Dealing with porn addiction/masturbation

Submitted by elvis71 on
Printer-friendly version

I've been addicted to porn for over 20 years and masturbating at least 2 times a day (i'm 36). So everytime I get into a relationship with a nice girl I meet, the porn and the masturbating comes to a grinding halt and subsequently all kinds of sexual problems arise (anxiety, erection problems, fear etc.). Over a month ago I met a wonderful woman and we hit the ground running. Unfortunately she moved away for six months and we've been dealing with the long distance thing ever since. It's worked out well and she has been very supportive of my issues. Without her I would not able to go through what I've been going through.

Even though I miss her and want her very to be physically present, her absence has actually helped me deal with my own problems very well. I have made a conscious effort to get rid of my sexual addiction for good. I've opened up to friends about the topic (something I would NEVER have broached earlier) and all of a sudden I have built a small circle of friends who have become closer and a sort of support group. It's a wonderful feeling and I'm hopeful that I can combat my problems. It's been very difficult because I've experienced a lot of anxiety/panic attacks, insomnia, and extreme impatience. I think these are the withdrawal symptoms from not watching porn anymore. I've also faced up to a lot of issues and problems that I've been ignoring for a long long time. So it's been very painful on the whole.

Another issue I should mention is that I've been masturbating to porn for so long that it seems to be the only way I know how to achieve an orgrasm; as if I'm in a relationship with porn which is what I think it is. Anyway, I've been reading books and online material and found this wonderful website. I've been reading that after an experience such as mine, a period of sexual abstinence would be healthy in redefining my sexuality. This has resonated quite strongly and I've been thinking about it. In the last month I finally managed to masturbate without porn, but recently decided to take the plunge and am going to try to not masturbate until the end of the month (which would be 13 days) and if I make it that long, to keep going until it's 30 days.

I'm at six days and I can feel the transformation in my head. Once in a while, I still get porn images that come to my head (which I am able to shut out), but my whole approach to sex is changing. Instead of being the guy watching people have sex, I can imagine myself as the guy actually having sex. It's quite an experience but I guess I have an addiction to the rush of orgasm and I'm having a hard time with this. I exercise all the time, I eat right (patterns developed in the last two years), and I am basically a positive person, however this is probably the most difficult challenge I have ever met.

I was wondering if anybody could share any tactics that would help me through this. Reading the posts on this forum has been encouraging and gives me hope for the results of this. I also instinctively feel that this is the right thing to do but I'm having a hard time pushing through here. The days seem longer and it's hard for me to fill my time all the time.

Thanks for reading my story and any feedback would be awesome.

Welcome to the site

Sounds like you're doing just about everything that will support your recovery. I suppose you saw yesterday's post about choosing an "automatic alternative activity" for whenever the urge strikes. The doctor who suggested it treats OCD (a similar problem, in that the brain keeps tripping a switch that isn't serving the person). He said that the key to helping his compulsive patients was this "refocusing" of attention, whenever the compulsion arises. That's what actually changes the brain...just turning your attention firmly elsewhere. In a matter of weeks, patients find it easier and easier, because the new pathway is stronger and the old one less demanding.

I'm sorry you're uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there's just a nasty withdrawal period that can't be avoided, and all of the symptoms you describe sound perfectly normal during withdrawal. It's easy to see why a lot of men decide that it's impossible to escape the cycle. They don't realize that there's a clearing just beyond this really jungle-like part of the forest. Smile I know it seems like things are just getting worse and worse...and are, in fact, unbearable. You can thank your brain, which is really trying to get you to self-medicate as quickly and demandingly as it can. Smile

I think I *can* reassure you that your sexuality will reorient itself toward real sex and real women as you re-train your brain to avoid the suprastimulation of porn. (Write to "thelongrun" if you wish. He went through this transition.http://www.reuniting.info/user/561) As you say, porn is intense "mood medicine," which is great for creating oblivion when uncomfortable feelings arise (many of which are temporarily exacerbated by withdrawal).

But porn is like drinking spiked punch. You lose your taste for wholesome, natural fruit juice! (This all has to do with dopamine levels. In between "spikes" your dopamine is actually *lower* than usual, making fruit juice - and normal sex - less interesting. Dopamine levels will come back to normal if you keep your foot off of the accelerator.)

So relax, and be patient. As you stop seeking relief by the fastest route, it will occur to your brain to trot out some of those old pathways, the activation of which make sex and snuggling truly delicious...and your erections will line up with your new direction. Interestingly, erections are a function of the part of the nervous system that govern rest and relaxation, so forcing them with fantasy or intense stimulation is kind of counterproductive. Porn tends to link sexual arousal with performance, when sexual arousal is more naturally linked to relaxation. (For more, http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/neotaoism_and_karezza)

Meanwhile, you can keep both of you happily bonded and feeling very much in love with strategic use of these behaviors: http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/bonding_magic

You're all set to blog, if you wish. http://www.reuniting.info/resources/bloggers

Automatic alternative activity...

[quote=Marnia] I suppose you saw yesterday's post about choosing an "automatic alternative activity" for whenever the urge strikes. The doctor who suggested it treats OCD (a similar problem, in that the brain keeps tripping a switch that isn't serving the person). He said that the key to helping his compulsive patients was this "refocusing" of attention, whenever the compulsion arises. That's what actually changes the brain...just turning your attention firmly elsewhere. In a matter of weeks, patients find it easier and easier, because the new pathway is stronger and the old one less demanding.[/quote]

I was listening to Doctor Radio on Serius yesterday and this exact concept was discussed.

Doctor Radio on Serius has become a favorite of mine.

[quote=Orchid][quote=Marnia] I suppose you saw yesterday's post about choosing an "automatic alternative activity" for whenever the urge strikes. The doctor who suggested it treats OCD (a similar problem, in that the brain keeps tripping a switch that isn't serving the person). He said that the key to helping his compulsive patients was this "refocusing" of attention, whenever the compulsion arises. That's what actually changes the brain...just turning your attention firmly elsewhere. In a matter of weeks, patients find it easier and easier, because the new pathway is stronger and the old one less demanding.[/quote]

I was listening to Doctor Radio on Serius yesterday and this exact concept was discussed.[/quote]

I caught the same show and though about how much this technique could help so many people in other situations.

I often use prayer to redirect my thoughts when I'm having a difficult time. For me it's worked well because I can do it wherever I am!

Good point

It's ideal when you can turn your thoughts to something the promotes good feelings, such as love, generosity, a feeling of being cared for, etc.

Thank you for your words

Thank you Marnia for your helpful words. It's nice to hear some feedback. I've been thinking about joining an SAA meeting just to talk about it with other people. I haven't really consulted anyone beyond my close friends so it might be somewhat helpful. I'll definitely read up on those articles you mentioned.
Thanks again.