‚ô•Dopamine and Coordination, or am I getting CLUMSY??

Submitted by radon on
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I just recently found out that my problem with my sexual life was porn addiction. I haven't watched porn or masturbated since 3 days. The more severe withdrawal effects just surfaced, I slept restless, then got up grumpy in the morning (ususally I'm in a kinda good mood), my left arm hurts but I haven't strained it, and why I'm writing to you is because I'm: CLUMSY!!!
I spilled my cocoa drink on the table then later I tried to sweep the floor and hit my arm in the wall. My concern is this: My motoric skills were SUPERB this far and I'm afraid that it won't be that good after I get cured from the addiction.

I learned to ski in 2 days in this winter and kept up with a girl who were skiing since 5 years, without any prior experince to skiing. I'm very good at any other motor skills too, and learning exceptionally fast (I learned fast and am good in a bunch of ballroom and other type of dancing too, rollerblading, paragliding, etc.) I almost never fall, and I don't get hurt when I do.

This is what I scraped together from mainly yourbrainonporn.com articles and searching on ther sites:
1. Dopamine helps in coordination. That's why Parkinson's disease patiens can't move well, because they have a reduced capacity to make dopamine.
2. There's a thing called Psychomotor retardation or psychomotor impairment that comprises a slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movements in an individual. It's normal in depression patiens.
3. When you're addicted, you constantly make so high dopamine surges that your "hedonic setpoint" sets to a higher level, so you can't enjoy things people normally enjoy. I'm experiencing this.

My concern is this: Is my excellence in motoric skills the effect of the higher hedonic setpoint? And consecvently if I "get cured" do I get a bit clumsier than I used to be, because of the lower levels of dopamine? I'm aware that the excess clumsiness is because of the withdrawal, but will this be a little better but WORSE than it used to be when I watched porn and bombarded my brain with dopamine surges?

Waiting for your insights, I would really like to hear from someone who doesn't just speculate on the matter, but has some evidence or former education and klowledge about it.

But I would like to read your insights too.


First, it's normal to get anxious about *something* or other during withdrawal. And it's normal to rationalize why porn/masturbation is good for you after all. Wink

I'll get Gary to answer your question, but from what I've learned I think you're confusing high dopamine spurts that accompany arousal to porn cues with "overall high dopamine." In fact, addicts have lower baseline dopamine, or sensitivity to dopamine (or both) over all.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if you were "off" a bit during rebooting. Your brain is swinging all over the place (neurochemically speaking) until you restore balance.

I've enabled you to blog if you like.

Sorry your arm hurts.

*big hug*

It's all speculation

when it comes to porn addiction and withdrawal mechanisms and pathways.

QUESTION: And consequently if I "get cured" do I get a bit clumsier than I used to be, because of the lower levels of dopamine?
You will not get clumsier being free of porn. As Marnia said - Addictions cause lower levels of dopamine and dopamine D2 receptors. However, There are reports of temporary motor impairments associated with withdrawal from drugs - especially alcohol, tranquilizers. And porn addicts experience many of the same withdrawal symptoms as drug users. See this collection of porn withdrawal symptoms, and the drug withdrawal symptoms at the end. http://www.reuniting.info/download/pdf/0.WITHDRAWAL.pdf

1. Dopamine helps in coordination. That's why Parkinson's disease patients can't move well, because they have a reduced capacity to make dopamine.
It's true, however the dopamine producing cells with Parkinson's disease are a different circuit than the dopamine producing cells for reward . But there may some slight overlap, hence the motor impairment as a drug withdrawal (or maybe not)

2. There's a thing called Psychomotor retardation or psychomotor impairment that comprises a slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movements in an individual. It's normal in depression patients.
Slower movements, lethargy occur in depression, and it is given a fancy name that means slow. Dopamine may be low in depression, but is it a cause or an effect?

3. When you're addicted, you constantly make so high dopamine surges that your "hedonic setpoint" sets to a higher level, so you can't enjoy things people normally enjoy. I'm experiencing this.
No it's not high dopamine. Practicing addicts have lower baseline dopamine. Nor do their levels of dopamine rise as high as non-addicted people when they are given the same natural rewards - food, sex, money, social interaction. As you said, this is what you are experiencing. That is withdrawal - the brain no longer having its artificial source of dopamine stimulation.

Don't worry about any permanent symptoms.

Can that also explain my

Can that also explain my dizzyness? It is really anoing when it happens. It all started after i quited the whole pmo thing.
Also i noticed that i speak very soft and i find it hard to make whole sentences sometimes and 20 minutes later i can talk normal again.
Very weird.

