My goal is to be porn-free by the end of 2009

Submitted by WhyMe on
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My 2009 New Years resolution is to quit porn by the start of 2010. Hopefully even earlier than that.

Years of porn have converted my once healthy sex drive and strong desire for real women into a disgusting craving for unusually graphic porn. I have been trying to wean off of porn for 3 months now. I installed a porn filter, but it seems that many sites slip through the filter as they are newly created. I will need to remove my computer from my room if necessary.

I hereby pledge to quit porn and masturbation for 2 weeks. I will continue to wean of porn over the coming months.

Hey!

Good luck.

I don't want to discourage your good intentions, but "weaning" doesn't seem to be the best approach...even if the reality kind of looks like it (that is, most guys do relapse, which only makes their task harder).

Here's why. The part of the brain that drives pursuit of extreme stimulation (once it is dysregulated) doesn't lend itself to "gradual, sensible disengagement." It sounds like you know this...given your two-week pledge, but I just thought I'd mention it. The smoothest "take-off" I have seen is a guy who was totally consistent...no orgasms, no porn. The cravings were "over" in 6 weeks. Then he continued his non-sexual behavior for another couple of months...and found a girlfriend. Then he had orgasm. Wink It didn't throw him back into porn use...but it didn't lead to a lasting, harmonious relationship either. I've heard he's in another relationship now...no details available.

I don't know if there's a "right" way to go about this porn withdrawal that works for everyone, but his success makes sense, given the way the primitive parts of the brain work. These parts of the brain "over-value" porn, because they evolved when all sexual cues meant a chance to pass on genes. Indeed, this reward circuitry is so primitive that it doesn't distinguish between two-dimensional "opportunities" and others. Unfortunately, it is set up so that it can hijack the rational brain more quickly than the rational brain can quell the impulses coming from this primitive reward circuitry. So "logical, gradual approaches" don't work...until you return to balance. Then they may.

In my *opinion* you guys who "leave room for compromise" in the short-term are setting yourselves up for constant frustration, and possibly failure. You may ultimately *falsely* conclude that you are a "special case, and more hopeless than other men" etc. This will not improve your self-esteem, and it could slow your recovery indefinitely.

Just rambling...based on a *lot* of listening.;-) However you go about it, I wish you the very best - and I'm glad you're making the effort.

PS

My sense is that contact with others, and especially with a sweetheart, is the most helpful factor in getting yourself back in balance. This is because the reward circuitry didn't just evolve to drive us toward orgasm. It also "rewards" us for getting close to others. If we do this without "going for orgasm," we get the benefits of oxytocin/balance, without having to fight that roller coaster of dopamine highs and lows.

In short, gentle, generous affection without the goal of orgasm (dopamine surges) seems to help regulate dysregulated dopamine. Once a man is truly back in balance, he can choose his ideal orgasm schedule. For some that may mean "no intentional orgasms." For others that may mean some other schedule that allows him to return to balance in between orgasms.

There's always time later...

First, nothing but respect for your intention to quit porn--it's difficult, and I'm no expert at it. (Or: Hi, I'm ___, and I'm an addict). I'm 16 days porn-free, and I can testify that 14 days did virtually nothing to make the thought of watching porn any less exciting. But when the cravings get terrible, I have used the following strategy to force myself to continue:

Barring the disappearance of the internet, we should have access to porn for the foreseeable future. Given that porn isn't going anywhere, attempting a relatively long-term hiatus does not mean completely abandoning it. Two weeks without porn does not break a porn addiction, but six or eight weeks might be sufficient. As abstinence progresses, each time a craving arises, I tell myself that I'll give in to the craving once I pass the six or eight week point. The cravings can seem terminal if you're thinking that you'll never get the opportunity to be excited again, but if you allow porn use after six or eight weeks, then the cravings are only a temporary condition. If six/eight weeks really is enough, then even though I've told myself that I can use porn, I won't want to. And if I need 10 or 12 weeks, then by six or eight, I'll have some perspective, hopefully of the 'that wasn't so bad; I can do it another time' variety. And if 10 or 12 weeks isn't enough, then I'm probably just an incurable anal sex fiend...

