Recovery blog-now with relapse

Submitted by 10cc on
Printer-friendly version

This is my fourth go at abstinence from masturbation... and I finally gave up the porn too because I think it was making things much more difficult than they needed to be... you have to do both at once.

I am used to waking up thinking of sex and "ready to go" but that has not happened the last couple days. I simply don't think about sex when I wake up. And when I do think about it it doesn't stay on my mind as much. I find myself thinking of affection with women more than sex with women. I'm not used to that. I ALSO find myself thinking about my underlying fear of intimacy, which I haven't before. I'm coming to terms with why I put up emotional walls around women. Normally, I'd just be thinking of sex instead.

I can't remember the last time I didn't wake up thinking about naked women. Which is kind of funny, but I'm in my early 30s so it has probably been several years. This whole time I was in withdrawl from dopamine?

One thing I'm feeling too which I haven't in a long time is extremely ambitious. Could that have something to do with it? I seem to have more good feelings about my future and my abilities in life which have not been so present in my life before.

But with the good comes the bad, I also find myself feeing more tired than normal certain times of the day, just really lethargic. I was hoping it would pass by the "magic" 14 day cycle, but since most of those days I looked at porn so perhaps I have more detoxing to do.

Comments

Yeah Dude! You Got It!

You're peeling back the layers, getting down to that good stuff. The porn and the dop keep the rat running on the wheel. You've stepped off and have a whole new world to explore. I have tears of joy in the story of your progress.
I wish you continued success and all the blessings that follow.

Thanks for the kind words.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm feeling good about the results so far but I'm going to go off and complain for a minute: I read Marnia's take on Mantak Chia and it was disappointing because I was hoping that was the answer for me, learn to have multiple orgasms, have marathon sex with beautiful women, and it would all be ok because no semen was involved but she pretty much dashed those hopes for me too, lol. I would love to find some stuff on Karezza written from a male's perspective but all there is out there today is kegels, and multiple orgasms like Mantak Chia. All the male literature is about lasting as long as possible to ensure she gets an orgasm. The following is a rant.

(rant) This is not how I was raised to think that sexual attraction, passion, and sex itself (including foreplay) was supposed to be. I can't believe I have to give up all that stuff. Maybe that's the porn talking but all the "hungry touch" stuff is what gets people so hot and bothered to begin with and made sex so fun and erotic. I can't imagine just laying there, doing nothing, and refusing to touch my partner sexually or be touched because it will ignite my fight or flight response. There's nothing erotic or sexy about this stuff to me. And I know that's the POINT, it's not SUPPOSED to be like that..... but where's all the primal stuff of finding a woman you find sexy and just ravishing her? Living in the moment and just going at it till you're exhausted? That used to be fun. Anyone reading this can tell I don't want to let that stuff go just yet. I don't know if I can enter this world of just looking into each other's eyes and falling in love with every girl and just laying there and not moving. But to keep the benefits of not ejaculating, that's the life I'm going to have to lead because that sort of "see hot girl, have sex, see next hot girl, have sex" that every man takes as his birthright just is not possible. And if I live like that, and actually find a girl I want to stay with, doing what my body tells me will just drive us apart anyway. So you can't win. And on top of that I can't imagine a girl saying "yes, let's have sex and just lay there and not do anything. I'm totally fine with having no orgasm even though my body is designed to have orgasms and it's the best feeling in the world, and society has told me it's all about the O". That doesn't seem too passionate or ravishing. I want to do man stuff and be dominant and all that testosterone stuff... yet I have to give all that up and just cuddle. It seems emasculating. Especially since men are brought up to put so much value on how good they are in bed, and how long they can last, and how hot they can get the girl. If you give all that up how could you be good in bed? Where's the fiery primal passion stuff?(/rant)

Oh well, it's all academic right now because I don't actually HAVE a partner at the moment. Maybe when I do I'll have a different perspective. I don't want to return to the lethargy that comes from orgasm, and I would like a genuine emotional connection with a woman, but I think I'd also like to have my cake and eat it too. Don't we all want to have our cake and eat it too? :P

20 days no masturbation, 8 days no porn.

Male perspective

This book was written about karezza by a man, so you might like it: http://www.reuniting.info/karezza_method_lloyd Have you read it yet?

