I've been abstaining for a while - I used to be heavily addicted to erotica and fantasy. The erotica was fairly vanilla (fare of erotic romance novels) and these fantasies generally were not terribly edgy or kinky, just standard "two people in passionate love" stuff. But for most of my adult life (I have tended to go a long time between relationships), I'd used my fantasy life as kind of a substitute partner. It wasn't a problem until I was with my ex and discovered I was still addicted to these thoughts and that I was actually more involved in my fantasy life than I was with her, and discovered that I'd been using partners as placeholders for my fantasies and that I wasn't really "present" with my partners.
So now, no more erotic stories, no more romantic stories (because I'll fill in the blanks with sex in my head and go off and running fantasizing), no more fantasies. I've gone totally cold turkey from anything that could get me "hot".
I don't even touch myself.
What I'm experiencing though is that in about the month since I stopped, I am going increasingly crazy from being lonely and affection starved. To the point of sitting there in front of my homework and unable to even get through it because I can't get my mind off of being lonely. I am close to just collapsing into depression. Seeing people holding hands on TV will trigger tears streaming down my face. Seeing people saying loving words. I'm having feelings come to the surface (such as feeling love for an off limits woman friend and missing her terribly; I had kept this fairly corked for a while) and not really knowing how to deal with it.
It is like having PMS all the time - my feelings are constantly very close to the surface and I'm overwhelmed by them.
The thing is, when I was touching myself and indulging in erotica and fantasies, I GOT BY IN MY LIFE. My feelings were less sharp-edged. I was a bit more "deadened" but I still GOT BY IN MY LIFE. It's almost like I could use orgasm chemicals to emotionally deaden myself. But I could function while single. It didn't do very well for me when I had partners, but at least I could function in between partners.
Right now I am not even feeling functional.
(btw, I'm female and gay)