Author Topic: Gay guy reboot  (Read 22785 times)

now-man

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 97
  • Personal Text
    Gay guy reboot
    • View Profile
Gay guy reboot
« on: December 02, 2015, 01:14:36 AM »
I am a 54 year old gay man. I think I may have PIED and I’m doing a reboot to find out. I’m actually kind of hoping it’s PIED, and not just the aging process. I’m in excellent shape for my age, and I'm able to get hard erections watching porn, but over the last five years I've had increasing difficulty getting an erection with a sex partner. I would like to have a natural spontaneous erection with a sex partner without thinking about it.

I have a long term partner, we’ve been together 15 years, and we both have sex outside the relationship, as well as with each other. We’ve always had good sexual chemistry. We’ve been long-distance for a number of years, and only see each other once every month or two, sometimes longer. I’ve experienced lack of an erection with my partner and with others.

I learned about YBOP and Reboot Nation recently from an acquaintance, and it got my attention. I started right away by quitting PMO, and have been 36 days PMO free (and also no M or O). I have morning wood some days (which is the same as before), and one night last week kept waking up very hard through most of the night.

I haven’t found it that difficult to not PMO, but I have definitely noticed the impulse to do it. I've notice times when I feel bored, or don’t really want to think about my ‘to-do’ list or other things I could deal with, and these are times when I would have PMO’d. At first the impulse feeling was more frequent, maybe a bit less often now, but when it comes I feel the strength of the impulse. I’m able to resist it. I’m getting more things done in general, since I have the time available that I would have spent in PMO.

In the beginning I even noticed how I would look forward to a time later in the day, or even the next day on a work trip, where I would have planned to spend some ‘quality alone PMO time’ and I could feel the emptiness from knowing I wouldn’t be choosing that option. That feeling has mostly subsided.

One thing that has been really helpful, especially late at night, or when I’m on a trip (I travel a lot for work), is reading the YBOP website, and the posts in this forum. I’m very grateful for this community and the courage and kindness of so many of you.

I noticed in one of the forum posts a reference to ‘Porn Substitutes’ or Psubs, and quickly realized that I had been using these even though I wasn’t PMO’ing. There was a guy from craigslist who had been emailing for a while, trying to hook up. He asked if I was available and I wrote back that I wouldn’t be available for a couple months. He asked me to send a few more photos of myself and I did, and asked him for some too. I checked my email a couple times a day for 3 days before he did send me some photos, and then I looked at them several times a day before I read the reference to Psubs, and realized this was exactly what I was doing. It was a useful reference point, because I made the connection between looking at my hookup email, looking at the photos, and going into the whole mind-set of ‘getting off,’ feeling my attention yanked to that online world.

I also had scruff and grindr apps on my phone. I didn’t even use them to meet people, I just liked to look at who was ‘nearby.’ So I removed those apps. I removed the hookup-only email account from my phone. I took the naked selfies off my phone and transferred them into a locked photo file on my computer. I don’t see the naked selfies as ‘porn’ for me, and I don’t have any impulse to go into that file. So for now that seems to work.

That was a week ago, and I created my profile and started a PMO counter and a Psub counter. Since then I've noticed some more subtle things that could be Psubs, or maybe they’re just ’triggers.' For me, looking at some of the pictures in the newspaper sports pages are like that. Even being naked or seeing myself naked in the mirror gives me a hint of the feeling. That may not be an issue for straight guys. For me, I don’t see it rising to the level of being a Psub, but I can see where it could be a trigger.

So far, nothing has been a trigger that leads me to PMO, but I can feel the ‘trigger’ of when my attention goes into horniness. I was sitting with a friend who was reading a mainstream gay magazine while I was doing a crossword, and I was like a dog looking over every 10 seconds to see if there were sexy ads and underwear fashion shots, before forcing my attention back to my crossword.

I also signed on and checked my hookup email on my computer yesterday - I’d had a couple drinks and was feeling good and thought “I’ll just clear out the junk mail that’s accumulated" (oh, and maybe I’m just a little curious to see if anyone has been contacting me to hookup. There was someone who had written a couple days before, I ignored it).

