Masturbation addiction without escalation to porn?

Submitted by theprodigalsun on
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I would like to start off by thanking Marnia and Gary for this informative and inspiring website. I would also like to commend all of you on here who are struggling to get better; I do know how difficult it is. I have been following the progress of people on this site for about 3-4 years now and I’ve seen a lot of success and failures, speaking of which you really should repost Redbeards entries, they were very inspiring, much like that of likeandiot’s. I have a lot of questions and ideas but I’ll only present a few right now so as to be to overwhelming (although it probably will be anyway, I apologize.) If you want to jump to the bottom feel free to read the questions there, they are for Marnia, Gary and all members.

A little background first. I majored in Neuropsychology while in college but left halfway through my senior year to start my career. While I’m definitely not an authority on the matter, I have kept up with neurological research since then and I have to say after years of reading your articles, in my personal opinion, you guys are spot on. Of course I’m 100% biased because I want you to be right. I have had a masturbation addiction since I was about 11 or 12; I’m in my mid thirties now. I have never escalated to porn. I started masturbating to my imagination and then to magazines but I never ramped up to porn. Women’s lingerie catalogs or even sports magazines (I’m attracted to athletic women) were all I ever needed. With the Internet it is the same thing, I still use my imagination half of the time. I would like to ask Gary or Marnia why this could be? I figured its either I’m an outlier, I’m in the small percentage of people who don’t need to escalate.

The other theory I have is that I have played sports and exercised my entire life and that for some reason the physical activity has balanced me out. That would be great if the latter were true because it would give credence to the theory that exercise could help. I should also add that other than the constant pull to masturbate I suffer no withdrawal symptoms.

Unfortunately I have never beaten the addiction to images on the web or masturbation. This I believe has led to ED problems in the past and present when there have been real women in my bed. I should point out that I have dated a lot in the past and have had many girlfriends. I never had a problem with ED most of my sexual life but that changed in the last decade or so since having the availability of the Internet. I believe that even though I don’t need porn to get off, my dopamine an prolactin levels are so out of whack (no pun intended) that it throws me off when I’ve had real life receptive women in front of me.

On top of that I also believe that the isolation of being by myself when I masturbate combined with the endless variety of women the Internet has provided me (personal harem) has desensitized me to the real thing. Throw in the fact that I normally masturbate in the prone position, which does not simulate real sexual contact on your member. I’ve since stopped doing that as of 2 months ago. Wow, after looking at that in writing I do have a lot to work on! I have many more questions and theories but I’ll save these for later, this has already gotten much bigger than I thought.

Question 1. With what little information I have provided, I can provide more later, why do you think I have in 20+ years of masturbating never escalated?
Question 2. Do you think that because I am only desensitized by masturbation and not porn I may heal at a faster rate than others as long as I don’t look at any images online?

I know that no one can answer these questions scientifically but I trust your opinions and answers. Thank you ahead of time.

I should also add that the

I should also add that the longest I've gone without an orgasm is about 21 days, the whole time I either edged(I ignored the fact it's actually worse) and looked at images online. Every time I was pulled back to my usual ways. If I substitute images for porn in p/m/o my progress as of today would be 2/4/6 in days abstaining from each. I already feel really good and have had morning wood the last 3 days, although I do not think that is a good measuring stick of progress.

Well I'm in similar shoes as

Well I'm in similar shoes as you. I don't have a porn problem, it's a masturbation problem because my imagination is enough for me(I masturbate without porn 95 percent of the time). I view porn sometimes, but on occasion I get bored halfway or watch some videos just to laugh at the comments some people leave. (There's some hilarious comments!)

Well this is coming from my experiences, sometimes it's not about the sex I think. Sometimes it's just about the loneliness and the need for companionship. I wouldn't say I have in a better situation than someone who has a problem with masturbation to pornography, I would actually say I'm in a worse situation because I'm closer to the precipice and in higher danger of falling back to habit. The pornography addict can choose to block sites with a click of a button, how do i turn off my imagination and my eyes from seeing the titillating things that raise my hormones? I can't. I wanted to stop masturbating the moment I started, I've not been successful... yet. It's never ending vigilance.

me too

My problems began (and probably end) with masturbation addiction. I consistently had ED problems many many years before I ever viewed porn.

Well I'm glad to know I'm

Well I'm glad to know I'm not the only one then. I'm with you guys on the not being able to have filter for my mind or just regular pictures of women. It's perhaps even more dangerous for slipping back but I personally believe that our recovery time from ED "should" be shorter. I'm already turned on by real women I see on the streets. I think the ED may come from the comfortability of masturbaiting in the privacy of your own head or home and not having to please anyone but yourself. Have you guys ever been able to abstain for any significant period of time?

