Week 18

Submitted by cyberbob82 on
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18 weeks porn free. Here's what's been happening:

* I'm still keeping masturbation down to a minimum. I'd like to get to the point where I only masturbate when I actually feel horny, that is, when desire proceeds sexual stimulation. I've noticed that often I'll masturbate out of habbit, boredom, need to relax, need to sleep etc. More on this later.

* Turns out the girl in my salsa class did like me. We went out on a few dates. We made out a few times, but no sex. Taking it slow, which is fine. It was all going rather well, until Saturday when I picked her up and cooked her dinner and gave her a guitar lesson. After that we were chilling out and watching some TV. Then she started getting a bit weird by nagging and complaining like a little girl. Then she wanted me to take her home and it kinda ruined the night. I got a bit annoyed and called her on it and she was apologetic, but I haven't been inclined to chase her since then. I suspect she's a bit of a princess. I haven't written it off, but I don't really care enough to actively try and get things going again. I'll leave it up to her and then see what happens. I'll probably see her around the salsa scene anyway, so best not to burn any bridges.

* Salsa is progressing. I've just started another bunch of lessons. I'm redoing the improver's class in parallel with the intermediate class. I'm also starting to do some private lessons. I have the first one tomorrow. It's good to have something new that I'm passionate about that helps me socialise too. It may turn into a career change for me, if I could get good enough to make it pay the bills, probably as a teacher. I never thought I'd do IT forever and always wanted to do something more active and social. If I could make a living out of something like salsa, it would be unreal. Smile

* I'm still trying to stress less about sex and sexual issues. This is like trying to not try. Worrying doesn't get me anyway and is actually counterproductive, but it's easy to fall into my old habbits. I actually opened up to a close friend of mine about all this stuff and it kinda helped. He was very supportive and made me feel that a lot of my issues are just me being too hard on myself. I'm really glad I talked about some of this stuff with someone else.

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Something else I'd like the talk about...

I had an interesting chat over private message with another person here on reuniting who has had similar experiences to me. I wanted to share some of my thoughts. A number of people who have tried/are trying to kick porn addiction have tried extended abstinence, after which they experience a loss of libido/horniness. This is very scary for most red-blooded males. This was definitely my experience. I mentioned in my previous posts that my libido "came back", after about 8-9 weeks. I probably need to clarify this for the sake of accuracy.

I have a theory. Bear in mind it's just that.

I want to be clear on what I mean by libido. Is it natural horniness (i.e. simply being physically horny without any stimulus)? Or is it the ability to function with a female when the clothes come off. I have found that I'm not really that "naturally" horny unless I abstain from masturbation for an extended period (let's say a week or two). However, when it comes time to get freaky with a female I don't have any problems. My thoughts are that, if you can do that latter, well isn't that 80% of the battle. Sure I'd love to have that natural horniness around all the time, but mainly I just want to be able to have fun when I need to.

From my experience the 60-90 day total abstinence "rule" is a good rule of thumb for kicking porn addiction. This has to do with resetting dopamine levels and receptor counts and things like that. I think that getting libido back (using definition #1) is both a matter of time and training. That is, I believe there's more to the whole picture than the dopamine factor. I believe that by masturbating to the exclusion of other sexual activities we train our nervous systems to respond to a specific stimulus. Our nervous system adapts to this and soon it can end up being the sole way of kickstarting our arousal. The only real way I can see to retrain your nervous system is to cut out masturbation completely while you recover AND be getting sexual stimulation from a third party, a real person. Your body has to stop seeing masturbation as an option and see normal sex as normal again. It kinda makes sense if you think about it. The best way to get your natural sex drive back is to have natural sex.

I can tell you though that after 8 weeks of no porn, masturbation or orgasm I could definitely start to feel my libido kicking again (Note: I was also taking supplements which may have boosted my libido.). But after one orgasm it's like my body started to quickly fall back to old habits. I think your whole nervous system needs retraining and that this process takes longer than the 60-90 days that seem to be needed to kick porn addiction. I believe this would be a lot easier if I had a long term partner who I could use to recalibrate my sexual response. For me it's frustrating right now, because I'm single.

