Author Topic: Seeking Clarity  (Read 49 times)

Brad1971

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Seeking Clarity
« on: January 19, 2020, 07:08:48 PM »
I'm new to the topic of pornography addiction/compulsive masturbation and I'm frankly still a little overwhelmed. I am on day 5 of no P, M, or O and have been reading articles on RN and YBOP. I have been experiencing a growing list of sexual dysfunctions (which may or may not be porn/masturbation related, which I'll discuss below), and since I am a daily consumer of various types of pornographic content a reboot seemed like the best place to start on my path to clarity.

A bit about me: I am 48, soon to be 49, gay and in a monogamous (though sexless) marriage since 2006. I began using porn videos and magazines throughout my teens, 20s, and 30s. I didn't find high-speed streaming porn until my late thirties, and it wasn't until I got a smart phone in my mid-40s that things started to get out of hand because of the ability to access porn during any free moment of the day. I may be a bit unusual in that I don't always masturbate while I watch porn (although I will sometimes). I have used porn to keep myself in an unnatural state of continual arousal throughout the day and then use porn memory/fantasy when I am ready to masturbate before bed.

I came of age in the 80s when constant news reports about AIDS in the gay community created the equation in my mind that sex=death, so for me porn was a way to safely explore my sexuality - we were always told that porn and masturbation was a 100% healthy and safe option. Porn became my sexual liberation, and the thought of giving it up is causing a feeling of profound grief. I have been a "serial monogamist" throughout my adult life, and if I wasn't in a relationship I used porn as what I perceived to be a safe alternative to the more usual approach of gay men to seek out multiple anonymous partners.

My husband and I have not had sex for about 5 years. He has had some health issues that have affected his libido, but I think the issue is deeper than that. I suspect he may actually be asexual (which is another rabbit hole I have fallen into over the last few months), but is not ready to identify as such. Regardless, the mounting sexual frustration has driven me to more porn usage, and thoughts of pursuing sex outside the marriage (whether openly or secretly) have certainly been weighing on my mind. I mention this because I have no data to report on whether I can currently perform with a partner or not.

Over the last year I have also been dealing with a diagnosis of autoimmune disease. I have been working with a really good doctor who has helped me immensely, and I am noticing improvement with each passing month. However, this is a source of confusion since I am left wondering to what extent my autoimmunity is contributing to my sexual dysfunction. So, here are the list of symptoms I have:
1. Inconsistent erection (both in duration and firmness)
2. Occasional loss of erection just before orgasm (as soon as my heart rate increases)
3. Delayed ejaculation (this has been an issue as long as I have been sexually active)
4. Incomplete ejaculation (a feeling that my orgasm fizzles out before it has run its course)
5. Anorgasmia: this is the worst and most confusing one. I ejaculate, but with almost no pleasurable sensations of orgasm

The symptoms are intermittent, but have become more prevalent over the last 6 months or so. Since all of my symptoms from the autoimmune disease have been getting consistently better with treatment but my sexual symptoms have not, I am hopeful that this means they are the result of something else (i.e. porn) and may resolve with a reboot.

So my plan: begin the 90 day no PMO reboot. My partner and I are trying to rekindle a sexual relationship, so I will have sex if the opportunity arises, but otherwise I'll be avoiding porn and masturbation. I have the following positive behaviors in my life to focus on instead:
1. I'm starting a small business which I hope to launch in March
2. I'm starting an exercise program, which is new for me.
3. I'm learning German on Duolingo. Since I can access the program on my phone, it is a good alternative to turn to when I reach for my phone for porn
4. I am also refreshing my wardrobe and updating my personal style which has been a lot of fun
In addition to the other suggested approaches such as installing porn blockers, journaling, etc, I am hoping I am on the right path.

If you have read this far, thank you. I am open to talking to other men (gay or straight) so that we can support each other on the path to change.

HopeReaper

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Re: Seeking Clarity
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2020, 08:10:17 PM »
Hello and welcome.  Great job on your 5 days clean,  I am also 5 days no PMO.  Let's keep it going and see what else our sexuality can be.

