Author Topic: Imagining Better  (Read 300 times)

tanggang

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Imagining Better
« on: May 15, 2018, 11:45:52 AM »
Hello everyone. This is my first day on the site, but probably my 3rd or 4th "serious" attempt to quit porn. Most of the time I don't think it's possible, but once and a while I think about all the ways that my life could improve without it, and I want to try. This is the first time that I'm joining a forum and looking for community support, and so that gives me hope! Going alone seems altogether impossible, particularly because at least for me, porn is a way to get at a feeling I think I'm lacking in other areas of my life.

I started watching porn with my best friend when we were younger. It was a bonding experience. We were young and into hot girls. Once we looked up Naked Women on my grandmother's computer. Back then it was mostly images; if xvideos or youjizz existed back then we were just too young to get there. That was in 5th grade I believe. Which is really crazy-- I was 10 when I was first watching porn! I didn't have sex until 16 so there was a solid six years of watching artificial sex before actually having it. I remember it being a source of intimacy for me; in fifth grade I had a 'crush' on a pornstar that had the same name as me. I also had real crushes and real relationships, but porn was a supplement. I never really talked to my partners about my porn use, although quite a few of them knew that I wanted to quit and were supportive. My best friend from college and I tried to quit together, but they have an iron will and were able to but I was not.

I don't have porn induced ED and would at first say that my porn habit isn't really destructive but I think the effect is much more subtle. I think on a very basic level it dissuades me from going out and doing things because I masturbate and then I'm lazy; it sets the tone for the day. It also affects I think how motivated I am to peruse relationships with other people, be it friendship or romantic or sexual. I'm not a bad looking guy, and I had a lot of sex in college, but in adult life and living in a city where it's paradoxically hard to meet people, that lack of motivation is pretty big. I have never laid out and thought about all the ways that porn affects my life and how much better my life could be without it, and I think this is a good place to do that. I also want to lay out like, why porn is useful to me. Like the role it's played in my life so far and what the benefits are for me, and then what I can do to replace it. Then I want to have a practical plan.

Porn in my life has been a way to destress. Recently reading this book Come As You Are, which is technically about the science of women and sex but is also just about people and sex, and she talks a lot about stress and the need to complete the stress cycle. Lots of stuff in our lives is inherently stressful, and also there's lots in our lives that causes big important emotions. The thing about emotions is they have to complete-- they can't be medicated away, or ignored, or whatever else because then they just sit in the body and the mind unresolved. There's lots of ways to feel your feelings, but as a man, a lot of those healthy ways are socialized out of us. Crying is the prime example, but I think also just on a basic how-it-feels-everyday, avoidance of emotions is more socially acceptable than letting ourselves feel them. Porn when I was younger was one way to deal with hard shit in my life and all of these emotional undercurrents that I didn't really understand. Of course also I was interested because porn is inherently attractive because of sex. I was also into porn because there was always this pressure in middle school and high school to be a man who has sex with hot women, and there was so much social pressure to be with hot women etc. etc. Porn was a way to do that and to feel included. The women who were attractive in our grades I heavily objectified and it was such a trap. I think I've carried a lot of that into adult life, putting a little too much emphasis on attractiveness at the expense of curiosity of what a relationship or sex or whatever might be like with someone. Again, it was easier in college when I had sex with a lot of pretty attractive women, and now I feel back about myself because the people who I match with on tinder aren't quite the same. Probably there's lots of reasons for that but it's a strange place to be in. At any rate, porn is a way to both distract from some of those hard emotions and also to get a cathartic release from them. Like a lot of other addictions, it seems like porn just dulls the feeling of being alive because it uses your chemicals for the wrong things. It's hard to feel just baseline happy when all your dopamine is being flushed down the toilet. I would like to quit porn because I think it will make sex with my girlfriend better, and we will be able to be more connected.

