Mixed News to Report, fishing for inspiration :)

Submitted by ab1234cd on
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Hey everyone,

So after getting through the initial 2 weeks or so of letting your brain recover from masturbation addiction and hormones to balance out, I've had multiple hopes and failures. The toughest thing to overcome was a fear that I had permanently damaged my libido. I could not stop fearing that I had lost my libido, and my brain would race and think up negative thought after negative thought of how I will never have sex again, I will never get married, never be happy, for the rest of my life....this anxiety would prevent me from being able to think about sex or get an erection. Since the only way to break the cycle was to think about sex and get an erection, I was in a tough bind. Eventually, one day, I was able to tell myself to just stop thinking negative thoughts for a day. If I had a bad thought, just write it down and talk to my psychiatrist about it (I was in severe anxiety/depression mode as a reult of all this, started seeing a psychiatrist). By the end of the day, I was relaxed enough that I actually had a sexual fantasy, complete with erection. Upon realizing the vicious cycle I was in, I was able to stay calm the next day and it seemed like everything was cured. So for anyone going through a similar fear, finding a way to relax and not obsess over it will most likely help.

Then one night, I was having a very hard time sleeping. I was having a heck of a fantasy (pretty healthy one, not too perverted or anything), and the erection and happiness and energy were too much for me to calm down and get to sleep. So I decided to masturbate. Unfortunately, I also made the decision to look at porn while doing it. The porn wasn't too perverted or anything, and I didn't feel addicted while watching it (it was almost like reading the paper or something), but afterwards, I kind of checked to see 'what's new' in the old fetish world I used to inhabit. Although I wasn't necessarily aroused by it, I was still somewhat aroused and definitely 'interested' in these perverted scenarios that were out there. This realization made me feel very guilty and worried that I am further damaging my sexual health by destroying even more of the mystique/innocence about sex. I've always been a daydreamer/fantasizer and would often get bored with things. I'm worried that I require constant novelty to keep my interest, and have been having many negative thoughts in the time since. I'm probably overreacting (I actually know I am), but it just seems like negative thoughts beget negative thoughts with me. I never used to worry about my future, and now I can't seem to stop. I used to picture getting married and having kids or being a football star or any number of fantasies in addition to numerous sexual fantasies. I've been telling myself I need to live in the present and be confident that the future will work itself out, but now I feel guilty about daydreaming, am afraid that my need for novelty will prevent me from ever being truly attached and committed to someone, and about a thousand other worries have been going through my mind. Anyway, I guess I'm just having a hard time staying positive and worrying about my future too much (something I basically never did before) and am looking for some reassurance.

Anyway, here's a list of things currently bugging me. If you have any advice or thoughts to contribute on any of them, that would be great. I've already been learning a lot about my emotions in this time, but still have some work to do on my ability to control my thoughts.

1. Does anyone out there that is perfectly happy with their life still daydream a lot when they're bored? I feel like the daydreaming is bad for me, like it means I'm not happy with the present, but at the same time it's either that or getting consumed with thought, which lately has been negative for me. Of course, being consumed with thought prevents me from daydreaming too. It's hard to tell whether daydreaming is something I do when I'm happy, or something that just happens because I'm happy.

2. For those that have kicked or are dealing with the addiciton, do you still fantasize regularly, do you fantasize about normal or pornographic sex, do you try to suppress it, and has it ever affected your relationships in real life? My head tells me that even happily married men occasionally fantasize about other women or crazy sexual things (with or without their partner), and that a truly loving relationship would be more than powerful enough to overcome these things, but my confidence is just real low right now and I get scared about this stuff. I'm also concerned that my newfound guilt over fantasizing could come into effect when I'm in a real situation with someone I care about, although I think I can get over that.

3. If I manage to stay away from porn, will my memories and fantasies of these perverted things fade, or is it something I have to work on and commit to suppressing? Like I said, I'm still able to be aroused by healthy fantasies of loving sex with normal women, but occasionally I have perverted ones too, and I worry that this will adversely affect me.

4. Any tips for getting out of cycles of negative thought? It's usually not too tough for me when I have some fun activity going on, but it seems like it happens more when I'm at work or trying to sleep, times when my only entertainment is in the brain. I usually try to focus on things I enjoy, but I can tell those thoughts are still in there and they actually affect my ability to enjoy things (nagging worry tends to do that).

