Fresh start needed

Submitted by Cactus on
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Hi all.

I'm new to blogging here. I've read lots of inspirational material on this site and I'm going to start a journal because I need to get free of this PMO habit. I realised I was addicted / using it compulsively about 2 years ago (despite all the evidence pretty much in my face).

Since then of course I've tried many times to quit. Been to 30 or 40 days a number of times but I've always slipped just when I thought I had it beat. (You'd think there'd be a learning curve here). I seem to return to it compulsively / hunt for it / breakdown my own precautionary measures, every few weeks. I need it out of my life altogether.

I've come to realise that I can't do this alone (or at least in isolation), hence this blog. I haven't told my girlfriend and I don't want to because I think it would hurt her (I know I'm hurting the relationship just by doing it).

Enough emotional and mental destruction already - time to return to health.

Until tomorrow,

Cactus

Comments

two thoughts for you

#1 thought:

you are going into "self congratulatory mode" when you have strung 30 or 40 days of no-PMO. This is very common but you can avoid it entirely by thinking of the path AHEAD of you instead of what has been BEHIND you. How far longer you have to go, rather than how far you've come (pun.) It's a VERY common thing for  part of the brain to say "reward yourself, you've done so well" and the reward is...you can guess.

#2 thought:

think when do I PMO? What purpose is that serving in my life? Is it to allay boredom? Is it when my roommate is away? Is it on Sundays when I have anothing but a lazy day? Whatever, then you say to yourself, what can I do to replace those times when I would PMO with something else? You write this down as in "if...then", if I am alone in the house then I will do X. If I am having a boring day, I will do Y. And then you stick to that pre-decided replacement behavior. So this means it isn't "if I'm alone in the house I won't masturbate," it's "if I am alone in the house then I'll read a book for 45 minutes, then I'll cook my next meal, then I'll go out for a walk..." so it is POSITIVE behaviors rather than "I won't" replacement behaviors.

Hope this makes sense.

 

thanks for your reply

It makes a lot of sense. One of the issues for me currently is that I'm between jobs - applying and going for interviews but home alone most of the day.... Not a healthy state of affairs. I think a job will definitely help in this regard.

I'm going to make a precise plan along the lines that you suggest - I think a real trigger for me is trying to "run away" from all my cares and responsibilities and worries (i.e. not wanting to face the reality of my situation).

Somehow intellectually 'knowing' this isn't enough. And also a kind of 'compulsive haze' seems to come over me so I carry on even when I know I should stop and it will all end badly.

However...for today, I'll make a plan of alternative actions.

Cactus

Recalibrating

My husband and I have been married for 41 years on election day. Our sexual realationship is actually very good.

My husband gets over heated from orgasms and sometimes goes back to his past behaviors of escalation. And that gets his self worth out of wack. Then he starts isolating himself and pulls away from healthy self care, his friends and me.

Now we are recalibrating again, back to your Cupids Poison Arrow book. It has been very helpful in the past and we are beginning our second week. The bonding practices are calming him down and bringing him closer to me. I am a person who doesn't need an orgasm every time we have intercourse. I feel comfortable with touching and sending loving, healing and caring energy. Yes, I do enjoy the occasional orgasm; but I don't seem to get the dopamine rush that my husband does.

Fresh Start Needed

I was where you were 23 months ago. Abstinance is not recovery. The previous writers are correct - you can't do this alone. Myself I regularly attend SAA meetings & see a therapist specialized in sex addiction. I also had to face physical & mental health issues I have. Recovery is built on 100% honesty. Please get the help you need.
It will not be easy but you life will be so much better than it is now. When the time is right you are going to have to tell your girlfriend about your problem. A therapist can really help you with the disclosure process. You can do this. I wish you the best. Feel free to send me a message at anytime.

Thanks for your support

Your line "abstinence is not recovery" made a big impact on me. Up till now I've concentrated on making the compulsion disappear. So I'm elated after 4 weeks without PMO because I think I've 'won', and when it does reappear, after acting out there's all the tears and suffering and recrimination and then the cycle begins all over again.

I can't even begin to express what a total nightmare it is - because it impacts all aspects of my life. But then, you can probably remember.

What I wanted to ask was this: some people seem to have got to recovery / back to a normal state by keeping a blog and 're-balancing' for 90 days - without using a therapist. Do you think seeing a therapist is absolutely essential in this process? I'm happy to share everything on a blog.

