Being a man

Submitted by Deez on
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Hello. As a part of my ongoing shifting of reality, I've come upon a new mystery, being a man. For so long, I gave my attention to women, admired and loved them. I can see now that I'm at a point where I need to explore further what it means to be a man. This, I think, is different for every man, but maybe there are some common ideas. I've seen in my own unconscious actions and programming that I have silly ideas about being a man, many of them from action movies or romantic comedies. I'm now redefining.

"A man goes out into the dark to cut down trees." My uncle told me this on the porch after a long day of work and this is what he meant. His partner was losing the view to her favorite oak due to some fast growing juniper trees in a nearby lot. My uncle went on a nighttime stealth mission to remove the obstacles for his partner and restore her view. The dark is the unknown and the trees are a goal. A man has an objective and follows the line to reach the objective, usually treading through some unknown territory along the way.

I quite like the Taoist metaphor. Yang is active and light, a force. Men take action, move along a line to a goal. They do things, pursue their goals instead of letting those goals come to themselves.

I don't really know what a man is, but I've recently decided what kind of man I want to be. I want to be kind instead of being right. I want to be compassionate and aware of the world and the people around me. I want to know what I want and know that I can reach that goal. Confident and sure in the face of any unknown.

Men

You might be interested in what the spiritual teacher, David Deida, thinks about this subject. Here's a link to a chapter from his book for men who want to more fully embody what it means to be a man as he sees it: http://www.bluetruth.org/blog/_archives/2008/2/14/2668889.html

This guy's teachings really helped me a lot, cuz I was influenced by modern society, wanted to be a good feminist dude, and therefore mistakenly suppressed my masculine qualities. It's totally not necessary! You can still be kind and compassionate but true to the warrior within.

Interesting...

That's very interesting, the pursuit of freedom. I can relate to that. I can also relate to your thoughts on suppressing masculine qualities to be more accepted by people in general. Aside from the search for freedom what else is masculine to you?

Manly

Freedom implies many things. I think the main one is that the masculine wants to create, to accomplish, to do great things. Manliness is also about presence, an aura of unshakeability and strength. This is why women are often attracted to assholes, but I think if these women ever saw a "real man," they'd know that integrity is far more attractive.

AC, yes, that does look manly, and I think the reason is that it's a coming back to integrity. It takes strength to maintain integrity in the face of the trials the world throws at us, and when you show this, you look trustable, like someone a woman (and other men) can count on. That's attractive. So is making up your mind and sticking to it. I always used to try to be nice to women by letting them decide what to do, and I was confused when they didn't seem to appreciate the gesture. They don't want to be ignored or made to feel like their feelings don't count, but what they really want is for you to put forth what you want to do--to be the active one, in other words, and they get to relax and trust your energy. Likewise, a man who lives only to love might ironically not be the most attractive to women. Living only to love is a feminine trait, the seeking of connection, and could even be a turn off, at least if it's too strong or if the other manly qualities aren't strong enough.

Yes, it's sad

and I totally understand your feelings.

Are you willing to try two weeks of mutual affection without intercourse? You may find you feel differently by the end of it. Non-goal-oriented affection is a powerful bonding behavior that speaks directly to the primitive part of the brain. No words. No logic.

But for it to work you BOTH have to nurture each other generously...and avoid all attempts to heat each other, or yourselves, up. Let it happen naturally. Have a look at this article...and pretend you're the alligator. Winkhttp://www.reuniting.info/lazy_way_to_stay_in_love

Hi, Marnia What strikes me

Hi, Marnia

What strikes me is that I thought we actually lived in a very bounding relationship. So that is why my world has fallen into pieces. Wthout knowing your techniques we sometimes did have only affection for one another (in times we had other primary tasks or were tired ans so forth).
I hardly can imagine a more bounding relationship! This all is getting me confused.

Creepycreature

Sounds like you have plenty

to build on. Does he WANT to get rid of the addiction?

If so, the Exchanges offer a potential way out. He needs to get through withdrawal WITHOUT ORGASMING or watching porn, or concentrating on flashbacks, etc.

In other words, "sometimes affection" is great, but right now he needs to "reboot" his brain. That means consistently avoiding his triggers for an extended period. At least two weeks...and maybe longer if he's badly hooked. (It can apparently take up to two months for a "relapse" protein to clear out of the reward circuitry.)

So two weeks of affection only, followed by daily affection with still intercourse in scissors position every few days, could really help.

There are two things going on here, and the one that has him hooked is the dopamine cycle. For more, read our book. You can get a glimpse of his issue here: http://www.reuniting.info/download/pdf/Cupid-Ch6.pdf But to really understand how the cycle works, you need to read the earlier chapters.

One thing is for sure...you now face a very important choice: Do you want to be right (to stay angry about his "bad" behavior and your hurt feelings) or do you want to be happy? If the latter, then you will have to build a bridge to him and he will have to want to restore his brain's equilibrium even though the withdrawal while avoiding orgasm will be uncomfortable from time to time. (Daily bonding behaviors will help a lot to ease that discomfort...and improve your mood. Wink )

Lies and doubts (shoul I move to a more apropiate topic?)

Hi Marnia,

Thank you for your long post. I must still think about the issues you raised. But there are some complicating factors. For example: you hve asked me if he wants to stop. He has been lying about his addiction for several year. Once, when I surprised him with the stuff, he gave me his word that he was NOT addicted (which I asked very clearly). And that it would never occur again. All this time he knew exactly what my position on the issue was. And he didn´t change anything in his live to get out of it. He says he has tried it, but then I ask: 'how?' - with no satisfactory answer. He also does not talk about the thing. I must always start the talk. In the last weeks he said all sorts of things about the addiction: that it had nothing to do with me, that he didn´t felt bad about it, that he didn´t knew that it would hurt me (which is the most horrible and implausible of all lies). And, eventually, that he loves me and wants to quit the addiction.
So, if he now says (again) that he wants to stop, how can I know this is his true will, or just some other bullshit? The has been so much lying that I know doubt he is honest about other aspects of our life.

thank you.

Creepycreature

if he wants to stop...