I told my best friend earlier this week that I wanted to quit P completely.  He reacted in a threatened and apprehensive manner, questioning my decision and even defending P as being a helpful tool in life.  That was the nail in the coffin.  I knew I had to quit.  Why would my best friend not immediately say, "Good for you!" ?  Why would he stick up for P like that?  It's because he has been abusing it for many years as well and he is also trapped by it.  He even suggested that I wouldn't be able to quit P.  :( Neither of us have had healthy sex in many years, if ever.  This is the same way many of my "drinking buddies" had reacted when I quit alcohol.  I realized it's virtually the same illness.  I'm tired of being tired.  I'm tired of suffering, sounds like you are too.

Thanks for your post!

joepanic

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Re: Seeking Clarity
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2020, 10:24:36 AM »
Hery Brad

    welcome to the party   I too have been addicted to porn(35 years)  and have been fighting seriously fighting it for 2 years now   I think with all ive learned I am finally winning.  The questions you have may ponly be answered with time.  The way I look at it is   do the reboot  and see if your  life improves   its 90 days   what do you have to lose .  Its most important though that your thoughts be on the reboot   just putting porn out of your life 1st  than worrying about everything else   Read all you can and educate yourself with the tools to be successfull

    Cheers

       Post often it helps me it helps you

Brad1971

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Re: Seeking Clarity
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2020, 01:16:39 PM »
Thank you both for replying. It is good to know I'm not facing this alone.

@HopeReaper: I think your experience with your friend shows how profoundly regular porn use has been normalized in society, especially in the 21st century. It is hard for me to remember a time (before the last 6 days) where porn was not a part of my daily life. I read your journal entry and I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with a physical illness at the same time that you started this journey. I hope you are feeling better soon! Also, my partner dealt with alcohol addiction and has been sober for over 10 years, and I know that he still has days where he struggles. It is inspiring to see someone overcome that, and I know you'll be able to draw on your experience to help you in your current struggle. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

@Joepanic: I am glad to hear that you are making progress on your journey as well. I know that this is going to be a challenging time, since overcoming a problem like this involves so much more than simple avoidance. It really is a process of self discovery and understanding what brings one to a point where they have come to rely so heavily on a crutch to get through the day. I have a lot of soul searching to do in the days ahead, and I'm a bit apprehensive about what is going to surface (although I have a pretty good idea about what is lurking in my subconscious).

Thank you both. Stay strong!

Brad1971

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Re: Seeking Clarity
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2020, 01:22:49 PM »
Day 6! I have been having some physical symptoms that may be withdrawal? Not sure, but they include insomnia, headaches, anxiety, and some emotional outbursts over little things.

Anxiety has been a constant issue for me, and I am certain that my porn use and masturbation was a way to self medicate my anxiety. I think porn probably made my anxiety worse, though, by messing with my neurotransmitters, so I'm not sure what is ahead as I try too rebalance everything. I am sure it will get worse before it gets better and will probably be a non-linear process. Sigh.


HopeReaper

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Re: Seeking Clarity
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2020, 03:19:20 PM »
Hey Brad, Let's go day 6!  The physical symptoms of PMO are real.  My primary physical symptoms have been:
- Insomnia (sleep has been really really difficult, when I wake up I feel like I have a hangover)
- Brain Fog (extremely hard to focus my attention on anything, been trying to just not do much)
- Muscle aches (basically aching all over for most of the day)
- Back pain (partially due to lack of sleep I imagine)
- Very little energy (I feel lethargic)
- Severe headaches (it hurts, and tylenol doesn't do much except upset my stomach)

Of course these are in addition to the mental symptoms:
- High anxiety level (elevated blood pressure)
- Despair and hopelessness
- Thoughts of self-hate, regret, sadness
- Depressed mood

That being said, I know that things will get better if I can give my brain time to heal.  I'd say the anxiety is a result of our bodies attempting to get back to our baseline.  My anxiety symptoms when I quit alcohol were very similar.  Let's stick with it... I know there's light on the other side.  I was reading a little about the benefits of semen retention today and I like what I read!  I suggest a search on the topic my friend.

I also was addicted to cigarettes for most of my life and I quit a few years ago.  When I quit, I was shocked at how much better I felt and how much the cigarettes were affecting my quality of life.  I also laugh at the thought of smoking a cigarette now, like it's the stupidest thing I'd ever want to do... zero desire for it.  I don't miss them at all.  I am thinking PMO is a similar beast... once it's gone we will likely be amazed what a grip it had on us.  Let's get to that point, let's stop this lie.

Hang in there, it's going to get better.