my first post and some observations on strategy

Submitted by blood on
Printer-friendly version

hi!

i'm a 24-year-old male and im attempting to finally kick the habit, which ive had since about 13. it definitely grew during my college years, and this is when porn became just pretty much EVERYWHERE on a computer, and i think this is when i started to finally realize that it is A) harmful to my own self-esteem, sense of self worth, ability to find women and socialize, and B) perhaps harmful to all of society. i don't think things were necessarily all that bad when i was finding 3-4 minute clips off of file sharing programs like kazaa or limewire, because they were 3-4 minutes, you couldn't ever get exactly what you wanted, and there was a considerable lack of attractive women. so you could say, "well, this is pretty good and all, but i'd rather go outside or do something meaningful instead of sitting here watching this nonsense." it really hasn't been at all like that since around 2005.

i've been trying to give it up off and on for about four or five years, and my ideas on the subject were definitely naive when i started. i started to waver back and forth on the subject of sex, i rejected the idea of "triggers" being a meaningful idea, i wanted to be a puritan of some sort, etc. i was dealing a lot with the subject of moral shame, and that has been the hardest rock to climb because ive personally known women in the sex industry and seen how beaten-down they are, how much hell they've been through, drugs they're on, problems with their fathers, etc. all of those stereotypes are basically true. i was using forums that were very christian and shame-filled, and although i was starting to question the merits of all that stuff, i didnt really figure out what was happening until i saw all the videos that are on yourbrainonporn .... the six-part series was a pretty huge life-changer, honestly. ive seen the whole thing like 5 times.

anyhow i've gone over 2 weeks without porn twice, and i think i'm mentally ready to really make the big jump into total freedom from it.

i have some basic ideas which i've sort of started to test and record in a personal journal and i just figured some feedback or discussion could be helpful.

the first thing ive noticed is that sugary/fattening foods tend to feed my urge to watch porn. based on gary wilson's video series, i think the reason is because high-calorie foods give sort of a minor dopamine rush to the brain. but because my synapses are so shot, my brain starts to crave more of a rush, because it's not reaching the satiety that it'd normally have. it's as if giving my pleasure receptors sugar is just teasing them, like allowing a dog to sniff a big hamburger and then taking the hamburger away. obviously the dog will want to go for the hamburger.

another thing i noticed is that going without any orgasm at all for over two weeks makes things much better. more confidence, more joy from simple things, etc. i stop rubbing my non-erect penis when experiencing stress, a reflex which seems like a clear result of compulsive masturbation. i also have noticed that professional fighters swear by not having an orgasm for extended periods of time, because having no orgasm makes them become virile. they react more, they're more assertive. i think in a lot of ways, part of the reason why men are so non-manly nowadays is because this is a very sexual culture! they're going around masturbating all the time, or having casual sex, and it prevents them from really knowing their own courage and having a solid masculine energy.

being in public places is actually a great idea, and i try to do it as much as possible. if i'm alone, it can be bad, and i'll stay unmotivated. part of my worldview is changing, which is to stop seeing my house as 'a home' of any kind. it's just a place where i eat and sleep, that's about it. i can study anywhere, exercise anywhere, do a whole bunch of things elsewhere. i shouldn't be dependent on my house, or see it as a place of comfort.

shame doesn't help much of anything, even when you realize that you're participating in an exploitive industry that screws up women's lives.... you just kind of have to understand the bigger picture, i guess, and realize that you cant do anything to save those people, and their problems would still be there whether you watch porn or not. thinking about all the people destroyed by porn is actually a pretty bad strategy i've found. i don't see it that much in moral terms anymore (again, this is a thought i had before watching the videos on yourbrainonporn, but its scientific conclusions basically confirmed my ideas).