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I also had another discussion with a friend about the difference between sex and masturbation. My friend was arguing that your body can't tell the difference between orgasm induced by sex and orgasm induced by masturbation. I can't say for sure but I disagree. I think the body has a different hormonal response to sex vs. masturbation. The main difference is that during sex I believe that higher levels of oxytocin are released during sex than through typical masturbation. This is due to the additional touch of another human being experienced during sex, which you don't get during masturbation. That is, I do not believe all orgasms are hormonally equal and repeated exposure to a "type" of orgasms trains our sexual response. This is just another theory at this point. I'd like to hear people discuss this some more and lend credence to either point of view. Are all orgasms equal?

Comments

your comments are appreciate

I appreciate you taking time to put all this down on "paper". Perhaps I'll start a new post, but I'm really curious what natural horniness would be like. All I remember is when I was 14 and 15 I would get persistent erections that absolutely demanded a release. I can probably remember 2 or 3 times when I felt like that after the age of 17. One time I was all relaxed have a couple of beers at a party when I was 18 and I remember there was this girl sitting close by and I had that urgency. Another time was after a heavy night of drinking I woke up with it.

Question is, what should normal mid-30's guy feel like? Now it's kind of silly when I think about it, but I have had periods of time when I perform just fine with my wife, but the performance anxiety still never goes away, so there is bound to be a cycle of failures. I think the performance anxiety stems from that "no natural libido" feeling.

I know what you mean. When

I know what you mean. When I was in my teens I'd be constantly horny. I remember I'd lie in bed at night and feel the need to go jerk off to just relieve the tension. I don't think that teenage libido is a good basis for comparison though. The male body releases large doses on testosterone and HGH during this time to make us grow, so libido is elevated compared to adult life.

Having said that, while some libido loss is natural as men age, a significant amount of men suffer libido loss faster than they should due to other factors such as diet, exercise, smoking, drinking excessively. The way I look at things, if you smoke, drink excessively, have poor diet and don't exercise, you have no right to expect good health and that includes libido. It always amazes me how people complain about health issues when they are abusing their body in these ways. It's like expecting good performance out of a car running on vegetable oil. It's ludicrous when you think about it. I don't have any definite answers for restoring natural horniness. But definitely rule out diet and exercise and similar factors first, before you look at anything else.

My theory basically is that, using porn and masturbation for extended periods to kick start libido makes our brains "lazy" to the point that stimulus is required before we get horniness. Natural horniness is the opposite. You get horny, therefore you seek further physical stimulation. I wish I had something more scientific to offer regarding hormone levels etc, but I don't really. This is just the effect I've observed in myself and I've read about happening to other men. I think there's more to it than the dopamine factor, but that definitely plays a part.

The rule I've set for myself is to cut out masturbation and only masturbate when I'm naturally horny, as opposed to being tense, bored, testing erection level etc. This is the only natural way I can think of to get our bodies back into the groove of natural horniness preceding sexual release. I would also point out that mental state and psychological issues seem to play a big factor in how horny I get, so these have to be dealt with in addition to the physical aspects. If you can enjoy sex with your wife, then that's the main thing. I'd just stop worrying about the whole natural horniness thing. I reckon it will come back with time.

Although

the mainstream still resists the idea, the work of one researcher, Stuart Brody, has already shown differences in the effects of orgasm with intercourse compared with other orgasms. http://stuartbrody.tripod.com/page7.htm#SEXUAL I think he will turn out to be right that intercourse offers surprising benefits (increased relaxation, decreased stress).

I agree that the idea that your intense sexual appetite in your teen years should continue throughout your life is misguided. Your appetite for food changes over your lifetime, too. My thought is that porn causes this misunderstanding, by filming men on viagra and drugs that increase ejaculate - and thus "teaching" viewers that this kind of exaggerated performance is somehow normal for adults.

I'm also wondering why you want to feel horny all the time. I understand enjoying feeling a subtle flow of sexual "readiness" and "aliveness," and I realize it is very unsettling when that completely goes away during the initial phase of recovery (especially for the ED guys). But why are you so sure that "horniness" rather than "readiness" is essential to your happiness? Horniness is just plain uncomfortable, especially when you don't have a mate.