34 days was my record, but

34 days was my record, but when I fall off the wagon from a high streak... boy do i trip all over myself the following days and masturbate even more frequently than normal. I liked one suggestion from some article I read to consider a streak like you would a game level. If you lose, you don't go back to day 0, but you could start off back at predefined intervals. It makes sense because we're trying to aim for consistency in the long run and the best way to practice would be too give yourself leniency instead of making yourself feel like you have to scale back that streak mountain and any slip is loss of all progress. Personally though, I'm giving the old fashioned full streak one more go before I try out that other method.

very true

anyone else get this? once you end a very good streak, it is difficult to start another one immediately. after a certain point, the penis nerves get so sensitive, that the next few orgasms after the one that breaks the streak are intense. That's why after I break a streak, I orgasm 2 more times that day and then 3 more the next day, and then a few more the following day before finally attempting to start another streak. sometimes it takes a while to start another streak.

day 78

I've been abstaining and I'm on day 78. It took many a hundred tries to get to this point. I tried to give up masturbation so many times and couldn't get past 7 days. I guess I've been so desperate that I finally got motivated to do it. You and I had a private message about something else, and it's up to you if you put it out here, but I think it could be relevant.

Hi Prodigal

Thanks for coming out of the "lurking pool" to share your wisdom and questions. Thanks for the Redbeard tip, too. You're right. I'll add that to my list of things to do. Too bad he took his pics down. (For the rest of you...he actually posted "before" and "after" pics when he quit using porn, and the change was noticeable. Smile ) In those days, we weren't collecting "rebooting accounts," so I'm sure there are other good ones that are buried somewhere in this forum, too. your questions. It's my understanding that constant *novelty* is already superstimulation for sensitive brains. As Gary says, a high school student can see more hot babes between classes than his ancestors saw in a lifetime. And presumably they aren't performing porn acts in the hall between classes.

So be easy on yourself. You're just the product of millennia of ancestors who knew a good thing when they saw her and experienced bells and whistles in their heads in the form of lots of dopamine. Smile

We honestly don't know how many people escalate. While it's perfectly natural, I'd also say it's perfectly natural *not* to as well. Especially if you haven't been looking at extreme stuff.

Not sure what will happen if you reboot without looking at novel pics, but it's probably worth finding out.

And start your own blog if you like.

Tantric sex videos

so y'all hate porn. good for you. what do you think of tantric sex videos? too pornographic, or more to learn than destruct? What do you all think of Nina Hartley? I think she is a very good teacher and I actually think we can learn a lot from her. A lot of the advice she gives is very popular.


not sure if you are kidding, but we don't hate porn. Never gave it a second thought until guys started showing up on our forum. Tantric videos may be great. They may not be the best source of entertainment when attempting to reboot.

Please note that defining pornography is a waste of time. What ever gets your reward circuitry buzzing can be a potential problem. Could be smoking pot, playing black jack, maybe eating Ben & Jerry's chunky monkey, could be watching "girls with goats". Every individual needs to monitor what causes them problems, and act accordingly.....or not.

With all do respect Gary, I

With all do respect Gary, I hate porn. Understand that I don't hate the people that watch porn. Though I don't watch porn myself I do understand how enticing it can be. I live 15 minutes from Chatsworth, CA, any of you who are heavily into porn(which I assume is most of you) knows what happens there. I drive through there sometimes when I go out to eat or if I'm doing business nearby and look around. The whole city is covered in unmarked warehouses. That is where your porn is being made. It is fake reality and it's making its producers a ton of money. People can argue that porn is "not like drugs", but the human brain would beg to differ, as do I'm sure anybody on this board that understands their addiction to it. So yeah, I hate porn.

Completely understandable.

Completely understandable. "We" refers to Marnia and I. Marnia and I spend a good deal of our time behind the scenes, or on our other blogs, debating the topic of porn addiction with "experts" and very hostile readers. We are accused of being moralistic, men hating, religious zealots, who hate porn and want to ban it.
We know what porn can do. However, we do not want to be lumped into any particular ideological category. I get a little jumpy when people start assuming they know our thoughts or motives.

I totally understand. I've

I totally understand. I've been following you guys for a long time so I know you're on our side of the battle. I would love do debate the hostile readers you go up against, I get a thrill from conflict. It wouldn't help your cause though, that is why I keep my mouth shut when I read some of the ignorant remarks on Psych Today and some of the other blogs. If I would have finished college and pursued my masters then perhaps I could have been an expert fighting on your side. I just read that they probably won't include sex/internet addiction into the DSM-5. It won't be long before it gets included though. For years the "experts" said that we didn't have an obesity problem. Oh really? Three quarters of the U.S. population is overweight or obese. Does it need to become 100% of all people before it becomes a "problem?"