I’ve been sitting here trying to write this in such a way that I don’t have to reset my counter for looking at Psubs, and rereading what I had written I could see it’s just defense and justification, to allow me to continue to have some little ‘cheats.’ So I deleted the excuses and I’m resetting the Psub counter.

I’ve read some posts where guys have said that casual sex is a relapse, or off-limits for them. I had a five year stretch of monogamy earlier in my relationship, and it did work well for me. I’m not looking for that now, but it may be where I’m headed, I don’t know. What I think I want from this reboot is to have a natural erection with a sex partner, whether it’s my partner or a hookup. If that happens, I think I’ll be fine with no porn and no masturbation. I’d rather be able to have an erection and orgasm with a partner, than masturbate.

I’m going to see my partner in a week or so, and if we have a chance to have sex I’ll see how things are working. Otherwise I’m not planning to be sexual with anyone else until I’ve had 90 days of no PMO (and no M either).

I’m grateful for the supportive environment here! Thanks guys.

lyon03

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1363
  • Personal Text
    LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE IT VIRTUALLY
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2015, 01:30:04 PM »
Thanks for sharing brother. Welcome to Reboot Nation's pink army. I look forward to following your journey. There are a lot of gay men sharing on this forum, both openly gay men and gay men in heterosexual relationships, so even if they don't reach out immediately, do keep posting as they'll eventually contact you. I found the love and support of the members, both gay and straight, very helpful.

With regards to your post, you're clearly taking a very thoughtful approach to reboot, relationships, and your sex life. That's to be commended. With regards to porn subs, I couldn't agree more. As I've often written, the alcoholic is still drinking even when she switches to lite beer. My personal rule in reboot is that if I'm looking at a screen to get aroused (or more specifically a dopamine hit), then I'm venturing into porn-like addiction. And if I'm jerking off with a screen involved, this is relapse. I'd suggest downloading a copy of "Your Brain on Porn" by Gary Wilson which taught me a lot about porn addiction.

As Wilson shares, we lose our erections because we are addicted to arousal (which releases dopamine in the brain) and our brains simply lose interest in the sexual act. That's why many porn addicts can still get hard during foreplay, only to lose their erections when 'gettin busy.' So I believe you'd made the right decision to stop using Grindr, Scruff, and email for hookups. I have nothing against open relationships, which are common in our community, but we porn addicts have to be mindful of getting the same 'lite beer' high from hook-up apps as well.

Thanks again for sharing and please feel free to reach out via private message with any questions. Many members have a lot more days porn-free than me, but I'm always happy to share my journey. Be well. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.

Patrick

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 320
  • Personal Text
    PORN HAS TO GO NOW!
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2015, 04:40:56 PM »
Hello now-man, Welcome to the Nation! I believe you're in the right place, and your problems sound a lot like PIED. Thanks for sharing so openly and thoughtfully.

Yes, P subs are terrible traps on your way to full recovery, as I've painfully found out myself. I've come to the point where I'm willing to trust the cosmos to supply me with a long-term partner by socialising, not by hooking up online. This is hard for me as I need to face my social phobia. But I'm sure it's worth it. Today, I went to a small gay Christmas market where I live in Germany, and I talked to a guy, which was so much better than sitting in front of a screen, or sitting in front of a screen and fapping. I've been clean from PMO for roughly 5 months, and I can feel the benefit of finding it far easier to socialise than I used to. Still, it takes courage.

Another thing that helped me to stay clean are the 3 Principles. Just look up www.3pgc.org and immerse yourself in the free online material. Or hit me up if you have questions.

Good luck on your journey and keep posting.


Phase2

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 669
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2015, 05:52:28 PM »
Welcome Now-man. Your story sounds very similar to mine. You are in the right place and it sounds like you are approaching this determined to succeed. Keep learning. Check out my Success Story post--you may pick up some tips. http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=4018.0

You may want to consider dumping the emails from any tricks (or any hook-up email account). These tend to sit way in the back of your head ready to pounce as soon as you feel weak. I think it works best to get rid of all possible temptation so you stop the need for inner struggle. Quicker way to healing I think.

That said, I am also very aware of Psubs (I like that term). With time I learned that these (instagram, tumblr, dating apps, craigslist) were damaging to my progress. I still struggle with Scruff as it is the one reliable way I know I can find a partner, but hoping awareness keeps it from getting out of hand like it has in the past. I would def recommend trashing all Psbus if you are new to the reboot.