Readiness, on the other hand, is delightful. You can perform, or pass, without distress. That's what balance is all about. Again, I'm afraid too much porn has caused people to want to be in uncomfortable "overdrive" all the time...which just sends them into a downward spiral. Like all addiction, porn addiction blinds people to a middle ground of comfortable dopamine levels. Either they're "on" and burning with horniness...or they're off and feel "dead." As you come back to balance, you're likely to find that you have other options than "ON" or "OFF", that the middle ground is quite delicious, and that it is better than either extreme.

Shattered, can you accept that hot porn sex may never be part of your connection with your wife? If you could have regular, deeply satisfying intercourse with her that left you glowing, would you be OK with that? I'm afraid you may be setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary inner conflict if you don't keep an open mind about what your future satisfaction looks like.

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[quote=Marnia]I'm also wondering why you want to feel horny all the time. I understand enjoying feeling a subtle flow of sexual "readiness" and "aliveness," and I realize it is very unsettling when that completely goes away during the initial phase of recovery (especially for the ED guys). But why are you so sure that "horniness" rather than "readiness" is essential to your happiness? Horniness is just plain uncomfortable, especially when you don't have a mate.[/quote]

This might sound lame, but it's a "guy thing". No really hear, me out. I don't want to be horny all the time either. That would be pretty annoying. I just want a normal male libido. I'll try and explain. Most guys are all too familiar with the feeling of pent up sexual energy, begging for release. The anticipation of sex is awesome as well as the sex. Part of what makes the release so satisfying, is having lusted beforehand. If I don't get the natural horniness or lust, I don't feel normal, virile, potent and all that other manly stuff. I don't feel like a man.

It's like that surge of testosterone you feel after a heavy gym session. Or the morning surge of testosterone our bodies dump to kickstart our manly days and associated morning wood. It's electrifying. It makes us feel alive. It makes us want to do things like build stuff, play sports, drive fast cars and chase pretty ladies. I'm not trying to be sexist. Women just don't have the same levels of testosterone as men so you're average women probably can't empathise with men about what it's like to feel the horniness of your average man. Just like you're average man can't really empathise with women about what it's like to experinece PMS. If women got as horny as us, there'd be fucking in the streets. And I wouldn't have to ask women out every time, they'd ask me.

Our natural horniness is a very powerful urge and it's so core to our identities as men. If we don't feel that urge, not all the time, but at least sometimes, it's like a part of us is missing and that is very scary. It's like Austin Powers losing his "mojo". Sure we all laughed at the movie, but a lot of truth is said in jest and every man is absolutely terrified at the prospect of losing his "mojo".

I appreciate what you're saying,

but I think there's a very wide, comfortable range of healthy libido between feeling like a horn-dog and having no mojo. Do you want President Bill Clinton or Governor Mark Sanford at the helm of your ship? An inner fire that furnishes strength of purpose and a sense of humor are vital for super males, but constant anticipation isn't. Or certainly it hasn't been from what I can glean about history.

I still say addict brains think there's only "on" (dopamine rising in anticipation) or "off" (inadequate dopamine responsiveness), and between the two they naturally choose the first. As you move toward balance, keep me informed about your thoughts on this question. I love men. I love confident cocky male energy. I love fully alive men. But I don't think there's only one level of arousal that produces those delicious states in men.

*big hug*

I agree with Marnia. Being

I agree with Marnia. Being horny doesn't help especially if you are trying to quit porn. My libido is back and when I see a beautiful woman I get revved up. But if I was jacked up all the time it would be very hard to concentrate on an individual task let alone get anything done.

I disagree that it's a "core to our identities as men." This is what we constantly see in the media but it doesn't necessarily hold true. There are men out there that have a naturally low libido. Who is to say what is a normal libido?

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Like I said I'm not talking about being constantly horny. I'm talking about normal libido, which means it's OK to be horny sometimes. It's perfectly natural and healthy for a man to get horny and there are a range of normal healthy libidos. What's not normal and healthy is not to have any libido whatsoever and some guys recovering from porn addiction experience this. I'm one such case. I don't care what the media says and I've never really bought into all that crap. I know how I feel though and when I feel nothing I don't feel alive and I don't feel like a man. I feel empty. I wouldn't be so quick to write it off as simply being influenced by the media and/or porn. What about the guys with girlfriends? Are those ladies not entitled to feel desirable? That seems entirely normal to me.

