully understand what this addiction means.

    On a relapse, we pat each other on the backs and say "it's no big deal, you'll get it next time" in encouragement to pick ourselves up to go on. I'm not saying this kind of encouragement is wrong or bad, but it does play into this area of knowledge of what we don't know.

    As ignorance is for fools, let's probe this a little, shall we?

    I'm not saying I'm an expert on this matter or on economics, but I know enough to lay an outline and make a case that we are hurting ourselves more than we know we are. I'm saying that if we could begin to grasp the extent of the harm, we'd be more careful in how we approach this entire subject of porn addiction.

    Now that the introduction has been made, let's get into the meat of this subject.


    OPPORTUNITY COST:


    One of the basic principles of economics is that our resources are limited, and managing those resources effectively requires a frame of thought as to how they limited. Within that frame of thought is opportunity cost which is is a deeper & more comprehensive analysis of what the pros and cons are of any given action.

    As an example, an action to analyze with opportunity cost is a year in full-time studies.

    Say the tuition is $10k for the year. Is the opportunity cost then $10k? No. All the time you've spent studying is time you cannot spend working. If you were to take your studies seriously and gave all your effort to education, let's assume you'd not be working at all. What is that time worth if you were working? Just a quick estimate because this is an example, you'd be giving up $24k in wages earned alongside the $10k you spent to study thus making the opportunity cost to total $34k for a year of study.

    Of course, it is more complex than that, but this is just an example to make sure we are on the same page. Now for the big question...


    WHAT IS THE OPPORTUNITY COST OF PORN ADDICTION?

    It is here that things begin to get a little tricky because there aren't many studies into the necessary parts of porn addiction for information to make this accurate. That's a whole other conversation...so for the sake of argument, please understand that any figures here are subjective estimates. Still, even so, they should prove enlightening.

    I'll use myself as an example.

    I have averaged my porn use to be about 1 hour a day. This is considering many days without porn followed by days of binging & sometimes even spending 8 consecutive hours or more searching, downloading and consuming. I think the average of 1hr/day is a decent middle of the road figure for my past porn use.

    Given 15 years of that cycle of behavior, I have spent 5500hrs watching porn. This is equivalent to 229 days or 7.6 months of total time actively engaged with the substance of this addiction.

    So is my opportunity cost of my porn addiction 5500 hours of my life gone? No! Those 5500 hours in porn are much the same as the $10k tuition. The real cost of porn is much worse.

    Not only do I have to count 5500 hours as wasted, I must also count the positive things I could have been doing but didn't. Even in a low wage job, those hours add up to $65k of income I could have earned if I'd spent those hours flipping burgers instead of mindlessly staring at a screen.

    With 5500 hours, I could have mastered a new trade or learned to play an instrument or two at a very skillful level. At a reasonable rate of 30 words per minute, I could have written 9,900,000 words in that time. The average book is 90,000 words long. I could have written 110 books during the time I have spent in porn addiction.


    ONE HUNDRED AND TEN BOOKS

    Even if each book only earned me a minuscule $100 per year, I'd still have a residual income of $11,000 per year from it. I'm 33 now. If I did nothing else with my life until I was 80, that residual income would amount to $500,000 over my lifetime.

    That's half a million dollars versus nothing for the time I've spent watching porn, and that's a very low estimate.

    That's just counting the time watching porn. What about all the other hours before and after the act where one goes through the cycle of trying to resist and then feeling so emotionally numb and disconnected that they are useless?

    And how do you even begin to factor in the intangibles, such as the richness of relationships? How do you put a cost on happiness?

    So far I've only gone over productive vs unproductive hours and the results are staggering. The true opportunity cost goes deeper and deeper.

    For failing to abstain every now and then...
    For letting myself believe it wasn't a big deal...
    For the hours I spent chasing a high that left me miserable...
    For all the time I spent in misery, alone and unproductive...

    What is the cost of that?

    Would I be married now? Would I be rich? Would I be successful?