Good luck buddy. Gay men have unique struggles so glad you are here to ask questions and post. Hope we can all help!



HARDWIRED

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 50
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2015, 05:57:47 PM »
Hi now-man,
Thx for sharing.  This is a great place to be to relate to others experiences and accumulate all e knowledge that's afforded us here.  Definitely read YBOP and all the articles as well as the vids.  It's amazing how we find knowledge is power!!!   The two guys directly ahead of me have been great inspiration to me and we're all more than happy to answer any questions you may have if you want to pm any of us.  I'm fairly new to the site as well and have only made it to the 30 day point on two separate occasions but I'm determined I'm going to beat this!!! (No pun intended :))
Another great book that I read and found was quite clear on the subject is Cruise Control. It more or less discusses from a gay male point of view but clarifies that porn does not discriminate!   It definitely hit home. 
Good luck in your journey and we're all here if you need to vent!!!  Wishing you well.
url=http://pmo-tracker.appspot.com/?u=5051368029028352][/url]

now-man

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 97
  • Personal Text
    Gay guy reboot
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2015, 10:44:30 PM »
Wow guys, thanks so much for the thoughtful messages! I'm touched by your kindness. I do have some questions and thoughts to share, and I don't have the time now, but I'll post again tomorrow when I'm back home. Hugs to you :)

avesraggiana

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 98
  • Personal Text
    Longterm Flatliner
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2015, 06:26:36 PM »
Hello, now-man.

Welcome to the forum.  And I commend you for starting your own journal entry, something I have not yet done myself. 

You will find a lot of support and empathy here, and you will be given a lot of good advice.  Not all of it may work for you, but most of it will, and it will always be given with the best of intentions.  Please keep us posted on your progress.

Best of Luck!


now-man

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 97
  • Personal Text
    Gay guy reboot
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2015, 10:38:30 PM »
Back from my trip.

Lyon, I just downloaded the 'Your Brain On Porn' book, thanks for that suggestion. I know I’ll be glad to have that reading material. The distinction you mention - that we are addicted to arousal - really makes sense. If I weren’t already 38 days into no PMO, I think I would find that hard to take; it’s dispiriting since I notice how very often my attention is drawn towards being aroused, and how I think I like that and want it. I've just returned from a trip, passing through airports and hotels, out in the world. I see sexy and attractive men of all kinds, and find myself devouring them with my eyes. I’m so used to it. If it is arousal that I am addicted to, I can feel my resistance to letting that go. It’s a voice saying “I won’t have anything fun left, I’ll have to become a nun basically.” It’s very whiny.

I see where hookup apps are likely to be porn subs. I wonder about how I’ll be able to hook up for sex outside my relationship without jeopardizing whatever I gain from my reboot. I’m not there yet, and I don’t need to figure that out now.

Patrick, I’ve read a number of forum posts on the site, but so far I think yours is the only thread I read (most of) from the beginning to the present. That was just the other day, and it was one of the things that inspired me to finally post myself. I’m grateful for your courage and feel close to you and to all the men who posted in your thread. It’s a lovely gift. I'm really happy to see the progress you have made!

Thanks for the link to the 3 principles, it’s open in a window on my computer now to check out. I’ve been to Christmas markets in Germany, they’re pretty special, but I didn’t know they had gay ones - that’s awesome :)

Phase2, I’ll look forward to reading your success story again (I read when I first found RN, I’ll check out the thread too - btw, love the rainbow flag on the moon! Now I want a groovy avatar).

You wrote: You may want to consider dumping the emails from any tricks (or any hook-up email account). These tend to sit way in the back of your head ready to pounce as soon as you feel weak. I think it works best to get rid of all possible temptation so you stop the need for inner struggle. Quicker way to healing I think.

I hear the wisdom in your suggestion - I could feel the relief when I deleted the hookup apps and email account from my phone. I can still access that hookup email account (it just doesn’t automatically load now), and though I’m not planning on checking it for the duration of my reboot, I’m not sure I want to dump all the emails. I have a couple of hookup buddies and a number of tricks for my travels stored there.