i have some basic ideas that i've started to mess with that i want to try more. they are both masturbation substitutions, and i want to see if there's any real logic to them. first, i've started to take cold showers at a greater frequency. i like this a lot and plan on making it the norm. i especially like it after doing a bit of exercise -- not too much, because i don't want to totally shock the body, since i'm sure this sort of thing can be dangerous and perhaps even fatal if taken to excess -- but after doing 3 sets of sit-ups or push-ups it is a great way to experience a rush and elevate the heart rate. i breathe deeply, and when i come out of the shower and dry off, it gives sort of glimpse to how i was seeing the world at all times when off porn for more than a couple weeks. that is, everything is just slightly more pleasurable. it seems like a sort of positive experience that you can get by directly antagonizing the body's nervous system, and in a non-harmful way. second, i've been forcing myself to listen to sudden blasts of grating noises at very high volumes for twenty minutes or so at a time. (here is an example of what i mean: http://anonym.to/?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlGh_okr5nI ) again, this is best done after exercising. i'm not sure if this is actually logical, or if i'm just experiencing the placebo effect, but i think there might be a real science behind this sort of thing. making myself accustomed to grating noise (and watching some sort of psychadelic video plug-in) seems to make everything better afterwards, and in a way that functions as a logical substitute for porn use. much better than eating sugar, and probably just as easy for me to control.

i also started taking a martial art this year, and that is very helpful too.

let me know if anyone has any thoughts about any of that stuff

Hi

Good to have your thoughts. Very insightful. The connection between sexual cravings and eating sugary foods has been noted by others, too, so I think you're right on target.

You almost made me want to take a cold shower with that delicious description. Smile

Not sure about the noise thing. Is it kind of like beating your head against a wall...and then stopping, because it "feels so good when you stop?" Smile

I enabled you to blog if you like.

i've never bashed my head against a wall, but maybe!

i'm not doing a good job at explaining it... i think the actual physiological effect of blasting loud noise is similar to taking a cold shower. my guess is that the immediate response to each of those things is for your body to secrete adrenaline, because they both trigger a sort of "fight or flight" mechanism. and then you slowly adjust to it -- your body adjusts to cold water, your ears adjust to loud noise, and then eventually the effect wears off. and then once that happens, you can just stop it and go do something else... which is the best thing about it

anyhow the effects are similar: elevated heartrate, deep breathing, weird feeling of euphoria afterwards, total lack of sexual interest...

next time i have some insane craving to masturbate i'll try to use the loud noise technique and record what happens so i can see if my ideas make sense

I have a little different

I have a little different take than you, but that doesn't make my approach any better.

I agree that exercise can be a trigger, and a hot shower doesn't cool that off. What I am doing is meditation after exercise. i'm pretty good at some basic mindfulness mediation now and it has really helped. Mindfulness is a calm way to bring yourself into the moment and recognize, but not follow, thinking that can lead to issues.

So instead of blasting noise, I do a calm and quiet method.

Congrats on your success so far.

that is a good method!

i actually have been thinking about attending a buddhist temple nearby and trying to get some techniques on meditation. i think meditation would give a solid balance to what i'm trying to do.

exercise is so strange, because i've found that for me, when i'm only concentrating on the actual process, and like treating all of the pain or muscle soreness as "a reward unto itself" then it's not triggering at all. but when i start to think about the actual cosmetic results that occur for the flesh itself, THEN it becomes a trigger. i think exercise can be amazing, but the real trick for me is not to get sucked into the whole 'culture of fitness,' that sort of mentality, because that can really hinder progress

the green lion

my avatar is an alchemical symbol known as the 'green lion' and i guess i chose 'blood' in the same sort of theme i guess.

the alchemists were trying to use a great language of symbols to write about what was going on inside of them. the discussions of turning base metals to gold were often allegorical, used to talk about undergoing a deep transcendental change within. the green lion is eating the sun, which is a symbol for gold

here's what basilius valentinus had to say about the green lion:

