Is sexual fantasy and masturbating same as viewing porn?

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Do they have the same effect on the mind and body chemistry?

I don't have a porn addiction, but I sort of always have fantasies about the pretty girls I see. THat leads to mtb, and you know the rest..... :(

Maybe you have to go

by what *feelings* the fantasizing produces...because that can tell you something about what neurochemicals your brain is churning out.

"Sex" itself isn't the problem. Feelings of warm satisfaction and connection are one thing...feelings of "sexual heat" are another. The latter, without the former, are the ones that seem to temporarily desensitize the brain, depressing feelings of satisfaction and pushing you toward more and more stimulation.

Did you read this?

In any case, your own experiments can show you what you need to know.

On fantasy......

As i stay further and further away from porn i find myself having an easier time getting aroused by real women. However sometimes i find that fantasy still creeps in. I try not to but i find it difficult to keep some of those fantasies out. Its sort of a catch 22, yeah regular women are more attractive but fantasy about them kind of creeps in. My question is, as long as i don't give in and MB, or go on some sort of porn binge like in the past will i be ok. I know fantasy can possibly slow things down, but if i don't act upon these feelings and don't orgasm maybe they will have minimal effect on me??

I wouldn't worry so much

The only thing I'd add is that focusing on them raises your dopamine...and frustration.

Women do this a lot by reading those addictive Harlequin romance novels - or the spicier on-line equivalent. I don't think it improves their state of mind. More like eating junk food. Probably the same for you and your fantasies. A chip or two is no problem, but a bag of chips could knock you off balance for a bit. Wink

My favorite romance novel is

My favorite romance novel is "Baby Starts the Wedding March". Read that thing in like a day! After reading that, all I wanted in life was a strong provider that was stuck with me!

Damn good read. I never would have guessed...Guess what? ... Twins!

Courage is knowing what not to fear.


although the fantasies do promote some change in levels of dopamine, would it be safe to assume that it isn't at the level of orgasm. One of my goals has been to regain sex drive toward real women, and it has worked. However i have found that sometimes if i fantasy to much about them then eventually it leads to temporary desensitization again, however if i stop fantasizing for the following 8 hrs or so then everything seems to come back to where it was. Which is why i was asking about my first point. While fantasy can alter dopamine, is it just a short burst of it?

I try not to fantasize to much, but sometimes it just difficult lol. This is why i ask, i don't wanna set myself back. Im on like 4 weeks now, i only MB like once in that time, haven't looked at porn. I feel good, i know my brain needs more time, but their are some great positives. There are some ups and downs, but i feel i'm finding balance and hopefully in a couple months things will settle down some.

Finally i was reading up on dopamine and addiction, i know theirs a bunch of stuff on here, all pretty much saying the same thing. This site goes into addiction and desensitization effects and even shows some diagrams as well. I thought it was pretty interesting so i just wanted to share.....

The answer is

that what's right for you is right for you. People are more and less sensitive to stimulation, and their brains probably bounce back differently, too. Sounds like you're a careful observer, and figuring it out just fine for yourself.

Thanks for the link. Can't wait to check it out!

I think....

I'm going to have to stop fantasizing, as i believe it made my recovery hit a plateu. What happens is even though im not technically looking at porn or MB, that i'm using women in porn fantasies throughout the day, multiple times. As someone said earlier in the thread, the limbic system probably can't tell the difference. Maybe i just keep reinforcing these porn thoughts in the brain and thats effectiving my recovery negatively.

As i said earlier my best results have come when i went a stretch of about 17 days, no porn, no mb, no fantasy. I didn't even look at women i shut myself down for a while. I'm going to try and do that again and see what happens.

Fantasies might be just as risky

I've MBed to fantasies more than I have to pornography or erotic literature combined. As someone noted earlier, there's not much of a difference.

I won't categorically say that fantasizing is as unnatural as the "normal" porn, but I'll still want you to be careful about how it affects your free thoughts. If it's taking you away from reality and real women, then you'd know it's doing the same damage as porn.

Good luck!

- SL

Edit: My reply was to the original poster. Didn't notice the date though.