I started this reboot hoping it will cure PIED. My thought was that I can do no PMO, even no MO, if it means I can have sex with an erection. I want that with my partner, and I want it with others as well (after I feel ‘rebooted). Like I mentioned above, as I get further into this, I see the possibility that my plan could evolve and change. This may all be leading somewhere other than where I think it is. If hooking up with a buddy or an anonymous encounter is going to set me back, lead to PMO or ED, then I’ll have to reconsider. But for now, I’m not ready to say I’m not going to have sex outside my relationship. I’d like to have that option if it’s possible, and I would love to hear any feedback or experience from anyone about that.

Hardwired and Avesraggiana, thanks for your warm welcome, I really appreciate it. Hardwired, I’m putting ‘Cruise Control’ on my book list - do you know who the author is?

You guys are wonderful. We are so fortunate to have a site like this! Wow.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2015, 11:03:45 PM by now-man »

now-man

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 97
  • Personal Text
    Gay guy reboot
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2015, 10:55:22 PM »
Another question I just remembered:

Lyon you wrote: My personal rule in reboot is that if I'm looking at a screen to get aroused (or more specifically a dopamine hit), then I'm venturing into porn-like addiction. And if I'm jerking off with a screen involved, this is relapse.

I think I’m clear about what constitutes relapse, and what would make me reset my ‘Intentionally looking at Psubs’ counter.

But in light of the idea you mentioned that we are addicted to arousal, and noticing all the ways that arises in me, I’m wondering how or if to modify my behavior. Some examples: looking at attractive men, checking out the different views as they pass by; photos in the newspaper sports pages - when I see armpits, I would have to work hard not to look, and those Warriors! jeez.

My question: is being aroused or attracted like this a set back or slow down to the reboot, or is there just a normal and natural amount of attraction that is healthy and harmless? Thoughts guys?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2015, 11:02:14 PM by now-man »

lyon03

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1363
  • Personal Text
    LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE IT VIRTUALLY
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2015, 04:30:27 AM »
Hey brother. I'll try to answer your question. Perhaps the first way to understand a question is to re-phrase it so here goes:

"Question: is being aroused or attracted to men on the street or in different media a form of relapse, or is this type of arousal natural/healthy?"

That depends what you do once aroused I think. I'll share my own experience which may be helpful. Porn addiction made me see all men as potential sex partners, regardless of their sexual orientation. This is unhealthy sexuality in my opinion. It's like a virtual form of the sexual adolescence gay men experience after coming out. We are so happy and relieved to have come out that many of us go on a form of sexual binge that may last a few months or a year but it eventually calms down. Getting back to your question, going to the gym was particularly difficult for me for the first six months of reboot. Why? Because all of the gym bunnies made me horny. Long-term porn addiction skewed my view of the world into seeing life like some mega porn set. It's as if I thought some orgy would break out at my gym which is of course completely misguided.

When my brain no longer had a screen for it's dopamine fix, my world became a sexualized screen through which my brain was hungrily looking for its high. This seems to be what you're experiencing now. So yes this is a normal and natural part of the process in my opinion. However, you won't truly be rebooting if you spend all of your time watching (and then jacking to) fleshy tv, looking at muscle men in calendars, searching Grindr, or fantasizing about the boys at the gym. So it's just another form of addiction when you get the dopamine hit and then act out through quick masturbation.

What I'd suggest you do is apply something George Collins wrote about in "Breaking the Cycle." It's called "first thought wrong" if I remember it correctly. (I read the book last January.) This means when you see an image that arouses you sexually, you know this is your addiction speaking, and you choose not to act/react to it. You acknowledge the feeling (emotion), pause (thought), and move on (reaction). It's about slowly learning impulse control. So what's the goal? The goal is perhaps something like what I experience today. When I see an attractive man, I simply see an attractive man rather than a potential f*ck buddy. I can go to the gym and chat away with the cute guys working out, without making a pervy trip to the bathroom to rub one out as I fantasize about them.

Imagine it this way: a woman walks along a city street and sees a handbag in a window. She so obsesses about it that she can't work, goes online right away to look for the bag, and basically forgets all other responsibilities in her life (work, family, friends etc.) as she loses herself in a fantasy about owning the handbag. But she never actually buys the bag. Sad isn't it? We can do the same thing with porn-like fantasies. The reality was that I was never going to have sex with anyone at my gym. The reality is that I'm never going to have sex with people I see on tv, or in adverts, or in calendars. So why waste so much f*cking time obsessing about it?

