Commencing relationship, giving up porn

Submitted by priceyeah on
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Hi. I'm in an unusual situation, in that I am somewhat porn-addicted, and I am also in a new relationship -- however, I cannot rely on sex with my new partner to help me with kicking porn. Let me explain.

I'm a 37-year-old male. I've been in 3 relationships in my life, the longest was 2 years. I'm usually not in a relationship, as the math will indicate. I have used soft-core porn (think Playboy) for all of my life to masturbate. In all of my previous relationships, sex was not usually great (on rare occasions it was good) and it has always been a source of anxiety for me, which has prevented me from seeking sex/relationships. Basically I'm pretty buttoned-up. The key here is the soft-core nature of the porn I use, I am made uncomfortable by video porn, what you might call "actual" porn. In other words, I have a lot of unrealistic expectations for the female body, which interfere with my ability to be attracted by actual women I meet in everyday life.

Recently I met a woman and we have started some kind of a serious relationship. We have known each other for about seven weeks, and it's quite clear that we are an exceptional match in many deep ways. She is exactly my age, and quite attractive if not really similar to the Playboy models I masturbate to. She is vivacious and intelligent and honest and creative, and somehow she sees similar qualities in me, although she is conscious of the fact that I have a lot of fears that I have to tackle -- and am tackling. She has had 5-6 relationships in her life, most lasting 3-4 years, basically what you would call healthy and fulfilled relationships for the most part. She has a healthy libido and enjoys sex -- unlike me, you might say.

Her last relationship was with a much younger man, and it turned out after 2 years that he realized he was gay. This had a devastating effect on her self-image and her need to be regarded as beautiful, sexy, etc. This is the one way we do NOT match up, and it's a serious problem -- I am not someone who can spontaneously show her in every way that she is amazingly attractive sexually, I am too blocked for that.

Three weeks ago we had commenced what we will call serious sex play. It was mostly orally stimulations (necking) and also involved a lot of sucking on the torso -- it was all going VERY well, she was very stimulated and impressed with my abilities. And for my part, I was pretty stimulated too. All seemed to be going well. At a certain point she realized that, although I was "performing" quite well on her lips, neck area, and breasts with my mouth and was also erect, she realized that I didn't really have any sense of what I wanted erotically, and also that I was uncertain about what would happen when we actually have sex, i.e. afraid and also concerned about maintaining erection and also orgasm. Basically she saw that I had soft-porn imagery in my head and that this would interfere with my ability to see her as attractive etc. There is some truth to this -- she IS attractive, I can see that intellectually, but my fantasy life and my thoughts about her don't really intersect.

At this point she withdrew sexually, saying that she had "lost her boner" so to speak, and that she had lost the desire to kiss me etc. because subconsciously she realizes that this is a danger zone. She is not currently capable of ushering another young man (so to speak) into sexual maturity, she is basically traumatized on this one subject.

What is interesting is that (a) our relationship, after a rocky couple of days after she told me this and confirmed my fears that sexual inexperience etc. would pose a problem for me, has actually gotten much STRONGER since she told me, we are interacting without "expectation" and confiding and talking a lot -- we're really in some kind of intense love and the affection is very strong, and (b) even though she cannot continue in a sexual way right now, she does NOT rule out the prospect that I will make progress in this area and that we will eventually have a sexual relationship -- she doesn't EXPECT it, she probably wouldn't bet on it, but she can entertain the possibility that it will someday happen, if I am natural enough with my sexuality and so forth. She also says that our relationship is so incredible emotionally/intellectually that in a certain way it doesn't matter if that happens -- enjoy each other for what we can give. I see her point but I am impatient, have waited a long time and I think it'd be a real shame if we "only" have an intense emotional relationship etc.

One detail here -- in talking with her and then also talking with some of my male friends, I learned that all of my life I have been doing masturbation in a certain way (face down, relying on pressure/friction from the mattress) that does not involve either my hand or lube. I did not know, in other words, that circumsized men often need lube. Over the past week I have acquired lube and have been masturbating occasionally with lube and my hand -- "face up" -- much to my delight, I find that it's a much more intense experience and more satisfying. I've also jettisoned my computer images of Playboy models and have been doing it without visual stimulation -- albeit I can only come when I am imagining those models -- for now. I have come close to coming while fantasizing about her, but I haven't quite gotten there -- close, but that special magic moment, it isn't quite there for me.