..you're half way there! Please understand that addiciton is not by choice or a "bad habit" that you can stop just by wanting it. It is dominating him without his will.
He can't get out of it without (your) help.
If he really wants stop it, he will agree to try Marnia's approach.

You are hurt and you doubt and your trust has to rebuild, and it will, if you both start the experiment.

Most addicts end up lying about their addiction

This is not because they are liars...but because they themselves just cannot accept/admit that something as trivial as the stimulation provided by two-dimensional figures flickering on a computer screen could have such a tight hold on their behavior.

They figure they'll be able to stop when they promise you they will. But the fact is that they can't...even when they try for two weeks. Read this: http://www.cracked.com/article_15725_great-internet-porn-off.html

So he is not necessarily a man you can't trust...once he has admitted and healed his addiction.

That's why I ask...does he want to quit? If he does, tell him you'll know he means it when he joins a 12-step group, or commits to the program I outlined...or both. If, on the other hand, he thinks he'll be able to quit by himself with no support, he's not serious (enough) about the decision. And he will be likely to continue to relapse, which means he will be likely to continue to lie.

But, again, it's his addiction lying...not him...if you see my point. His brain wants its "medicine" (the neurochemical blast from using porn) to medicate the lows of withdrawal, and it will rationalize ANYthing to get it.

When he cleans up one problem, he's likely to clean up the other. And the support and feedback of a 12-step group can really help with that. You may find he becomes a better-than-ever man as a result of working through this problem. IF you care to wait around.

Just know that you can't make him. The genuine desire to quit has to come from him.

Guys? Can you offer her any advice. Feel free to contradict me!

My thoughts on the Porn Subject

I think you're right on the money with this one. When I decided to change my behavior and give up my addiction to porn (and believe me, I knew where and how to get it when necessary), I had to do one thing, and one thing only, first.

I had to admit I was addicted.

From my point of view, when men watch porn, we are not doing any of the following (at least in our own minds).

1.) Cheating on our spouse
Sorry, but this isn't what's "really" going on. It's perceived that way, and the partner of course gets upset, but in a man's psyche, the last thing on our mind is "Oh man, I'm sooo cheating on my girlfriend right now. I'm developing an emotional attachment to the images on this screen right now." Believe me, we can't even remember the name of the porn star we're looking at, or the cartoon we were observing, etc. etc... we're just going for our next fix. Half of us barely look at the face beyond what erotic images and emotions it can conjure. If we were to some how magically bump into this woman on the street, while she'd probably still be a looker, we'd very likely not recognize her. Unless she were infamous/famous. But that's entirely different.

2.) Comparing our spouse to the porn star
Beyond our desire to find "younger and hotter", I never really sat there recounting the virtues of my virtual mate to my real mate. There was no point where I said, "Yeah, my girlfriend should also become a raving sex beast." My libido may have sought that out, but it's really not personal in the slightest. We crave it more and more as we get chained to our addiction.

3.) Being consciously aware of what's going on
For the 17-20 years of porn addiction/masturbation, I've honestly never given any serious, long term thought to what I was doing or why. See, cheating or unfaithfulness typically requires a very deliberate, conscious action. I have to not only establish a relationship with the person, but also play the game of attraction, and do all the steps that I would go through with the previous partner. In other words, it actually takes communication, personal magnetism, power, wealth, etc., to attain that emotional affair.

Porn requires none of this. I don't need to attract the girl. Heck, I don't even need to find her anymore. It's right there, a simple click away. When I didn't have porn as a young kid, I had my imagination. It was the same deal. I just did it. I just pictured who I wanted to picture, my blood boiled, and I had my way with it. But once it was over, it was simply over. There was nothing else to this. It was mostly automatic. I fulfilled my biological need and desire, and that was it.

I didn't light candles to masturbate, or think fond thoughts. I thought dirty, animal, and basic.

to Creepycriature:

Dude, we're more scratching an itch (addiction), than anything else. Half the time I did, I was barely conscious. I did it to forget my real world stresses. I did it to cover up any complaints I had. Yes, it was even an escape from any disturbing aspects I was having with my relationships. But it was just that. Another beer. Another fix. Nothing more. Nothing less. Even if I stared at pictures for 1 hour, or 2 hours, it wasn't because I was fond of the girls. It was because I was wholly desensitized and needed more images to reach the previous relief. It's not that I wanted a harem. It's just that even if ALL of the images were attractive, I needed more time and variety to fulfill my hunger. All biological. None emotional or spiritual.

If a girl had offered me an affair, I would have been vehemently opposed to it. But the virtual girls weren't considered the same thing to me. They were like my man version of a vibrator. I saw, and had in the past used it, as nothing more than a tool. I used porn before dating girls, and so to quit porn afterward seemed rather absurd.

Granted, the damage that porn had done to me was extensive. And like Marnia says, none of us will stop until we finally realize and admit to ourselves that we are indeed addicted. I found out by coming to this very site. What helped me most was being challenged with this simple, yet poignant question.

"If you're not addicted to porn, then just give it up entirely for three weeks. Don't masturbate at all. Just walk away. It shouldn't even bother you in the slightest, because you're not addicted. This is like having orange soda for dinner. No problem if you don't have it. Right?"

Once I actually seriously pondered this question, and realized that the notion of simply walking away from my vast porn cache for three weeks was not a simple notion, even WITHOUT girlfriend or wife, I finally knew that I had a problem.

If your husband and you didn't have each other, guess what your husband would be using right now... porn. It has little to do with you. It's not right. It's not ideal. It's not comfortable. But... it's a reality that's always existed. To be overly upset or shocked, while understandable, it also somewhat of a denial. "No, he's never thought this way before. This behavior is unacceptable." No, he's always behaved and thought this way. It's like telling a man who was always drinking in a relationship to just stop drinking. It's a bit more challenging than that.

Good luck to you though. It's not a problem that should be taken lightly. I know that now. But it's going to be an uphill struggle, and there's a great deal more involved to it than "Just giving it up."