I think you need to acknowledge that there's different responses to porn addiction recovery. Some guys get super horny when trying to quit and some guys experience the exact opposite and all desire totally disappears. The first bunch appear to relapse to satisfy their horniness. They second group seem to relapse because they are checking if they are still normal. I'm not sure why the difference in responses, but this is the pattern I've observed.

Could the rewiring process

Could the rewiring process suppress libido temporarily? I personally find it hard to recall exactly what I was like before this all began. I'm not even sure I can pinpoint when this all began. Maybe I was hornier or maybe not. I don't know. The guys with ladies seem to have a variety of issues. They can't all be lumped together. And for some of them the issues might be their woman's actions so we don't know how the guy is actually doing.

Is horniness physical or mental? I think group A thinks they are horny and group B is performance oriented and needs to check it still works. Then there is at least one other group C that simply looses mental control at some point. I think A and B are trying too hard and C not always enough. The amount of effort one puts into this process requires balance too.

Through this process the brain might handle horniness differently. Libido might be healthier, but not the same as it once was. Maybe you have to look for libido in a different places. For example, is libido getting hard or having the courage to ask a girl out?

You're right

that the return to balance takes different forms in different people, depending upon how their brains reacted to overstimulation. Some people do feel intense, uncomfortable cravings for more stimulation. Others feel a lull that can last for weeks. Neither is a stopping point in the recovery process.

For what it's worth, I've seen milder forms of this bifurcation even in karezza practice...right from the beginning. Lovers who switch to Exchanges or gentle intercourse without orgasm move toward balance...sometimes from very different starting points. If they have been "wound too tightly," they r-e-l-a-x without even trying. If they have been feeling sluggish, they notice the practice energizes them. Interesting, eh?

Once this is understood, it's easier to remain calm in the face of the different phenomena that arise during the return to balance.

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Yeah this makes sense. I do see it as a move towards balance, but I think that it will still take some time before balance is restored for myself.

my expectations

Marnia,
Since you addressed me towards the end there, let me say that if I could just have any type of intercourse I'd be completely fine. I mentioned in another post that the only time I've ever felt sexually normal is when I'm close with my wife (like on vacation), but can't possibly have intercourse. During those times, I've noticed I do get erections in her presense. So I think that may something like Karezza, and I got to say, that seems to work.

My wife also has zero libido, and just isn't interested in trying to fire things up again. So like I said, any type of intercourse, or even serious intimacy would be wonderful. I have no porn star expectations.

Great

Then "stealth karezza" could be just the ticket. Smile Do what you can to engage her in bonding behaviors. You can start with the simple ones of just smiling at her, giving her a hand, making lots of eye-contact, maybe even offering a foot massage or shoulder rub...with no strings attached. Bonding behaviors can have an indirect, but very powerful effect on awakening libido. Wink They don't work instantly, but they do work.

just what I need

That's just what I needed to hear today. I actually started argueing with her about our lack of intimacy today. She pointed to finger right back at me. Of course those types of arguements don't facilitate intimacy. Your approach sounds a lot better.

This subject of

This subject of libido/horniness is a interesting one. What strikes me is how much this is one of the main ways we measure our masculinity. If we have a strong libido were a real man. Weak or no libido, wussy man. A few other ways is through money, power and physical strength. The shame is, none of these are a real measure of genuine masculinity. I actually believe men are in a bit of a crisis around their maleness in these times. The way men have expressed their masculinity for quite a long time is really not working much anymore. Add the confusion that porn addiction brings to the male psyche and it can really be a challenge to know who and where we are as men. 

Real masculinity in my definition is the ability to be fully present, to hold real space in the presence of the feminine without contracting or trying to control. This is what I observe that the feminine really wants and responds to from the masculine. Be the bowl, let the woman be the water.

Here's a suggestion,  consider this as a way to measure of ones masculine state, and is an excellent practice as well. When you are in the presence of a woman, especially a particularly radiant woman, notice your emotional state. Do you get anxious, do you contract inside, do you get ahead of yourself, can you feel your neediness. On the other hand can you just be present, appreciate her in the moment, drink her in without groping her mentally. Let her feminine radiance wash over you like a gentle breeze. See how well you can hold space for real women rather than digital ones. 

Notice where you sit on the inside when your in the presence of a woman, you don't even have to talk or make contact with them, just notice how you feel.. This will tell you much more about the state of your maleness than your libido will. Not to mention its a great practice as well. See if you can move from the contracted space to an open space around feminine energy.