So while I can window shop, I see it for what it is. Just a little tickle, not a full-blown obsession. I experience my own sexuality with my long-term boyfriend with whom I have both an emotional and physical connection. That's healthy sexuality. Gym fantasies are nothing more than a porn-like waste of time. I hope that helps in some way my friend. If not, just post again or send me a private message.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2015, 04:43:13 AM by lyon03 »

avesraggiana

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 98
  • Personal Text
    Longterm Flatliner
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2015, 06:08:37 AM »
Brilliant reply as always, Lyon03.


now-man

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 97
  • Personal Text
    Gay guy reboot
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2015, 07:45:10 PM »
Thanks Lyon, good insights. I haven't been M'ing at all, but I see where my aroused viewpoint when I'm checking guys out is in the same ballpark as as my porn viewer mind.

I'm just about done reading my downloaded 'Your Brain On Porn" book (GREAT recommendation) and am seeing and learning a lot. Out on a trip again, but will post more when I'm home tomorrow.

Avesraggiana, loved reading your new thread, thanks for posting!

HARDWIRED

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 50
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2015, 09:30:21 PM »
Sorry it took me so long to reply but wanted to let you know the author of Cruise Control is Robert Weiss.  The book was so accurate I felt he was writing about me!!!  LOL
Take care. :)
url=http://pmo-tracker.appspot.com/?u=5051368029028352][/url]

lyon03

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1363
  • Personal Text
    LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE IT VIRTUALLY
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2015, 10:37:52 PM »
Glad you enjoyed the book brother and thanks to Hardwired for his book recommendation. I urge you both to keep sharing and posting on other threads here. Being open, honest, and encouraging others helped me with my reboot. As I close out 2015, I am very happy to be rid of this soul-destroying addiction and I'm thrilled others are rebooting their lives as well. Be well. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.   

now-man

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 97
  • Personal Text
    Gay guy reboot
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2015, 10:32:45 PM »
Thank you gentlemen for the replies. I’m finally getting a chance to post after a busy travel week.

Reading the YBOP book was very illuminating and helpful. I’m so grateful for Gary Wilson’s intelligence, clarity and care in approaching this whole subject and laying it out for us. A little education can clear up a lot of misunderstanding.

It’s become clear to me that I don’t want to look at porn ever again. I don’t think I’ve suffered as much in relation to porn as some of the guys who have shared here, but I definitely relate to the sense of isolation and voyeurism that porn creates. I see my use of porn has become a ‘remedy’ for boredom, dissatisfaction, anxiety. It doesn’t really do the trick. It just numbs the sense of whatever feels ‘off.’ And there isn’t even anything that seriously ‘off!'

I’m starting to realize that the frequent and compelling ‘arousal’ I referred to in my earlier posts actually isn’t horniness. I think I’ve forgotten what it’s like to actually be horny! My sexuality for several years has been mostly expressed through masturbating to porn. So I’m visually hungry towards what looks sexy. But I don’t actually feel turned on to have real sex.

I’ve read a fair amount about the ‘flatline’ and I didn’t think I was experiencing it. Partly because I was still noticing sexy men or advertisements and feeling ‘aroused.’ Partly because I get morning wood sometimes. I haven’t felt ‘shrivelled.' But now I wonder if I’m experiencing a milder form of it because I really am not at all ‘horny.’ Also I have had zero interest in masturbating.

I got to see my partner for the first time in a couple months. We didn’t end up having sex, which I think is probably a good thing for me right now. Instead I shared with him about my ‘reboot.’ I think he was a little concerned - not immediately relating to the idea that porn might be a problem, and definitely feeling that masturbation is normal and good. I told him that it didn’t sound like it was a problem for him (and based on past conversations, it may not be at all.) And I shared a bit of what I’m finding for myself and hoping to experience by being porn free, and masturbation free for awhile at least.

I offered to be sexual with him if he wanted to, but the timing wasn’t really right. So I asked him to just lay down with me for awhile which he happily did, and it felt really good to have that contact. I almost thought I was getting an erection, but it was more of a ‘stirring.’ I just enjoyed the sensation.