Also, writing or replying to blog posts here has been a good way to keep myself from loading up porn sites. I have a tendency to engage in displacement behavior; Reuniting is taking up all of what would have been my porn time, and more besides...

Good luck with your experiment, no matter how you decide to do it!

Some thoughts

Brick - you raise some good points. I'm currently 7 weeks orgasm-free and I still have the odd craving to load up the porn and on occasion I've given in to that craving too. I've dangerously flirted with going back to day 0 but fortunately I've always stopped myself short of orgasm. It's only been over the last day or two I've realized the orgasms have blocked out my emotions for years and being orgasm-free has now resulted in them flooding back. I've started to really feel the pain of my loneliness. I've been depressed and sad for long stretches of the day and it's made me realize how important it is to find a sweetheart as Marnia repeatedly encourages. Perhaps I'll put up another blog post of my recent struggles and realizations. Regardless, expect it to take over 8 weeks for the cravings to disappear. I too hope it's not going to be longer than 12 weeks! They do come fewer and far in between though.

WhyMe - I second what Marnia says. I've tried the whole weaning out process a couple of years ago and it just didn't work for me. I say, go cold-turkey. If you fail, try it again and again and again. Each time you'll get further and you'll get better at managing the withdrawals. If you're going to gradually reduce the frequency, you're not ready to quit. You're deferring quitting to later in the year and the time will never come. You're still hanging on to the addiction and you've got to give it the boot. If you still want orgasms, find a sweetheart to share them with. If you want to find a sweetheart, you've got to give up the porn. I wish you the best regardless of how you proceed!

I don't have much to add, but...

I just wanted to say you are in good company here and offer my own two cents. Your intentions to quit are completely noble and we're behind you all the way, but don't get discouraged if you find yourself unable to follow through with it. This is a VERY tough addiction to break, don't give into feelings of shame if you end up relapsing. For many of us, it has taken dozens and dozens of tries before we see progress, but the progress DOES come sooner or later! If you should relapse, it is best to just shrug it off and keep on going with the fight as though nothing happened. Otherwise, you risk going into a spiral of shame, which feeds the addiction, which causes more shame, etc., and that certainly doesn't help anybody. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Chris

You guys are great

I'm thinking it is very helpful to have a new activity to substitute for the old one. Reuniting is useful...but it's still all about sex, of course. Nothing wrong with that.;-) But there may also be other non-computer activities that will give you satisfaction/balance, too.

I think Brick's point is a really important one - and, I might add, very humorously made. Don't tell your brain "forever," because it loves reasons to get depressed...and relapse. But it *does* like goals. A sense of anticipation of reaching a new goal releases moderate amounts of dopamine...like going on a long hunt.

And Jayl, your experience also is not unusual it seems. This is not, ultimately, a solo endeavor. We're happy to listen to your woes, but maybe you should spend more of your time at "plentyoffish.com," or some other singles service that is more to your liking. It's time. Wink and the women of the world will thank you!

Lol Marnia

Lol Marnia - I guess I'm being forced to meet women now!! I've actually been spending a fair bit of time on plentyoffish.com. The women of the world aren't thanking me yet... In due time, in due time. :)

Porn addiction

I am having as much trouble stopping my addiction to porn as the others on this site and this thread. I am at 4 days right now of no orgasm no masturbation or touching of any kind (that is the only way that works for me) no porn and no porn substitutes. My goal is 13 days. That will be my longest without these things. I hope like others have said once I make that short goal I will be able to continue to another short goal. That way seems much easier to me just taking it a little at a time. With the porn though it is best to try and just stop. If you look at it even the stuff that is soft or even just posing women it just makes it that much harder at least for me. As someone said once you look things get out of control fast and before you know it you have slipped and back to day 1 :(. Been there and done that a few times already. This time I am going without any of it as long as I can. I have added things to my daily routine to help. A much better diet, exercise, and meditation being the big ones. I am not sure if I can give you the best advice. My best bet is to just share some of the things I have tried and the results. Today was a bad day also the cravings and little voice saying to just give in was in full force today. If not for family I would have slipped today. The only good thing is so far in my journey day 5 has been about the best day so here is looking for a good day tomorrow. I am hoping the best for you. I know it is a struggle sometimes but I have seen the benefit of this in just the short time I have been on this journey. I hope I was able to help in some way. Good luck to you on your journey.