5. I'm really feeling guilty for lusting after women, even in real life now, yet I still feel that's an important element of attraction and sexual energy. I guess I'm kind of conflicted right now, and it's hurting my confidence. Anyone have thoughts on lust vs. love, does a relationship require both, does one lead to the other, etc.? Still trying to sort this one out in my head, so additional inputs and points of view would be nice :)

I think this relapse is the last straw. I usually have a pretty strong will, so hopefully I don't need porn blocking software, but I think just in case I get too comfortable with myself like last time, the software will be a helpful reminder of what I'm trying to accomplish. I will try to continue to contribute as I learn new things about myself or techniques of coping. Wish me luck, and best of luck to my fellow recoverers.

Sorry you've been struggling

But honestly, the thoughts now spinning in your head are normal, especially during the days after a relapse.

I think you stumbled upon the answer: When the anxious thoughts come up, tell yourself that you promise to think about them on X date. (Fill in the blank with the date that is at the end of the abstinence period you've chosen.) And then just resolutely push them out of your head until then.

This includes worrying about whether fantasies are normal, and whether or not you are hopelessly drawn to novelty. It's a funny thing about balance. It's impossible to imagine what life will be like when you get there - until you're there. So just make up your mind that you're going to find out. When you get there, I think you'll find the answers to your questions, so no need to turn yourself inside out trying to figure out the answers now. Also make up your mind that the less attention you give fantasy or porn about extreme material, the sooner such fantasies will fade from your everyday repertoire of thoughts. "Testing" to "get yourself going" just sets you back, even though it briefly quells your anxiety.

As for lust thoughts, as you heal, I think you'll start to see women differently. Thinking about them and being attracted to them is great, and certainly nothing to feel conflicted about. Many guys find that the lust thoughts transform automatically into seeing women more as people and less as objects. But this shift is something you can't force, so there's no point in feeling bad about those lust thoughts in the meantime. On the other hand, dwelling on them just strengthens the related brain circuits and pumps up your frustration. So, try to shift your attention elsewhere when you can. Are you familiar with the "Red X" technique?

Anxiety is a very normal withdrawal symptom. So is looking at "normal" porn and then sliding into something more extreme. Smile In short, I suspect that most of your problems are due to the fact that you are expecting magical results too soon, and even though your behavior isn't yet consistent. Be patient.

Did you see the most recent posts from these two guys? You might find them comforting.

http://www.reuniting.info/node/4571
http://www.reuniting.info/node/3508

Hi I dont believe that we

Hi
I dont believe that we can 'dabble' - you have to stop and stay stopped! the thoughts lead to actions and Marnia's ideas of postpoing it is a good one. I think to myself -"thats some thing that I used to do" and change the thought process.
I married and I think that being a single guy would be different as you will look and think what if - and the chance of what if could be a reality (I make sure it isnt for me now!) but I dont think that the fantasies will help at all. Now I look and think - she's nice but thats it I stop there. We have to practice it to get it right (like anything) it get does get easier.

Thanks for the advice you

Thanks for the advice you two, those 2 stories were a little encouraging Marnia, although you're right in that I'm not very patient with this. I guess I just have a (potentially irrational) fear that by demonizing porn/sex, I will forever be turned off by it, much the way people who were abused in the past may have an aversion to sex. My coming and going libido isn't helping things.

My inconsistencies in mood and thoughts have been bugging me more than anything, as some days I have full libido, optimistic happy thoughts, and then other days I see a girl that I know would normally turn me on, and I've got nothing, not to mention the anxieties and fears. Just this morning I was very emotional about my sexual/relationship situation, and by lunchtime, it's like I couldn't even feel emotion. I was still worried about things, no libido, but was in a good mood and able to focus on work (this was a new combination for me). It was so strange that I started looking up symptoms of having a brain tumor (I'm still not 100% convinced there's not something wrong with my hypothalamus/pituitary gland!).

Anyway, I'm finally going to start that blog with my journal entries. I've been posting sporadically, and there's really so much going on with me that the blog should give everyone a much better idea of my failures and recovery process so far. Now that I'm a bit more committed to stopping, hopefully things will start to get better rather than worse for me.

Yeah,

thanks for blogging your progress.

OCD-type anxious thinking seems to be quite common. It does pass, but each orgasm will bring some of it back, it seems. This is because it's most likely not tied to your "issues," as you believe. It's probably just tied to the brain chemical dips that are perfectly normal during "rebooting."

As I sometimes say here, rebooting is not a linear process. It's more like a pendulum that swings back and forth between highs and lows, ultimately finding it's way to the center.

As you say, you need a lot more patience, but I know how tough that can be when you're feeling monumental anxiety, and it seems like you need to do SOMEthing, ANYthing to make it go away.

Have you tried any of the traditional solutions: vigorous exercise, daily meditation, better diet, time in nature, more friendly interaction, making a self-hypnosis tape, etc? They can indirectly ease a lot of that anxiety.