I wouldn't say they are equal

personally, I really can't see how fantasizing can be on the same level as porn viewing. With porn surfing, one of the things that ramps up the excitement is the unknown factor.. That is the excitement of not knowing what you will see next. Or as Marina said in an article somewhere, when you're watching a video you're basically placing yourself in that scene mentally, and for all your primitive brain knows, you *are* there. Whereas if you are imagining something there is much more "limitation" if you will as you yourself are constructing the scene. If fantasies were on par with pornography I doubt there would be such a huge porno industry. I think there is certainly a dopamine correlation with fantasy, but without the aid of porn watching, isn't this something that humans have been doing for thousands of years already anyhow? And furthermore, while this is subjective in nature and only the individual can decide for themselves, to what point does healthy restraint turn in to unhealthy deprivement of normal sexual thoughts? Would love to hear your thoughts.


There are no easy answers

I think your point is general.

However, as Gary explains it, "Whatever gets you going raises dopamine." (Dopamine's not bad, but too much just increases restlessness and seems to slow the return to balance.)

People managed addictive brain changes leading to compulsive masturbation (and other unwanted sexual behaviors) even without Internet porn. Still do. We had a visitor a while ago who had the uncontrollable hots for his mother-in-law. I'm pretty sure he was feeding his unwanted frenzy with fantasies about her, and that, for him, they were really hot. (Even though someone else's fantasy about her might have been lukewarm and no big deal at a brain chemical level.)

No one can say what's healthy, but clues about what's unhealthy show up in the form of increased dissatisfaction, anxiety, and so forth. Of course the individual must decide for himself. That said, a number of recovering men have reported that stopping all fantasy for a time was helpful, and that porn-fantasy in particular was unhelpful.

I can see various variables

I can see various variables that would be tough to test: active versus subconscious inducement, content of fantasy both in terms of acts and real possible versus highly improbable mates, frequency, escalation, and so on.

We might need fantasy as a mate selection tool and a way to deal with natural hardship until we can rebond...perhaps literally mental masturbation as a survival mechanism. It might also serve bonding at a distance purposes.

Couldn't stop...

...fantasying today. But I'm not sure if my dopamine levels were being peeked. They probably were because I couldn't let them go, I just can't going back even after shaking out of them.

How does this effect my abstinence program of no pmfo? Does it hurt it or is it a withdrawal/side effect that I just have to get through?

In my opinion it's not

In my opinion it's not great, but not anywhere near as bad as porn. During my reboot I have not had an orgasm or looked at porn, but I've had a few cheeky edging sessions of around 10 - 15 minutes. Probably not the best thing, but my fantasies all involve women I know, & realistic, intimate sexual encounters. There's also very limited novelty, although I can imagine plenty of things, I naturally tend to focus on the one fantasy, which is healthier too I think.

I can't see using my usual

I can't see using my usual fantasies right now with out it providing a strong connection to porn, after all most of my super-stimulation for decades has come from carefully design porn images.

Even my personal fantasies involving my wife are probably too much for me right now. That's just my feelings after 36days with no PM!

The overall message here seems to be everyone is different.

Good Luck


insight. I'd never thought of that before. Gary never had much use for porn. Says he preferred fantasies of real women. Probably because he really likes his own pace. He claims Tauruses have "divine timing." Gotta agree. Wink

Of course, who knows what would have happened if he had had internet from early on.... }:)

Vicarious orgasm enacted

[quote=Decades of porn]As somewhat of an expert of mainstram porn, the overall goal of most guys is to try to time their orgasm to the one on screen, thereby truly immersing one's self into the scene(maybe that was just me, I don't know). [/quote]

What do others think? I never did this. Maybe one needs longer clips for this to work.

I never did this either

The only time I can remember doing anything remotely similar was to finish at the same time as I knew the scene was going to end and I was so horny that I didn't want to have to rewind (there is less novelty factor second time around unless its a REALLY good scene) or go finding another scene.

There's tonnes of films dedicated to female orgasms too and many guys finish well before the actor, additionally many guys prefer lesbian only films. I know that there are many Virtual scenes, those never floated my boat, I guess in my case they were too near the real thing, so boring.....I was so far into 2D zoom in, zoom out porn, that many times i would even get peeved of with the director, thinking "what a waste, they totally ruined a good scene" by not zooming out to capture both of them at this point, or shooting from this point at that time etc... I guess that show's just how ridiculous my situation had got..oh well, no point looking backwards, time to move forwards Smile

-Decades- you really just

-Decades- you really just got me re-thinking my comment. you are right, the old fantasies I had about my wife, or an actual experience we had played out, or a lovely co-worker were quite wonderful at one time before the super-stimulating porn became so overwhelming. I think way back even the type of porn films I originally viewed , while not innocent- were a better balance of fantasy and story and not so single focused as today's variety.

maybe one day- when feeling- well balanced using my mind for original non-porn fantasy will be nice.