As far as I'm concerned the only time I really need my libido is when I am actually interacting with a woman who is my partner. If she wants to engage with me sexually, having a libido is useful. Otherwise Im focusing in other ways. As an example, lets say I go hiking in nature for a few days, I have no use for my libido at that time unless I'm thinking about screwing a tree. Although I sure am drinking in the feminine when I'm in nature. Time in  nature is a great place to find your center and rejuvenate.

Just some things to consider.

Don't forget novelty

I think part of the lustful libido of youth is novelty related too. Much like new different things in pornography cause a dopamine spike and that lustful rush, when you're young, sex is still new and unexplored territory. After you've had sex a few times and more or less know what to expect out of it, that novelty and excitement isn't 'completely' there. But, that doesn't mean there's not some excitement lingering, and if you can think of ways to build that excitement for a new (or old) partner, I think libido will improve as well.

And although I can see points to both sides of the argument, I will say I feel exactly like cyberbob. I don't know which precedes which, but when I have libido, I'm confident, interested, and engaged in ALL activities, not just sex. A while back I was excited to plan out my meals for the week and go grocery shopping, and wasn't thinking about sex at all. At the store, I was flirting, excited, had libido....all the good stuff. I didn't even know that my libido was back until after I was engaged in something. But in keeping my diary, there's definitely a connection between having libido and feeling like myself....it's a major part of my identity, whether I want it to be or not. Inspirational quote for those going through the lull:

"Some authors have conceptualized depression as a "depletion syndrome" because of the prominence of fatigability; they postulate that the patient exhausts his available energy during the period prior to the onset of the depression and that the depressed state represents a kind of hibernation, during which the patient gradually builds up a new store of energy." –Aaron T Beck

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[quote=ab1234cd]I think part of the lustful libido of youth is novelty related too. Much like new different things in pornography cause a dopamine spike and that lustful rush, when you're young, sex is still new and unexplored territory. After you've had sex a few times and more or less know what to expect out of it, that novelty and excitement isn't 'completely' there. But, that doesn't mean there's not some excitement lingering, and if you can think of ways to build that excitement for a new (or old) partner, I think libido will improve as well.

And although I can see points to both sides of the argument, I will say I feel exactly like cyberbob. I don't know which precedes which, but when I have libido, I'm confident, interested, and engaged in ALL activities, not just sex. A while back I was excited to plan out my meals for the week and go grocery shopping, and wasn't thinking about sex at all. At the store, I was flirting, excited, had libido....all the good stuff. I didn't even know that my libido was back until after I was engaged in something. But in keeping my diary, there's definitely a connection between having libido and feeling like myself....it's a major part of my identity, whether I want it to be or not. Inspirational quote for those going through the lull:[/quote]

I agree with the novelty comment. I think that combined with teenage hormone spikes of testosterone can give a skewed expectation of what libido should be like, especially for guys who have been abusing porn and masturbating heavily since their teens. Totally agree with your thoughts about identity too. Libido ties into everything we do as men and is a great indicator of overall health. Poor libido can signal a number of problems such as stress, depression, fatigue etc.

True to form

It's amazing that you read all these stories of people who have gone through all the same things as you. I am in around about week 5-6 of recovery and I can feel myself resuming normality again after using porn for on and off 6 years. Thankfully my libido is returning once more and I am feeling the benefits, so for those of you on the fence, kick the habit, you won't regret it.

Besides the return of libido i have noticed many other positive effects:

-Firstly, there's the obvious one that I feel sexier in myself and this leads to
-I get a lot more attention from girls now, confidence really does seem to shine
-I also seem to get along better with people in general, again, due to the confidence that freedom has brought me, me and my friends have only gotten closer over the past few days.
-I feel more energetic, When I go to the gym I can always push myself further without.

Now note that, much like the author, I have aimed for abstinence (no orgasm) to try and reboot, and I must say, i think it's working. I also think it's fantastic that someone like Marnia has put so much effort into a site like this, I just hope that anyone feeling troubled is able to find it.

A little background on the science of it. I am a student in Pharmacology (basically the studie of receptor dynamics and interactions) and Neuroscience (more a minor for me), and whilst I was reading the posts here and also reading my course I started to notice several links between areas of neuroscience/receptor theory and what people here are experiencing.