I just want to add that from my female perspective, you can be very sexy, masculine, and dominant without engaging in too much heat-em-up. Self-control or self-posession is a very attractive trait in men, whatever you've been lled to believe. And to just look into each others' eyes in a moment of stillness and want to fuse right into each other...sure it's romantic, but it's also amazingly sexy...just in a different way. Think soul-ravishing vs. body-ravishing. Obviously it's not going to be the same as what you're used to. I guess I'm just saying don't judge it till you've tried it.

I, for one, definitely relate to what you're saying

I was a card-carrying member of the "cake and eat it" crowd. I was sure that passion fit in there somewhere.

If you're like me, you'll do a lot of experimentation. And maybe there's a schedule of orgasm that works all right for you (two). One couple started with "once a month and special occasions." Here's his post: http://www.reuniting.info/node/1714#comment-5608

Just keep watching, and don't stew over your resistance. It's normal. Just *knowing* this information can be comforting, even if you honor it in the breach. Smile

In any case, what seems unacceptable when you're horny and single, is somehow different when you're snuggling and laughing and enjoying ongoing harmony with someone you really care about. In the latter situation, you feel more...protective of your partner somehow. I didn't get *really* consistent with this practice until I realized regular sex really was detrimental to my partners.

Yeah. When I am actually feeling what seems like love or real af

[quote=Marnia] In any case, what seems unacceptable when you're horny and single, is somehow different when you're snuggling and laughing and enjoying ongoing harmony with someone you really care about. In the latter situation, you feel more...protective of your partner somehow. I didn't get *really* consistent with this practice until I realized regular sex really was detrimental to my partners.[/quote]

Yeah. When I am actually feeling what seems like love or real affection for a girl (before I sabotage it, lol) and I know she cares as much as I do, I don't HAVE those ultra erotic cravings that I do if I am just laying eyes on her the first time. The stuff that turns me on when watching porn, I find it really difficult to think of the girl I care about in that way. I still feel sexual towards her but not in the depersonalized way guys are taught to think of sex and what women should be doing, most likely through porn. It's kind of like being the victim of brainwashing. But, I always thought it was because I was getting too attached to the girls and was projecting needy love feelings onto them too early into the relationship, when I should be focusing on sex and maintaining my independence. Not sure if that's really the topic of what this site is about but it seems to be related.

And, on top of that, a lot of guys will give another guy grief if they find out he has loving feelings for a girl so early on, and in my case, I just assumed there was something wrong with me for NOT thinking of her strictly in a sexual way. That and my guy friends only talk about women in sexual terms. To talk about love or relationships will get you funny looks. It's looked at as weak. And feeling that way towards women has always burned me in the past, I get too close and end up ruining things out of panic.

It appears that abstaining from orgasm makes you ramble and drift from topic to topic. Thanks for the links, Marnia and Amari.

Relapse

Oh well it had to happen. Here are my stats so far:

10 days, no MB (no porn)
4 days, no MB (from porn)
4 days, no MB (from porn)
23 DAYS NO MB!!!! (half porn, half no porn, back to porn yesterday).

That's actually the longest I've gone since I hit puberty, so that's something. And yes, yesterday I looked at porn for the first time in several days. Up until then, whatever fantasies I had were sexual but were becoming more "romantic" in nature but for whatever reason yesterday I slipped thinking I could handle just a little "softcore" porn just to quench my need to look at naked women. Which of course meant today I looked at quite a bit of hard porn, which led to the inevitable.

I am sold on no MB I just have to confirm that your mind will trick you into looking at porn because it knows where that can lead and then you have to start from scratch. And I felt bad instantaneously, tired, flushed. I know I just threw away all the gains of the last few weeks but I am hoping that I will not go back into compulsion again. From my little activity list above it appears I can go for longer and longer stretches.

But damn that call of porn is strong. I quit smoking several months ago and have done quite well except for a handful of social cigarettes, which I can count on one hand, and I would beat myself up for that and I'm not going to be ashamed. I've actually shown some strong self-discipline in the last few weeks.

Although even on my first trial run, after just a couple days I could feel a difference. Maybe because I am trying to abstain because I want to feel good and have energy, I'm doing it because I am dedicated to becoming my best self and falling in love with life. Naturally it's going to take some time to alter habits and compulsions that have beaten down a path through the grass of my brain over several years.

To think this is how I lived my life every single day, climaxing myself into zombie-hood.

And porn is all one click away so it's about as easy as it can get to "just look real quick". Back to day 0 I suppose. Just hope some of the really good insights I've had will stay with me, I self-image has definitely improved since I started this whole process. I really don't want to have to wait for two weeks to feel good again. (yesterday I was feeling on top of the world, powerful, just really happy to be alive and doing the things I enjoy doing, maybe my psyche doesn't know how to handle good emotions and has to sabotage it).