So that's the deal -- I have an indefinite amount of time to straighten this out, but I cannot rely on sex or even kissing from her in the meantime. Currently we hold hands as a sign of intimacy, which we both enjoy. She's an incredible woman and I believe, my soul mate, and I'd really like to re-wire my brain so that I can have a fulfilling sexual relationship with her. Basically, the point I have to get to is that moment when a man sees his girlfriend and has the feeling he'd like to tear her blouse off -- I don't really have that in me, ever.

Thanks for listening and I am eager to hear your thoughts.

Everything you are doing

Everything you are doing sounds good.

I'm wondering, given that you have found this site, whether you have had a look at any of the stuff about karezza on the site, or whether you just found the forum about porn addiction. I think that maybe karezza might actually be what you are looking for right now. It's pretty much the best way to build sexual confidence and intimacy in a relationship that you want to last. I am getting awful for plugging Marnia's book now, people are probably starting to think that she pays me, but I would suggest that you try reasing some of the articles about karezza from both the science and the wisdom tabs at the top of the page, and if you think it sounds interesting then buy Cupid's Poisoned Arrow. I can almost guarantee that you won't regret it.

Basically, karezza is a very gentle kind of sex, where the aim is that neither partner will orgasm. This sounds bizzare at first, surely the high point of sex is the orgasm, and in a way it is. When you come to an orgasm you hit a peak. The problem is that almost immediately afterwards you drop down off the peak, probably to a point where you are lower than where you started. With karezza then you don't really ever reach a peak. Instead you build up more and more of a kind of glowing 'in-love' energy and happiness between you and your partner. It's a lot more satisfying. Try reading some of rediscovered, or Darryl's posts about it: they have far more experience than me and describe it much better.

You probably won't ever feel a burning desire to rip her blouse off using this method. It builds love, not lust, but it sounds like you are in love anyway and want this relationship to last. I would try it, at least until both of you have reached a point where you are happy and confident about sex. Then try conventional sex for a while if you feel like it and decide what you prefer.

If you click on the icon which says hugging permitted you will find a whole lot of activities which will strengthen the emotional bonds between you and your partner which you can try while you are avoiding sex. Actually Marnia recommends doing over two weeks of these, with neither partner orgasming during this period, before you attempt karezza. I think that there is a a link to a full program of daily activities leading up to non orgasmic sex on that page too.

Good Luck,

Hugs Katten

That's quite a story

Sounds like you two are doing a great job of figuring things out for yourselves.

Guys here tend to notice that the fastest way to return their brains to normal sensitivity is to stop not just porn, but also masturbation to orgasm for a while. If you watch Gary's videos, you'll understand why this is. (Videos in right-hand margin here: Basically, it all comes down to overstimulation of your brain via release of the neurochemical dopamine.

My sense is that, at the end of the day, you'll be glad your lover put the brakes on for a bit. It is deepening the trust between you. I see many hours of slow, sensual lovemaking in your future. Wink

More karezza information? Start here: "Another Way to Make Love" then "What Is Karezza?"

Thank you!

katten and Marnia: Unfortunately, for me I think the path to karezza has to go through normal sex first. As someone who is very inexperienced in sex, it would be difficult for me to take this idea to her as a solution to our problems. She's the one who knows stuff, and she might perceive it as a way of speeding things along too much. I simply don't have the standing for it. Right now I'm trying to accept the new footing of our relationship -- and enjoying that -- while attempting to solve my problem on my own, mostly. I should also add that I am seeking cognitive-behavioral therapy to solve similar problems in my life that are not sexual -- fear of confronting things etc. -- but also to solve my sex problem. I say "on my own" -- it's important to her that I am solving these problems for me and not for her -- this makes sense to me -- but at the same time she has been supportive, telling me that she will not date other men while we are getting to know each other, allowing us to hold hands, remaining intimate etc.

I did look at some of the bonding behaviors and I will try some of that stuff. I am also not averse to ceasing masturbation -- as it happens, right around the time we were engaging in our sex play, I went through a two-week period in which I did not masturbate. I also had a sudden repulsion to the soft-core porn images that predated her full discovery of my sexual inexperience. So that was very interesting, I began to hate the stuff on my own, before she gave me a "reason" to, and also I had not experienced orgasm in two weeks, which is pretty much unprecedented -- and I didn't much mind. In the meantime I've now discovered the possibilities of lubed masturbation, which I think definitely is connected to my bad experiences with sex -- it's so much easier to imagine the vagina with a lubed penis -- the alternative is cold, dry, etc. Quite different. So to me, that may be a big part of my way back to sexual normalcy, just the experience of simulating vaginal sex, which is new to me. But having said that, I'm quite willing to abstain if it will really re-wire my fantasy life.

