New member: day 1 (again)

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It's hard writing this down, like many people (I imagine) this is something that I've never talked about for the 20+ years it's been going on.

I won't go into a long history, but basically I'm happily married, although sex stopped several years ago. This is ok with me (really), I've never wanted my wife to have sex when she didn't want to, just for my sake, and we never have.

However, I've returned to masturbation like I did when I was single. And with the internet these days, it has become a porn/masturbation addiction.

December last year, I found this site, and for the first time what I was reading made sense and I thought I could see a way out. The biggest revelation was reading that I didn't have to masturbate... I've always thought that I need to 'go' once a week just to stop wet dreams and to keep healthy! Even in good times, I kept 'going' once a week (without porn) almost like it was my duty... so the thought that I could just stop for good was amazing. I was inspired, truly inspired.

11 days I went without masturbating, the longest time I've managed in years. I forget now how I failed, but I got myself together and went for 21 days. That's the best I've managed since then, and it's been getting steady worse again. It's been "day 1" so many times I've lost count.

So here I am, hoping that by telling you all, it will strengthen my resolve.

Thanks to Marnia, and to everyone who has posted their stories and advice on the site. It helps to know I'm not the only one.

time_for_change

So true

...what you say about the realization that masturbation and orgasm are not actually necessary. Since I began the habit, until I gave it up, it seemed to me that my body was demanding it and all the messages around me tell me that I had to give into it, like there was no choice. Even now, when I mention that I avoid it, one reaction I've gotten is, "that's so bad for you!" Another is the assumption that I just don't like sex or sexuality. Consequently, I don't talk about it with many people anymore. But, I still love the freedom that comes along with knowing that I am in control of that energy, and that I can use it for higher purposes that just getting off.

Glad you're here. :)

Comment from a Newbie

I am new also. Your situation sounds almost exactly like mine. Have you talked to your wife about this yet? Perhaps starting this program together will help bring you closer together. Even if intercourse (with or without orgasm) is not in the cards for you, everything else should be. Affection and caring touch can do wonders for a relationship.

Hi T4C

Welcome!

It's amazing how addictive today's internet porn is...until you understand how perfectly it manipulates the reward circuitry in the mammalian brain with a combination of "novel," "sexually arousing," "anonymous," "free," and "escalating." Anyone of those *could* hook a person, and the combo is especially gripping.

I think you may one day look back and be glad that you couldn't solve this problem without intimacy with your wife (in some form). There are lots of gifts in those bonding behaviors. We're not really designed for self-sufficiency. I suspect she'll understand this if you explain it to her. Have you read these two articles? It's challenging to be a pair-bonding mammal. Wink You're not *supposed* to find complete contentment on your own...with or without orgasm.

http://www.reuniting.info/science/pairbonding_strength_weakness
http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/bonding_magic

Feel free to blog if that's more convenient.

And, remember, what you perceive as a setback, may just be pushing you toward a better solution than the one you're trying to implement. Don't be discouraged. Think outside the box.

Welcome!

Welcome to the blogs time_for_change! I'm looking forward to reading about your recovery. When I first found this site it was comforting to know that I'm not the only one fighting this battle. That in itself gave me so much more courage. Hope it has the same effect on you. I'm sure having the support of your wife will also make it a lot easier.

Thanks for the messages

I really appreciate you all responding - thank you :)

I do still have an affectionate relationship with my wife, and I find that when I've had periods without masturbation more affection comes naturally.

However, although my wife knows I masturbate, she doesn't know the extent (the addiction), and the whole porn thing is a complete secret. I am utterly ashamed of it, and I think it would hurt her deeply if she knew. I know openness in a relationship is good, but I honestly think sharing this fact would be a bad thing. We have a family and I don't want her to look at me as a husband and father and instead see a degenerate who masturbates to internet porn. I know I'm being hard on myself, and I'm sure she would be supportive and want to help, but I don't want to risk hurting her.

Thank you for the blog, Marnia. I will try to add to this every few days, I think it will be a useful way to focus.

Thanks,
time_for_change

I'm glad you're

affectionate. But here's the thing, oxytocin has actually been shown to ease both addictions and withdrawal symptoms. And warm contact between partners increases oxytocin. In other words, affection can be medicine for exactly the cravings that ail you. Smile

Here are some bits from the new book:

As we’ve seen, dopamine induces excitement and puts you into high gear. When stimulated with too much dopamine, your nerve cells decrease their sensitivity to it. What goes up must come down. Your mood changes. Typically, you feel less alive—and very susceptible to suggestions that send up a dopamine flare.

Oxytocin is unusual in that it can have the opposite effect. Not only does it induce a calm, warm mood that can increase tender feelings and openness, but also the more oxytocin produced, the more sensitive some nerve cells become to it (because they activate additional oxytocin receptors on themselves). What goes up stays up, or goes a bit higher—as does your sense of satisfaction.

This may be why daily bonding behaviors can produce increasing feelings of well-being over time—rather than boredom (habituation).

For example, just ten minutes of warm, supportive touching between couples who live together causes a marked increase in oxytocin in the blood. The more supportive those couples, the higher their blood levels of oxytocin. Massage and other supportive and caring touch lower stress hormones and blood pressure, particularly among young married men, while also releasing oxytocin. Want more proof of the power of bonding behaviors to supply stress relief? When facing a dreaded public-speaking gig, try hugging and watching a romantic film. It lowers blood pressure and heart rate better than resting quietly together.

And, it is not your imagination that your taste for bonding behaviors is stronger when you have not been using porn. A moderate amount of dopamine is also part of what makes bonds rewarding. So when dopamine is low (post-sexual satiety), bonds feel unnaturally weak.