be safe

Here is my concern with stopping orgasm:

Before porn started diminishing my sex drive, I had a strong motivation to interact and be social with women because I had a high sex drive that drove me to approach many girls. I had a powerful sex drive that instilled me with great confidence and determination to pursue real women. Eventually, my major abuse of porn has trained my mind to simply get a porn "fix" everyday and has destroyed my normal sex drive, along with destroying my confidence and motivation to be social with women.

Now, here is my question:

Does stopping orgasm for many weeks or months eventually "deactivate" or diminish your sex drive? This is DEFINITELY NOT what I am seeking. How do you guys feel after 8-12 weeks of stopping orgasm? What is your sex drive like at this point?

When you say "stopping orgasm"

Do you mean also stopping masturbation? It's debatable which is more harmful, the masturbation or the orgasm. So even if you've "mastered" masturbation without orgasm, I think just the masturbation has ill effects. For guys who want to give up orgasm but don't have a girlfriend, it's tempting to masturbate a lot without orgasm to keep the sex drive activated, as you put it. I think that is a mistake and unnecessary, and for that matter I think the same goes for Viagra. Sure, your dick gets pretty small after a few months without a workout, but I think if and when the right girl comes along she will easily be able to bring it back to life. In the meantime, I still wake up with erections, and I find urination Kegel exercises a wholesome way to keep the little guy from getting bored.

I certainly don't

want to pre-empt the gentlemen's responses here, but may I just suggest that there are two kinds of sex drive? One is the kind of intense craving that is actually *withdrawal* libido. I think of that as "false" libido, for reasons I'll explain in a moment.

The other is your true libido when you're in balance.

Men who have passed through the site and regained their balance may not be masturbating as frequently as they were when they were caught in the cycle, but they actually seem relieved to be excused from that constant pressure to seek orgasm.

However, when a partner shows up, they all seem to rise to the occasion without hesitation.:-)

When you're caught in the cycle, you can't remember what normal, healthy libido feels like. It isn't the constant urge to get off. It's a state of being ready for action when opportunity knocks, but not constantly preoccupied with pursuit of orgasm. There's an unfortunate temptation to view hyper-libido, born of the constant need to self-medicate with orgasm, as evidence of superior sexuality...and over-value it...or (later in life) to use sexual enhancement drugs to keep it going. This masks the rewards of balance.

I guess I'm not sure what you're asking, or if you realize the full implications of your question. A healthy sex drive is different from an unhealthy sex drive, but "more" and "less" aren't necessarily the way to measure the difference.

Constant pressure

You do explain things very well. That is it exactly. I just want that constant pressure to orgasm to go away. I can look back and see now how much of my life was being driven by that pressure. Like you say when your are in that cycle you do not see or I guess care most of the time as long as you get your fix. I do not know how things will be if I can go 15 days 30 or longer. I do know right now I am more sexually charged I guess is the right way to put it. The more I go without orgasm I do not know how to put it in words but I think I feel stronger sexually if that makes sense. I have been on this just a short time compared to most here so everything is very new to me. I can say I am positive I feel better yes just feel like a better person the more I go without orgasm. I feel better about myself. The more I write on here sometimes things come to me I do not expect. Like now I realize I actually like myself more the more this goes on. I do not think I did before. Well that was a strong feeling( I actually teared up there a bit). I had not really thought about that till now. Well not like I just did anyway. It is why I keep making myself come back here and write. It helps me discover things about myself I would not other wise. That is how messed up this constant cycle of the pressure to orgasm has made me. I can not speak for everyone. I do know that what ever comes from not having orgasms will be better than where I have been for so long. I am not afraid of what may be in my future because of this. I want to be in balance to see how that feels. If I continue to feel better about myself in the way I do now I will take what ever comes with it.
good luck to everyone. I need to reflect on what I am feeling right now. Thanks to this site and the people on it I will get in balance :) .

be safe everyone.

