Porn addiction - erotic images during recovery

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[Inquiry from reader, submitted with permission]

Hi there,
I've been enthusiastically reading "Peace Between the Sheets" and my partner and I have already done a couple of the exchanges. I'm currently going into my second week of not having an orgasm and I'm finding a flood of pornographic images inundating my mind. Will these abate? Are they a side-effect of the hangover? Ideally my hope has been to eliminate my appetite for porn and although I've managed to not indulge in any for the past several months, this recent flood of images is unusual and has caught me off guard. Any words of advice for this recovering porn addict?

I was addicted to

I was addicted to pornography since the age of 11; it got so bad that it affected my socialisation and studies at university. I myself am a Muslim by birth; although I'm not a traditional one and follow the Sufi spiritual path. I went to see some people and did some meditations and I was cured of masturbating over that filth. However, the desire to look at it and the images have not yet gone away. That requires continual effort on my part. I'm still a virgin and approaching my late twenties and am wondering whether all this desire is worth it. I think its best that man and woman re-unite in loving monogamy and not treat each other as lust or material objects.

I like the way in which he

I like the way in which he let the old images just spool through his mind in stillness without judgement or thought. I would not say that I was addicted to porn but I did have a site or two that appealed to a fetish or two every couple weeks. I took a look at them recently and the effect on me was way low. The nature of the content had not changed but this time after having been doing "peace" for three months, the visuals looked so insincere and contrived.

divert your mind

In my church, they advocate porn recovery and abstinence actively. One huge help is the idea that porn images are not innocent to thin of, and to divert the mind. I will give my best example of how wandering the mind is. Clear you mind, and imagine a picture or face, focus on it, and don't change the way it looks, and let nothing else in for 15 seconds. You can't do it, I have tried often. The idea is to distract your mind in several safe directions. One has to be audio, to get the sounds out of your mind and distract the images, and think of a scene of a play or movie, or fun family activity. These images and sounds are progressive and cannot be derailed since they are the same string of thought while safe. Porn will have no place. I had this problem once, it is sooooooo hard. But practice this technique. I find using religious music(if religious) helps, or a new song I am excited about helps. A new song i like gets me excited and I can keep it going for a long time.

Welcome Abdullah!

Thanks for your thoughts. It's always good to hear from people finding ways around this problem - even if they are still struggling. Your experiences of flashbacks are typical, I'm afraid. Have you tried looking at these calming images of women? Maybe you could choose some "replacements." Wink

My intuition says that when you find a mate it will help ease the flashbacks. I hope so.

I think you're right that we've been treating sex far too casually of late. But it's my hope that it has at last created an environment where we can actually talk about sex intelligently, and figure out how it affects our brains...and steer for wellbeing by consciously changing our behavior.

This wasn't possible while so many on the planet were stuck in rigid religious rules. Those rules, as it turns out, were smarter than we thought. Wink Yet, they also led to a lot of inner conflict because there was no way to tell which were helpful and which were harmful. Some have caused as much suffering and misery as the casual use of porn is causing today.

In short, we need to find an intelligent middle ground that helps mates cherish each other. Among other reasons, it's a good form of health insurance!

You're right that desire indulged actually increases desire, rather than helping to calm it...even though it feels like the solution at the moment of orgasm. If you would like to blog, here are the instructions:

Thanks Marnia. I shall take

Thanks Marnia.

I shall take that on-board.

It seems that my addiction developed when I was very young; bad influences really from the wrong people I guess. I have failed to find the right person as of yet too; although I am currently in touch with a lady who seems promising. Its weird also, because when I visited her in her home-town for a day out I felt an overwhelming sexual tension the whole time I was with her; but when we hugged at the end of the date to say goodbye I felt all the tension just dissolving away after feeling her gentle friendly caress. It lasted for quite a while too.....I guess us males need this intimacy and touching; enough of the male-oriented love-making crap that society spouts. This thing should be mutual; and we both equally need to give and receive this love that relieves tension. Men even moreso as we tend to suffer the more urges.

Porn addiction - erotic images during recovery

I admire your courage and willingness. An addiction is an addiction. In our experience, cravings lessen substantially after about two weeks, because that's about how long the sexual addiction cycle is. To answer your specific question, yes, the images should abate, and their intensity IS related to the hangover. In my experience and my husband's, our sexual appetites tended to go into the red zone more during hangovers. I especially noticed symptoms during the second week, so you should be in the worst of it just now! Be patient...and gentle with yourself. Ask your partner for some extra TLC, and do your best to give her massages and so forth. That gives you somewhere to release all that pent-up energy safely...without setting off another cycle. It will also raise your oxytocin levels (which scientists have proven ease cravings in addicted animals).

In truth, it may be several months before you feel totally centered again. A friend once told me that when he quit smoking, the intensity of his cravings did not decrease for almost a year. What changed was their FREQUENCY. They happened at longer and longer intervals, until they passed totally. As he caught onto this pattern, it made it easier not to get discouraged. He came to realize that the cravings would pass...and that they would be gone for longer than ever before the next one, and that he was making progress, even though he did a lot of screaming and rock throwing (in a creek) when they hit.

Smoking is apparently one of the most violent addictions in intensity, so your path may be easier. As you know, my husband was able to give up alcohol using this system. It took about four months...but we had a slip or two during that time despite our very careful lovemaking, so in theory others could heal in less time if they are very consistent.

I can't say exactly what your experience will be, but I believe that this addiction will pass, if you are consistent with the practice. Just stay optimistic and realize that you are dealing with the same brain chemical patterns any addict is...except that, in a strange way, you were engaging in an inflamed version of exactly what biology designed you to do (before there were Playboy subscriptions available to overload our systems). Bummer. Smile

You may also find a 20-year old book, "Energy & Eros" helpful. It talks about how we've all been sucked into the rapid orgasm pattern, and how it takes a bit of time and determination to unravel that. He mostly addresses it in terms of virgin women...saying it's easier for them to move toward sacred sex than their more experienced sisters who have learned bad habits. *grin* It's really the same issue you're facing.

Your experience is very helpful for others. I hope you will let me know how it goes. Meanwhile, may I post our exchange (with NO identifying information) at our new forum: I'm sure others will be wrestling with this same issue.

Good luck.

Warm regards,

Porn addiction - erotic images during recovery

When my partner and I first began with the Exchanges, he was an active porn user.  And, of course, it was the first thing that had to go.  I don't recall now how he was dealing with that during the initial "hangover" period, or exactly how long it was before he was able to easily stay away from it without strong force of will.  And I know he still sometimes struggles with the involuntary erotic images.  But we haven't yet had much experience with the actual lovemaking practice presented in "Peace". One thing I can attest to is that with the healing practice of nurturing and selfless giving comes a real sense of innocence.  And we live in Los Angeles where there is a strip club on every block and the laundry detergent ads borderline on pornographic.  Whereas we used to be so desensitized to it and think of it as normal, now it just seems so foreign.  Anyhow, I really believe that persistence with the practice can ease the pain of withdrawal from any addiction, but because of the nature of it, it seems to work very rapidly letting go of porn addiction.  So hang in there!

Curious? Want help? <curious>

I did a 10-day Vipassana Meditation sit at the beginning of the year. For the first several days; every pornographic image I had ever seen came into my mind. I just kept sitting. I think as I just keep being in the now, doing my sitting practice and keeping the intent to learn to love then these kinds of tormenting mind states will lessen and eventually go away. It is important to be gentle with oneself, be equanimous.

Blessed Be,

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