Commence no porn/masturbation trial version 5.

Give yourself a pat on the back

You're doing great. After all, the most important goal here is to learn about yourself. What makes you feel strong and confident, what makes you feel like you're dragging an anchor, and so on.

There are no mistakes...and I can't tell you how many similar experiments I made...even trying my hardest...before I realized that compromise just didn't serve me.

Thanks for posting your experiences. That's helpful for everyone. You're right that it's not easy to change gears, but there are rewards.

Be gentle with yourself, and keep observing. Smile

Thanks Marnia, you're right,

Thanks Marnia, you're right, just observe. I can tell the difference. What I have noticed is that all that dopamine makes you THINK coming to an orgasm is going to be the best thing in the entire world and that it will last forever but it doesn't, it lasts a few moments and then you're tired and it's like it never happened and you think "why did I just do that?" and then you want to go to sleep.

Coming to a climax is ironically, anti-climatic.

One thing I have learned though is porn is just not an option. I bet most guys who try this out think they can do it and just dabble in porn here and there... each time I've relapsed it has been directly after looking at porn. I might be thinking of sex but I can distract myself, but the porn just takes you hostage and like you say, it puts you into that sort of hypnotic state where you are laying down those ruts in the landscape of your brain, and even though you want to stop, it's "just one more, just one more"... and where is that going to lead? Where does all that pressure lead to? You force yourself into taking care of business, because of the strong urge that the porn itself created.

I just keep telling myself, if you want to see naked women, then go get real naked women. Not the fake ones on computer screens. They are not legitimate gene spreading opportunities. They are zombie makers! Beware the zombie makers! AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHHH!!!!

Lol. No worries. :)

*chuckling*

Great sense of humor.

Gary and I were just talking about this issue of how dopamine SURGES when you get near a cue that your brain associates with what it wants (or thinks it wants).

The dopamine's the actual culprit in turning you into a zombie temporarily, of course, not the porn. If you were a gambler or alcoholic, the cues would be different...but the dopamine surge would be the same.

But the good news is that your brain *can* modify itself over time. Getting clear about your long-term goals (real women Wink , balance, inner strength, etc.) can help, so can support, so can a clear understanding of what you're up against, so can infinite compassion for the fact that you did just what porn makers wanted you to do...and what seemed perfectly harmless...and innocently got caught in a brain chemical churn. This challenge is an annoying problem...but doesn't have to be a big deal, or a moral drama, ya know?

You're learning your triggers. That's very valuable. I went through a similar thing with chocolate. I could say "no, thanks" to it without much difficulty...but if I had some one day, then the next day I'd have a BIG craving for it, and soon it was a cycle...and a problem, because I'm really sensitive to caffeine. Finally, I realized that it's much easier to just pass up the chocolate and find something else to have a nibble of. Then no struggle the next day, and no caffeine jitters.

It sounds like it'll be the same with you and porn. Pass it up, and you'll be fine. You'll just have to stick to real naked women instead. Wink Hopefully the connection with a real mate will be both alluring and balancing.

Right, no moral dramas. I

Right, no moral dramas. I think that's a pattern many of us have, and also you have pointed out, that making it seem so forbidden and dangerous is the exact thing that increases the desire to do it in the first place and causes public scandals and everything else. And I come from a very religiously judgmental family background, so my first instinct is to go in that self-shaming direction, but that's just cultural baggage.

My primitive brain is just doing what it's supposed to do, except it's at a disadvantage because it simply was not designed for this high tech world where every tempting thing is on tap 24/7. It's mistaking artificial stimulation as real, genuine good things. My brain really thinks I'm about to have sex with those girls on the computer screen and now that I have that knowledge, I can understand why it becomes so fascinating and train it to seek out the real, genuine thing, instead of thinking I should have to settle for less than real interaction and connection with women and people in general.

I appreciate all your encouragement.... after watching all the videos on the site and getting the book it's nice to have the actual author be so supporting of the people going through this process. It wasn't that long ago I'd be hesitant to even talk about this stuff anonymously online, but now I feel like I'm kind of on the cutting edge of human evolution here, and all that lofty stuff. I like going against the system.

Now I'll just wait out and see if I can 'beat' my record of three weeks. :)

That's sweet

Talking openly, and anonymously, with an exchange of ideas is a really healthy first step. It can really help us gain perspective...and see that it's all just a biological trick. When we stay in our own little box with our own demons, we tend to take them a lot more seriously. (They're often demons *because* we mistake them for something much bigger than they are.)