(I was hoping to avoid going to see a therapist.)

Cactus

really it is behavioral

the thoughts don't count. It's the actions that matter.

Abstinence is fantastic, from both porn and masturbation to start with. And figuring out DIFFERENT behaviors IN ADVANCE of the times when you are tempted...it really is quite simple. The mind is often telling us a lot of garbage but the behavioral decisions, once made and stuck to, will change your life.

Cactus re:reovery without a therapist

Regarding the above comments - It's not that simple. Porn addiction is not about sex, its about the other problems in you life that have led you to find comfort in compulsive sexual behavior. Recovery is not a matter of will power. Will power may keep you abstinent, at least for a while. But recovery is much more complicated than relying on our own will power. This is what my experience has been. There are online porn recovery groups & although I have never used them I do know people who do. However they use them as an adjunt to regular meetings or when no group is available in their area. Many, if not all, have a long distance sponsor they talk to in person on the phone. Are there people who recover without the assistance of a therapist? There may be but I have rarely met a person who has not went to therapy at lone time during their recovery. I understand you not wanting to share your porn problem with another person. But as a friend once told me "we all have secrets & we all have things we wish we had not done". There is lots of shame & fear surrounding porn addiction . We are afraid to shair our secrets for fear if others know who we really were they would reject us. Most of us carry a lot of shame, self pity & self loathing regarding our behavior. This shame keeps us isolated from other people in our lives. It is your secrets & isolation that will hold you back & keep you ill. As hard as it is, it is essential to share our secrets with at least 1 or more people. If you have the resources of a local SAA group & a therapist ( preferably one who specializes in sex therapy) take advantage of them. You can find a list of meetings in your area on their website. I promise you you will not be judged & you will be accepted . Myself, I felt so isolated, I felt I was the only one who had this problem. I promise you you are not. I was very afraid to go to my first group meeting or tell my therapist about my "shameful behavior". It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I don't believe you can recover by using a blog on the computer. Computer communications, while helpful, lack the personal contact & accepthance you need to get well. In recovery work we say you must be known. It means to be loved & accepted as you are sectets & all. SAA gave me that acceptance & for the first time the feeling that I was not alone in my problems with porn. There were other people out there who cared for me & accepted me & offered me the support I needed to continue my journey in recovery. You have already taken the hardest step by admitting you have a problem. Now take the next step & get the help you need It will be difficult & take courage but you can do it.

I'm glad you wrote this

because I strongly feel that the model you are outlining above is not universally applicable, and I'm happy to have a chance to collect my thoughts.

The premise that "It's never sex; it's always issues (generally shame) or pre-existing disorders" is at the core of our entire psychology and sexology professions. It's very helpful for some people, and dead wrong for many others.

Either way, it's so widespread that it's blinding us to a fuller understanding of human sexuality. It denies that sex can become addictive, in a healthy person, no matter how much chronic over-consumption of supernormal sexual stimulation (such as today's ever-novel porn). It makes the person who becomes hooked feel defective rather than empowered.

Worse yet, this outdated model, which rests on cultural assumptions that are no longer universal, is contradicted by recent neuroscience discoveries about the part of the brain that governs both sex and addiction (the reward circuitry).

Instead of our healthcaregivers getting up to speed about how sexual behavior can (naturally) become addictive, this model ("It can't be the actual sex; it must be the issues) encourages them to give/refer people (for) psychtropic drugs for "disorders" that they don't have. Also, people are urged to engage in endless counseling to uncover "the issues that must be there somewhere because our model predicts them"--while their true disorder (addiction) worsens.

What many porn users have is symptoms of addiction, such as depression, ADHD, brain fog, sexual performance problems, etc., not those disorders themselves (which disappear within months of their quitting porn). The wrongly-prescribed drugs then impede their recovery because clients continue worsening their addictions, often hampered by new side-effects from the powerful, but blunt, drugs.

If you visit www.yourbrainonporn.com you will find hundreds of stories of men correcting their underlying addictions. Most of the time they report that their other issues ease or evaporate entirely. Many did not attend 12-Step groups or receive counseling. However, they do not rely just on "willpower." They take what steps they can to balance their brain chemistry, and many benefit from socializing, exercising, meditating and other activities (many of which neuroscientists have already shown help support healthy, balanced brains and ease recovery).