Seek your Mercury in a similar metal. Then when you know how to extract the metal from its body by purification, the destruction of the first Mars, and reverberation, without the use of any corrosive (the method of doing which I have indicated in my third Key) -- you must dissolve that Mercury in its own blood out of which it was made before it became fixed (as indicated in the sixth Key); and you have then nourished and dissolved the true lion with the blood of the green lion. For the fixed blood of the Red Lion has been made out of the volatile blood of the Green Lion; hence, they are of one nature, and the unfixed blood again renders that which is volatile fixed, and the fixed blood in its turn fixes that which is volatile, as it was before its solution. Then foster it in gentle heat, until the whole of the mercury is dissolved, and you obtain the second ferment (by nourishing the fixed sulphur with that which is not fixed), as all Sages unite with me in testifying. Afterwards this becomes, by sublimation with spirit of wine, of a blood-red colour, and is called potable gold.

what any of that means, i dont really know

Thanks

Yep, that's a real head-scratcher. Some alchemical writings and pics suggest that the process may have referred to the transmutation of sexual energy. Fascinating. I think a really good Hollywood movie could be made out of the concept of a couple going back in time to hear from a real alchemist...and discovering that. Wink

the old world understood all of this better than we do now

it was a medieval superstition, for instance, that a man only had a finite number of orgasms within him, and once he 'ran out' of orgasms, he would die. the word 'die' is actually a slang term for 'orgasm' during the renaissance. i think all of this has some symbolic truth to it. one of the big motivating factors for me in trying to give up porn addiction is that i've noticed what happens when going without orgasm, and you really do have more energy, and you do feel more alive.

i can't find anything too scholarly

a legitimate medievalist told me about the medieval superstition when explaining chaucer's wife of bath, but the best source i can find on it is this (the website sadly appears to have some sort of agenda):

http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/ATLAS_EN/html/sexual_self_stimulation....

"Some medieval physicians also declared that semen was an essential, life-sustaining fluid, more precious than blood, and that too many ejaculations therefore weakened the body. A loss of semen was healthy only under special conditions, just as forced bleeding was beneficial only as a treatment of certain diseases."

pretty cool how you see the exact same attitude there as the attitude of the chinese taoists as well as the hindu tantra practitioners! semen IS a vital, life-sustaining fluid, if you understand that fact in a very particular way. i would also encourage people reading this to understand that although this is medieval europe, that does not mean that negative attitudes towards loss of semen is exclusively a judeo-christian phenomenon, or that it is especially christian-influenced. i'll bet anything that the reason medieval physicians felt this way about masturbation had to do with leftover attitudes from pre-christian, pagan europe. you see surprisingly little sexual morality on the subject of sex during medieval times, not at all the way you see it with the emergence of the calvinists, puritans and christian fundamentalists. just read tristan and iseult if you dont believe me.

if i find a better source, i'll supply it.

as far as "die" being a slang word for "come" during the renaissance, i used the oxford english dictionary (definition i think 4d?) :

"To experience a sexual orgasm. (Most common as a poetical metaphor in the late 16th and 17th cent.)

1600 Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing iii. ii. 62 Claud. Nay but I know who loues him?and in dispight of al, dies for him. Prince She shall be buried with her face vpwards.
a1631 J. Donne Elegies (1965) 39 Once I lov'd and dyed; and am now become Mine Epitaph and Tombe. Here dead men speake their last, and so do I; Love-slaine, loe, here I lye.
1673 Dryden Marriage a-la-Mode iv. ii. 57 Now die, my Alexis, and I will die too.
1680 Earl of Rochester et al. Poems 71 In love, 'tis equal measure. The Victor lives with empty pride, The Vanquisht dye with pleasure.
1712 Pope Rape of Lock ii, in Misc. Poems 372 Nor fear'd the Chief th' unequal Fight to try, Who sought no more than on his Foe to die.
1923 D. H. Lawrence Birds, Beasts & Flowers 20 That's how the fig dies?Like a prostitute, the bursten fig, making a show of her secret. That's how women die too.
1961 R. Amato in Landfall Sept. 200 You're nice, though. You make me die every time.
1974 J. Denver Annie's Song (sheet-music) 4 Come let me love you.? Let me die in your arms."