I start the following paragraph stating that what I am saying is in no way scientifically justified or accounted for, I am merely going by the circumstantial (not experimental) evidence of what I have read on this website, and experienced myself. So not for one minute is the science of what i'm saying neccessarily true.

The habituation to pornography or masturbation has a striking resemblance to a phenomenon in your brain known as 'Long-Term Potentiation' (the converse of which is 'Long-term-depression', though not related to the mental illness). Basically they are both summarised, respectively, as follows:

Neurons (brain cells) that fire together, wire-together.

Neurons that fire out of sync, lose their link.

So as you stimulate yourself whilst watching porn, the neurons that link up from your visual system, your reward system, and your arousal system all grow stronger and stronger connections. Over time i believe that this leads to a overriding of your natural systems, hence the ED that a lot of men appear to experience. Now, worry not, it's not that your natural system is destroyed, it is merely being overshadowed by the new fired and wired system that associates the cue (porn) with the goal (orgasm) with reward (dopamine shot, akin to heroin).

So, how do you recover? Just go for abstinence for a while, no porn, no masturbation, and DEFINATELY no orgasm. Your brain is very clever in that it is highly plastic, as has been discussed many times here, it may take a while, but your body WILL return to normal, and you'll start reliving the awy you did before you got caught up in all of this.

Yes there will be lows, and you will crave your routine, but just busy yourself.

Just my two cents. Keep trucking guys and gals.

Thanks for sharing your insights

I'm really glad to hear you're recovering, and that the brain plasticity model *seems* like it's right on target.

We also think dopamine receptor levels probably drop with over-stimulation, and then gradually recover. You probably saw this research: http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v13/n5/pdf/nn.2519.pdf

It's so helpful when people take the time to post their results. I've enabled you to blog in case you want to create your own thread.

Is the drop time

Is the drop time asymmetrical to the recovery time? If so, any reason nature would have it that way?

Any research into situations where a barely stimulating opposite becomes over stimulating. For example, the experiment conceives something like a big mac used to be overstimulating, but now lettuce is overstimulating. If that were hypothetically possible, how would the brain react? Can opposites be equally overstimulating? Or are these not even opposites to the brain except for the fact that one is overstimulating and the other is not?

My theory is

that recovery time is related to how often one over-stimulates the brain. When rats had unrestricted access to superstimulating foods, their pleasure response was soon numbed. When they only had access an hour a day, the pleasure response wasn't numbed. (D2 receptors apparently dropped right away, but I don't know how long they took to come back.)

Trouble is, we evolved to dig for superstimulating goodies once our system registers that they're around. That means that superstimulation in any form sets off cravings. And cravings lead to "Just a few more..." (unless you're a rat whose handler has limited your access artificially), and pretty soon the pleasure response of the brain IS affected. And then it requires a relatively long time to bounce back to normal.

That's why we're actually better off finding gentler forms of frequent stimulation, rather than trying to limit indulgences in extreme stimulation. Not only don't gentler stimuli leave us with a numbed pleasure response, they actually feel more and more satisfying with time.

When you say often do you

When you say often do you mean frequency, intensity, duration, or some combination?

What would happen if we could use porn during only a set hour each day? Are you saying that isn't possible because we can always substitute something else that is stimulating during the rest of the day?

I think

any of those first factors may be relevant. And each person will also be slightly different.

I thought I answered your second question - theoretically at least :-). If you could limit your porn use to only an hour a day...you would be uncomfortably horny the rest of the time because your brain would constantly be contriving ways to try to get some more. That's the problem with superstimuli. And you hear this all the time from the guys here who try to watch porn without orgasm. Their brain keeps urging them to find more stimulation. That can make you restless, although it probably wouldn't dampen the pleasure response of the brain as much as more frequent indulgence.

The better tactic is to avoid superstimuli as a general matter. Then you're not fighting yourself constantly.

"Super"

is defined by the effects of a particular stimulus on *your* brain. My definition of super-stimulus is something that starts the dopamine dysregulation process in motion. However, I actually think we handle the occasional "binge" pretty well, with food OR sex. The problem happens when the brain doesn't bounce back to homeostasis before we slam it again. And then, gradually, brain plasticity "solidifies" the changes, making them harder to reverse.