That said, I think a caring confidant, and the support of other humans struggling with addiction, can really help anyone in recovery, and you're right that shaming behavior would be destructive.

I'm a big fan of the health and psychological benefits of bonding in all humans, and especially in addicts, as addictions tend to isolate people. But as people recover from addictions, and particularly from porn addiction, they generally become more social. So they tend to exchange healthy contact with other humans more frequently. In short, like it or not, not everyone with porn addiction needs the therapy you suggest - even though it might prove beneficial for many.

I'm not suggesting that addicts never have other issues. I'm sure they do. We all do. I am suggesting that the model that says, "You can't fix your porn addiction unless you first fix your issues" is not universally valid. In fact, ask any 12-Stepper for any OTHER addiction, and he or she will say that abstinence is the first step. You balance your brain chemistry and then your other issues (if any) become more manageable.

Not only is the "balance first" model sounder (for sex too)...it's more empowering. It says the addict can immediately do something constructive about his situation. He doesn't have to spin his wheels playing detective with an expensive therapist. If he still has sex-related issues when he's back in balance (and a minority of guys we see here do), he can target his issues later, when he's in better shape and ready to face inner dragons.

I also disagree that "sexual shame" is a big part of the problem in all of today's porn addicts. (Shame for being out of control is common to many addicts, and not a sexual issue.) Many young guys are getting hooked. Since birth, they have been so inundated with porn-ish cues that it has never occurred to them to be ashamed. Their parents are often members of generations brought up never to repress a child's sexuality "on pain of death." So they haven't been shamed.

However, they also haven't been given any training about how the reward circuitry of the brain interacts with unnaturally stimulating sexual cues, and they are in a very precarious position. And their parents, and too often their therapists, aren't knowledgeable enough to perform this much needed task.

In any case, many are too young to have the type of "issues" psychotherapists help with. They haven't been in romantic relationships. They just have normal adolescent brains that are naturally drawn to hyperstimulating, ever novel sexual cues on the Internet...and get hooked. Please read Why Shouldn’t Johnny Watch Porn If He Likes? Having listened to these guys recover here for the last few years, I can tell you that few of them have "issues" or "shame" holding them back. They get their brains back in balance by changing their behavior...and they go off to conquer the world.

So please take care not to spread the poison that "The issue is never sex; it's shame or psychopathology." This meme badly needs public rethinking. It disempowers people who benefit a lot more from understanding the neurobiology of addiction and experimenting with changing their behavior.

It's just one more big lie we tell ourselves about sex. Sex is great, and healthy sex, like healthy food, is nourishing. But just as an unhealthy diet can cause health problems and addiction to food, unhealthy sex can too. This is basic biology...quite apart from issues, shame and other disorders. It's time humanity stops deluding itself that all sex is good sex, extreme sex is just as healthy as any other kind, and that any other point of view is dangerously pathologizing sex. Our sexologists have been steeped in this belief because it serves the diversity agenda. That agenda's important, too, but it no longer needs to be pushed at the expense of our understanding human sexuality more thoroughly.

It's time to learn the biology of balance and why it matters in sex, Internet use, gambling, highly palatable food, drugs, etc. This process is beginning in the medical field (Toss Your Textbooks: Docs Redefine Sexual Behavior Addictions), but some psychologists are resisting it, in part because the science is a bit complex and unfamiliar.

My point (in case anyone is still reading this rant Wink ) is that there's no free lunch in the realm of sex. "Supernormal stimulation is supernormal stimulation" at level of the brain. And no amount of "issue addressing" will change that.

Good points here. After

Good points here. After going through the ups and downs struggling with addiction, seeing therapists, going to SLAA and reading every self-help book there is, there is nothing as empowering as being able to abstain for a moment and enjoy some of this life. I have benefitted from the SLAA groups, but it was from being around safe men that were not judging me.

I am far from healed, but the closest I have come and the best I have felt is when I am abstaining for a length of time.

There are inner factors like shame that definitely come into play while recovering, but these are symptoms and magically start dissolving with a rebalanced brain.

You're right, why would we need to spend years with a therapist or in a group whiteknuckling every night with other sex addicts in a room? The solution is as simple as the problem- prolonged habits. Cut off the computer and start living a life of real experiences based on the simple principles of social interaction, nature, art, and intellect. Readjustment will be painful, but living years playing detective to phantoms and shadows is worse.