    WAKE UP AND SMELL THE BURNING

    That is the ugliness of this addiction. That is the danger. I could believe I was okay while I was trading my future success away for momentary pleasure, deceiving myself into believing that shallow friendships and the basic necessities of life were enough.

    As the proverb says,

    "Can a man scoop fire into his lap
    without his clothes being burned?
    Can a man walk on hot coals
    without his feet being scorched?
    So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
    no one who touches her will go unpunished."

    Pornstars may not be another man's wife, but I think it's clear to see that the same effect is there. We think we can get away with it until one day we wake up and realize...

    We're burning.

    If 1 hour a day of porn has cost me tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, lost relationships and only earned me misery...how much does porn cost you?

    Does knowing this cost help motivate you to end this once and for all?
     
  2. Asgardian36

    Asgardian36 Fapstronaut

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    All those bizarre statistics aside, I get the point!
     
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  3. theBiggestDream

    theBiggestDream Fapstronaut

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    And that's not taking into account the physical and mental damage that you potentially could be subjecting yourself to, too.

    Very well written post, very nice.
     
  4. e123

    e123 Fapstronaut

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    This I a great post, thank you
     
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  5. Very well written post. As someone with a basic understanding of economics, I totally get it. It has been so out of character and irrational for me when I look at the situation much more objectively nowadays and how much my mind had been tricking me. Then when I count the mental and emit toll PMO has taken on me, it is staggering.
     
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  6. Hros

    Hros Fapstronaut

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    Great post.
     
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  7. Now my challenge is how to live more productively by not using porn and throwing away all that time.
    This has been a bit of a dilemma for me. I need to stop thinking about the time I have wasted and use the time I have left.
     
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  8. SirErnest

    SirErnest Fapstronaut
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    Powerful stuff. Thanks.
     
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  9. Overforme

    Overforme Fapstronaut

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    Porn has to be one societies worse things to breakdown humans and take away productivity. I wish I could go back in time as a healthy man knowing what I know now and having the knowledge of how I feel as of now. I wonder what I could have achieved. I lived over 20 years as a slave to women being cheap and awful human beings to steal away my manhood. How could this have been allowed. The internet destroyed many lives. I wish in sex ed they taught us how porn could cause extreme problems. Instead they were too busy showing us youngsters safe sex videos. Stupid. So stupid.
     
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  10. Haddock

    Haddock Fapstronaut

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    Very well written post thank you ! Even 1 hour a day seems already quite a waste of time but when you count it from the beginning it seems terrible ! Would you learn how to play the piano if you are given 1 hour per day ? Because with this amount of time you surely can... :)
     
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  11. Great post, @letter! I want to push back a little bit on the notion that the time we spend on porn could be devoted to things like writing or learning an instrument since I think a lot of us use our down time for porn, rather than our productive time. For me, the time that I spent on porn was time that I might otherwise have spent consuming (e.g. reading a book or listening to music), rather than producing (e.g. writing a book or playing music) because I burned up all of my productive energy during the day. That said, 5500 hours watching porn versus 5500 hours reading is an astronomical difference and I absolutely agree that it's more significant than we think.

    Furthermore, another cost to consider is that of recovery. Not only do we lose time by spending it on porn, but we spend time trying to recover! I think the analysis here gets a little bit hairier, since recovery can be a very positive experience, but I don't think that I would be spending time here if I weren't addicted to porn, which tells me that recovery time has an opportunity cost compared to free time.
     
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  12. Chappie77

    Chappie77 Fapstronaut

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    How do porn publishers make their money?
    It can't be just subscriptions
    how many people actually pay for porn?

    I believe a lot of their earnings come through internet tracking.
    installing cookies or some other tracking methods and monitoring your browsing behavior.
    They sell this information to analytics companies.
    Maybe porn companies are in reality the biggest analytics companies in existence.

    I was also looking at videos about e-thots.
    On platforms such as twitch.
    Men willingly support attractive females.

    And then you have the whole fin-dom scene
    men getting off on spending large amounts on online women

    Also subscriptions to sites must work.
    I never subscribed myself but there must be many with porn addiction that do so.