Cracked Funny Guy

I'm happy that it wasn't too difficult to not click to see the porn, but I've got to admit my eye lingered on the photos.
more than 10 months on the path and a gazillion days since our last O

Thanks for laying it out so

articulately, Fisherman. I think it's good for women to hear what it's like from your perspective. It's so easy to judge other people according to our own perceptions/beliefs when, in fact, the reality from their perspective is always different. In this case, very different.

While the addict is the only one who can change his course of action, we women definitely need to understand that until he does so he's on "autopilot" when those urges hit. He's no long consciously choosing, and certainly not choosing to hurt others. That's purely a side effect of the illness.

That's not to say that any mate should feel obligated to stick around. But an addict who IS willing to tackle his challenge head on can become an amazingly compassionate and wise person as a consequence. That's why I encourage people to find out if their addicted mate is serious about getting help and healing. If so, he could be a "keeper." Wink

Creepy Creature

After reading yours & fishermans responses. It has certainly helped me to understand, it doesn't altogether make it easier but & I must admit I don't know how often my husband uses this , he is a computer boffin & well placed to hide this if need be. I don't think it would bother me so much if I felt my needs were being satisfied unfortunately it has made it difficult over the years for me to take the lead. In my mind it's like I've decided it's him that is looking for something so why isn't he making a huge sexual effort with me? Until coming to this site I now realise I have been thinking about me, what I want my problems & getting short tempered with my husband when I don't get what I want even though I haven't voiced what that is. I have taken little time to understand this from his point of view & as tough as it is maybe I need to take control here, show him more affection, be more open my self & show some more understanding, instead of making him feel like a dirty old man, maybe then he will be more open with me if he feels love from me & knows I'll always be there for him. I don't believe he wants to hurt me or that he doesn't love me. We had a good chat Friday night (after a few drinks & I bought it up again) He pretty much said what fisherman said that it was no more than a tool & he didn't know why he does it. There's a long way to go here & I don't expect it to be easy I just hope I can help him & we can start to build our future & not destoy it. Good luck to you too with this situation which I am well aware can be soul destroying.

Thank you

Hi Adora,

Thank you for coming back. Many of us here are dealing with our own problems. It's a good reminder that living with someone with a porn addiction is just as bad.

P.

Hi Adora

Glad you finally got the login to work!

If your husband is hooked, then he has work to do. Your loving behavior alone won't be enough to pull the situtation back on track. I'd hate to see you blame yourself for something you didn't create and can't fix in him. It could discourage you about relationships in general.

Is he willing to get help or try to "reboot" his brain? (Could he read this chapter, so he has a better understanding of WHY it's so hard to quit, and what is going on in his brain? http://www.reuniting.info/download/pdf/Cupid-Ch6.pdf)

He may not yet realize, or want to admit, the seriousness of his addiction. But if he learns a bit more about it, he may come to understand what's really going on. It will make your job of staying open and loving a lot easier if he's also doing his part.

Very good point

This is it & no he hasn't admitted he has an addiction & I don't know that I can accuse him of having a acual addiction, without knowing how often he uses it makes it hard to judge. I am caught in between trying my hardest to understand & boiling over with fury. I don't want to appear prudish or harsh toward the situation & can only hope by trying a little harder to be understanding of this matter maybe he will eventually find it in himself to be honest & then we can get to work, who knows where it will end or indeed how. Certainly for now I have to try something as I can't imagine life in general without him.

I always welcome your thoughts & support.

Thank you

I don't recommend accusing him

in any case. That will just bring up all his resistance, artful rationalizations and self-righteous thinking - and make him feel the need to lie to avoid your wrath. I suggest sharing some materials that will let him assess his circumstances for himself. And don't bug him while he's figuring it out. That way he has no one else to project his "justifications" onto. Smile

If you don't want to lead him to www.reuniting.info just now (since it's your support place), you might start elsewhere. for example, you could say you have more compassion for him than you had before as a result of reading...[whatever], and send him a link to the material.

For instance, you could share this article. It's not on our site, it's in the Huffington Post: "What Porn Users Taught Me" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marnia-robinson/what-porn-users-taught-me_...

Try to stay as neutral and unemotional with him as you can while he's sorting through this. Feel free to vent here, however. Wink We know how painful this can be, and how much better everyone feels when addiction is NOT in the picture. But his first step must be to figure out he has a problem, and it will be easier for him if he knows he can discuss it (when he's ready) without feeling judged. Imagine if you were the one with the addiction, and you may see what I mean.

*big hug*

Addicted or Not

The simple challenge that has taught so much to so many is: can you go two weeks without porn? If so, no problem. If not, then you need to think about how it affects you. You don't have to report this to anyone else. Just use it to get a better understanding of yourself.

Here's a site that has that same challenge without religious or moral overtones: http://www.cracked.com/article_15725_10-steps-porn-addiction-where-are-y...

Good luck!

P.

Couldn't agree more

The simple two-week "challenge" really was the most neutral, non-accusatory, non-judgmental way of getting the point across. It was this question that caused me to finally pause, and OBJECTIVELY consider the possibility that I was addicted to porn and that it wasn't good for me.

All other methods failed, and failed miserably. The moral stance had few legs to stand on. When your mind feels attacked, especially concerning an addiction, all kinds of protections you never considered come up. For porn, I had all kinds of reasonings as to why it wasn't bad, and how my use of it was actually good or at least not worth changing.

If you accuse your husband, or attack him from your perspective, the situation will grow worse, not better. He won't understand where you're coming from because you're coming from your perspective. He's not you; he doesn't see it that way. The two-week challenge doesn't come from you though. It's just a rhetorical question. Funnily enough, even guys who end up not quitting porn are hard-pressed to deny that they are indeed addicted. I've been to forum threads where a bunch of guys do a "no-masturbation challenge". Of the fifty that declare they're in, only 4 or 5 make it to the 1-3 week mark. And struggle mightily with it. The rest admit, in their own ways, that they'd rather download porn and can't "live" without it.

Sad state of affairs, but what you're angry at is something really deeply entrenched in the psyche. I still struggle with it right now, myself. I get bouts where I start thinking about it a lot more intensely than normal. While I haven't necessarily relapsed lately, you have to be prepared for that too. This isn't something one merely shrugs off.