Wow you gurys really blasted me.

I agree abstinance is very important. Myself I used porn as a fantasy play land & it got out of control. I find the meetings & therapy helpful. I did have a underlying bipolar disorder & I am confident that existed undiagnosed for my entire adult life. Way before I had a porn problem The small amount of medication I take along with , diet exercise & meditation have eliminated my "temper tantrums " completly. For the record the sex therapist I go to strongly recommends Karezza or sacred sex practice as I like to call it for me.

The longest I have gone without orgasm is 32 days.My longest period of sobrity is 6 months. My slips are very brief 1 to 3 times & never more than 2 days. So I have made lots of progress from using porn 1 to 3 times a day.

I know your book talks about 80 days without orgasm to sort of reboot the brain. I am counting the days down.
The crazy part is that my orgasms are not that great. But at present I have sex with orgasm about 2 times a week with my wife. I go into the practice with good intentions but for the most part all bets are off during intercourse. The longest was only 2 out o fevery 3 times without orgasm.
I also have serious heard disease & do use cialis with either type of sex. It is much easier for me to relax when I use the medication & I think my ED is part physical & part psychological. Wiothout it I just find the whole process frustrating.

So where does this leave Me?

*chuckle*

Thanks for letting me rant. You tripped one of my buttons. Wink

Sounds like you're doing what you need to do, and figuring out the pieces of your particular puzzle. That's great.

Who knows? Maybe things will continue to improve. If not, keep experimenting...and be pleased with all the progress you've already made.

 

Thanks - My feelings were just hurt

What I heard was that my 24 months of recovery was misguided, When all I had to do was make up my mind to be sober & be abstinant for 90 days and all wouild be well. I wouldn't need medication. ( I hope U R right about that part ) Why would I want to hang out with people in group who repeatedly fail in their sexual sobriety. Who I might add that at least these people are at least trying to do something about their problems In group I learned I was not alone, I gained the acceptance & encouragement that I needed to move forward in my recovery. You only need read the newspaper to see how bad things can get if you don't deal with your porn addiction. At this point The group & 12 steps are more about leading a spiritual way of life than a guide for staying sexually sober. That being said abstinance is the corner stone of recovery whatever your beliefs are. I believe that I will find my own unique path to recovery. I have already decided a sacred sex practice of some sort will & has been a part of that journey. I just don't believe any 1 approach will cure you.

I have done well with the P & M parts of recovery, I imagine this is why I have done as well as I have. However I have known for sometime that orgasms trigger my addiction . one period of 30 days without orgasms has not been enough to cool down my overheated brain chemistry.I know this is what I have to do

So at this time my goal is 90 days & I am keeping a journal of my experiencies.
I have a supportive wife & all the resources I need to succede. No more excuses. Wish me luck.
For thr record things in my life will continue to improve.

Well thanks for speaking up

I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. Me --> Cray 2

I have recommended support groups to guys here from time to time, and there are many such organizations listed on YBOP's support page. Trusted companionship is very healthy for us all, and especially recovering addicts (of any kind).

I guess my point is that healthcare givers shouldn't assume recovery is impossible without those approaches, and they definitely shouldn't assume that porn addiction is like sex addiction (which apparently generally does arise from childhood trauma/issues).

I know you agree that it's important to keep all options on the table and, as you have done, and find the one(s) that work for you. I admire you and your persistence and I'm glad it's paying off.

Thank you both

Bandit and Marnia, thank you both for your considered and impassioned posts. I think you are both right. Ive received a huge gift from Cupid's treatment, but as one of the older guys around here, I fall in the category of having been mis-parented. This has left a legacy of shame and an impaired ability to love well. I crave the sound of comforting reassuring male voices, and of women who say yes you can have what you need.

On the drug thing, my personal preference would be to try to avoid that route. And Bandit , yeah, definitely try to change your thinking on the sex with orgasms. If there has been one good thing that happened to me and my beloved this year, its karezza.