So, not really ready yet. But very grateful that we can be honest and he can be patient. He’s a really good man that I love, respect and admire. I’d love to really feel turned on, physically/mentally/emotionally, and have sex from there. It’s amazing to realize that I haven’t really been turned on in a very long time - that without realizing it, I substituted being turned on with getting myself off to images.

I’m curious to see, however long it takes, if and when real horniness, desire to be sexual with a human being vs an image, returns.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2015, 10:45:42 PM by now-man »

avesraggiana

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 98
  • Personal Text
    Longterm Flatliner
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2015, 07:19:53 AM »
I offered to be sexual with him if he wanted to, but the timing wasn’t really right. So I asked him to just lay down with me for awhile which he happily did, and it felt really good to have that contact. I almost thought I was getting an erection, but it was more of a ‘stirring.’ I just enjoyed the sensation.

So, not really ready yet. But very grateful that we can be honest and he can be patient. He’s a really good man that I love, respect and admire. I’d love to really feel turned on, physically/mentally/emotionally, and have sex from there. It’s amazing to realize that I haven’t really been turned on in a very long time - that without realizing it, I substituted being turned on with getting myself off to images.

I’m curious to see, however long it takes, if and when real horniness, desire to be sexual with a human being vs an image, returns.

Thank you for your update.  It’s still early in your recovery so Flatline may not yet have hit in its full force.  When it does, it’ll seem very disconcerting at first, but you’ll already know what it’s all about. 

You’re very lucky indeed to have an understanding and loving partner.  When I first started having to explain to friends and FBs about PIED, I would text them the link to one of Gabe Deem’s youtube videos.  I would say, “Watch the first five minutes.  It’ll tell you everything you’ll need to know about what’s going on and what I’m going through.”

Stay on path, and fight the good fight.  It’ll be worth it in the end.


lyon03

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1363
  • Personal Text
    LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE IT VIRTUALLY
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2015, 09:29:47 AM »
Well done brother. I particularly liked this:

"I’m curious to see, however long it takes, if and when real horniness, desire to be sexual with a human being vs an image, returns."

That's a fantastic goal my friend. No one ever got love back from a screen and I'm thrilled you enjoyed quality time with your partner. That's solid gold as many rebooters haven't found love yet.

As you read in Gary Wilson's book, we are addicted to dopamine which really means we're addicted to arousal or the brain's expectation of sex. We are so addicted to arousal that it actually kills sexual desire. Looking at your counter, it appears you've gone about 10 days without porn substitutes. Using these subs would still give your brain the dopamine (or arousal) hit it's looking for but perhaps not as big a hit as explicit pornography. This may be why you haven't gone through full-blown flatline/withdrawal. As I've often shared, porn subs are a bit like an alcoholic switching to lite beer because it's just a watered-down version of the same addiction. And be mindful that porn-subs include any screen stimulation that gets the dopamine flowing. This includes dating sites, dating apps, fleshy TV, and videos that get you going.

You should start to experience heavy withdrawal in the next week to ten days. I'm not going to lie, withdrawal is hell. But it's also healing. I'd recommend that when you get the itch to go back to screens, come here and post instead.

I look forward to following your journey brother. We're all rooting for you. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 09:41:12 AM by lyon03 »

Patrick

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 320
  • Personal Text
    PORN HAS TO GO NOW!
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2015, 10:57:45 AM »
Hi now-man, Thanks for your update.

For me, the most important question is whether any form of sex with a real human being is okay for rewiring or not. My 20 year old hook up doesn't let go, and I am tempted to fall for his advance again (he regularly texts me, and so far I haven't replied.) One side of me feels horny to have sex with him, and he for sure would be real, the other side tells me that this is a dopamine hit I give myself, although we would be together in the flesh (as I said, maybe my brain can't differentiate between young men in P and a real man that is young.) So I'm really confused. I also believe that the energy I would spend on being with him takes me away from finding a long-term partner. I can't imagine being with this guy. I'm also scared of another flatline. Can a human being be a porn sub?? Maybe you have some thoughts on this?

Anyway, I hope you're doing good, and please keep us updated. Take care.




Phase2

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 669
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2015, 06:26:27 PM »
Hey Now Man. Glad you are chugging along. I appreciate your thoughtful approach.