Mega-kudos, Adora

Adora said "as tough as it is maybe I need to take control here, show him more affection, be more open my self & show some more understanding, instead of making him feel like a dirty old man, maybe then he will be more open with me if he feels love from me & knows I'll always be there for him." Adora, I think you've got it!

Adora, if I were in your husband's place, what I would want is to FEEL SAFE talking about the porn use. In other words, I would not want to feel afraid that I would be punished for admitting... anything. "Punishment" could be in the form of harsh judgments, scolding, lecturing, withholding of affection or sex, etc. If you have punished him in the past for admitting anything, then it may take some time to build up the trust to the point where he would feel safe talking with you.

I agree 1000% with what Marnia said in her "I don't recommend accusing him" post, above.

If you think you might need some help in learning how to communicate safely, I highly recommend the book Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg, and some related videos. See this thread for more about Nonviolent Communication (NVC): http://www.reuniting.info/node/2535

The Cracked article http://www.cracked.com/article_15725_10-steps-porn-addiction-where-are-y... is excellent also. It was that article that really challenged me to try giving up porn, and I voluntarily tried giving up masturbation at the same time. That was two years ago. Now I've been (almost) entirely porn free for those two years, and entirely masturbation free for 14 months. I actually prefer to live this way. (My story about this is at http://www.reuniting.info/node/1505)

Good luck with resolving this issue with your husband! I wish my own wife was willing to consider a more flexible/accepting/understanding/forgiving sort of communication style. Without "safe", open communication, it is pretty much impossible to resolve other issues.

The "Cracked" article

IS brilliant, but it's only part of the story. As you say, Fisherman, it just leaves a lot of guys "stuck" in the belief that they're addicts.

That's why I think something that points to the brain chemistry...and how natural it is for the primitive part of the brain to light up for novel partners...and what helps the brain "reboot" is important, too. But maybe that needs to come...er...later.

About Manhood...

Author and Men's Movement advocate Steve Biddulph says that 'manhood isn't a stage, it's a connection'. As I recall, he was implying lots of things, particularly being ok with your own father and the company of other men, being able to draw emotional nourishment from the connection with your mentors and guides etc. (Where there are issues with one's father he highly recommends putting forth some effort in resolving these as much as one can). When we speak of qualities like integrity or strength as being somehow 'male', and nurturing ability as being 'female', I cannot agree because I see those qualities amongst both sexes alike, as well as the lack thereof occasionally (this includes in myself!). For example, I have seen the process of birth and I reckon it looked like about the toughest thing I have ever seen anyone have to do. (She achieved it with both heroic strength and ultimately, love and surrender.) Furthermore, my kids rely on me for emotional nourishment and I love taking care of them when I have them over, cooking nice things for them etc. 'Feminine' quality? No, human quality. So I would definitely have to agree with Biddulph's view about what being a man entails, we can't pin it down with just a few qualities, it's about that connection he speaks of, I feel. Thank you for your post and the issue it raised.

Yes, I like your points.

Yes, I like your points. Similarly, "feminism" is only a response to the idea that women are less than human. When women are acknowledged as fully human, feminism will be obsolete, and gladly so.

The idea that women are somehow 'less than human'

is one I have never held, and as far as I know none of my male friends hold that strange idea either! From a global social perspective, however, women per se seem to often be treated in that way, (in some cultures the problem is much more extreme than in ours), and I do see your point also.

I would say this is not just

I would say this is not just a "global" (ie, 3rd world?) problem. It seems to me that men in this culture who watch porn that is violent to women are supporting this view/practice of treating women as less than human even if they intellectually don't believe that to be the case or treat women in their everyday lives that way.

violent porn

not sure if I saw women as less than human because of porn. I will give you a very honest feeling I got from watching that kind of porn and see what you think or other people think. After reading your post here I did some hard thinking on what I got from that kind of porn you speak of. Well it did get a reaction out of me. Make of this what you will this is how I honestly felt watching this stuff. I was really turned on by it. I did not like it for the violence it was the reaction of the women that I watched (I should add I have not watched for awhile and I know it is bad). Now what really got me is that I was jealous of these women more than anything. I wanted to feel what they were feeling in these vids. That may make me crazy but that is how I felt watching that type of video. That is what turned me on I wanted to be one of them and feel that.

I figure I need to be as honest as I can to get past my addiction so I am going to give as honest as I can. This may seem shocking it is even to me cause I never really put it into words. So is my head messed up I think so. Did I view or view women as less than human I do not know I do not think so but I am messed up enough in this area I probably can not tell.

Well these is an honest answer on one persons view of violent porn I am sure each person looks at it differently.

Is there any hope for me after rereading that I really am messed up. 20+ years of an addiction gets you to stranges places in the mind I guess.

Some Responses are wired in

When I was in university, a friend of mine was in feminist studies. She was part of a project to create a film about violence to women. It was shot in documentary style, and was intended to sensitize a male audience to the problems of abuse. It was based on statistics that showed that most raped women know their attacker. (That statistic was newer back then.) They ended up scrapping the project when they found that several of the test audience members admitted to being turned on by the material.

Others can bear me out on this, but the flight/fight rush of adrenaline/dopamine overlaps with sexual turn-on. In the real world, there would be no ambiguity. Your rational mind is able to distinguish whether your reaction should be fear or attraction. But when you're sitting safely on your couch watching images on a screen, the context changes and your brain can confuse the two. Personally, I think that pornographers are aware of this and deliberately play on this response to sell more porn.

P.

Don't worry.

If we can't be completely honest here, in this place, where can we be? We need a space that is free of judgement, otherwise we would feel like we have to watch what we say or reveal. Just by showing up here you are already in a minority. There are far, far more men out there watching porn who don't see it as a problem. Let's remind ourselves that all the men here are deserving of respect for seeing that there is a problem, and having the desire to correct it. This is not an occasion for shame.

Yes addiction leads us into some strange places. I know what you're talking about there. And I know how you can feel like 'you' are pretty messed up. Well the good news is it's not you at all...