Also, what about literature??? I used to love reading erotic literature with no pictures. Good erotic stories used to be hotter than many movies. Also, what about Penthouse forums , letters (even fake ones) with no pictures. The written hot-stuff was ... theatre of the mind. How does that relate in the scope of recovery / re-boot?

Food for thought.

Before internet video porn

Before internet video porn became so widely available, I would get bored with photos and sub-56K modem speeds. Literature can be great for one's creative mind. The online stuff is often too short and written by a porn influenced crowd. It is also more than a tad unrealistic. One could write karezza-based literature. Maybe there's an untapped market.

he he he....~I remember

when our mum used to take us to the library (I was about 11 i think),I'd sneak off to the adult novel section, desperately trying to find a paragraph of steamy talk, or talk of a breast...that feeling of hiding/excitement of finding and the sensation received from the words were probably the most intense I ever had, though now pretty much forgotten due to all the junk erotica (porn) that I've shoved down me Smile

Fantasy and me

I have to say I'm at the point where I've been doing my very best to avoid fantasy. If fantasy pops into my mind, which it often does, I try to kick it out within maybe 10 seconds or so. My fantasies are mostly of the cuddling/kissing variety. Now oddly enough, if I see a very suggestive photo on the internet (not exactly porn) for the same 10 seconds, or if I am physically in the presence of an attractive woman for again, the same 10 seconds, I find myself much more "turned on" by the fantasy than the latter two. Not exactly an erection, but I can only describe the sensation as definitely taking the steps toward becoming aroused.

I mean I honestly honestly wish that being in the presence of an attractive woman would be enough to turn me on, but I find there's still that slight bit of anxiety for me, which is counter productive towards getting turned on.

my question

My question is if guys in the past before the age of the internet and high speed downloads looked at magazines or videos or even fantasy and rarely had ed issues, how would just fantasy alone continue the problem? I guess if you're thinking about porn clips or third person viewing I could understand, but I thought that internet type porn was more damaging to the brain and more responsible for ed than anything else. I'm sure there are a ton of guys even today who masterbate and think about girls that they've seen or a celebrity and not have these issues. Maybe fantasy and M after a reboot is fine as long as it stays away from porn territory? Or is it that the brain is so different after years of internet porn than even fantasy triggers those bad brain patterns?


It's not necessarily true that you won't have any ED issues as long as you masturbate but don't use porn. As far as the "good old times" are concerned: there is no real data available, as far as I know. What we do know, on the other hand, is that masturbation wasn't perceived as something "good" in many cultures.
Now, of course, there might have been some bullshit religious reasons for that, but maybe there was a grain of truth to that as well.

I myself have discovered internet porn quite late and I started masturbating quite early (at around 11, internet porn at around 19, but mostly pics then). I have quite a vivid fantasy and for me I strongly believe, masturbating to that fantasies was almost as bad as porn. Of course porn adds a new dimension but "just masturbating" + c a n + be almost as bad, because it can just as easily detach you from reality.

E.g. when I was 15 I masturbated almost every day to some "female domination" fantasy. That was something completely artificial, which I could only achieve by masturbating. It's just about that connection: you touch your penis and then you imagine something (maybe being gay, or even being a woman or whatever) and then a bond between those two things will come into existence: you will learn to get turned on by something which you probably won't like in reality and has nothing to do with real physical contact with a woman.

Of course if you have sexual experiences before masturbating and you don't have access to internet porn chances are high that you won't develop ED. On the other hand: for me it's a fact that as long as I masturbate my sex drive towards women will diminish as a result. If I don't masturbate, I have to go out, I have to meet women, I have to get active.

Masturbation is always something passive, something for yourself and (in my opinion) it's almost the opposite of being "a man". It's not without reason that e.g. "wanker" is a swearword. But the important thing here is: it's something that you can change, you don't have to be a "wanker" (now, that might sound a little harsh, I don't want to insult anybody. I myself have been that but I don't want it anymore).

Right on

Yeah Antiochos, you've definitely got the idea.

For me it's a very important part to re-wire to real life women as opposed to fantasy. I can imagine fantasy activating the bad wiring in your brain linked to porn, but for me I've been pretty resilient against Porn+Masturbation during my reboot. So right now anything I can do to re-wire to the real thing is better than fantasy

It all comes down

to brain plasticity and dopamine dysregulation...however you get there. For some people overly intense fantasies might do it, but for most people Internet porn proves to be a whole other level of dopamine stimulation.