I was going to say welcome to reuniting, but i see you've been lurking here a good while. Hope you post some more, i for one would like to get to know you.

thank you

I also fell under the childhood trauma category. Unless there is a miracle , I probably will be stuck with the meds. I really can't complain. It is so nice to have a calm mind & even temprement. What I don't believe is those folks who rely soley on medication to get well. I know people who rely soley on meds & just keep taking more & more & can't figure out why it doesn't work. I have used every recovery tool tool at my disposal. I am fortunate to have a great job & the resources to get the services I need. A big part of my problem was being a perfectionist. I finally had to be honest with myself & admit that just because I did not want to have heart problems, addictions & mental health problems didn't make them any less real.. So I got & acceptedt the care that I needed.

You are right i have been around for a while. I was just 5 weeks in recovery the first time. My experience with karezza has been up & down. I have never been able to sustain sacred non-orgasmic sex for any length of time. What gets me is that I really believe in it, My orgasms are not that great & yet my addiction or whatever you want to calll it is hard to overcome. My sex therapist believes a non-orgasmic sacred sex practice would do wonders for my mood, cravings & anxiety. he says just keep practicing. But so far I have not sustained the practice long enough to see the benefits of it. In fact @ 14 days I am anxious & irritable. I guess thats normal. It makes me question why I do this & disturb the status quo. My rationale is that the more orgsmic sex I have the more overheated I become & then its all about the orgasms & fantasies in my head.. Then I have to take a break from sex for a few weeks & start over again to get back on track. My plan is 90 days, however thats ambitious. I figure this practice is like maintaining abstinance - take it one day at a time.

I find

the end of the first two weeks is the toughest for me as far as irritability goes. Then things settle down...especially if I'm engaging in daily affection.

However, guys who have been hooked sometimes notice another turning point at about two months. Mood levels out even more.

That said, we all have different brains and the key is, as you know, to find what works for you whether or not it fits anyone else's prescription.

How come?

>I have never been able to sustain sacred non-orgasmic sex for any length of time.

Say more? Non orgasm during sex has been easy for me, and ive written excessively enough on that topic. Short version: i find that the expression of love displaces the need for O. I still have lapses on my own occasionally, which appear to amount to some kind of attempt to self medicate my emotional issues. But i am starting to notice a pattern, in that it is more likely to occur when my abandonment issues are closer to the surface. Depending on how conscious i am at the time of whats going on , there is always a danger that the dopamine disregulation thing kicks in with the potential to start a nastier cycle.

Ive also just started reading love at goon park, and it feels like it will be quite apropos for me.

I am jealous

My problem is not physical, other than my ED problem. I have always had great "control" The chance that I would have an accidental orgasm would be about zero. I have been in "performance" mode all of my life. As most men I was taught to take care of my wife's needs first & That her sexual pleasure was my responsibility It's not just sex .I am performance, goal driven in every aspect of my life. Great for job success, not so good for my health or sex life. Whatever good intentions I have once I am having sex all bets are off. It feels like there is a voice , or overwhelming urge that says you are going to miss out on the goodies. I I have been working on patince in all aspects of my life & am making slow but constant progress. I know its brain chemistry but at some point don't I need to have the patience & persistence to get through the withdrawl process?

Why does it have to be one or the other?

In a balanced brain, it's more about growth and bonding. In a recovering brain it's more about helping balance your brain chemistry.

But the beauty of karezza is that it works on both simultaneously. Did you happen to read this FAQ? Karezza is for addicts (too)

Just give it a try for three weeks. If you're more or less back in balance you should notice benefits by then. At that point, if you feel stable and you want to experiment with climax you should be able to see the difference, if any.

Thanks

I will check the links out. The last time I tried life without orgasm was 5 weeks into recovery & It took me a month to calm down. Im ok now, just a little anxious.

Shoes

We all walk in different shoes, so im trying to stop extrapolating my life to others. But without knowing more about how you make love, its hard to say whether your excitableness is from not getting karezza or something else.

Speaking strictly for me, i didnt get karreza for a while, i didnt get it that it isnt fundamentally about arousal. The first weeks we tried scaling down, slowing down normal sex, because people said karezza is slow and gentle, But, hell, whats gentle? How long is a peice of string?

Then i learned its not a slowed version of normal sex ,but about connection, healing, meditation and foremost bonding. None of that even requires an erection never mind arousal, and certainly not erectile drugs. Hence knowing this starts you down a different road altogether, you stop trying, stop wanting and start being content for the first time in your life.