Thank you!

First: Thank you Marnia and Gary for your detailed and kind answers! They put me at ease about this problem.

Today is my first week free of porn after about 12 years of daily use (I'm 26) and I feel fine, my clumsiness was the worst the day I sent my first post, now it's usually the way it was before.

The good thing is that I'm getting better rapidly. I read "The brain that changes itself" since then. I'm avoiding anything sexually arousing while browsing on the net, and I'm cuddling more with my girlfriend. We had sex one time since then and it was a lot more personal, sensual and rewarding than it used to be.

It's interesting to realize that it was my porn addiction that eventually ruined my previous relationship of six years. I don't really mind, because we're much more suited to each other with my current girlfriend, whom I'm with since 2 years. But it was frightening to see that she had a much better and healthy mindset about sexuality than my ex-girlfriend, but our relationship was deteriorating in the same pattern as my previous one.

I never realized that it's not healthy that I'm using porn and masturbate about two times a day, because it was said many times and places that "masturbation is natural and healthy and in fact you need it" and "porn is just to widen your imagination and make your sex life more interesting". Thank you Gary a hundred times for the "Your Brain On Porn Series". It was really an eye-opening experience.


There's one more thing that is lingering in my head about this addiction. So our sex life wasn't that great with my girlfriend. Now I know that it was because of the porn addiction, she wasn't able to "get me high" alone. I had a lot of fantasies (thanks to porn) about, well, a lot of things. I started to get interested in swingers clubs, she was curious about it too, so we went there a couple of times (once every 1-2 months). Fortunately jealousy is not a problem between us.

I really enjoyed the trips and made a lot of my fantasies come true. She didn't really enjoyed most of the encounters, because there weren't enough good looking guys in the clubs (unfortunately the woman take care of themselves, the guys not really, they are in bad shape, etc.). Later we tried to make just private parties with couples that appealed to us both. It was kinda fun, but when our relationship deteriorated further we stopped these get-togethers completely (since about 4 months).

My question is: I realize that I started these group sex experimentations because of my porn addiction and I guess it put me in deeper problems with my girlfriend too. But what do you think about it, if I get over my porn addiction and our relationship is getting back in shape, would it bad if we were to continue with these parties moderately? (Once in every 1-2 months, for example.)

Could it help in any way (to ease the Coolidge effect, for example), or would it just set me on course to sex addiction, or is it possible that now that I'm aware of the effects, I could enjoy this kind of things without drawn into it too much. I explained my porn addiction to my girlfriend and she said about these get-togethers that "everything is OK in moderation, so I guess we could do these if we don't overdo them".

I'm aware that it's partly my brain that wants to "get some and get high" that tries to save these occasions, but apart from that I find these encounters liberating, the feeling that we're not possessive of our partner and it's a wonderful feeling to socialize and have sex with like-minded couples. We try to steer clear of couples that try to make each other jealous with this kind of thing, etc.

Please share your ideas about this situation, you can tell me whatever your personal opinion is, even if you say this is just another form of sex addiction. :)


My wife and I have been non-monogamous for a number of years, although quite infrequently, as well as practicing karezza, so I'll attempt address your question about engaging sexually with others from my experience.

Without a doubt its not for everyone and there are serious pitfalls that can lead to relationship train wrecks, and it can be very positive. Some folks negotiate their way in the non-monogamous world better than other and it seems like you and your girl handle it OK.

My advise is to skip it and focus on moving beyond orgasm. Why, because if I were you I would focus all my sexual energy on becoming non-orgasmic. Engaging with others who generally want all the stimulation and orgasms they can get, will muddy the water of what you would be trying to do. One thing at a time. It doesn't even seem like your girl is on board with the idea of karezza. I will say this, I cannot begin to describe the short and long term benefits of living beyond orgasm. It is truly transformative, not only for your relationship, but for you and who you'll become as a man. Set your sites on it and march forward. Doesn't matter how many times you succumb to having an orgasm, intentionally or accidentally. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and walk forward. Doesn't matter how long it takes, its your commitment that will see you through.

The hard part is, you don't fully know what its like to live beyond orgasm until you're living it, so its difficult to make a commitment to something that doesn't seem so great, especially when orgasming feel so damn good. Believe me, when you finally get in the flow of it, orgasm will have little to no appeal and you'll wonder what the big deal was. Living beyond orgasm is infinitely more pleasurable and fulfilling, really, it is.