So yeah, I think porn gives me a way to complete some stress cycles, and it allows me access to that middle-school ideal of really hot women. It helps me deal (in a maladaptive way) with feelings of boredom, existential dread, loneliness, sadness, and anger. A lot of my life otherwise can feel dull or empty, but porn is a surefire way to feel something positive. I suppose this is nothing new-- obviously that's why people watch porn. I think that without porn, I will feel like I'm living a fuller and more robust life, and be a better me in interactions with other people and at work. Porn is something that I probably needed when I was younger, and it helped me survive emotionally. It provided a form of love that I wasn't getting somewhere else and a stress outlet. Sometimes I feel that I'm still not getting that love in my life now, but I'm smart enough to know that not only will porn not get me that love in itself, it's also actively preventing me from seeking it out and probably making me more distant from my partner who could give it to me. It makes me less focused on our relationship, and the sex not as pleasurable. All of this said, I'm definitely afraid of the vibrancy of emotions that might arise in an unporn medicated me. Again, as a man, I've been instructed to not feel a lot of emotions, and hard stuff from my childhood gave a reason not to feel a lot of emotions fully because that would be too hard. So I don't know, I am scared of the intensity of emotions sort of. But I have a mindfulness practice and I do a lot of yoga and working out, so I think that those will help me. I think the other thing is just remembering and being connected to all the reasons that I want to quit. That's why this forum is so great because hopefully it will be a daily practice and way to check in and remember what my goals are and why I'm doing this.

So yeah. I'm hoping to set out some implementation intentions, and make a plan. Having an accountability buddy, great. Putting something up in my room to remind me that I'm trying to quit porn, great. Getting busy and not spending a lot of time at home and in my room, great. Taking good care of myself by sleeping, eating well and getting exercise, great. Keeping my computer in the living room, great. Journaling everyday on this website, great.

This is day zero (masturbated this morning).

tanggang

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Re: Imagining Better
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 11:57:19 AM »
Day 1! Definitely feeling the urge but got up and did something else. Probably going to try to get out of the house now so that I don't cave. Maybe I'll walk to work today instead of taking the train.

tanggang

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Re: Imagining Better
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2018, 08:52:51 PM »
Now on day 3 which feels good. Feels like I have my sensitivity back in my dick which is good but that also means I’m more tempted to reset. I think moving around is a good idea, getting more sleep as well. There’s been stressful things going on in my life this past week that seem to have abated slightly. I was broke this week which was fine I got through it but money can be such a neurotic thing. It takes a lot of energy thinking about it and planning. It’s such an open loop as Stephen Covy would say. I also had some stuff going on with my girlfriend— it’s a long story but basically we were disagreeing about whether our relationship should be open while she’s living in Ohio. I hooked up with someone else and she felt sad about it despite what we had agreed to. I understood. Basically we’re changing to being monogamous which I’m down for but it was a little hard to adjust for a second.

Looking forward to this journey. Honestly my biggest thing right now is not trusting myself to relapse. I suppose the trust will come with time. Onward and outward.

I think I need to make a plan for tonight when I get home. Putting my electronics in the living room might be a good idea. I will make food, take a cold shower, meditate, and go to bed. I could definitely use the sleep. Tomorrow I will wake up and go to yoga, and then work, and then I can’t decide whether to go out partying tomorrow. Alcohol is a real bummer sometimes. And most of the reason I go out is to hook up with people, which because of the agreement with my girlfriend, isn’t what I want anymore (because she wouldn’t want to be with me.) so maybe I’ll find something else to do— maybe High On Yoga which is this thing at a fancier yoga studio on fridays instead of substances. It would also be nice to have a farmer’s market buddy... to make going there more of a social event. But everyone lives so far away. Maybe my coworkers would want to go.

Anyway, this all relates back to abstaining from porn because my biggest trigger that I can tell right now is idle time and feeling like there is no existential purpose. So planning out my days and making sure I’m doing stuff i think is the best way to abstain. I’m going to go do some stretches now. Onward to day 4.

tanggang

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Re: Imagining Better
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2018, 10:59:46 AM »
Okay so this is actually day 4. Still feeling positive about rebooting, though had something of a slip up I got drunk at a party last night and ended up sexting with my long-distance girlfriend. I ended up masturbating and orgasming to a video she sent me. I suppose in a lot of ways this is not good for the reboot but I think I’m okay with it. It was positive and actually a result of the lack of porn— I was hornier and when I was watching porn I just would have jacked off instead of connecting with her. Maybe it’s placebo but I’m also feeling other effects— just more sensation in all of my body. I’m also trying to be more open to sensation but man, not masturbating is crazy and so important. I have a pretty full day today so I’m not too worried about relapse, but ever vigilant. Tomorrow I’m going hiking with iny friend and then sleeping over his place so if I get though today I can probably make it into day 6 and 7. Wonder when I will hit a flatline. More to come.