Here is my 2 cents on

Here is my 2 cents on fantasy based on my rebooting/rewiring experience. I would say that for certain brain types, mine for sure, too much fantasy definitely has the same detrimental effects on sexual sensitivity as porn. It probably depends on how proficient your brain is at fantasizing. For me, fantasies, sexual or other, can be about as real as reality or even more so. I don't know if it is a right brained thing or what, but I know that putting a buffer on sexual fantasizing has been essential to my reboot and I have some serious breakthroughs under my belt. Now when I slip too far into fantasy, whether it produces an erection or not, afterward I feel "fried" so to speak. After a fantasizing session, it takes some time for me to regain a certain level of sensitivity to real women.

In my opinion, it is highly possible that increased ability to fantasize and masturbate is an evolutionary mechanism that regulates the population size by causing a reduction in REAL sex drive in those who have been less successful with the opposite sex in their early years. I would say the same about internet porn. You can not divorce technology from evolution - its all nature. Fortunately, our brains have also evolved to be smart enough to realize that there are certain processes that, though they may seem pleasurable, are a detriment in the long run.


I used to wonder

if men are generally better at opening their third eye or something. Some of you report such intense fantasy experiences. Maybe it's all in the stimulation of the pineal or something. Really makes me think the esoteric sources may be right: sexual energy is an elevator to enlightenment. Smile

I thought print magazines

I thought print magazines were lame and didn't use them much. I generally masturbated without much fantasy at all. I guess I'm a minority in that respect. It was more when I masturbated and how I used my sexuality that was the problem. That got amplified by internet porn and then internet video porn. However, if thinking clearly, I'd still prefer to masturbate without electronics being involved.

My longest abstinence period involved intense karezza fantasy. One reason it fell apart was my rejection and suppression of that fantasy. I've tried to welcome it back, but it hasn't returned in the same way. Perhaps we have to distinguish between active daytime fantasy and dream fantasy.

I'm not convinced that fantasy alone can initiate ED

I masturbated a lot and to fantasy, as did my friends, and no one had ED. What guy doesn't fantasize during masturbation? Internet porn is the cause of ED.

Why is it that no urologist or sexologist believes us when we say that porn can cause ED? Why do they tell young guys that masturbation (porn) has nothing to do with their ED?

Because masturbation didn't cause ED in young guys. Until you-know-what showed up: Internet porn. Technology has recently outpaced the docs' medical educations.

I just got an email from sexual addictions counselor asking for research on porn-induced ED. His colleagues don't believe it exists (I don't think he does either). Everyone thinks we are nuts, except the guys with ED - and some of them still can't believe porn did it to them.

I have seen thousands of young healthy guys with ED, and most every one is an Internet user when it comes to masturbation. I've known one guy with ED who masturbated once every ten days, and many with ED who masturbated only once a day. It wasn't masturbation that caused their ED.

I agree with you for the

I agree with you for the most part. However, for porn addicts, I think that fantasy takes on a different role than for others. Firstly, porn addicts fantasies are characteristically porn-based and usually experienced in the 3rd person as a viewer. Secondly, I would argue that internet porn promotes a hypersexual mental state that can cause a person to be constantly fantasizing about sex every minute of the day every day. Not just while masturbating. I certainly don't think I will ever masturbate without some healthy fantasy. But I do know that I am enjoying being able to enjoy my day to day non-sexual activities without being constantly distracted by fantasizing about 15 women at once, which is one of the things that porn had done to me. I find it hard to believe that this type of constant mental process doesn't serve to desensitize the reward center over time. I guess I am agreeing with you I am just adding that I believe that for recovering PMO addicts, based on my own experience, should take a break from fantasy for a while to truly reboot.

I guess I should have spelled it out

When I say fantasy I mean fantasy about real people, not replaying a movie. Replaying what you saw on a screen is re-remembering, and thus re-inforcing. Fantasy about the girl sitting next to you in 10th grade history, is quite different.

They certainly have

In fact sexolgists (therapists that treat sexual problems) undergo "desensitization" - where they sit in a room with multiple screens of the hardest, weirdest stuff, playing simultaneously. Marnia knows more about this.
It's meant to train the therapist to not be shocked by whatever presents itself in their practices. The goal is to train them to think that everything and anything is normal and good, and there's no such thing as too much.

But the therapists don't watch it everday, starting at age 11, as a masturbation aid.