I've been watching porn and masturbating since I was 14. I'm now 25. Throughout my teenage years and into my twenties, I'd masturbate to porn on a daily basis. Sometimes I'd PMO more then once a day - sometimes up to four times in a day. Writing this, I realize just how much that is! For about 10 years, the same, everyday. No wonder I'm addicted!
My addiction symptoms have been similar to the stories I've read in other recovery accounts. Firstly, my addiction escalated. When I was young, I'd look at celebrity photos, or watch softcore pornography on television. This escalated into discovering porn videos on the internet. I've never been into hardcore pornography; it's always been softcore - voyeurism and "home videos" with "everyday" girls. However, the main way my addiction escalated was to begin chatting to normal girls "live" online - chatting, sharing photos and having webcam sex, which I began doing around the age of 20. I'd chat to girls every night, using various websites, MSN, Skype, etc., hoping for webcam sex, or at least have her interested in me "getting off."
Discovering yourbrainonporn has been so great. Everything makes sense. It's healing - to understand "it's physiology, not morality," makes sense, and has allowed me to let go of a lot of the feelings of guilt and shame I've had, and beating up on myself.
For about one year - before discovering yourbrainonporn - I was consciously trying to heal the urge to watch pornography. It was tough! I succeeded with a couple of "thirty day no lust challenges," or a few days here and there without pornography/masturbation, but I always relapsed. Now that I understand the addiction better, I feel I have more power to heal it completely. Furthermore, finding a support group full of people who have healed their addiction or are in the process of doing so, is a gift. Similar to groups such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), I feel the mutual support of a group of people who are working together to heal their addiction is a major key to success. So, I'm looking forward to blogging, reading other people's recovery challenges and stories, and being here as a mutual support.
I discovered yourbrainonporn about 10 weeks ago. After watching Gary's videos, I stopped watching porn and going on webcam. However, a few days ago I relapsed, going online and webcam chatting with women. And, that's why I'm here now.
The relapse has been *very* painful this time because I started a relationship with a woman about 2 months ago. Even though I knew I was being unfaithful to my girlfriend, I couldn't stop myself. The relapse began by primarily indulging in pornography. I had drunk a few beers, and completely let my guard down. The relapse was about a 7 hour session watching porn and going on webcam. It escalated from videos into webcam chatting. I initially said, "I'll just look at webcams, and not chat." But of course, I was tricked by the voice of the inner addict, which has happened on so many occasions! It has reminded me (for the 20th time!) that any kind of indulgence escalates into the full blown event. There is no stopping it. Reason and logic has no power when the addicted mind is "charged up." In the back of my mind I knew I was being unfaithful to my girlfriend, yet, I couldn't stop myself.
So, I've been rebooting for a couple of weeks now. I'm feeling more determination then I ever have, and I know that now is the time to truly heal this, and never look back. It's scared me how an empty addiction such as this can effect my integrity in personal relationships and potentially cause a lot of pain to other people. In my attempts at rebooting in the past, I have always MO'd, and I think it's increased the likelihood of relapse. So, in this reboot, I'm not MOing either.
I'm not sure of the full extent of the effect of this addiction on my life. Indeed, from age 14... that's most of my adult life being the same way - an addicted porn user, so I don't know life any differently! That being said, I'm aware of the negative effects porn has had in my sex life. The main things have been ED and performance anxiety. With three girls in the past, I wasn't able to get an erection. With one, my body was tense, and I was sweating profusely, whilst trying to have sex. The ED has healed bit by bit over the past year, but there are still problems, and performance anxiety has never gone away. With my current girlfriend, there have been sessions where my erection will drop halfway through. Or, I won't be able to orgasm from sex, and the session ends with MO. MO can take a very long time. When I indulge in fantasy, or use porn, MO is easy and fast. However, when I'm with my girlfriend, it doesn't happen easily.