What is the general timeframe for that process? It sounds like I'm pretty far along and I'm well adjusted in most other ways. A month? Six months? How long does it typically take to rediscover those more natural urges after quitting masturbation? I'm really looking forward to fantasizing about her exclusively!

Makes sense

There's no set time, and as you say, your brain and your discoveries are already doing the trick. The issue is probably only a matter of timing.

Why not set a goal of a few weeks and see how you feel? If you don't like the results, it's easy enough to continue your current habits. Also, masturbation without porn or fantasy of any kind doesn't seem to be as problematic as masturbation to fantasy...even "real" fantasy. Here's one man's comments on this:

It's fascinating that your perception of porn changed so quickly. That shows you how powerful this "rebooting" is (and, unfortunately, how powerful porn is Wink Our brains have evolved for normal stimulation, not for superstimulation ). The point is that the brain changes back to normal sensitivity, and that's what makes normal women "hot." Smile

The process is a lot harder for those who have numbed the sensitivity of their brains with more intense stimulation. But they, too, notice shifts in perception, going both ways: (I just added Jake's insight to it, too.)


Marnia, I had never read that article by Barry Long--wow.

It answered a question I've been wanting to ask ever since I read priceyeah's post--he mentions masturbating "to" something (in his case, softcore porn images) and I couldn't stop thinking about: If you have to masturbate "to" something, then how badly do you really have to masturbate? It's as if you are *creating* the masturbation need, rather than vice-versa. (well, duh!)

Just something I hadn't really thought about in this always talk about their sex drive and how often they need to "express it," yet, if it's not happening without outside help, how strong is it *really*??

And Barry answered those questions in that article. So thank you!

And good luck to you, priceyeah! It sounds like you have the perfect potential karezza partner and once you don't think it would be too presumptious (at this point in your relationship, it might be), it could be fun to lie in bed and read the karezza/slow sex books out loud together and learn as a team.


artificial means

[quote=rediscovered] If you have to masturbate "to" something, then how badly do you really have to masturbate? It's as if you are *creating* the masturbation need, rather than vice-versa. (well, duh!) [/quote]

This is such a key point. It is so obvious, but this train of thought is missing in the thinking of academics, sexologists, porn users, everybody, I guess. Imagine what would happen if all the porn just magically dissappeared in an instant. Take away the artificial stimulation, all the cues and triggers, and see what happens. Would be interesting.


So we had a discouraging incident last night. I'm very sad about it.

For the last week or so, her desire for me has returned and we've been engaging in serious sex play, somewhat to our surprise, we thought the timeline on that would be longer. Last night she spent the night and we had a very unusual night in which we had several hours of bed play including my entering her (but not more than that) and also her masturbating with my finger "help" on the G spot. After all that she had a mini-breakdown because I clearly was not as into her as she is into me. We have been having successful sex play but (as she said) it is all predicated on her desire for me, all I have to do is touch her and she goes crazy -- nothing similar is happening on the other end, she has no idea how to turn me on, etc. This is somewhat true, it is easy to stay erect throughout because I am easily orally stimulated. It's really sad for her that I don't see her and see a super sexy woman etc.

I have been abstaining from masturbation since my last post and the old porn stuff is pretty much gone from my brain. The problem is, there's not much to replace it there yet. How can I hurry this up? How can I get more in tune with HER sexiness? Would love to move this along and get past this problem -- if possible.

Man, I wish I could have a word with her

First, if this great "insight" on her part happened after her orgasm, it's probably just her drop in neurochemistry that's talking, making her feel needy and sorry for herself...and making her project it onto you. Our book is about this very problem. Get her a copy ASAP. (Less than $10 on Kindle).

Second, you can't rush yourself - no matter how much you love her. You're doing great, and already bouncing back. Your perception will continue to shift...unless she makes you want to run away screaming because of her projections. (I've been on both ends of these...they suck.)

