Not masturbating in a long distance relationship

Submitted by Borisbecker86 on
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Main question: How to bond (and stay in love) if your partner moved abroad and you cannot see each other for months?

Hello and very pleased to meet you. I am not in an actual marriage but didn't find a better subforum to ask my question.

I was quite surprised to read some of the topics presented on this website as they reflect my personal experience. To sum up my background in few words: I was addicted to sex and followed the principles of the "seduction community". Due to some deep transformations however, including spiritual and religious experiences, I am now on a journey to build a long-term monogamous relationship based on honesty and good/ethical/moral principles.

Especially, I put friendship on a greater level than sexual attraction in love.

I masturbated daily, but I remember from my teens that whenever I was really in love with a person, I was so happy that I got the energy to get hundreds of things done in a day and I "forgot" to masturbate, sometimes for over a week. I also notice very clearly that by NOT masturbating for even just 2-3 days, I become much more open to people of the opposite sex.

I wonder however whether the latter could become a problem if my girlfriend is abroad.

If I become more receptive to other people who are physically around me, would that not contribute to loosening my bond with the person I love? Wouldn't it be better, in the case of a long distance relationship, to actually masturbate so I am not tempted by those whom I meet every day?

I would also appreciate any general advice for healing and increasing the bonds of long distance relationships!

Thank you

Hello

Singles and "attached but not married" people are very welcome here.

Sounds like you have been on quite a Journey. In fact, it sounds a lot like mine. Wink I'm glad you're making some of the same discoveries. Your question is logical, and you will probably figure out your own answer based on what you observe about yourself. Here are my thoughts, but feel free to ignore them.

I have come to believe that balance in our brain's reward circuitry (primitive part of the brain) is absolutely the best place to "steer" from. That is, you will make better judgments if you don't keep yourself out of balance with too much orgasm. This may be because "balance" means your primitive brain isn't driving you with intense emotions. Instead the rational part of your brain is operating better. It sounds like you have probably already figured out that meditation/prayer helps, but so does careful management of sexual energy - whatever that looks like for you.

Depending upon how frequently you have been orgasming, it can be very difficult to practice absolute abstinence for months without a partner...although some can do it, and you might actually learn some interesting things about yourself and your sexual energy: http://www.reuniting.info/node/3534

My personal experience (from when I was a student, madly and passionately in love with my boyfriend, who was abroad for three months) is that masturbation did not help. Smile I think the neurochemical changes after orgasm (during the time the brain is recovering and returning to homeostasis) can leave one with more intense longings than ever. I don't know if they would drive you to a new partner...but they can drive you crazy. Smile

As you can tell, I don't think masturbation eases cravings as much as we assume. Yes, it does so in the short term, but during the days following, the cravings may be even stronger and more demanding. If you don't use them to pursue other women, you may find they urge you to some other reckless behavior (that raises dopamine in your brain, which can feel VERY GOOD while your dopamine is low from lots of orgasm). For example: drinking, drugs, porn, and risky activities all create surges of dopamine. But too much of them lead to "crashes" afterward.

Connection with the opposite sex (while your sweetheart is away) can be good, and nurturing to both people - as long as your rational brain is calling the shots. In other words, spending time with your women friends who are just friends may be very helpful. Touch is good. Try dance class or partner yoga, for example.

Finally, I assume 'Boris Becker' is not your real name. If it is, send me a private message with a nickname, and I'll change it. Over the years, we've found it wise to encourage nicknames here. It frees everyone to discuss challenging topics more freely.

Welcome!

Dear Marnia, thanks a lot

Dear Marnia, thanks a lot for your extensive reply.

The current month is the third that we are apart and until a week ago I masturbated once-twice a day (either to porn, or thinking about her), which didn't seem to harm the relationship in any way. What I started last week (7 days no masturbation now) is just an experiment, though I think I feel the hangover described in the "Science" page of this website: an anxious feeling that is stirring many of my relationship insecurities I thought I had overcome.

When masturbating and thinking about her, I usually have quite strong feelings towards her after orgasm, unlike described on the website. I wonder whether in this case the hangover is stronger and thereby causing unexplainable negative feelings towards her.

My problem is this: whenever I speak to new people of the opposite sex, there is almost always immediate attraction. This may be because I spent my entire teenagehood and early adulthood following the advice of seduction gurus who have shaped my identity.
As a consequence, I think that in order for me to stay faithful, it is necessary to either completely avoid meeting new people of the opposite sex, or masturbate so that I don't get tempted by them.
I want to stay completely faithful, i.e. not even emotional infidelity.