Thanks

Trying hard & achieving is who I am or have been. In my heart I know its a different road. It will take a lot of faith & growth for me to change. . I did the same thing when I started in recovery & that did not work to well either. But you have given me something to think about.

serious sel-reflection

After some serious self-reflection I have decided I need a new plan & will welcome advice.

1. I listed & examined all my fears about this practice - alll of them had self defeating thinking

2. I still have very addictive thinking. My behaviors & words reflect that I believe sex is my most important need

3. I will not learn this practice by obcessing about the # of days, orgasms or intercourse.

4. I have very unrealistic expectations about what sex is about. I am blinded by my performance only , Goal oriented thinking i& the belief that every encounter must involve intercourse.

5 This practice may be easy for me to learn but much harder for me accept.

New plan: I will continue to use bonding behaviors & keep a journal about my experiences. This will be the easy part as we have been doing these behaviors in some form or the past 2 years. I will try & put aside my performance only thinking. I will try & let go & just have fun & enjoy each other, Wherver that leads will be ok.
My goal will be not to have a goal

What do you think?

Go for it

The beauty of sex is that it's your laboratory and you can try whatever you want to. If it doesn't get the results you want, try something else.

thank you

I always think its awsome that you find the time to answer people back. Great !xperience yesterday & I'll leave it at that. Have a great day

You want me to kiss & tell?

it was the stillness & the subtle feelings you don't get from "regular sex - if there is such a thing" For me the sensation of going from soft to hard inside my wife without moving is amazing & not sometthing that happens to me if I am moving about & thrusting. I am also proud that after 41 years of marriage we are still into each other, love being together & willing to try new things , including new ways of being sexual together.

Day 25

Doing well with the no orgasm part of the practice. My cravings are way down. I don't really miss the orgasms like I did previously. Still have a ways to go on decreasing performance orientation. Although doing much better about accepting experiences that don't lead to intercourse. I used to get really frustrated & pull away when ED problems arose. But felt a warm glow after the last such experience.
The only problem I am having is an increase in anxiety. Rough nite at work & my head filled with fantasies I could hardly sleep; I am also working on eleminating my other crutches like xanax. Which I used on a as needed basis. I don't think I was addicted as I experienced no major anxiety symptoms. Just a little edgy. I suppose I could easily hve cross addictions, It would be logical. I just want to face my life as it is without using physical or chemical crutches. It was interesting because after day 21 it just occured to me - what am I doing to myself !. My wife is dong well . I give her lots of gentle loving affection & I love you's. Her orgasms never bothered her. She has always been a very calm person. She actually seems to be having more orgasms. I think this is because she feels more safe with me now. At any rate she has always done whatever. feels right to her. I could not understand in the past why she choose not to have an orgasm when she easily could have one. She is just very in tune to who she is as a sexual person. Especially when I am a safe lover.

taking myself wellb eing seriously

making plan with MD to withdraw frome xanax, 100 % honest with group as accountability partner with grop as accounta Made long overdue medical appointments. Easy to use diet calculator & explore low glycemic index foods so I am not so hungary. All these things are long overdue

sounds awesome!

are you getting in a lot of cuddling? That helps reduce anxiety. Especially after a few months of a steady diet of cuddling preferably every day if you can. It cannot be over estimated how much this changes life.

Are you practicing soft entry? It can be fantastic fun if you redefine sex from erection based to just hanging out with your penis in her even a little bit. There are some positions that work really well for soft entry including scissors and man on top with you kneeling between her legs. It's easy to get your penis in there and feels wonderful for both of you.

I am

soft entry has not been very effective for us - It is just some physical limitations my wife has limit us & she finds it frustratin. What has been more effective insertion with a partial erection & going soft or hard as our bodies dictate.
we do a lot of cuddeling. My wife has never initiated affection or sex for that matter. Previously I tried to hold out & wait for her & she just got angry with me - go figure not real mature. For the most part I have to ask for affection & But she is always willing If I ask & if I forget to give her a good bye kiss or a hug she will remind me. I Also she loves the bonding behaviors I sex in this manner. that being said she has always been a very , warm , receptive partner & we have had & still have a very active sex life. As I get older, I have carried some resentment around constantly being the initiator. With my performance attitude I felt it was my responsibilty to entertain my wife in the bedroom. This is all a learning process for my wife & I We both are working on making our needs known.

Your wife may be right on this one

The sacred sex traditions often counsel the woman to be receptive, but allow the man to be "the pilot." People on this forum have mentioned that if the woman gets too demanding, it changes the flow of energy for the worse between the partners. All very mysterious.