I know you're just splitting hairs. Smile

Not hairs. There is

Not hairs. There is substance there because that definition of super doesn't require that it be super in the traditional meaning. Rather, the stimuli must be enticing enough to override the centering keel of an individual. That indicates there is strength to a two prong approach: avoid those sort of stimuli and redesign the keel. We make progress here despite slipping up by redesigning ourselves. Have you seen those self righting coast guard boats?

Yeah, well, a drop in

Yeah, well, a drop in receptor number can be a way to regulate a pathway to provide a diminshed response, as is an decrease in amount of dopamine release from the presynaptic neurone, but these are often the short term effects (which will, of course, be maintained up repeated stimulation of the newly joined pathways). The second phase of long term depression/potentiation tend to be caused by more structural changes in the nerve cells than that, hence why they take a while to go away. Neurones that fire at the same time literally wire together. They will form and strengthen synapses with each other via spines that sprout and physically join them. These spines are changeable over a period of days however, and will collapse or reform depending on activity of that created pathway, the spines are plastic. Here's a few journals about Long-term potentiation which you may find interesting, with sections showing you the spines/mushroom bodies forming in the memory center of the brain, although it is thought that the amygdala (part of the reward circuitry) operates by much the same principles.

Older review, fig. 2 shows a mushroom body forming to strengthen a connection.

http://www.cellbio.wustl.edu/faculty/huettner/BlissCollingridge93_Nature...

The following deals with long term potentiation in the amygdala in respect to fear learning:

Long-term potentiation in the amygdala: a cellular mechanism of fear learning and memory.
(T Sigurdsson et. al, 2007) << you might not be able to access it unless you're at a university/research institute.

This is a WAAAY more scientific one, so only read it if you are REALLY interested in the underlying mechanisms. It deals with the LTP response in rats using cocaine as the reward/addictive substance.

http://neuro.cjb.net/cgi/reprint/28/37/9092

But yes, it seems that you guys have definately gotten a basis for what you're saying.

As for the comment about 'are there any examples of where a smaller stimuli becomes as stimulating as a larger one (although lettuce is just as tasty as a Big Mac i'd argue). Yes, there are. As Marnia has stated, as well as plenty of other bloggers, the effect of desensitization is reversible. It takes time, but it is doable. Your reward system wants you to utilize it, it wants to motivate you to achieve goals and reap the benefits. If you were a caveman in the wild and you find yourself devoid of antelope to hunt, you wouldn't sit and starve waiting for one to appear, you would maybe search for a few days before hunting something else. I don't see why any of our other base instincts wouldn't be the same.

Switch the porn off, switch your real life on.

awww thanks marnia. If

awww thanks marnia. If anyone has any questions they are welcome to PM me about it and i will post a selection with answers on my blog. Bear in mind that I am just a student, and as you are well aware, there are very few studies on this particular subject. Funnily enough, rats dont watch porn, so experimenting in this area is incredibly limited.

Question

It raises the question of our own 'high and mighty' attitude. We consider ourself the highest mammals in the Animal Kingdom, but I don't see any rats wasting their time with porn.... maybe we're not so high after all huh? Wink

I fully agree

No rat would mistake a video for a hot fertilization opportunity.

I was talking to this researcher about the need for research on porn. (http://www.palmbeachpost.com/health/scripps-florida-addicted-rats-starve...) I suggested that maybe they could come up with some artificial mating pheromones to serve as a porn-like substitute to learn from rats. But I told him maybe he should keep the information about them to himself if he figured out what works...just in case it works on humans, too.

He had a great sense of humor and said something like, "Are you kidding? I'd make a fortune!" So I asked if I could have a cut. Wink

Mmm.

I remember reading about his study in New Scientist a few months ago, it was interesting. As you are probably aware, you must always take what the mainstream science journalists say about studies like these with a pinch of salt, as they seem unable to avoid sensationalising the true results, as illustrated in this sketch:

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1623#comic

Having seen that you will notice some similarities to the article you linked. such as the rats literally STARVING themselves instead of eating the alternative food. Did they starve (by dictionary.com definition, '1. to die or perish from lack of food or nourishment. ' or, given time, would they of continued eating the healthy alternative? If guess really, I'm saying this so that if someone see's something in the news that 'looks' scientific and scares them, they'll know to ALWAYS refer back to the original journal to get their facts.