I'm glad

you're finding out that you like yourself. I like you, too!

The rest of your post reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from a forum member:

"I know one thing, it's not "sexual repression" to stop the kind of sexual behavior I've been engaged in."

That's what I hear you saying, too.

*a big hug*

sex drive

For me, the "pressure to orgasm" peaks at about 4 days after the previous orgasm and then gradually fades away after that. About 2 months after I first began my no-masturbation experiments, I suddenly realized, "Hey, the cravings are gone!" Well, they aren't gone completely, but the pressure is very slight, and easily ignored. It's like the ringing in my ears. I don't notice it unless I pay attention.

Just as one can be hungry for different things - a steak, or chocolate cake - I think it makes sense to distinguish between different types of "hungers" that are often lumped together under the title of "sex drive" or "libido" or "desire for a companion." For me there are several:

Hunger for orgasm. When I talk about (unwanted or unpleasant) "horniness", I'm referring to this hunger for orgasm.

Hunger for physical touch - hugging, cuddling, holding hands, etc. The word "loneliness" for me describes this unsatisfied hunger, and some of the other hungers also, but mainly this one. This hunger doesn't go away if unsatisfied. In fact it's what drives me to try to get back together with my wife, or to look for a new sweetheart if my wife is uninterested. I suppose for some people, pets can satisfy this hunger for physical touch.

Hunger for genital stimulation and pre-orgasmic feelings. This is satisfied by masturbation without orgasm, karezza, and having your sweetheart hold your penis gently without movement.

Hunger for pleasant conversation and other pleasant interactions.

Other people may have other hungers.

Beautiful post, CF

Those urges for touch and companionship are so healthy, but they can so easily get buried beneath that louder "I want an orgasm" signal. (That's healthy in its place, too, of course, but not when it drowns out the longing for connection.)

I'm not getting passed 7 days

Ive been trying to reach 2 weeks with no porn, masturbation, or orgasm. By day 7, I cannot control my urges. I've failed 3 times so far. I always succumb to watching porn and orgasm.

In a separate experiment, I've reached 30 days with no orgasm, but still used masturbation and porn. Now, I am trying to stop all (orgasm, masturbation, AND porn) at the same time.

Maybe I should approach the matter step-by-step? What do you guys think about masturbating with no porn (only imagination) when the urge strikes? I'd rather do this than turn to porn for relief. The downside is that images of porn may remain in my mind with this method. I'd try to imagine past sexual partners -- at least its somewhat better than just watching graphic porn.

Ultimately, the goal would be to stop everything, but it seems Im having trouble going cold turkey.

I know we're all different, but...

WhyMe, If you really want to control it long-term my suggestion would be not to touch yourself, view porn, or fantasize AT ALL until you have had the time to learn how to control these urges 100%. You say "I cannot control my urges"... but in fact you can learn to, if you want to. Don't frame it as "depriving yourself of orgasm" or anything negative like that, but rather as a fun experiment to develop your willpower and self-control.

So you might want to say "For at least 90 days, I am not going to masturbate AT ALL, regardless of the situation..." and watch yourself very carefully when you are showering and whatever are your normal trigger times when you might want to turn on the porn or just masturbate. Do not consciously do anything that you know will arouse yourself, and if you start moving unconsciously, take control of yourself. After the 90 days, you can consciously reevaluate the decision, but not until then. The temptation to take it all the way to orgasm while masturbating may occasionally be too strong until you have gone without for a long period of time and developed your self-control.

I think you will find after this long period that you can masturbate (calmly and gently) in a way that does not bring yourself to orgasm, whenever you feel it is appropriate. Not to say that you SHOULD do it (it is always your choice), but you would be able to if you choose to.

Of course you may be strong enough to masturbate right now with no risk of bringing yourself to orgasm, but why take the chance? If you are masturbating in the first place as a result of an urge rather than a conscious choice I am concerned about your ability to hold back.