Point is...just enjoy her loving attention and trust that when you want to initiate it's the right time for you both. Smile

Be gentle with yourself

It takes time for the brain to level out, and you're obviously doing a lot at once.

Some mood swings are natural for a while after you give up goal-oriented sex. Your brain is going through a withdrawal of sorts.

Good luck!

I will be & thanks for your concearn

With my OCD & extreme goal orientation , I sometime set unrealistic goals. OK, most of the time I do. My wife our counsler have to bring me back to reality on a regular basis. My goals according to my therapist is to have no goals & concentrate on self care. I will check with my wife & avoid making my goals compulsive. My therapist has also been of help in the past with his suggestions & keeping me grounded. I don't trust my addictive self to make good decisions for me.

Just in case there might be others like me

day 26
Feeling much better today. Following MD plan for xanax withdrawl. I thought because I was using small amounts it was no big deal. I was wrong. Apparently xanax withdrawl can be as difficult & dangerous as alcohol withdrawl. My own plan was way to quick & thats I was having so much excess . This procxes should take around 6 weeks.

day 30

a up & down ride. I made love today wiothout sexual stimulants for the first time in many years. No orgasms at this point. My cravings & intrusiuve thoughts are much less. In fact less than at any time during my 2 years in recovery. You have now idea what a relief that is. The only time they come up is when I a really tired. Also I have a ways to go on learning to shift from performance orientation.

I am dissapointed that my mood has actuallly gootten worse. Mood swings mainly from anxious to depression. a little more depressed these past few days.I guess I am grieving a bit, The prospect of letting go of my crutches & learning something new. More importantly do I have what it takes face my life without these crutches. The thing is I have a great life , a good job, all the recources I need. I have a wonderful wife , dhildren & grandchildren & lots of people who love me.I am healthy enoughto doall the things I want to do. I am grateful for all I have been given.

wonderful to hear

are you intentionally avoiding orgasm now? Seems like you are making progress. I can't over emphasize how I feel this is a game changer for stuff you describe having issues with including the mood swings, depression, anxiety...but getting there is tough and can involve MORE and worse symptoms temporarily. The brain doesn't like to give up on this stuff.

But avoiding orgasm is a fantastic start and all you have to do is keep at it. It takes awhile to sink in but wow, what a different world it will be for you.

Feeling much better

I feel much better today , my mood is more stable. I kind of forgot that this is how I felt when I "withdrew" from porn. The only difference is these mood swings seem less severe It has been helpful to share how I feel on this blog. I have also shared what I am trying to do with my group & I get lots of support there also. Especially coming clean about the xanax.

avoiding orgasm

Yes I am . It's not nearlly as hard as it was the other times I have tried. What I really want to do is be 100 % present during making love. My concearn is not to avoid orgasm the same way as I have done in the past. I have learned over the years to avoid orgasm until my partner is pleasured first. That style is a formula to cause ED. It's no the same as calm lovemaking & letting go of my old ways. I think it's like anything new it takes time & patience to extablish a new behavior or practice

Letting go

I still find myself having an agenda around sex , Its either intercourse or planned bonding - touch. A group member pointed out to me today that is part of my illness - that is all or nothing thinking.., The only one putting pressure on me is myself. Thanks for the support

We had been doing that - I am just discouraged

We have always done that. But for me at this time I just feel performance pressure on intercourse days. I understand & accept that not every encounter leads to intercourse. & that this is not even all about intercourse . I am ok with that at least some of the time. Right now I am having more problems than usual. So naturally the first place I go is " this is not working " It's hard for me to switch types of love makeing. However healthy it is for me. Especially with all the mood changes I am experiencing. I go to places I don't want tpo go like losing my temper or blameing my wife . My frustration tolerence & impatience are very low at this time. . I am just having lots of trouble letting go & relaxing. It's like I am trying to make a change but feel's like I am hanging on to my old ways by tooth & nail I just need to relax & enjoy. Why should that be so hard for me? its not about this style of lovemaking. It's about who I am as a person. A goal driven, performance based , perfectionist.

Great opportunity

to lighten up on yourself.

Try looking in the mirror and saying (or thinking) to yourself, "I love and approve of myself." At the very least it will make you smile. Do it several times a day.