Once you've moved to a place where karezza style love making is wired into your body and your in a groove with it, then it might be a time to reassess non-monogamous activities. You'll be looking at it from a much different place.

On another note engaging with others can be very positive and wonderful but it can also be porn like and titillating, depending on the situation you are in. Seems like you don't really need any stimulation in that direction at this point in your healing from porn, whether you choose karezza or not, so some time away from it would probably serve you well.

These are my thoughts on your question. I wish you the best in whatever you choose.

Dear Darryl,

It was really good to read your post. It's especially nice to read your opinion having experience of a non-monogamous relationship. Your words moved me and you really made me want to try being non-orgasmic. Your description and apparent feeling of contentment about it really gave me a push to decide to pursue it.

In fact I told my girlfriend I want to try it and I had my first really good experience with Karezza about 2 hours ago. She still can't seem to grasp the concept, even though I told her that she could go and orgasm if she wanted. Neither of us orgasmed in the end. She was left feeling a bit odd, but I really loved it and now I feel great and with peace with myself. I usually felt empty and tired after a normal sex, now I feel energized.

I think the problem is that although she said she tried "guided experiences", they were focused outward and she never learned to focus herself inward and live in the moment properly. And if I understand it correctly, Karezza is a kind of meditation trough lovemaking together, that requires that you don't live in the past or future, thinking about why it's not that good as last time or when will my orgasm come. :)

I think I will try to gently help my girlfriend learn meditation and inner awareness, refrain from promiscuity for some time and strive to experience my non-orgasmic self. I'm already liking what I'm feeling in the first step. For the first time since long I don't feel that I *need* sex, masturbation and orgasm to feel content and happy. That's really a relief.

Thanks a lot for your insights, you really helped me!

Wow, you really jumped right

Wow, you really jumped right in with two feet there. I so glad my words inspired you to give karezza a full try. Just what happened for you is exactly the way it grows. You try it and have a positive experience. This usually inspires more engaging with karezza which usually results in more positive experiences. It grows on you, not so much through the mind, but from direct experience. Way to go radon.

I also like the mind set you're taking with your girlfriend. If you lead the way by example she'll catch on quickly. My wife was a little unsure and felt a bit odd in the beginning as well, but it didn't take her long before she started really liking it. She kept on orgasming for a while but loved that I wasn't, then she decided not to as well. I think its real smart to tell her she can orgasm if she wants, gives her to space to make her own choices rather than being pushed into it.

Again, way to go!!

We don't have any experience with this,

so my advice will be brief. Wink Certainly, if you feel increasingly restless after such encounters, then it's a sign that you are numbing the pleasure response of your brain (just as happens with porn). More stimulation will just speed the downward spiral and make the two of you less satisfied with each other.

Habituation is definitely a risk for the majority of couples. There are other ways to address it besides adding the buzz of novel partners to the mix. Karezza works for us, and not long ago a man who, with his wife, had engaged in swinging for years wrote to say that they had switched over to karezza, too, and were really happy with its effects. (Can't find the post. Sad ) Just something to keep in mind as your brain gets more sensitive.

In any case, daily affection can do a lot to soothe the restless feelings that promote habituation. They work directly on an old part of the mind. For more, check out these YBOP articles: http://yourbrainonporn.com/intimate-relationships-and-the-brain Maybe start with "The Lazy Way to Stay in Love"

Hi Marnia, thank you for the

Hi Marnia, thank you for the swift answer. I read all the articles on the page before my first post, and I tried to grasp the concept of Karezza. Because I'm fairly experienced in meditation I think I get it, but when I explained it to my girlfriend, she was a bit hostile about it, feeling that I want to take away her orgasms, which she loves. (I later read that it's wiser to suggest that only I try it first, she can enjoy her orgasms.)

I suggested to try Karezza 5 days ago (on my 3rd day of abstinence), because I was really restless and wanted to get a relief of some kind. It was really awkward and didn't go well. She felt like I was using her "to get my fix", and there was some truth in it...

Two days later after some cuddling we decided to have sex, and I was unusually gentle and caring, which I usually can't do, 'cause I get so turned on by the prospect of sex. I realized that it was kind of a Karezza, and I was happy I could do something like that.

I can usually control my orgasm+ejaculation well, so when she came I had the option to not go over the top, but I decided to go with it, because I just really like the feel and it doesn't really tax me after. I got a really good mood in the last two days, but I'm getting a bit restless today, thinking a lot more about sex. I' wondering what would have happened if I didn't orgasmed that day.

