HOCD, rebooting, lack of attraction, HELP!

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Hi, I'm new here.

I am a 27-year-old male. I have suffering for a while now. I was strongly addicted to porn for years and I think I'm paying dearly for it. I have some questions about rebooting in relationships, Karezza, and about how attraction (or lack thereof) plays into all this. All help would be appreciated!

I have been with my loving, loyal, sweet, charming, understanding girlfriend for over two years now. We have lived together for over half that time, and have traveled the world together. I love her. Unfortunately, I don't find her that attractive.

I have been looking at porn for 17 years now. When I entered the relationship with her, I knew immediately that she wasn't that attractive to me (other guys have certainly been interested in her, but not in terms of relationship. On the other hand, I consider her marriage material). I chose her because she was perfect for me as a future wife and mother of my kids.) She has a sweet body, but nothing as sexual as the girls I have seen from her native country and on the Italian beaches here.

When I met her, I said that though she's not the most attractive, I would love her and my porn on the side. That was the worst mistake I could have made. But I didn't know about addiction and all that. So my habit spiraled completely out of control, especially under stress. I developed HOCD and my depression came back after a few good years.

I am in despair. I love her. I don't know what's happening in my brain anymore. 10 days before I left the States (5 weeks ago), I completely gave up porn and masturbation. I haven't done it since. I have been in therapy for HOCD for two months now (at a premier HOCD clinic), but not for the last month because I have been abroad. I have had sex with her about every two to three days just to limit myself. It's hard not to on a romantic Italian vacation. But I'm suffering. Here are my questions. I don't know what you can answer from just the Internet, but I'd love to hear experiences about how attractions/romance play into rebooting. One last thing - I have attempted Karezza with her every now and then, but it doesn't always work. Either she gets so excited that it ruins the reboot or I get carried away. When we have done it, we do feel close to each other, but the next day I'm spiking over the relationship and I'm craving every hot girl on the beach, like a total creep/perv. I just want to have a beautiful romantic and loving life! Why would I take her to the most gorgeous parts of Italy otherwise?

Here are my questions:

- I don't know if the reason I'm not so in love with my baby is because the dopamine is telling me to go for the hottest stuff out there? Is it possible to have a happy relationship without being with the sexiest girl (though other guys clearly have considered her attractive)?

- Have you guys/gals discovered a previously hidden attraction to your significant other upon rebooting and ridding your mind of that 2-D life-waster? I would hate to lose the perfect girl over something I consider to be shallow (or is it not? are looks/sexiness really that important?)

- Do you consider it possible for a loving/healthy emotional relationship to supercede some cravings for these hotter women? Do you think this which may be caused by my pornographically-addicted mind? Do you think that if we're happier together (upon my recovery) that we will naturally find each other to be sexier (due to good emotional health)?

Sorry for writing such a long post. Please help! Your experiences are greatly valued. I hate to keep her waiting while I go through this reboot (and goodness know if I'll even succeed 60-90 days). She says there is no way she will leave me and that she will rescue this relationship the way I have rescued it in the past, but I would hate to keep lying to her if that is what I am doing. I feel so bad about all this. I hope it's just the dopamine playing games with me. What do you all think?

Not to seem shallow

But I really do believe I loved her. I'm sure I thought she was cute at first (don't know - porno mind messin with me), and we are besties as well. Also, we are both professional musicians and perform together and we share so many common interests and she laughs genuinely at all my horrible jokes Wink

This really is an attraction issue, which would make it so tragic if the relationship falls apart because of that.

Don't know the answer

but I do know that karezza has worked beautifully for me and my husband. It keeps us looking good to each other. And we both experienced a lot of disharmony in past relationships with conventional sex.

We know karezza's the key, because after the occasional orgasm we see the difference. He says he notices other women more for a couple of weeks. I get edgier and am not as much fun to be around...and that's on a good day. Wink

However, if you want to see the potential in the idea, you really have to give the process a consistent try for a while. You can't go back and forth and expect to see lasting improvements - because there's a lingering neurochemical cycle after climax. That's what's making you so horny and dissatisfied. Those feelings will pass if you soldier on.  Those "withdrawal" symptoms (or maybe just temporary chaser) are miserable. The best way around them is daily affection, without reaching climax. (Bonding behaviors work about as well as karezza-style intercourse.) But also exercise, meditate, keep your diet clean and socialize a lot for best results.