Speaking of biology, here's a short excerpt from an interview between Moyers and a doctor, on addiction:

Moyers: OK, what does that mean to a layman?

Koob: Basically, it means that we have so much money in the bank in terms of pleasure in our lives, and we can expend that money over the course of a single weekend's binge on cocaine or we can expend it over a two-week period in the normal pleasures of everyday life. If you spend these pleasure neurochemicals in one lump sum such as a crack binge, you use up your supply of pleasure for a certain period, and so you pay for it later. The system has to self-regulate.

Personally, I suspect this is how the whole "sin and sex" thing got started. It feels like you're being punished when the low dopamine blues arrive after a lot of exciting stimulation...when it's really just a biological mechanism returning to homeostasis in its own annoying way. It's there to allow a binge under rare circumstances (when it would have served your genes), but not designed to sustain constant excess...just as you say.

Anyway, keep your spirits up...as you obviously are.:-)

Tiny things

have great power over all of us when our neurochemistry is dysregulated. When we're feeling a subconscious sense of "lack" (brain starved for dopamine), we are not ourselves. And each person reacts slightly differently. We may be needy, filled with cravings, too apathetic to take constructive action (or too hyperactive and over-controlling, due to uneasy feelings), unbearably horny, demanding, easily irritated, over-reactive and so on. We also don't make good partners (for the moment).

That's not so say that every problem is simple or superficial. Or that therapy can't help. Some problems take patience and conscientious attention over time to solve. Sometimes insights into past circumstances yield new (healing) perspectives in the present. Sometimes new disciplines help to support balanced brain chemistry (meditation, exercise, karezza).

All I'm saying is that when we're out of whack at a brain chemical level, everything that threatens us looms larger and more menacing. That's why it's so helpful to build up that solid core you're working on. At least it keeps our challenges in perspective and our optimism and determination more in tact.

I'm sure it's a big enough

I'm sure it's a big enough issue that a large part of the population has recurring feelings of low self-esteem, or a sense that they just can't meet their goals in life and something is wrong with them.... all the while it's their brain going through withdrawl. The implications for that are pretty heavy. It makes me think of the story in Cupid where Marnia's friend was sort of listless and unconfident, and then he gave up MB and all of the sudden his real personality came out and he decided to get a job at a bookstore and ended up becoming a natural leader and extremely popular, then he relapsed and went a different direction. But that had to be his real personality coming out. I read that section a few times because I immediately related to it on some level. That's kind of how I was feeling a few days ago, my real, happy, confident self coming through.

True some problems are deeper and more serious than that, but I think what we have as kids that we don't as sex-hungry adults is the ability to compartmentalize. I had a horrible time in school and got made fun of all the time, and my family life was bad as well from an early age, and I remember having sad thoughts about myself and life.... but I also remember how easy it was to completely forget those feelings when I would play with my friends or start drawing cartoons or making up songs or going out alone in my city and riding my bike and exploring the world around me. I think I actually had a stronger sense of self, and independence, and natural confidence, before getting sexually active at a fairly young age (14). And my first relationship was pretty intense and dramatic, and I wonder if it has imprinted itself on my expectations for relationships now. Dramatic, lots of ups and downs, neediness, anger, hating each other then making up, then finally separating thinking that instead of the girl you thought was so special, she is now the devil.

And like Marnia said in another thread, we project all those feelings and pain we have onto other people so naturally that's the type of stuff that gets reflected back to us, and people end up meeting our expectations of how we think they should be and how they should act.

Lots of ramifications.

Good point

As long as your brain has the fundamental balance to feel pleasure and optimism, there's almost always some outlet (or a number of them), which you could pursue to comfort yourself in a way that gives actual satisfaction (rather than just a quick spurt of dopamine, followed by another low).

Not sure about your first relationship, but if it had lots of orgasm, it's not surprising that it had lots of drama. Wink

Yes pretty much all we did

Yes pretty much all we did was have sex. It ended badly and I ruminated on it for years, closing myself off to new opportunities. Now of course it was so long ago it seems like it happened to someone else, but when I get close to a girl, and we start falling in love, I end it. I have practiced associating emotional closeness with pain and I'd like to practice associating it with pleasure. And it really doesn't make sense because I love meeting people, I love flirting with girls and that whole romantic rush, and I'm actually quite skilled at it, but it's like I'm doing it with one hand tied behind my back because I can only get so close before I panic and the whole relationship just falls apart.