Keep being honest and truthful, almazrim, it's what we need. Helps the rest of us to speak up. Re violent porn, I understand what it is like to be drawn to images that actually shock and disturb you. That is part of the addiction, as I'm sure you know.

thanks and question

thanks for your honesty, it's great that you are able to spot what you felt! that's not an easy mission, to spot the subconscious reactions.

my question is: do you think it would have made a difference to your addiction if you would have known that these women don't enjoy that stuff at all? that they are just ACTING as if they would? that they were so afraid of those hardcore sets beforehand that they had to drug themselves?

and all this in search for love and attention which they never get

would that make a difference to this addiction or not? I am really asking. I know that Marnia would say, no it makes no difference. Is that really true? What do you guys say?

I certainly am not hoping

I certainly am not hoping that anyone will censor themselves in here, even if the truth is really very disheartening for me as a woman: to hear that violence turns men on.

As asher points out, the part of you that is messed up is not YOU. Likewise, I would suggest that the women who accept being treated inhumanely is not being fully herself. As Shelley Lubin puts it, "I sold what was left of my heart, mind and femininity to the porn industry and the woman and person in me died completely on the porn set."

But let's please get to the bottom of this. Even if that isn't the true and healthy you, or the true and healthy form of femininity, there is something deep going on here I believe that is more than just "being on drugs" (whether your own neurchemical imbalance or in the case of porn stars, the drugs they are on that allow them to go through with it).

My guess is that being a porn star has something to do with the deepest desire most women have to be THE most desired by men. Even in the face of abuse, being a porn star is confirmation of desirability.

And for men, most men deep down probably just want to be accepted, for who they are. Because they don't feel powerful in their lives, violence is a fantasy that lets them feel powerful and accepted. The women in these scenes will accept ANYTHING, and that is a turn on.

Or am I totally off the mark here? It seems to me that the turn on is something like being such a powerful male that the woman simply could not resist, she would accept all of you, she would do anything you wanted.

But almrazim says its something else. He was jealous of the women, and he was not excited by the violence, but by the RESPONSE to it.

So, what is the response of the women that excites you, and why are you jealous of it?

It has to do with control I believe

I think it is that they have givien up control of themselves for the pure pleasure. That is what many of the scenes appear to be. I know it is something else but that is the feeling that come across. That is what I think I was trying to say earlier. You just give in and it is out of your control and you like it cause you are free of actually doing anything yourself. It is the thought that they are in bliss. That is what I believe I am seeking with the masturbation, porn, and orgasm. That need to be accepted and to be in complete ecstasy. That is the jealous part. That is what those scenes appear to me to be showing someone is pure ecstasy.

Now that I have been here I see how things get twisted in my head. What I am looking for will never be found through this process. It is just so easy for the brain to get tricked into thinking this is the path just keeping pushing. While you are in this cycle deep you think it is wonderful. Now looking back it is kind of strange to think like that most of the time now(I am far from over this but even now I can see the very bad part of this). I will say that when I broke down and stoped coming here afew months and went back to porn an masturbation an orgasm I was not able to watch porn videos oh I tried I tried a lot but I just could not get turned on by them any more ( this is a good thing)
what I went to was images of women and they did not have to be nude (many were). My whole turn on changed but it was still porn and the same thing but at least I have been able to move from some of the worst of it. Now I just need to get past all the rest.

ok I got a little side tracked I hope I answered well enough. If not ask me more it helps to get as deep as I can into these thoughts and feelings so I can understand myself a little more.

thanks again for listening

No, I'm sorry, I'm still not

No, I'm sorry, I'm still not clear. You are saying that women truly enjoy violence? You are saying that experiencing violence is a blissful experience?

I can see how you would have a hard time giving up porn that depicts women actually enjoying themselves. What I am not getting is the connection between violent porn and women enjoying themselves, much less being in bliss or ecstacy. Perhaps they are not in bliss but simply totally dissociated?

I would be curious to see some of this violent porn that supposedly causes bliss in women.

What do other men here think who have been turned on by violent porn? Is the turnon the violence itself, the sense of control, the woman's response? Maybe all of it together.

I am just wondering how this sense of women's bliss and trust in porn would compare to the actual bliss you could give to a woman in real life, almrazim.

One thing I have noticed being a woman in this day and age and dating men who have inevitably ingested large amounts of porn: the act of sex starts to get an eery feeling of being terribly scripted. Men say things that you can tell is being informed by their porn watching, not their real feelings in the moment. It's like they want to embody porn scenes, but their porn watching has so truncated them from what sex can really be about that they are not even aware of how ridiculously scripted they are. Their come on lines, the things they say while having sex, the things they ask you to do or say become very predictable. It's really quite sad.

I doubt they were but the

I doubt they were but the scenes were setup to make them appear so. When I talk of violent porn I am not talking about things that did permanent physical harm (I am sure there is permanent emotional and psychological issues as you can see from reading former porn stars stories). I will give an example. A brief one I consider Violent porn if the women is tied up and any form of torture technique is used. I will stick with water. Lets say a women is tied up to a suspended metal frame and Hit with strong burst of water all over till well she had orgasm after orgasm hate to be blunt but I think I need to here. That was a turn on for me. How I got to that point is a long one. I was at the point that I would have loved to be in her position. Why I can not explain it any better than I have I do not have the words. Let me add that I hate real violence towards women as I said it was not the torture that got me but the fact that the women appeared to enjoy it and I wanted that. I know it sounds sick but what can I do that is where I was (not completely cure of that either but I am working on it).

let me try something else. I liked or like Hypnosis vids too. That is a non violent or less violent type of porn where women give over control.
I got really hooked to that. That got me trying erotic hypnosis up till I revisited this site. I could actually try some of the stuff they were doing to lose control. That was very strong feeling for me. I tried the erotic hypnosis and it did for awhile seem that it could give me what I wanted. You can tell how that ended. I am here. Cause none of that can give me what I really want and need. I can at least see that now.

I know why you are having trouble with what I am saying. You are far more in balance than I have ever been. I see how twisted it is after a short time of trying to stop the destructive cycle in me. Someone in balance or looking from the outside will find it hard to figure out. Trust me that is a good thing. It is a twisted view of things.