Figure 3.

This is exactly what i'm talking about, the rats supposedly 'starved' themselves, however, when you look at fig. 3 and the text preceding it, the rats merely lost weight when they switched from the high calorie foods to being forced to eat the standard (more balanced) 'chow'. Is that really a surprise? If I changed from eating pizza every day to having a well rounded diet wouldn't you expect me to lose weight too.

Don't get me wrong, this study shows interesting things, but I hardly think that warrants the statement that they 'starved' themselves.

Sorry, but the scientist in me couldn't let that one fly.

Again, be aware of what journalists say, and what the study itself says.

Hey!

I didn't write the article using "starved." Smile We didn't say the rats staved themselves to death anywhere! I just thought you might like to see the entire study, as that's what we base OUR comments on.

Actually, they killed therats before they were back to normal. Not only is that mean :-), it also means the researchers missed a chance to see if the rats' friggin' D2 receptors EVER came back to normal, and if so, how long it would take.

While we're ragging on people ;-), I'll add that it bugs me that scientists only seem to be interested in looking at receptor activity in hopes of creating "fat pills" or "gambling pills" or "porn pills" (Did you see this one? http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.com/content/83/2/226.long) In my view the MOST important question is "How long does it take someone who has been binging to return to normal receptor levels?" With that information, a lot of drugs could be avoided because people would know how long the "withdrawal" misery would be. Without this vital information, they lose hope during the discomfort phase of returning to homeostasis.

So the researchers should have let the damned rats eat rat chow until their brains were back to normal...and learned something REALLY useful. Smile

I fully agree

I fully agree with you, they never seem to let these studies run long enough to find out how long withdrawal is! If ever I become a researcher in these fields I assure you I shall raise this very question to my superiors!!! I suspect that it's because it would be deemed cruel to the rats, and hence against the animal protection legislation put in place.

And sorry if it sounded like I was attacking you or your website in any way, I know that you guys are bang on the money, I was more having a rant at the news websites etc, which don't realise that by using comments such as these can scare people! I love reuniting, and I think that you are doing a fantastic job, and importantly, an objective one! :)

Glad to hear

you're on it!

And you're certainly right the journalists often get it wrong. The first account we read of that study (the first PR) was dead wrong in that it implied the rats were totally back to normal in two weeks. The scientist was mystified when I wrote him about it. Smile But the journalist simply hadn't understood that the rats were "improving" (in terms of appetite returning to normal and D2 receptors increasing) and that the process stopped abruptly at two weeks...because they fried the rats, not because it was complete.

It's easy to get it wrong when most people aren't analyzing this research. Yet it's really important that humanity understand its reward circuitry and what dysregulates it. It shapes our perceptions and priorities in sneaky ways...for better and worse.

Hi cyberbob. Prior to

Hi cyberbob.
Prior to abstinence, were you unable to maintain a strong erection without constant stimulation and extreme porn videos ?

At what week did you notice erections becoming normal again, and was this a consistent improvement ?
Also, did it get worse before it got better ?

thanks

...

[quote=kingofsat]Hi cyberbob.
Prior to abstinence, were you unable to maintain a strong erection without constant stimulation and extreme porn videos ?[/quote]

Yes. It took a lot to get me hard. Normal sex/women wasn't doing it. At that point I would have classified myself as pretty much impotent for pragmatic purposes.

[quote=kingofsat]At what week did you notice erections becoming normal again, and was this a consistent improvement ?[/quote]

I don't know about normal because that's relative but I would say after around 8 weeks I had a lot more sensitivity and no trouble getting hard with a real woman. As for morning wood this increased but I still don't get this most mornings but it depends on how long it's been since I've had sex/masturbated. But I have noticed lately waking up at night with a raging hard on, which can only be good right. This doesn't always translate to morning wood though, but it depends what stage of your sleep cycle you wake up in. If you wake up to an alarm, you'll often miss your morning wood.

[quote=kingofsat]Also, did it get worse before it got better ?[/quote]

Definitely. Hang in there. Stick to the program. Our bodies are amazing adaptable and this can work for you or against you. You just have to know what stimulus to present your body with and which to avoid and which to moderate.