Just my suggestion... best of luck to you! :)

Less is More

I've been reading through this tread and one idea keeps coming to me over and over. The longer one goes without the standard sexual fare, the stronger one's sexual attraction is. The more times you use your sexual encounters to cuddle and so forth instead of ending with a big bang, the more of these experiences will find their way into your life. The longer you settle into this new pattern, the more fulfilling this new sex becomes. It's a cosmic promise. We are designed for something more than orgasm. Step out in faith and claim your birthright.

Do you think a person can take a picture if themselves naked or whatever and allow others to view it and fantasize with it and not feel the energy generated by this attention? The porn stars pay big time for their porn with unwanted negative energy which is constantly streaming into them. If for no other reason, stop viewing porn to keep from contributing to this energy warfare on these poor porn stars.

Back to the first thought. As you shift your attention away from self pleasure, your increased sexual magnetism will attract just the kind of lover you truly desire---one that will be good for you and support you in many ways, not just in bed.

On the other hand, don't beat yourself up for being "weak". Enough said.

I need some ideas.

I have gone months without looking at porn then having relapses where I look at it everyday. I now look at porn once a week. I try to stop saying I am never looking at porn again, but I can no longer fight the urges at or around day 6 or 7. If someone could give me ideas it would be great.

Replacing Porn with other activities

For most of us, the desire for porn never just goes away. Even after several months.

I've been porn free since September. In the summer, I was only orgasm free. Even though I've made it this long with no porn, that hasn't stopped the cravings or desires to turn back to it.

To be completely honest, I feel that the only way to "beat" sexual desire is to use it. The difference comes in "how" we use our desire, or what we channel our aggressive feelings into. Which is much easier said than done, but it is possible, nonetheless. I too have gone several months without porn, only to come crashing hard and returning to the very sites I deleted from my bookmarks, and finding even more delectable porn in the process. Lately, my success has come from just channeling the energy into keeping busy, either with work or other hobbies. Social interaction with others, whether in an activity group, exercise, or a group of friends, really is the best medicine. I try to take my time away from the computer, and into doing something else.

I haven't had to box my computer up, and I don't use porn filters. It's just that I spend "less" time on it. Or, if I have terrible urges, I go elsewhere and do something else. Other members on this site have done the same. Try to go for a week again. When the urges come, try to schedule a day where you just go away to do something else. No "downtime" at home, so-to-speak. I think for many of us, masturbation and porn started as a recreational habit. I was in college, I had super fast internet, my roommate was gone doing something else, and there was nothing going on. Enter my addiction. It started as rather harmless and infrequent, but rapidly evolved into a constant behavior, which lasted to this day.

Truly, as your sexual magnetism increases, the paradox is that your sexual desire for something to connect to only increases. What does change though is the compulsive addiction to connected to something else. You need to reframe how you channel your "horniness". You can't make it disappear.

Urges

Wow, youre doing pretty good. A lot of progress at this comes from getting your emotional life straight. there are a lot of good activities to help do this too. The most powerful tool to regulate your moods is being around people, being social and developing healthy relationships with both guys and girls. Exercise, diet, fulfilling hobbies, general nurturing behaviors that you can do with yourself. Also, you might want to look at what other kinds of compulsions you might have, there might be some that you are not aware of that are subtle and elusive and can influence your other compulsions Im finding. Developing awareness of what is happening (which is what were doing) takes times, but awareness of your moods and circumstances will also help you out in the long run. Making it past the two or three week mark is difficult, but if you do, it gets a lot easier. Again, taking care of your emotional vacuum is key to overcoming addictions. You sound like you are trying your best, keep it up.

Welcome Fizz

Sounds like you're getting some good advice already.

This addiction is a very tough nut to crack because it hijacks such a vulnerable program/structure in your brain at a subconscious level, but if you stay determined, you will eventually succeed.

I'll enable you to blog, in case you want to start your own thread. Also, did you see this post from yesterday? http://www.reuniting.info/forum/1190 It should help you understand why this process takes time (and why resistance pays). And why you need to have a strategy in place when those cravings hit.

Are you noticing any benefits yet? Sometimes it helps to focus on those, too.