    The financial gains and drains in the porn industry are a lot bigger than just the opportunity or time lost costs.
     
  13. letter

    letter Distinguished Fapstronaut

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    Yeah, ofc ofc, being productive with every hour we have just isn’t very realistic. Leisure time is important. Everyone needs to unwind.

    It’s just putting a value on leisure time vs porn isn’t as easy to do compared to something with easy to estimate numbers. I’d love to go more in depth and do a better write up to reflect the different ways we could spend our time and the various payoffs over years it would reap us but the information for this would take some serious research.

    You nailed it with your 2nd paragraph. The more specific and detailed such an analysis is, the hairier and more convoluted it gets to try and interpret and present the findings. There are so many more variables we could consider, and I’d so much enjoy getting into the thick of it...maybe one year I will. But yeah, the kind of work that would take to bring together!! Yikes.

    Thx! Yeah, even something smaller like tending to a garden so that you have fresh herbs & vegetables. Or knitting so that you can give your friends cool things you made. There’s so many ways we could be better.

    Indeed, that is one of the many variables I’d love to dig into, but quantifying it just isn’t possible with the information available publicly. Like, if we were able to measure someone’s life totally free of porn to set a baseline and then again when they are addicted, and a third time to see how long it takes for someone to return to baseline then we’d have some interesting data to wrangle with!

    But such a thing is unlikely to happen, I mean, just the ethics alone on doing that kind of study might bar it from being done.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
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  14. letter

    letter Distinguished Fapstronaut

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    Right! Glad you understood this.

    Based on all the positive feedback, perhaps I should do a rewrite to make it a little more relatable.
     
  15. bigboibez

    bigboibez Fapstronaut

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    Interesting. I havent spent anywhere near that time on porn but if you combined porn and video games im sure i would have spent an obscene number of hours. Video games were sometimes enjoyable, however. Porn is genuinely awful.

    What staggers me is even though almost everyone on this website (and even people who dont know about nofap but want to quit) knows of the awful damage porn causes (ED, lost earnings, shame, ruined relationships) people still hold onto it. There is something about it that you want to hold onto, something that you dont want to lose. I cannot understand why i feel that way. Rationally i know how much damage it does but theres a part of me thats scared when i think of quitting, like i am losing something. And i dont know how i can change my perception.
    That is why porn addiction cant be analysed rationally as you eluded to. I have an econ degree and the foundations of it are nested in assumptions about rationality. It is assumed everyone acts rationally, but clearly, when it comes to porn, almost everyone is irrational (and addiction in general that is the case)
    One thing i have realised is that when my days are full or i socialise a lot, i feel happy and porn doesnt even enter my brain.
    Thats why i dont think rationality is useful in porn addiction. People already know its all bad and no good but we should focus more on redirecting that anxiety and desperation to hold onto something you know thats bad for you towards something good. And that all comes from lifestyle change.
     
  16. This thread is fantastic
     
  17. recon117

    recon117 Fapstronaut
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    Very interesting and informative thread ! Thank you soo much! @letter
     
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  18. I was reading your post when I saw this and had to stop, slam the breaks, and make a note of this. Your eye for statistical information blows my mind away, but this caught my attention since I do want to become a published novelist/writer. I don't know how much time I wasted with porn, but I know that now, I want to be able to make up for the lost time by finally writing out the things that I always wanted to, but never could because I was always so busy focused on my pleasurable needs. If I followed your 30 words per minute rate, I could write 300 words in ten minutes, 1800 words per hour, etc. I know that I won't get to do that unless I tried hard, but I just finished up my first writing piece (second overall) that I have done while on this reboot and it felt wonderful. I am going to try and start making time to write on the weekends and get more done all thanks to this piece of information. Thank you so much for posting this, my dearest friend, since it has ignited a fire in me that wants to pick up the pen, sit down, and write like a mad man until I have produced good fiction for all to read.

    But first, there is classwork that needs to be done.
     

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