I'm just working on a post of a rebooting account. Here's a chunk of it starting at week SEVEN. Note the time frame.

[Week 7] "Stupid glumness - 50 days and still missing PMO" To miss P for a few days, fine. But to be missing it 7 weeks later - what a baby! There's also a second fear - that maybe the glumness is nothing to do with the PMO, and it's just that my life is f*cked. Except that I don't think it is, but the fear is still there, because it seems like a rational explanation for glumness.

So, those two demons combine and taunt me. One says, "You baby! Fancy being glum because you're missing your P!" Then the other one says "Or maybe it's not the P! Maybe you're just a loser and you're glum because you can't get a decent life together!" Back and forth between them for hours at a time. So I try and prove them both wrong. I go out and meet women. I can hear myself talking to them, aping buoyancy, aping inner feelings of success and normalcy. But the second the performance is over, the dull monotonous drone is back. Glum.

[A few days later] Mood swings:

Mood swings1) There's a woman that I'm progressing towards. One day I'll think about her and think that she is sweet and fun. The next day I don't give a crap about her. Repeat until thoroughly confused.

2) One day I'll be really up, great mood, gold is flowing from my lips unbidden. The next day, I'm a tiresome dolt, who gives a crap about no one and about whom no one gives a crap. Repeat until self-image completely unstable.

3) One day I'll think I'm a cool dude, with tons going for him, and really getting a great life together. Next day, I'll feel like a poor deluded fool, who thinks he is swimming, when really he's just scrabbling around in the dust. Repeat until really fed up.

His perception didn't completely stabilize until week 8. So she needs to be patient, and above all, to understand that her post-orgasmic neurochemistry is tampering with her perception. To get a glimpse of what I'm talking about: "The Passion Cycle"

Meanwhile, snuggle passionately, connect if you wish, but don't bring her to orgasm. Let her recover her equilibrium before she destroys your relationship with that kind of whining.

Sorry for delay in replying

That's very helpful. I agree with the neurological explanation to some extent. We had a long talk about it.... the main thing is that our connection is so strong that we are both willing to endure anything to keep the relationship going. I don't see her perspective as "whining" etc. in the least, she has legitimate concerns that I do not find her attractive, and in her case that particular trauma (described in paragraph 4 of my original post) cuts rather deep.

My perspective is that I just need to reboot and that my inability to respond in that way is all on my side, i.e. it has nothing to do with her really, if she were super-hot in the conventional sense and conformed to all of my soft-core expectations, it would still be hard for me to feel that desire, because it's about me connecting with human beings in the flesh. I made her understand this to some extent. She made an interesting comment about our last difficult time, described in my last post, that when we are engaging in sex play -- let's say, without any genitals involved -- she feels incredibly loved and desired by me, and when we get past that point I'm quite different and clearly acting out a part and so on, and then what she registers is the opposite, the palpable lack of desire -- and that makes her incredibly sad. This is reasonable to me and makes sense. I told her about my PMO abstinence program, which is coming along just fine and which she didn't know about. She also didn't know that my repulsion towards porn actually *predated* any negative episode between us where the issue had come up. That is to say, I was turned off the porn in advance of the issue being raised.

In any case, quite remarkably to my mind, we've agreed to limit our sex play to the phase, which was happening about a week ago, where we were engaging in hot and heavy sex play "with clothes on" -- that's the rule, explicit -- while I figure this out for a 2 or 3 months (the exact duration of this doesn't matter, we'll both be paying close attention).

Also I should say that I was looking at the "your brain on porn" website today in some detail and was really inspired by the rebooting stories I was reading. It made me realize that it's an addiction like anything else -- somewhat mild in my case, but still enough to cause a serious problem -- and that my likelihood of getting over it is high. I should also say that I'm NOT missing the P at all, I hardly think about it, and my mood has remained very good. This is probably because I'm pretty bonkers in love with this new woman (factoring for oxytocin etc.) and also getting SOME physical stimulation from her, mostly oral, kissing etc.