Apart from masturbating and porn I am quite a "health-freak" since I was a baby: never smoked, never drank any alcohol, never tried any drugs. I don't even drink coffee and follow an Asian diet.

By trying to quit masturbation I aim to increase my feelings towards my partner. At the moment though - maybe only because of the hangover - I am experiencing the worst things I ever felt for her, and that worries me a bit. (Even thinking of separating for no relevant reason, but trying to dig up all possible reasons against my own will. Full negative thinking pattern.)

P.S.: my name is a reference to the famous tennis champion :P which I am not :)

All that makes sense.

The hangover can definitely cause flickering perceptions...and reactivate old insecurities. If you're in the two-week hangover period, believe no insane thoughts that pop up! Wink If you want to continue your experiment, then you'd want to try it for about three weeks...to get past the two-week cycle...and see if your good feelings return. Generally, they do. (A porn addiction, however, can require a longer "rebooting" period.)

Also, a big part of what we recommend on this site for strengthening the bond between lovers is daily bonding behaviors. http://www.reuniting.info/lazy_way_to_stay_in_love I should think it would be very challenging to make a big 'turn' with your sexual behavior while your loved one is far away.

Can you try substituting lots of exercise and some daily meditation? If not, you may need to defer your experiment.

Well, now that you told me

Well, now that you told me you truly comforted me, since these insecurities are generated by my past beliefs (Seduction Gurus' view: all women want only sex. It's useless focusing only on one woman. If you do, you will seem needy and she will be put off even more etc.) which I needed lot of energy, patience and hope to overcome... and she's also the first real woman whom I started to apply my new views. They linger quite strong inside me.

I have to ignore them now.

On my side, I can try doing meditation and try cold turkey even three weeks. What I'm worried about is the bonding behaviors with so much distance :) And if my renewed insecurities cause bad communication (with the distance it's even worse), that would be bad.

But I'm working on re-eliminating my insecurities now :)

Thanks again.

Phone bonding

My long distance sweetheart and I have been talking on the the phone almost daily, for a few minutes to a couple hours per call. We usually get in bed and imagine snuggling up with each other. I don't imagine having sex with her, nor do I masturbate - that would be too dopamine-raising, I think. Sometimes we just "enjoy silence together," listening to each other breathe and move around. I have found it quite satisfying.

If you both have computers with high speed internet, you can make long distance calls for free over the internet using skype.com, gizmo.com, google talk, etc.

That is a good idea, and

That is a good idea, and indeed we are already using Skype quite frequently :)

My question is more about how to avoid feeling attracted to other women.
Now I'm in my second week of "masturbation abstinence" and feel increasingly sexually attracted to women I otherwise don't even notice...

Mybe it's not as much of a problem as you think it is

It's sort of normal for men to be attracted to women in one way or another. Just because you feel attracted to other women doesn't mean you're going to jump into bed with them! Is it possible just to let yourself enjoy the attraction without giving much weight to it? Just notice it and then move on to the next thing, just as you would notice the weather or some nice scenery?

It may be "normal", but then

It may be "normal", but then how come wasn't I attracted to the same women before I started this experiment, or before my partner left? They start entering my sexual imagination against my will, which I also consider a bit "wrong" due to my religious/spiritual beliefs....

She is studying abroad for a few years and I might be able to get a job in her city starting from next year, depending on luck and circumstances. Due to bureaucratic reasons (passports, visa, etc.) we won't be able to meet again until this June :(

That's a long time

Sad

I don't know the answer to your question, BB. However, if you're going to stick with your experiment, then give it about three weeks. By then you'll know if you feel calmer and have greater feelings of well-being without frequent masturbation.

If you don't, then maybe it's time to go back to Plan A and see if that solves your problems.

I wish there were easy answers to such questions, but this website is actually about helping couples strengthen their bonds, so we're learning right along with everyone else when it comes to these kinds of tough questions.

Thoughts

[quote=Borisbecker86]It may be "normal", but then how come wasn't I attracted to the same women before I started this experiment, or before my partner left? They start entering my sexual imagination against my will, which I also consider a bit "wrong" due to my religious/spiritual beliefs....[/quote]

It could be because when we're masturbating a lot, we are inward focused. And with excessive masturbation, we are desensitized to stimulation of the subtler variety, especially if that has been mixed with porn.