In our book, we suggest a three-week adjustment period with playful activities...because, as you say, it's really easy to keep sliding back into conventional sex unless you have some structure. However, if you're an addict, you may need longer. Have a look here: Karezza is for sex addicts (too)

I will tell you one thing. Even if you ditch this partner, you will hit the same wall with the next one. No one woman can keep an addicted brain happy...because the brain has trained itself to need constant novelty fixes. So you're wise to give this relationship all you got before abandoning it. When you realize that your inner balance controls how you see your partner...you will realize you hold the key to relationship harmony. That's very empowering.

I'd love to hear more about your HOCD therapy, as we think HOCD is often just one flavor of escalation, or tolerance. That is, a symptom of addiction in a brain that is looking for more and more stimulation because it has grown somewhat numb to normal pleasure. You read the YBOP page on HOCD, right?

Good luck. You're a wise man. You'll figure it out. Hopefully sooner than I did. Wink

Much thanks!

Hi Marnia,

Thanks for such an encouraging response! My girlfriend WILL NOT abandon our relationship, because I proved to her how much I loved her in the beginning. Sadly, I did make the conscious decision at that time that I would keep her on the side of my porn. I have broken up with the porn now in favor of her.

I have read the YBOP page. Your take is such an interesting one! I never thought of it in the light that it may be another escalation. I just returned from Poland and Italy, and every time I go to Europe I cannot get enough of how incredible the women look there. Very sadly, this time it was at the expense of my gf, who was with me the whole time. I did give up porn and masturbation, but not the sex. The HOCD subsided, but all sorts of doubts about my relationship persisted. Maybe the gap between porn use helped. Nevertheless, my girlfriend is completely ditching sex for 60 days for me to reboot. She's almost making me, though I am fully on board with this.

If you say I will hit a wall in my next relationship, that is the answer to my question. I know I won't meet a more loyal and sweet person than my girlfriend. She's my true partner, a soul sister, and also my partner in music performance (a big deal for me!).

My therapy is CBT exposure therapy in Dr. Phillipson's clinic (one of the therapists there). Part of the deal is that not only I tackle the HOCD by allowing my mind to stay with the thoughts and feelings (rather than rejecting them), but that I also get my practical life together (overcoming depression too), so I can work towards to performance career I want rather than be miserable. I have been working to make changes in my life for years now, so I've learned not to put all my eggs in one basket anymore. But I hope some merit can accumulate :)


She sounds like a gem

We're all designed to get a neurochemical "reward" for novelty. You know about that, right? It's not unlike the neurochemical "reward" we get for junk food. It doesn't mean the novelty/food will satisfy us. Worst case it can even hook us into a pattern of endless dissatisfaction.

It's important to realize your primitive brain's agenda when charting your course. And to learn how to turn its signals down via careful management of sexual energy.

More on the Coolidge Effect: What If She Were Always in the Mood?

Let us know how the acceptance therapy goes.

Just Wondering

HOCD (or really gay) is hitting me hard today (day 4). I never used gay porn because I was afraid I'd be gay if I used it. Is it normal to still have HOCD as escalation if you never used gay porn?

From the very first time I masturbated, I was always afraid of being gay. I was 9, and saw a woman blowing a man. I wanted to see how it felt to be blown by the beautiful woman, while I was freaked out to be fantasizing about being the man because I didn't want to picture the man so much. It freaked me out or years, even to this day, I guess. So I'm totally confused about my sexual orientation. I'm sad. Wish I was straight, but don't even know anymore :*(

it's very common

using porn messes some guys brains up. And brains come up with strange ideas. I would recommend you visit TheWork.org and do a worksheet on these thoughts. "The Work" can be very helpful for inquiring about such things.

Orientation has to do with, in my mind, who makes you feel complete and good. It doesn't have to do with fantasies about a gay or straight act. It doesn't have anything to do with masturbatory fantasies actually. I don't know how or why this is, but I know it to be true. It's really a matter of who you feel really good and complete with, men or women?



This site looks interesting and I'll keep this page open.

Men make me feel complete, but I love women so much. I don't know anymore. I don't know what complete means. Coukd you elaborate? But I always wanted a woman. Somehow I don't know. Men are cool cuz they like sports and you can bond with them. But women... Their smell alone is the best. I love the smell of a woman. And the taste. But I'm totally confused.