Thanks,

that was interesting. I hadn't read those before, although I did know that a French term for orgasm is "La Petite Mort," or "the little death."

Notes I made while reading

Notes I made while reading your post:

-i appreciate your maturity and good understanding of your addiction. it is encouraging and hopeful.
-i definitely agree that sugary/fatty foods are very enticing for the addiction. i try to limit to myself to one small treat a day, and i find this works well as long as i surround myself with healthy food and water for the remainder of the time.
-interesting thoughts on men losing their masculinity to orgasm. i have also quit rubbing my penis for the little bit of stimulation it gives, and also repeatedly rubbing my penis against my bed as i lay waiting for sleep. changing these habits greatly contributes to my progress.
-if i can do something, like type on my laptop or read, in a public place, i will. that way, i am just getting more adjusted to being around others and keeping myself in check. speeding the process and becoming a happier person, as well.
-very, very interesting about the noise. i would like to try this. i tried a cold shower tonight. i think i put it too cold, and i had strange breathing issues. so i had about 45 seconds of actual cold water exposure. but it was fantastic! i felt alive and excited after. it really awakens one's body.

well... since i started this thread

since i started this thread, i have relapsed twice, with my most recent one (the past 3 days) being quite major. it is as though i have been building a lovely sand castle over a long stretch of time, only to kick it down. of course i realize i'm not supposed to think that way, but it's just been complete self-torture, what i've done to my brain.

my major accomplishment is that for the 3rd time in my life, i was able to go over two weeks without any orgasm. it was around 18 days or so that i went. that isn't too shabby.

then i relapsed for 2 days in a row, i went a week masturbating regularly without porn, and just a couple days back i had a major relapse

i've noticed a few things: firstly, the most difficult obstacle is rage. i'm getting extreme rage, particularly after the one week mark. i actually envy the people whose libidos are flat-lining, because i wind up getting rage about any tiny, minor thing, which turns into spiteful sexual fantasies. it's not pleasant.

secondly, every time i socialize, or go out for the night, the next morning is the most tempting time. i'm not sure why this is. my two theories are A) alcohol use might chemically do something to make me want porn, even for the day after, and B) my brain might be using social interaction as a way to say, 'you see? you're socializing. you're fine. reward yourself. give in to temptation. you've done well" or something like this.

if i can get back to a good footing in life, i might be ok, because during this time period i haven't been able to train in martial arts, which i think is a healthy way to socialize. and now i can do it again since the practices have resumed. so maybe that could really help me seal the deal permanently, and forget about porn forever. i also might want to start to practice socializing, and work my way to up to having no qualms with going up to strangers and talking to them. what i need to do is be able to get used to being rejected in social interactions so that i can have more confidence about doing it in the first place. but this whole practice seems especially tricky to me, because i have the most courage to flirt with unknown women after two weeks or so, when my mind is going insane and even a middle-of-the-road-attractive girl in gym shorts looks like the most fabulous specimen to walk the planet earth. yet paradoxically, i start to think that if i am rejected, then i'll surely relapse because my brain is so emotionally haywire that even the slightest annoyance or disappointment will send me into a flurry of unwarranted anger. so my natural courage disappears. it's basically a hamlet complex type situation.

i'm sure i can break free from it, but i'm not feeling confident at the moment.

Shame Attack

My theory is that the reason that most people "slip" the morning after a night out is because they are having a shame attack. It's a little tricky to describe and I'm not sure I'll do it justice, but here goes...

One of the reasons people use addiction, porn, masturbation, whatever is to get relief from feeling bad about themselves. Someone told me once that the "real" addiction is feeling bad about yourself. It took me almost a year to understand what they were talking about. Just entertain the thought for now that there is a "slight possibility" that feeling bad about yourself could be a chronic problem.