Think of it this way. In the Middle East, especially in times past, women wouldn't be seen outside without wearing a full dress and scarf. We've been aware of that recently with Al Quida (sp?) demanding that, which is traditional female dress for that part of the world. So what you end up with is only a woman's eyes showing through. Thus, you'll read in the Bible about a woman flashing her eyes, and how beautiful someone's eyes were to so-and-so. Talk about subtle! But they couldn't see anything else in public generally.

Having such thoughts is not wrong in and of itself. Stopping to dwell on them, think about them, long to do them, that is. "Lust" means a strong desire to do something. A glance or brief thought flying through your head isn't lust. Lust won't let you go that easily. You'll fixate on it and dwell on it. Maybe even get up the nerve to do it.

So I would suspect if you are simply noticing these things about women, that they spark your interest, but you do not seriously entertain them and immediately cast them away, you're in no danger. But if you are dwelling on them and hungering after them, then that is a problem and you might want to give this some serious through/prayer. Maybe seek some help and support.

But if you're not giving them the time of day, just letting the thoughts pass, then while the thoughts coming aren't good, you are not participating in them.

On the positive side, it means you are becoming more sensitized to others, and thus your partner. And overall, that's a good thing.

Marnia, I don't know whether

Marnia, I don't know whether it is merely the distance or this experiment, but since 2-3 days I feel really nostalgic, pessimistic and doubtful about our relationship, more than ever before. Maybe I am so used to masturbating that it has become part of my "emotional metabolism"?

Cole, I think you understood the gist of my dilemma and I agree with what you say. I simply wanted to elaborate on the logical implications of these thoughts:
If I want to stay faithful to my partner in every way, wouldn't it be better to desensitize myself to others (until I am physically with my partner again)?

I think I fixate a lot... because my bond to my girlfriend is really very psychological and platonic rather than based on physical attraction.

Or maybe I am just thinking all these thoughts because deep inside I want to resume the bad habit :D

How long

has your experiment been? Personally, I'm always more moody during week two after an orgasm. Everyone is different, though.

It's hard to be patient when you're feeling distant emotionally, but my thought is...if you've come this far, you might as well go a bit father...just to see where you end up.

Another question. You may have answered this, but were you noticing any escalation in your masturbation habits? Were you looking at more and more extreme material, for example?

New feelings

[quote=Borisbecker86]Cole, I think you understood the gist of my dilemma and I agree with what you say. I simply wanted to elaborate on the logical implications of these thoughts:
If I want to stay faithful to my partner in every way, wouldn't it be better to desensitize myself to others (until I am physically with my partner again)?[/quote]

Look at it this way. You don't want to be desensitized, really. But if you've been that way for a long time, these new feelings can seem scary. Where will they lead? Will I give in and go after someone? What if I lose control?

This reminds me of Data on the Star Trek movie Generations when he gets the emotion chip and finds he can't handle the emotions, and wants to get rid of them. Yeah, it's sort of like that. We've been in an abnormal situation for so long it now "feels" normal while normal now feels foreign. But the goal maybe shouldn't be to get rid of them, but to learn how to handle them, like Data had to learn how to deal with his emotions.

The bottom line is, it means you're more alive now. Why give that up? :)

Marnia, this should be

Marnia, this should be around the 12th day of this new journey.
I started masturbating daily when I was 11 years old. I don't think there was a real "escalation" but that the different types of sex I fantasised about depended on the mood I was in, i.e. shortly before going out to a party, I would check group things. If I was learning about some new country or traveling there, I would search movies featuring models from those ethnicities. But when I am in love, e.g. the entire time before I started this experiment, I would watch movies that start very romantically, and often use them only as a catalyst which I then switch off to imagine myself with my girlfriend.

Cole, good question. Maybe for the sake of certain faithfulness? Maybe because I don't want her to feel in the same situation as well.
It could even be kind of romantic to sacrifice my "alive"-ness until I'm back with her :)

Do you know

if the same thing is happening to her? Awkward to talk about, eh? Smile

Someone here once mentioned that our nervous systems are probably not set up well for sustaining feelings of being "in love" when apart from loved ones for long periods of time. This doesn't mean it can't be done...just that it may have to be more of an "intellectual" love than a "juicy" love, during a lengthy separation.

Her theory was that, because affectionate touch and close companionship are so good for our well-being, our nervous system rebels if we're absent from those things for too long. In other words, you may just have to ignore its messages that "something is horribly wrong," do your best to stay connected, and trust that when you're actually together again (with touch, eye contact, love making, etc.), you'll feel the "juice" again.

Meanwhile, some exchanges are possibly going to feel a bit wooden. Just don't gauge the success of the relationship by your gut feelings while you're apart. Not easy...but easier if you know what's going on.

What do you think?