So I guess the last thing to say is, *aside from abstinence* is there anything I can do to get to a place where I'm responding to real women better, in this case her? I feel like I'm waiting for this thing to happen but I don't really know how it's going to work. I'm a very reserved person, and a lot of this is about releasing urges in me that are almost always kept under wraps. Thanks.


you're doing great. To answer your question, "You can't push the river." The shift in perception will continue of its own accord...especially since you're giving yourselves time to snuggle without adding intercourse for the moment. That's the ideal medicine for a reboot. Smile

Yes, the rebooting stories are inspiring. Of COURSE you will recover. Smile

Couple of further questions

1. Because I'm not very experienced and have focused on softcore porn, I do not have a very instinctual reaction to .... the messy details of the female anatomy, that part is not so attractive to me. Is this something I should be worried about? Is there something I can do to get my brain to respond to that as avidly as it responds to, say, kissing?

2. I've already said that she and I are a perfect match in so many ways..... is there such a thing as sexual chemistry, and is it possible that we could be such a perfect match and also not really have that chemistry? Is it possible that finding my sexual identity will not result in me finding her attractive? How much does her continual presence during this process matter?

3. A lot of this has to do with getting used to the sensations in the penis etc. during sex. In my life I have been maybe too focused on the mechanics of managing those sensations, which are almost a distraction? if that makes sense. This has to do with being too conscious or self-conscious during sex. Basically, I guess I'm asking, even if I find my desire for her, is there an additional phase of understanding "how it works"? Does it really take care of itself?

4. The goal here is to have a fulfilled sexual relationship with her, but in a way, the underlying goal is to be a more sexual being in life, that is to say, in principle I would feel more sexual towards any woman I find attractive. I guess the thing I'm asking here is, like I think of men who are pretty much ready for sex whenever the occasion arises, they are, you know, visibly ready when the time comes -- is that an expected outcome for me? Because the difference between "managing" to complete coitus with some difficulty and basically being ready to go (with her) may make all the difference in how this ends up working out. I'd really hope that I could get far enough to just clearly be ready to go and not "think" about it anymore.


I say

give it time. And don't be too influenced by porn movies. Males aren't always "ready to go" without emotional involvement. Even porn guys have "fluffers" and needles with strong chemicals to make erections for filming.

Also, I suspect that as you find your partner more adorable from head to toe any aversions will ease. In any case, oral sex isn't a big focus for most karezza lovers (too exciting once you become more sensitive), so at that point, genitalia are just a means to an end: sensual intercourse and lots of kissing.

31 days

I've been abstinent from PMO for 31 days today. As I said earlier, I'm in a committed, new relationship. The last weeks, we've engaged in a lot of kissing-only, torso-only heavy petting, which has been very good, I'm erect throughout and it's great. Still not sure what would happen if we tried to have vaginal intercourse, nervous about that. There are still issues in our sexual play because we do it for long enough that eventually she gets really aroused and gets frustrated that we can't have intercourse. Otherwise she's been really awesome and understanding -- this hits her really hard, that she's more attracted than I am.

Yesterday she accompanied me to my therapy session, cognitive-behavioral. The therapist recommended a course of strictly defined petting/making out, for a prescribed duration of time (30 mins.) and no contact at all below the waist (until now there's been a lot of grinding etc.). Both of us disrobed above the waist. He says that we need to get to a place where the making out happens with all the rules in mind, no misunderstandings, expectations, disappointments, etc. This makes sense to us, and we're going to do it somewhat reluctantly, because it would represent less making out, but we both get that we have to get judgment out of there.

I'm worried that I'm not attracted enough to her body, and that that will show. I also am worried that the PMO abstinence has basically not been that hard for me. I read the other accounts here of men going through agony and emotional ups and downs, and that hasn't been happening to me. Part of that may be that we're now deeply in love, the emotional bonds get stronger and stronger, it's a little crazy how much in love we are. So maybe that's why I'm not experiencing the emotional ups and downs. I tell her that my desire is sort of on hold because I've jettisoned the old sexual fantasy map and there's nothing there to replace it yet. Yet. But somehow I don't think it's ever going to happen. Is the dopamine withdrawal and eventual need for dopamine really going to happen?

So I don't know. I'm discouraged -- not super super depressed, just afraid to confront this and worried about whether I can really do this. Any comforting words would be appreciated.

Sounds like you're

actually doing quite well...and just not back to full steam yet. You could probably have sex but you might be pushing things a bit as far as sensitivity goes.

Being in love definitely helps...lots of things, but especially mood.

What I don't understand is this insistence on measuring who likes whom more. Why don't you both try unconditional love? Measurements are bound to create unnecessary fears. Just love to the best of your respective abilities and leave the rest to fate.