Remember, how you feel when in the porn loop, is not how you'll feel toward your wife when you're out of it. It's kind of like changing your diet to healthy food. Once you're off the junk food, even salads can start to look inviting. Wink

Porn

Hmmm, so if you were getting affection from your wife, what made you decide to masturbate again? Was it an escape? That's one of the only things I can think of that would make me relapse, cuz being non-orgasmic is just sooo much better, but if I were bored or depressed, I might get tempted to indulge a short-term escape, damn the consequences. However, I think as long as we're getting bonding and affection, in your case, female affection, and mine, unfortunately, the other kinds, we'll be less likely to desire an escape.

As for the porn, though I never got addicted to it, I did use it, even when in relationships. I kept it secret too, but they knew. They weren't happy about it but accepted it. If I were to be in a relationship again and still using porn (no need now that I'm non-orgasmic), I'd want to be more honest. Why are you ashamed? It's a healthy urge, and men are instinctively visual. If it grew to an addiction, things went too far, but that's just a disease, a derangement of the dopamine pathway. From what you wrote, my gut instinct is that it would help to get this out in the open. Things fester and gain power when kept in the dark, and it sounds like it wouldn't ruin the marriage, that it's only your sense of shame that's at work.

I've been reading into some

I've been reading into some affective neuroscience and found this interesting: "Recent research has discovered a discreet set of nerve pathways from the skin that go to the center in the right hemisphere that reads the context of the touch rather than the sensory component of it. This context center gets sensitized during infancy as to whether touch is nurturing and loving."

Women are the more right-lobe orientated of the human species. If nerves can sense more than sensation and can sense also context, then the context of touch from someone who watches porn is going to be very different than someone who doesn't - the context being all of the associations, the imagery, and guilt that might come along with porn use. Whether the secret is "out in the open" or well-hidden, the context plays itself out each time you touch your wife. She may not detect it consciously, but her overall organism as a whole is always taking in a full array of data. So I think whether you tell her about the porn use or not is moot, when we consider the inherent interrelatedness of all phenomenon and the amazingly intricate communication pathways our biology has set up to give and receive signals. Fact is, in a real sense, no action is isolated and so no action is secret insofar as it having an effect on the way the world turns round. You're downloading your system with a certain kind of data and that data doesn't go away when you turn of the computer - its in your very organism and touch. I'd say accountability in terms of the personal integrity needed to be selective about consumption, and taking seriously the phenomenon of immediate cause and effect, is much more important than wrangling over whether to tell or not. If you take care of your own need for personal integrity, the rest will fall into place.

Thoughts

hotspring - interesting about the context thing. This is what I've kind of suspected for a while now. I agree with what you say about everything being interrelated, and I'm sure I'm a more open, attentive husband when I'm not stuck in the porn-loop. When I managed 21 days, I had more time/inclination for cuddles and hugs, and thinking back now my wife was probably more inclined too.

"If you take care of your own need for personal integrity, the rest will fall into place." - this is what I'm basing my attempt at recovery on. Thanks for your comments, your words clarified things for me.

Tantra11 -
"Hmmm, so if you were getting affection from your wife, what made you decide to masturbate again?"
I guess I've been masturbating since 13/14 and orgasm is a hard habit to break. And also, as I mentioned above, I thought I 'needed' to orgasm regularly and that if I didn't wet dreams would happen. I didn't want that partly because I didn't want my wife to see it and feel bad about not having sex.

"Why are you ashamed?"
Because I'm looking sexually at women other than my wife. I wouldn't want to leave my wife for someone else. I wouldn't want to have sex (in real life) with someone else. And yet in the act of porn/masturbation there is an infidelity. That is what I'm ashamed of. And also that I can't stop, can't beat the addiction.

Your honesty

and awareness are beautiful. You have all the pieces. I'm sure you'll find a way to reassemble things in a way you'll be more at ease with.

Just about ALL of us thought orgasm was indispensable, so that part's no mystery. It took me *years* to figure out it was doing more harm than good. Be gentle with yourself while you re-balance your system.

It's like sailing. You blew out to sea on a strong wind, but you're going to have to tack back, against the wind. Be patient.

Thank you

Thank you Marnia, I like the sailing analogy, that's just how it feels.

After years of not talking (and indeed months of visiting this site silently), actually writing all this down and discussing it is really helping. I know I'm only a few days into my latest period of abstinence, but it feels different this time and I'm sure I can stick at it for the long haul.

The internet is truly neutral, on the one hand it's the cause, and on the other the cure :)

Thanks again,
time_for_change

How true

Guess there's a silver lining in most clouds.

But I also feel like we blew into this storm first here in the USA (most porn is still produced here), so it makes sense that we'd be the first to realize it's not just pure recreation, and then the first to set about figuring out what's really going on and how to cope. Let's hope the internet will speed the learning curve, too.

I really hope so

I have to say though that I've searched on and off for help on the 'net over the past few years and yours is the only site that has really helped. I can't thank you enough for the effort you've put in to creating this site and keeping involved with everyone who visits here. I know that you didn't set out to cater for porn addicts, but however it came about, you've created a special place that is really helping people stuck with this addiction.

Actually discussing my thoughts here is the thing that is making the difference for me, and I never dreamt I would ever (ever!) discuss this stuff, even anonymously on the web. But your site has given me the confidence to do that. Thank you :)

time_for_change

I'm glad

I wouldn't trade what you guys have taught me for anything. And I bet you will say the same of the entire porn experience once its behind you.