I get all messed up trying to get all the thoughts in my head down but this is about the best I can do I think. I will think on it some more see if I can explain parts better.

again let me say I do now wish violence on women. I actually hate it. See how twisted that is it does hurt looking back at some of the things I watched to get off on. The addiction is no excuse. I should have been above that but I was not. Now I have to deal with it as best i can. If I do find someone in the future I will not hide this part of my past from them. As long as this site is up I will even have them read my blog. If that is something they can not deal with then I will be ok with it. I just think that this is something I could not keep from someone I really want to be close without it eating at me till I could not stand it. So this is something I will have to deal with my whole life. I am ok with that too cause at least I see the problem with it now. Will I beat this addiction I hope so but I still have a long way to go.

If things do ever work out for me. I will at least know not to bring any of the stuff from the porn to the relationship. I at least have that little bit on my side I hope.

I rambled again please ask me to clarify or focus on any part of that if need be its a bit jumbled again there is just so much stuff in my head right now kind of hard to focus.

You will reach a state of

You will reach a state of balance eventually.

Some of these things can't be explained, or even understood.

The point is to realize what is REALLY important in life.

The point is to LIVE, enjoy, and share the joy with others.

Wishing you the best.

Sexual Intensity

A number of the men in Reuniting have talked about masturbating several times a day. A teenager, chock full of hormones, could do that with just a picture, but as you age, it takes material with a MUCH higher emotional content to reach repeated orgasms. That's why increasingly extreme porn is necessary. Personally, I don't think the guys looking at violent scenes are thinking about the real women (i.e. the actors) at all. The image is partly on the screen, but that's only a jumping off point for their own fantasy. Fantasy is mostly in your head.

Sad, but true.

P.

Mirror neurons?

If we're craving intensity to snap us out of our low-dopamine doldrums, then watching someone else undergoing an intense experience allows us to partake as well. This can feel like welcome "medicine" for a "flat" brain.

I'm struck by how gray porn addicts say their regular world becomes while their brains are caught in the low-dopamine cycle. ONLY intense porn seems to offer relief from that "hopeless ghost in a gray world" feeling.

Worse yet, the "ghost" needs more and more intensity to feel "alive,"....until he reboots his brain by grinding through a grim withdrawal period. It's a lot less grim when shared with sympathetic listeners. So please reach out, guys...not just to us, but to every source of help during the worst of it, at least.

We're holding a vision of your restored good health.

Hopeless gray world

Hi Marnia,

Speaking only for myself, sex, whether with a partner or self-inflicted, never caused my world to go gray. Women never lost their appeal.

What turned my world gray was depression, which I view as the physical reflection of feelings of chronic hopelessness. In reading the posts of many of the men on Reuniting, I have wondered whether depression is playing a part in their lives and that porn is a way of self-medicating.

P.

We men have this 'ability'

(not that we wanted it or created it) to put sex in a kind of 'compartment' totally separate from love and even reality it would seem. That is why a man feels like he is not betraying his girlfriend or wife when he looks at porn, cos it has nothing to do with her, it's a different realm that is purely about sex where love does not come into the equation. He can still actually love his girlfriend/wife, and only her, he just has a problem with porn, that's all. It is the same with the violent porn, though personally it's not my thing, but I'm sure that *most* men who are so 'into' this stuff would NEVER want to actually do this to a woman...cos it's nothing to do with reality at all, its a separate realm/compartment called 'pornland'. The trouble is that it does end up intruding and impacting on the relationship, in ways we all know, not being as interested in his partner anymore, etc...But honestly ladies, we men are programmed to constantly look around at different females, we did not create this program! That's why we get so easily hooked on porn...it plays to our weakness (by the way, in the animal kingdom where this program was formed, it was not considered a weakness at all...).

In an ultimate sense this is of course unhealthy, it is better to have a unity between sex, love and one woman in your life (human life as distinct from animal life). That is what we strive for!

It is a self-justification

It is a self-justification of the hungry-ghost that says, "This is not real so it is okay."

Again, that word REAL coming up. A tricky thing to define.

The porn scenes shot take place in real time with real people, for those scenes and women who are not 3-d animations.

The masturbation and having sex with the computer takes place in real time by real men.

The effects of viewing porn, as you point out, have real impacts on real relationships.

It seems porn is actually quite real - a real relationship with real consequences.

If it were not real, it would be easy to stop. Everything we perceive is real. What is real is where we place our attention. We decide what is real to us based off of how much we pay attention to it.

Of course women understand that porn is not the same kind of infidelity as that with a living breathing woman. Just like a man understands that its not. The infidelity lies in the insult that many men seemingly would rather have sex with their computer and with "unreal" women, than with real ones. THAT is the infidelity.

I think its a misperception on the part of men when they believe that women are stupid enough to think that the infidelity lies in the man's actual desire to have a living breathing relationship with the porn star. This is not the point. The point is this: it is VERY discouraging to see just how much time, energy, vitality, money, attention, fantasy, and sexual energy men prefer to pour into a machine, into something "not real". It is a turnoff to see how sexually boring our men have become, all in their search for novelty and interaction without consequences, yet still in the name of the feeling of manly "power." How could one feel power without consequences? It is a turnoff to see that so many men would rather hoodwink themselves and leave their women lonely and neglected, than they would really feel their power and the manifestations of their power. Instead, they watch simulacrums of it. Instead, they watch a fantasy of the selves they can't muster to be.

Men and women are mutually defining. A man's power means nothing without a woman's power. To the extent that men undermine their own power, they undermine women's. To the extent that women undermine their own power, they undermine men's. To the extent that men undermine women's power, they undermine their own. To the extent women undermine men's power, they undermine their own.

We've gotta get on the new program here. I don't care about "old programming," I care about your power. Neither do I care about the whole sob story of the abuse of that power in the past. I care about the strength you do or do not have to own your power, to get over the infidelity to your power that has been afforded by laziness, neurochemical explanations, comparisons to various other animal species, etc etc. Those explanations can always be found, and they may have truth to them, but the point still remains whether or not you actually do CHOOSE free will within the context of the karmic patterns you have created.

