Finding it really hard to keep mental fantasies out.

Submitted by Jake81 on
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First just a bit of background. I'm 21, (despite what my username says, I was really insecure at the time of creating my account, I didn't want to give any real info, that's not my real name either) and discovered I have a major porn problem January of 2012. For the past year, I have been attempting to quit masturbation and porn. 22 days was my record till March, and from march to October I relapsed many times, with the average abstaining period being 1 week. However, since the very first day of November until now, I have been porn* and masturbation free, I have definitely experienced benefits, I am more social and A LOT less anxious than before. I feel really strong mentally and feel I am on the verge of turning my life around (already have in some ways). I have never been intimate with a woman, but that doesn't bother me so much now, my thinking is a lot more positive. I shared that fact with someone close to me, and since then I no longer feel ashamed.

The reason I put an aestrick next to porn was because I am not entirely sure I have been porn free. I have certainly not watched any, but the god damn fantasies are so hard to keep out of my head, and I try very hard. There are about 5 porn videos which i found very stimulating during my porn days and those videos seem like they will haunt me forever. The amount of stimulation is so great that letting an image from those videos into my head for even half a second is enough to get me horny. I never let these images stay in my ahead for more than 1-2 seconds, but they just keep finding their way back and it gets me thinking that I am hindering my progress and relapsing by doing so. The red X as well as another technique have worked to a certain extent, but all it takes is 0.5 seconds for my penis to get erect. Is this normal/part of the recovery?

Maybe the fact that I've never been with the real thing has something to do with this, that my brain doesn't know other options, maybe it's time I really make an effort to meet a girl..Idk, any thoughts?

I was someone who had a ton

I was someone who had a ton of trouble with fantasy, and every once in a while, I still do. For me, it was automatic when I would get in bed. It wouldn't be porn fantasy, but I would just start fantasizing about having sex, and i've learned that while its not as bad as porn, its still pretty bad. I just kept trying to block them out. Meditation is great for this. For the first few months, I had very little success controlling them, and they were partially responsible for my slow progress. However, after a while, your brain gets used to not creating fantasies for fun/stimulation. One effect of porn is unwanted fantasy, so abstaining from porn and conscientiously doing your best to eliminate fantasy is really the best thing to do. Randomly in the middle of the summer, I realized that unwanted fantasy was no longer a problem. Instead, I just lied in bed, and was completely in the moment relaxing.

Its tough, but it gets easier. Just be persistent in trying to block them out. They will lose power eventually. If you don't meditate, I suggest doing starting. Meditation helps with controlling your thoughts.

Most advice says

just observe that the fantasies show up...and then let them go without giving them much attention or fighting agains them.  "Ah yes, there's that old thing again. *yawn*"

This gets easier as you practice. If you want them to stop more quickly, you could also find something to do when one shows up that makes you feel decidedly splashing cold water on Mr. Happy. See Cold water technique. It's the loop between "X Fantasy" and "arousal" that is strong right now in your brain, so if you create a new association between "X Fantasy" and a splash of cold water, the loop will change.

In any case, it takes time for a "sensitized addiction pathway"  to fade. If you want to read what that feels like, have a look at this article: Why Do I Find Porn More Exciting Than A Partner?

Congratulations on your progress...and your honesty. You have nothing to be ashamed of. What you're doing is very courageous and I'm glad it's paying off.