mark098i

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Re: Imagining Better
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2018, 06:01:47 PM »
Congratulations on making it a week. Try coming up with a plan for your reboot. As with all forms of addiction, simply wanting to quit isn't good enough. It helps if you have a strong why and a basic plan. Good luck and speedy recovery.

tanggang

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Re: Imagining Better
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2018, 08:10:05 PM »
Day 6. Tomorrow will be a week, which is awesome. I think I’m flatlining now, which is welcome. I’ve also been feeling angry, which may or may not be because of the reboot. I’ve been keeping up with exercise this week however which I think is making the difference, but have not been eating very well. Tomorrow after yoga I will go to the store and get back on the healthy train. I took a detour when I got really into cooking and all of those recipes ask for a lot of fat which I was okay with because I was learning to cook and wanted it to taste good. But a big plate of kale sounds awesome right now. Beans will save my soul. I feel good right now having just went for a run and did some pushups. Completing that stress cycle. There’s definitely been an existential change without masturbating, because a big trigger for me was when I felt sort of existentially lost or didn’t know what to do on a minute to minute basis and I would just masturbate instead of facing that uncomfortably. I can see myself doing lots of things instead— I want to sign up for a dance class, which would be a way to engage with my body and spirit somatically instead of masturbating. I wonder whether I’m angrier because I don’t have PMO as a stress release... like maybe a positive part of PMO was that it was a good way to release stress. Unfortunately it has lots of drawbacks as well, and there are likely better stress relief strategies that don’t have those same side effects. Deep breathing, yoga, and running are what I’ve used so far. Meditation (not masturbation!) I think I will get back into. Okay now to take a shower and then clean my room.

Onto day 7

tanggang

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Re: Imagining Better
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2018, 02:40:39 PM »
Day 8! Feeling good. It’s dignified to not be using. I realized that when I used to masturbate and there were people in the house I would feel guilty and wonder whether they knew. Now that doesn’t exist. I also have been reading more and even tried to get back to writing last night. It feels a little excruciating sometimes but so far have been able to weather the storm. Onto the rest of day 8.

tanggang

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Re: Imagining Better
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2018, 11:55:07 PM »
Still porn free but not orgasm free. My girlfriend and I broke up tonight— we had been on vacation together and realized it wasn’t worth it. It’s a really hard decision because we were going to move to the same city together in the Fall. We’re both still going to move (I’m hoping to attend graduate school there) but it just sucks. I’m feeling pretty low right now. Luckily my desire to watch porn is also pretty low. I’m glad that I’m thinking of this in terms of my porn sobriety... it’s like something to come back to and feel proud about. I know I have a lot going for me and I’m trying to keep that in mind... breakups are tough.

tanggang

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Re: Imagining Better
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2018, 12:49:05 PM »
So I went through a bit of a relapse... PMOed on Saturday, Sunday, and today. I’m not proud of it. I think it’s because I wasn’t able to exercise all of those days, because my girlfriend and I broke up, and because on Saturday instead of going for a run or doing something to deal with the cravings I just continued reading with my phone in range and eventually I just couldn’t take it anymore and I did it. I don’t feel particularly low I guess just a little bit disappointed like I thought I had something good going I hadn’t hit two weeks yet since I started watching porn all those years ago. But I think I’m going to go to yoga tonight and get back on the horse. I really want to start writing again and I think that doing writing and not doing porn are connected.

Day one here we go.

tanggang

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Re: Imagining Better
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2018, 09:53:49 PM »
I fell off for quite a while but I’m back at it! Day 0. Want to make a quick list of why I’m doing this:

—more ability to feel emotions / arousal
—not support the horrible porn industry
—cultivate a sense of self agency and dignity
— sleep better

Tomorrow I will exercise after work, which is really the key for me. Wish me luck!!