This is all of our task, and its a spiritual task. It's what makes life meaningful, or meaningless.

I think understand what you

I think understand what you are saying. I do not want to do the sob story (although I have been doing that in some post). I wish to get rid of the old programming. Why do men let themselves get addicted to porn. I wish I had the answer. For me I think I may have one.

Fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of being hurt ( yeah I know I have hurt myself far more). Fear of not meeting expectations of being a man. Fear of hurting or mistreating someone I love. Fear of losing that someone.

yes Fear. The are other fears I just can not come up with the words. It all comes down to fear. Outside of family I fear women. that is as best as I can put it. how you can be so attracted to women and fear them at the same time is very hard. In many cases I just freeze up can not talk to women.

This is part of what drove me to porn and masturbation. No fear. No rejection. Anything I wanted at any time. See the seduction there. It is no excuse but the seduction is there.

So Fear starts it. Then after the orgasm overload your mind loses what ability you had to get past the fear. Then you are on a loop. The fear just gets more and more and you need that fix again and again which give the fear more and more control.

then after 20+ years you have the mess that is me. I do not know how to explain me any better or how to fix me. I can only go by the best guide I have found and that is this website.

I know what I have talked about and done and felt toward porn and women disturbs you and I am sorry for that. Again there is nothing I can do about the past I can only move forward form here and see if I can fix myself before it is too late.

You're obviously a

You're obviously a sweetheart, almrazim. But you're right - a fearful sweetheart doesn't have much to offer. If you fear women, its time to start get over that. Not just by stopping porn, but by realizing you're a great guy and that you need to start some new programming by interacting with real women. Please do yourself a favor and have some courage.

Thank you. Hopefully in the

Thank you. Hopefully in the near future I will. Now you have me crying (but I think that might be a good thing).

I can still not believe how great the people on this site are.

With everyones support on this site how can a fail. I can at least now see some light at the end of that tunnel.

A big Thank You to everyone here.

What's underlying the porn use

Hotspring wrote: "It is a turnoff to see that so many men would rather hoodwink themselves and leave their women lonely and neglected, than they would really feel their power and the manifestations of their power."

Don't forget, Hotspring, that in that unenlightened world out there outside of Reuniting, there are a lot of couples with seemingly mismatched sex drives. When the man wants sex (orgasms) more often than his partner is willing to give, the man is apt to feel resentful (and probably "lonely and neglected" as well!) and will seek other means to get his "needs" met, such as masturbation, porn, and having sex with other women (or men, or farm animals...)

If it was common knowledge that people don't need orgasms to lead a happy, sane life, I expect there would be a lot less porn use and a lot more happy relationships. Not to mention less domestic violence, fewer broken homes, less sexual abuse of children, etc.

Do men really only want sex?

Do men really only want sex? If they do, I suppose that given these basic needs, porn or farm animals DO serve a very important function.

But I don't think that only sex fulfills men's deepest needs. I think that men's needs go much, much deeper than just physical drive and release. These needs are embodied in physicality and release and so are mistaken for them.

What is it that men really need? I am willing to try to hear you if you do end up saying: they just need physical release. That is how men are. But althought I will hear it, I can't afford to be resigned to it. I can't really let my view of men get that malnourished, tho I have come close at times. If I do let myself cave in to such a two-dimensional view of men, women are inevitably doomed in this scenario.

See, for a woman, there is no such thing as "simply sex." There can't be, because sex has repercussions, which she is bound to have to carry out if she isn't alert. The whole fertility problem - the fact that the most simple purpose of sex is to procreate.

Sure, we can say that hormonal birth control has made it possible for women to "simply have sex." But at what cost, and whose? Is it simple to alter your hormones every single day for years on end? That is a hugely complex sacrifice for the sake of everyone else's need to "simply f***."

I, personally, as a woman, have a need to make that place inside me in which life can grow a place that is respected and held sacred. If I disrespect it by ignoring my creative power and blunting it with hormones, I am doing both men and myself a disservice because I have blunted my creative power (procreative power can be turned into any kind of creative power, if it is channeled and not blunted). So, the only way to get around this is to have a shared form of conscious birth control. Then sex can be "simply sex", but conscious and intentional and with shared responsibility. In the end, partner-based birth control is the only way that I have found to simply have sex (and not to procreate). It's very difficult to do without a partner.

No not just sex

Well I have never had sex with anyone but I do know now that the masturbation, porn, and orgasm at least for me has been a way to try and fill a void. They can never fill it though no matter how hard you try (trust me I have tried a lot). I can now see and I am positive that I am right (I have done no studies on it but) the only thing that can fill the void I speak of is a companion. I have had problems as you know and I am talking about an dealing with them as best I can now. I only see one way out and that is with a real relationship with another person. I can only hope that if I do find someone I do not make a mess of it. I think I ( I will not speak for all men) got all my circuits mixed. Physical release is fine (Orgasm does feel good in the moment no way around that) but it is not enough. I am hooked on this cycle cause I have tried to trick my mind into thinking this is just as good and that all I need is myself and I will be fine. Well it is all a lie the whole porn scene is one big lie that seduces your mind into thinking it is all good. The bad thing is my mind wanted to hear that. It wanted the easy way. Well it seemed the easy way not too sure about that now.

I'll cut the rambling and say again. I am sure (maybe it is not for all men but I am thinking it is) that I need more than the physical release. I want something that does not even require physical release. I want to connect with someone I do not have the words but just way more than physical. If I were better with putting feelings into words I think I could explain better.

If is was just physical release using orgasm then I would be fine had enough of those for anyone. No matter how many orgasms no matter how much porn no matter how much of all of it I try and do and absorb none of it fills the void or makes the pain go away. So there has to be more there has to be something I am missing cause physical release does nothing to make the pain go away.

so much for cutting the ramblings
well there are my views on what I think this whole mess is about with me.

For me,

bringing science into the discussion is just a way to give those of us who need experts to tell us what we should already sense ourselves (but often don't due to media distortions) clear "permission" to benefit from health-giving choices and behaviors.

Just as you point out, we have been given the subtle(?) message constantly that orgasm is the key to happiness...and its short-term benefits make that really easy to accept without examining.