So the way this works is, you go out, you party, and you have a great time. You socialize, get some attention, and You feel great about yourself and for awhile you feel like you are on top of the world. Then your tricky little mind says "wait a minute, that's not who I REALLY am" and the shame attack begins. There are a lot of reasons this happens, far too complicated for me try to explain here. Once the shame attack starts, it's a downward spiral. Ultimately you turn to your addiction for relief, and it works, at least for awhile until after you orgasm, then your brain can say "see, I was right" and it can finish up its shame attack with a real good reason to experience more shame. Self-fulfilling prophecy and totally reinforcing to the neural pathways that take you there again and again.

So, I don't know if any of the foregoing makes the least bit of sense to you or if its all gobbledygook, but what you can try to do is this. . . .it's the morning after and I had a little too much last night and might have made a bit of a fool of myself. Oh well, who doesn't from time to time? Just focus on what went RIGHT. Maybe it was dancing with a particular person or making eye contact across the room. Focus on the good stuff that happened and of course your mind will wander back to the fact that well, I did say so-and-so had a fat ass loud enough for her to probably hear me, but . . . stop, don't give that ANY attention, either positive or negative, just ignore it and re-direct your mind back to the GOOD stuff that happened. What made you feel good. Bask in the good feelings as much as you can.

Finally, this method will probably not work successfully the first 20 times you try it. In fact, I guaranty for the first five it won't, but each time you do it, you are making a new neural pathway a little stronger and eventually you will see results. Good luck!

i think there might be something to this theory

but i'm not really sure if 'shame' is the best way to describe it.

it's hard for me to understand the workings of my own mind, but what you're saying might have some weight to it. it isn't like i'll 'relapse' or be tempted to relapse after a nice, pleasant evening with one or two friends. it's more if i go out and drink with a bunch of people and have a whole lot of fun -- now that i think about it more clearly, that always leads me to being miserable the next day. it's not like i'm worried about whether i presented myself well as much as that i'm thinking 'i just behaved in a way very uncharacteristic of me. something isn't right.' so it's not any kind of moral shame; it's more just a fear of playing a role that i seem to KNOW how to play, but am not used to playing at all, which i guess is the role of "blood, the party guy who is loud and tells jokes and etc etc." because usually, i'm very quiet, studious, "boring," etc. it might be a problem of identity confusion or something like that.

First,

it's normal to go back and forth for a bit. Here's a summary of Jake's experience. Notice how he gradually built up strength. See if you can relate to it: http://yourbrainonporn.com/day-33

Second, not to take away from Sid's excellent thoughts in the least...some of that "down" after the night out is probably neurochemical hangover. Here's something I wrote to a guy privately. It's not directly on point because Sid obviously isn't just talking about porn-related shame:

We have a lot of guys who really haven't had much shame around their porn use (because ours is not a religious site). They report the same feelings. Low dopamine has been associated with social anxiety.

So I think it may be "missing mojo" rather than "toxic shame" that drives the addiction cycle. Some may feel shame, others apathy, others brain fog, others anger...all arising from the same neurochemical imbalance. I've seen many recover and forget all about their "shame" (if they even had it) as they simply feel better from within (balanced dopamine).

That said, we do everything we can on our forum not to encourage "shame-think," so I'm not saying shame isn't an issue...especially for some people.

alright i'm giving this another serious attempt

i've set some parental controls on my own computer and i gave the password to a friend for safe keeping. i don't know the password, only she does. it's a female friend who i, at one point, had a "thing" with, so i can't see myself embarrassing myself by trying to get the password from her.

i've had a crappy week, so i'm pretty ready to get back into a brighter state of mind, even if it involves me being frequently pissed off and irritable. the highs get higher, the lows get lower.

the image i've had in mind that has been helping motivate me, is one of a guy (me, i guess) spilling his semen, and his semen evaporates instantly and creates this fog or mist around him. i think this is pretty much how it works. after masturbating several times in a row, i get out of bed, and the world does seem foggy, like i've just been in a chlorine-filled pool for hours, except it's not visual fogginess, it's mental fogginess. numbness. so for anyone reading this, bear that image in mind. the semen you expend tears you away from seeing the world around you with clarity, and that's really bad if understanding reality 100% is soemthing you consider very important