I don't know what makes me think swinging is just a great feeling spiritually. I guess it could be my primitive brain playing tricks with my logic, and that they are not coming from my clever one. The feeling that it's good to intellectually and emotionally challenge the possessive thoughts and don't get mad and jealous when she tells me she kissed someone or when I see her with another man, feeling good herself. Usually everybody is fine about promiscuity as long as his/her partner isn't doing it. :)

I think Karezza would really help me grasp in sex that "it's the journey that's important, not the finish line", but it just feels so good to be at the finish line, that it's hard to concentrate on anything else. I guess that's more of a challenge for me.

I think I have a sex addiction too, on top of porn addiction. Do you suggest I should tackle both problems together and abstain from orgasming altogether or should I break it up in two steps?

It feels like it would be hard to handle to not have my usual relief (masturbation on porn, about two times a day) and the relief I get with my partner (which is more like once every 2-7 days).

Do you think it should be done together of is it wiser to break it up?

Hmmmm....tough question

The goal is to get your brain back in balance. The "chaser effect" article points out the feelings you need to watch out for. http://yourbrainonporn.com/do-you-need-a-chaser-after-sex

Of course, you're gonna have some of those feelings anyway, during withdrawal - however you do it. So it can be hard to figure out what's going on in your bodily laboratory at first.

Contact with your sweetie is really good, so incorporate as much of that as you can (and be as generous, that is, un-grabby, as possible...ask her about her favorite non-sexual touch and give that). Then just watch yourself after orgasm and see what you notice. If your cravings go through the roof, you may have to switch to non-orgasmic sex for a while.

Incidentally, the jury is still out as to whether it's better for one partner to continue to orgasm. There's no one right answer, but I've always found it very destabilizing...whoever orgasms.

PS - on jealousy

I think you're right that jealousy is unhealthy. But I've never felt the need to watch a partner having sex with someone else to avoid the jealousy trap. Smile

I can't help but wonder if it's appealing in part because it's like watching a porn movie, starring your sweetie, (or "getting off" to it later) with the extra jolt of dopamine from the emotions that arise from doing something unconventional (daring, whatever).

If this is a bad guess, just ignore it. Wink

Dear Marnia,

Your observation was really on the spot. It's the two things you described, combined. It really is like a "real life" porn, with my girlfriend starring in it and it's also a way to have connection with a lot of women, that my primitive brain loves, I guess.

On the other hand, I always loved to dazzle my friends and the world with the unconventional things I do. I guess I'm a bit of an eccentric, I really like to be unconventional. Now that I want to follow Karezza practices, I guess I will dumbfound my friends in a whole different way, so that works for me too. :P

Marnia, thank you for this epiphany. It would took me years to figure out why I'm really drawn to these kind of things. I watched the video interview with you and now I also saw, not just felt that you are a beautiful person inside and out.

Thanks for your kind words and help. *hugs*

Isn't it great

to be able to compare notes with some of your eccentric tribal elders? Wink Hope you keep us posted on your further discoveries. We all love sharing our respective puzzle pieces, and look forward to yours.

If you're right that your girlfriend needs help staying in the moment, she might really benefit from Diana Richardson's book, "Tantric Orgasm for Women." In my view, it's redundant (if ever you read MY book, you'll see the humor of that critique...) and a bit heavy on male-female politics, but if she can find the bits on getting in touch with her inner feelings during sex, she might enjoy the results.

Diana swears by breast massage as a way to spill energy into a woman's sexual center. Whether or not that's true as a scientific matter, it works quite well as a placebo matter - because it stops the goal-driven behavior and lets the woman focus on all the other good feelings during sex. This gradually increases sensitivity to nuance. There are excerpts from a similar book for men here: http://www.reuniting.info/tantric_sex_for_men_richardson

This is a tribe I like to belong to

It really is great to have someone to get insights from. I grew up the way that 99% of the time nobody was able to give me any insights and I had to figure out everything myself, so it's tremendously good feeling when I actually get some useful tips.

It will be hard to get my girlfriend to read anything about the topic at the moment. I got her to read this topic, so I wouldn't have to recite every good bit of information in it to her, but she didn't really got interested.

I think she is in a low point in her life also, doesn't have much of a goals set for herself and she's quite lazy to think about it. I think I'm partly responsible for this, because I damaged her self respect and self confidence quite a bit with demanding so much sex and her not being enough for me, no matter how hard she tried.

I did start my blog (thank you for the opportunity) and I will ellaborate on these issues in the following days.