So here's another science reminder. We are pair bonders. Just like we're tribal primates. We get very important rewards, which soothe stress levels and improve health, when we connect with a mate, when we exchange physical affection (whether or not orgasm occurs) and when we have friendly interaction with others.

It's not your imagination when you recognize that you want more than just orgasm, and that the "orgasm substitute" is inadequate. I'm working on an article on this now. Here's part one of "The Mysteries of Pair Bonding": https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/200910/the-my...

A friend once said

that every woman should have a shot of testosterone...just for a day. I often think of that. I suspect that if we women DID have that shot, a lot of these mysteries would instantly be solved. We'd understand how easy it is to slip into the porn trap and a lot of the other things discussed so candidly (thanks, guys) in this amazing thread. (By the way, in Act 2 of this radio show, a woman actually DOES take testosterone...as part of a sex change...and it's a real eye-opener for "her." http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=220)

At the same time, I think many of us here, of both sexes, can see that sexual relationships have a great deal more hidden potential...even if we're not sure exactly how to tap it consistently. For me, it's a great feeling when we challenge each other to raise our sights. Porn recovery is sort of a crash course in this same shift. "Maybe the last shall be first" or something like that. Wink

Do men really only want sex?

Well, _some_ do, from what I can recall of my high school and college days. Others want something more, and it probably is different for different men. They might be looking for a close friend, a soulmate, "somebody to love" (the Beatles), someone to talk to, someone to share activities with, someone to share physical touch with, snuggle up with, sleep with, someone to be the mother of their kids, someone to cook and do the housework, or someone to show off to their friends (a "trophy" wife).

I think sex is pretty important for most men. Most probably think they would be unhappy or would go crazy without it. And sex and orgasm get mixed up, in the sense that it probably never occurs to most men that they could have sex _without_ orgasm, and most would be incredulous (unless they were open-minded enough to try it) that sex without orgasm could be enjoyable and perhaps even be preferable to conventional sex.

Even I, with my new-found Reuniting wisdom and enlightenment, would have a hard time considering a long-term relationship where there could be no sex at all, ever (due to a medical condition for example). Of course I want other things in a relationship, such as companionship and sharing physical affection, but sex (karezza) is still fairly important to me.

Hell yes, getting laid is

Hell yes, getting laid is important, VITALLY important. I suggest without good laying, most women are miserable as well. I know I sure have been. That's why I'm moving on. Because I simply need to get laid. If only it were that simple!

What it comes down to is that a lot of men and women in this culture are sexually frusterated. It may take different forms, but that's basically what's going on. For a woman, it could manifest as frigidity, for a man it could manifest as trying to have sex with an electronic device. In both cases, this is not "our natural state", or our inherent sexuality as men and women. Let's not please think that just because it is a natural response to try to deal with sexual frusteration, that those responses are our natural state of healthy sexuality. Once we have been in this state of sexual frusteration for a certain point of time (or lifetimes) we may begin to think that we are simply "mismatched," and that we have to follow our own "true nature" to be "happy."

Marnia, I have heard that radio piece about the testosterone injection a couple of times (I remember when it first came out). Yes, it is sobering. Yes, I do realize that it could be quite quite challenging to have so much testosterone. Still, I am not a man. I can try to imagine, and I can gain some level of sympathy, but when the day is done I am a woman and I must speak from my sense as a woman.

We can look at things from a purely neurochemical perspective, but neurochemical events are triggered by, respond to, and are embodied in contextual social acts, and that's the level that interests me more. It is not enough to know that we are all on drugs, and that there are different points of equilibrium for us each (tho that is a start). We must start to communicate and to reach out to one another.

Please, all of you know, that I get truly earnest and thoughtful about all of this stuff, and yes - sometimes a bit haughty or sad or worked up - but I ultimately do believe that men and women have the capactiy to experience true bliss and union and balance and so this work is worth it. I know I'm certainly grateful to all who have shared with me some of their experiences so that I could try to understand another human being.

Well said: another human being

Hi Hotspring,

A big mistake I made was to generalize from the woman I was with to all women. Talking to women online in forums such as this one was an eye-opener for me. It made me look at my wife with new eyes. The revelation for me was understanding the effect of external stress on our relationship. Sex is like comfort food for me: I turn to it for relief. Stress was a complete turn off for my wife. When there is stress in her life sex is the last thing she wants.

Like Marnia says elsewhere, it's hard not to take something as emotionally loaded as that personally. She started thinking, all he wants is my body. I started thinking, she's denying me on purpose. That led to a rift in our relationship. For years, our marriage turned into a business transaction: you pick up the kids and I'll buy the groceries. It saddened both of us.

P.

I am leaving Goldenheart. I

I am leaving Goldenheart. I have realized that he is my best friend most of all. He is not able to take initiative in being physical with me. The reasons for that are complicated, and not entirely his fault. He is truly dear to me but I have to admit that we do not flow well sexually or intellectually, even though I value him and love him more than I have any other man.

It's quite sad, but necessary. I feel like I gave it a good try. It was difficult to let go of my attachments to him, which run very deep and stong despite these other issues. When I came out of the ceremony about six months ago, it was clear to me that I simply could not let him go because I loved him too much. The child I saw speaking to me I now believe was a probability structure - the one that my subconcsious magnified to me because having a family and a child is one of my deep desires. Goldenheart would have been a wonderful father. He is wonderful in so many ways. But there was no spark at all physically. He could not be active, I could not be receptive. He was always receptive, I was always active, and I resented this as I wanted to be in the feminine position, but there was nothing to receive because he was too accomodating.

We could have had a beautiful family, been good partents and good friends. I just decided that wasn't enough. I need sex in my life, and badly. It's like food. I tried the exchanges with him, I tried long periods of abstinence from orgasm, we had orgasmic sex as well that was "technically" hot, if you consider multiple orgasms the be all and end all of what hot sex is. But at the end of the day, I had no desire for him whatsoever. I beat myself up about it, but that's simply stupid. I'd rather move on, tho it is hard to do. I do feel like I've failed on one level. I'm also quite relieved at the same time.