1. I too had the realization midway through reboot that I truly had no idea what being horny was. I had hijacked my horniness for so many decades through boredom and anxiety-based masturbation that I never allowed my body to truly work up a natural hunger for sex. Even now I still must remind myself that I should ignore the HABIT and wait until I'm actually horny to seek sex. Now, after a yearlong reboot/rewire, I do have occasional days when I can honestly say I'm horny. There is a 'charge' in my loins that feels like it overtakes my cerebral thinking. I welcome this feeling. I had kept it under wraps for far too long. So I think you are right to mention this.

2. It's pretty common for my gay friends to defend porn and masturbation. I think the best way to talk about it is to allow the simple fact that it's not bad for everyone, but it's bad for ME, so I'm cutting it out. That way, they can relax. You are not attacking their choices, but making a decision for yourself. Still, I think a lot of my friends do have a porn problem. I'm just proud to be able to introduce the concept of abstention. Eventually I believe many will come around and realize porn is a problem for them. But they have to hear about it first from somewhere. I'm glad to help them along!

Great input guys. Stay strong this weekend.



now-man

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 97
  • Personal Text
    Gay guy reboot
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2015, 03:06:52 AM »
Thanks for the responses guys. I'm traveling, and will write in more detail in a couple days, but wanted to mention that I'm reading the book Hardwired recommended, "Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction In Gay Men" by Robert Weiss. Really interesting and well written. If you haven't checked it out, it could be helpful.

As I read I go back and forth between identifying as a sex addict and thinking I'm actually not a sex addict, but can relate to some of it. Either way, it's illuminating and deepens my understanding of my reboot. Patrick, it might shed some light on your question.

I'll post again when I'm home. You guys are awesome. I feel like I have a tribe with me.

lyon03

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1363
  • Personal Text
    LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE IT VIRTUALLY
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2015, 04:12:32 AM »
Hey brother. I hope you're well and look forward to your update. Phase2 I really liked what you shared above: "You are not attacking their choices, but making a decision for yourself. Still, I think a lot of my friends do have a porn problem." You've hit the nail on the head...and it doesn't just apply to porn addiction. I think we have a general screen addiction. You reminded me of a realization I had last Friday night. I was out for drinks with a friend at a local gay bar. Two things struck me that evening: first, the fact that I wasn't drinking (virgin Bloody Marys) was highly unsettling for everyone ("Have a drink for God's sake!"); and second, I didn't once go on my cellphone yet everyone in the bar was constantly checking their phones for texts and sex app messages. Free of such distractions, I was having the most incredible conversation with a woman at the bar. There were actually four of us but my friend and her (male) friend kept pulling out their cellphones - roughly every 5-10 minutes I reckon - to check Grindr, Scruff or other sex apps. I realized this was me not too long ago. I also realized that every time someone checked their phone looking for sex, they were getting a dopamine hit. We left the bar and headed out for dinner. There were six of us in total. Two of the men at dinner were constantly on their phones trying to arrange for hook ups. I thought it was incredibly rude but checked myself because I realized this was me not too long ago. Why am I writing this? Phase2 makes a very good point that the gay community is now infected with a generalized form of screen/porn addiction. It is now socially acceptable to casually scroll through fleshy photos of half-naked men WHILE IN A BAR OR RESTAURANT. Calling this porn addiction is perhaps going to far just like calling everyone getting drunk at a bar an alcoholic. We all suffer our addictions to different degrees I guess. End of rant! Be well everyone. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.     

now-man

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 97
  • Personal Text
    Gay guy reboot
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2015, 07:52:59 PM »
Plugging along in my reboot.

I’m still reading “Cruise Control” by Robert Weiss, an in-depth look at sex addiction for gay men. I'm about 2/3 of the way through, getting a lot out of it. After going back and forth in the beginning, at this point it feels pretty clear to me that I am not actually a 'sex addict.' I can certainly relate to some of it, but I don't think my behaviors fit the out-of-control definition as described in the book.