BUT---- this is all of course, in the context of the dopamine high. All those things I think about myself are quite likely the projections I have put onto other people, all because of being continuously in the "passion cycle", never getting off it long enough to get renewed.

So I am just going to have to keep focusing on those things that give me that natural pleasure and optimism, and this not only includes being close to people, but also refusing to waste my valuable time lost in sexual fantasy and compulsion. Life is too short to throw it away on illusory gene spreading opportunities. :)

Bravo!

You sound like a very healthy person. When that old fear pops up the next time, just post something and we'll listen sympathetically (and give you all kinds of unsolicited advice Wink ) as you push through it.

Well today I am definitely

Well today I am definitely tired and zombie-esque. No doubt. Quite the contrast between how I was feeling a couple days ago, lots of energy, feeling good. Now I am just tired and all I want to do is lay down and read. Being inbetween jobs right now makes it possible, lol. I find myself asking lots of "deep and meaningful" questions about who I am, what my place is in the world. Not really bad things to ask yourself, but there is definitely a heavy and serious vibe going on. This is why I'm going to just read fiction and ALLOW myself to relax (I usually feel like I should be doing something more productive, it can be hard to just chill out) and enjoy the rest of my day. I'm not going to beat myself up and get all gloomy.

On the observing front, I caught myself having sexual fantasies as I woke up, and these fantasies can make it so I don't actually get out of bed for sometimes up to an hour. It's like I open my eyes and there's this fantasy girl with me in bed and why would I want to walk away from a naked girl in my bed? Except she ain't really there.

But this time, I just thought "well there you go, you're going into fantasy zone again". I forced myself to get out of bed and I drove straight down to the park and read a book, drinking my coffee and enjoying the nature of the park... and NOT being in my bed, with all these erotic images going through my mind.

Later I had an image pop in my head and instead of denying it, I told myself that it was totally normal and fine to have whatever desires I have, and to see these images in my mind, that they are normal and natural but that they in fact are not the real thing, and the real thing is so much better so I will gently just let those thoughts fade into the background, with the knowledge that not getting too far into fantasy sets the momentum for interacting with real women.

Eagerly anticipating the next two weeks to pass so I can get back to that giddy "I am cool, the whole world is cool, everything is fun and fine" feeling I had a couple days ago.

I love being able to just blog about this stuff. Better than what else I could be doing. And I know some guy out there is reading it and totally relates to what I'm saying.

PS: I thought this was quite funny. I was at a site that was hosting popular documentaries. There was one on guys with these extremely expensive and realistic "love dolls" and I couldn't help but watch it. Quite the thing to own. What struck me was one guy had like ten of them, he had so many that he was running out of room in his home to store them. Even though these were dolls, he had already started to see them as girls he had spent enough time with and was now ready for new (fake) genetic opportunities. Probably why guys collect so much porn... we think we have found the greatest porn of all time but after seeing it a few times you never go back. I have tons of jpeg images that I had collected, thinking I was amassing some wonderful database of pleasure, but really can't remember ever actually going back and looking at them again. The fun part is the NEW image, the novel image, or maybe, the novel love doll.

That is a classic

Coolidge Effect story, isn't it? It's amazing how powerful this biological program is. I'm just working on an article for "Psychology Today" about the Coolidge Effect. I think I'll work in your PS, or maybe ask you to post it there after I get the initial article up.

It's really useful to know that your brain is going to play this trick on you...unless you use those bonding behaviors to keep your perception of each other lookin' good.

Sexual satiation is a surprisingly powerful signal to move on!

You sound quite aware and

You sound quite aware and healthy to me, 10cc. Any lady would be lucky to be with you. All you have to do is watch the saboteur - because what with both women and men having their own, love can have a hard time blossoming. I'm sad to hear that the culture of the men around you is to undermine any sensitive feelings for women. Who do they think they're fooling? Certainly not women - we know how sensitive you guys are, sometimes even more so than us.

Best wishes on your journey.

Thanks for the kind words

Thanks for the kind words hotspring, I appreciate that. You're right about the sensitive thing. I think men do feel things much more deeply than we want to admit, especially to women because that is not manly, it's seen as weak. But to me denying that men need female companionship and feminine energy, makes you even weaker because you're denying your own humanity. Love only weakens those that have no inner strength to rely on.

I guess life is not always in the extremes. :)