Apparently it does

Wink But there's new research out this month showing brain changes from "Internet addiction" in China and the noose is getting tighter. It's not about porn addicts...because those two countries block porn sites and have for 5 and 4 years respectively. It's about video-game addicts.

14% of Chinese urban teens are hooked, and the test subjects showed 10-20% reduction of frontal lobe gray matter, as well as desensitization (numbing of the reward circuitry), and drug-user-like sensitivity to cues.

Think Internet porn is *less* potentially addictive than gaming for all users? That's what our sexologists will now have to claim. It's starting to look pretty flimsy as an argument, no? Smile

I'm not kidding. I

I'm not kidding. I seriously want to know what you people all think about instructional videos that have a lot to teach. does anyone watch any videos on tantra? and i'm very curious to know what you all think of nina hartley. numerous sources have labeled her as a good teacher.

Thank you everyone for your

Thank you everyone for your responses and ideas.
@moronluono: I have not looked at any Tantric sex videos but I may in the future. I think for me any videos or pictures related to any kind of sex will just pull me back to the dark side, so for now I'll probably opt out.
@Marnia: My background studying neuropsychology is based in evolutionary psychology so I couldn't agree more with the high school hallway analogy.
@shattered: I've read your blogs so I'll post some on there. For myself the medication shouldn't be the problem. I've had good erections in the time period after I've been off of it. Good consideration for your self though considering where you are at in your recovery. It can affect people differently. You've done an amazing job on your road to recovery, your motivation must be very powerful.
@slightlydead: Good name, I feel like this addiction has kept me from being fully alive as well. I actually have a pretty great life but I don't fully appreciate it. I think because the masturbation hijacks our dopamine not allowing us to fully enjoy what we have. I'm curious though, what pulled you back in after your 34 day abstaining period?

Well, it's a funny story

Well, it's a funny story actually. Sometimes you can succeed...all too well lol. Short story, i met a girl and then was heart broken. Lust I was ready for. Love? Not so much. What actually helped me carry on through the streak was love overriding lust, but when I lost that, I lost sight of what i wanted. I looked back at my journal entry on that day and just my penmanship can show how erratic my mind was getting. So the reason for my streak breaker was because I was no longer lucid or understood what I wanted anymore and I shut my brain down.

If ever you

read our book, you'll see that we think a subtler version of that "brain shut down" is what alienates most couples...regardless of the external things they blame it on. Here's a little taste of what I'm talking about: "The Passion Cycle"

Recognize it? Keep in mind that we get an "upper" of honeymoon neurochemicals that veil it for a time in each new romance.

I can totally relate.

I can totally relate. Without trying to sound to mushy, I do believe love has the power to help us conquer many things. Without it, life can be very difficult. There is a Chapter in Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich" where he talks about motivation( there is an excerpt from the book on this site about Sex Transmutation, which I fully agree with.) The only thing more powerful than sex,he claims, in motivating people to do anything is love. If you combine the two it's supposed to make you invincible or superhuman or limitless or something(just kidding.) I can see though how powerful a combo it really is though. I have an addiction I thought would be impossible to beat but with the combination of love and sex, I will beat this addiction down. I'm sure it's not a pleasant memory but remember what it feels like when that girl left you, it's devastating isn't it? Use that as your new motivation. You will fall in love again and if you are still addicted your new love may leave you, and YOU could have prevented that. I have been there. The ED makes her feel insecure, you apologize,she pulls back then you feel guilty, then she pulls back some more, you start to get needy and clingy and down the hole it goes. That my friend is the downfall of a relationship and it does suck.

No images, masturbation or orgasm!

Changes I've seen, my already somewhat high self confidence is trending upward. I use the word trend a lot because that is part of what I do, I follow trends in the fitness industry. I will write a post later correlating our obesity epidemic with what I believe is an impending porn addiction epidemic. I digress, I feel more sensitive to stimuli. I didn't sleep enough or well last night to warrant morning wood on a fourth straight day, but I dozed yesterday afternoon and got pretty hard for about an hour. I know I'm not supposed to but I thought about the girl that I'm doing this for(I'm doing this for me but my main motivation is her) and that led to the erection. I feel my saving grace on that one is that it was just one girl I was thinking about. I'm fully preparing myself for the ups and downs of withdrawal but so far so good. My boredom is though the roof since I haven't touched myself or looked at any images online for 3 days. Motivation is key for me, I've never had strong enough motivation to quit. Good social life and I'm very comfortable talking to women so I really didn't think I had a problem. I do have a problem and this is where I belong Thank you for creating this site even if this is not what it was originally intended for.