My girlfriend has been very understanding and compassionate about what happened. I've been very open about everything with her. She's supportive, and wants to help me to heal this. So, we are learning about the addiction together, and we have also started practising Karezza! Karezza is an exciting and refreshing new journey.
So, that's a bit of background. So far, the reboot is going well. I'm not having any urges to look at porn, and I've been self-controlled with not masturbating. I'm having morning wood now and again, and my penis is very sensitive. Just kissing my girlfriend makes me erect, and when she touches me, it feels amazing. On day 3 (it's now day 11), I wrote this in my journal:
"Today I've woken up with "morning wood." It's a strong erection and lasted about half an hour I think, as I was half asleep this morning. It felt good. I also felt desire, and more likely to "slip." There was the desire to think about women and masturbate. The penis and region around the penis was super sensitive, like it couldn't wait to have sex. It felt as if, if I had sex, I would be 'satisfied'. But I realize that this satisfaction, isn't really satisfaction, it's "relief," and likely, if I were to have indulged and MO'd, I would have been left sleepy, guilty, frustrated, tired... It's not satisfaction, it's the feeling of relief due to frustration, which ultimately leads to negative emotions."
The most difficult and challenging thing is to not "lust after" women I see in everyday life. I'm sure that doing so makes me 100 times more likely to relapse. Not indulging in looking at women is definitely the most difficult thing! So, I'm doing my best to turn my head away whenever I catch myself *gawking*. On day 3, I also wrote this:
"I was in town again, and felt the deep urge to look at women. It's automatic. I am trapped by the automatic response. It's literally a trap! It takes conscious effort to abstain from looking and 'juicing'. On one occasion, my head turned, and I caught it mid-turn! That's when I realized that it's truly automatic, an instinctual response, that isn't 'me'. What I need to do is discover more deeply the 'me' that has power over it."
About 4 days ago, my girlfriend and I attempted Karezza for the first time. The first experience was great. I felt the most connected then I ever have during sex, with myself and with the woman. I realized that I've never had sex without the purpose and goal to orgasm, so making this simple decision to forget about orgasm, made a big difference! I was having sex to be with my girlfriend, to be with her and to love her, and to feel her lovingness. I realize that that is the true higher purpose of sex; one that I've never been open to, because the whole experience has been goal-oriented and all about "getting there." I feel more aware now, only after two karezza sessions, of the love and appreciation I feel for my girlfriend. And, I feel aware that karezza doesn't just "stop there," when the session ends. The same feeling spills over afterwards, and throughout the day, and even into the text messages we write to each other. It feels like we can have sex at any time, because it's not about performance and not based on orgasm - it's just another way of being together; an intimate conversation.
I feel more alive and positive-minded after a karezza session. In conventional sex, I get so tired and sleepy, and I definitely lose interest in the woman I'm with, post-orgasm. With karezza, I do not lose interest - I am more interested, more appreciative, more open, more sensitive, etc. This decision, to forget about orgasm, is so interesting! I'm at the beginning of a new journey. I love how even the first experience has been a learning experience.
Our second karezza session was more difficult. It took us longer to get into it... we joked about it. I joked about being a "horny dog" and it being difficult to slow down. We talked openly about how it is for one another, how it feels. I told her about my worry that going slowly might not be"enough" for her, and she reassured me. After this talking, we became more connected, and the session felt deeper. However, in this session we learned that learning karezza and getting better at it will take time and patience.
One of the key things I'm seeing now is just how sensitive I am, without PMO/MO, and without orgasm from sex. My erections are rock hard, and they feel great. I love that even the lightest touch from my girlfriend makes me feel crazy! I see when, during karezza, my mind goes into "GO, GO, GO!" mode and driven to orgasm. The urge is strong. So, in the next few sessions I'm going to really focus on slowing down as much as I can.
That's an update of how things are going so far, on day 11. I'm looking forward to reporting more about our experiences with Karezza, and I'm sure I'll have questions! It's nice to be here, thanks for reading. :)