My partner has 22 years of sobriety in AA twelve step recovery, so I've learned something about the difference between an alcoholic and non-alcoholic. I enjoy drinking to a point, but the more I drink, the less I like it. So it's something I enjoy in moderation. I think sex is an area where I can go a little further than 'moderation,' but it doesn't lead me to out-of-control. He explains in the book that sex addicts deny there's anything wrong, so I keep that in mind as I examine my experience. But at this point in the book he has made several clear distinctions between how a sex addict and non sex addict respond to the same situation, and it seems pretty clear to me.

I suppose there's some grey area between classic dysfunctional addiction (as described in Cruise Control) and the kind of porn related brain re-wiring that is described YBOP. I think I'm not addicted to porn but, through PMO, conditioned my wiring to the urge towards arousal.

I’m approaching 60 days in my reboot. It feels quiet. I still don’t think I’ve flatlined the way I’ve heard it described. I don’t have much libido - I have yet to feel any impulse to want to masturbate. But I do get morning wood. I do feel attracted and aroused at times, though not to the point of erection. My equipment often actually feels bigger and fuller, rather than shrunk. But I suppose there are a lot of varieties of flatlines, and maybe this is mine.

As for withdrawal, I think I’ve had some symptoms, like sudden intense irritability. I’ve also had some very long nights of sleep, like 11 to 12 hours, which feels like healing going on.

lyon03

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1363
  • Personal Text
    LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE IT VIRTUALLY
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2015, 01:54:56 PM »
Hey brother. Thanks for sharing. Regardless of whether or not you're a porn or sex addict, or maybe even both, the most important thing is that you're staying proactive during reboot. Our addiction is to dopamine. Some get the hit via porn, others through Grindr, and some of us have a general sex addiction to get our dopamine highs. But it's all the same. Addiction is wanting to do something or ingest something that will never be enough. Learn everything you can about porn addiction, sex addiction, or any other problems that may be keeping you from having a kick *ss life. Just keep learning/fighting/going. With regards to flatline/withdrawal, I believe you're going through the classic symptoms: low libido and fatigue. If your junk is looking better and you're experiencing morning wood, bravo! These are usually signs you're coming out of flatline. If you have the same experience as me, you'll be ready to tear off your husband's clothes in the coming weeks. Be ready! Be well my friend. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2015, 06:36:59 AM by lyon03 »

now-man

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 97
  • Personal Text
    Gay guy reboot
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2015, 11:30:26 PM »
Happy New Year gentlemen!

It's been an amazing week and a half since I last posted - an intense travel schedule combined with the spending the holiday with my partner. We had four days together. On Christmas morning he asked me about my reboot, and wanted to talk about where we are with our agreements around sex outside the relationship. It was a good conversation. Then we had his family over for the day.

Later that night when we were alone I noticed it was bringing up a lot of emotion in me. We sat and talked and tears welled up in me, and I shared my fears about not knowing where this is all heading for me - I don't know if sex is going to work well for me in or outside of our relationship. He was loving and understanding and we ended up hugging and I started feeling intimate. (Possible trigger material): We took a shower together and he got me hard. We moved to the bedroom and went for it. It's been quite awhile (months) since we'd had sex, and a couple months since I started my reboot and had any sexual activity. So it all felt a little wonky in my head. After the initial erect response, my boner didn't hold up. I thought about just stopping, but he seemed really turned on, and the intimate connection felt good, so I continued and we both O'd, though I was only partially erect. (end)

The next morning he asked how I was doing, and again emotion welled up and I shared that, while there were wonderful parts of our intimacy, I felt sad about my equipment's performance. He made a valiant effort to assuage my feelings, it was really endearing. For me it was very helpful just to express my feelings.

We were both leaving town that afternoon and laid down for a short nap together, after a hectic couple days of holiday activity.  Possible trigger material): I was nestling in hoping to catch a little sleep when he spooned me and had a raging boner (no ED issues on his end!). Then I got hard and stayed pretty hard and we had quite a fun romp. To O and beyond. (end) Afterward he was very cute and sweet with his enthusiasm for my 'success,' clearly caring and hoping I was feeling it. I did feel a sense of success, in addition to gratitude for his love, for the intimacy and the fun.

I don't at all feel that my reboot is complete. In fact I had wondered whether it would be better to avoid intimacy with him until I did. But I'm very glad all that happened. It felt like an early taste of 'rewiring.' And through several phone conversations we've had since then, when he has again brought the subject up and asked how I'm doing, I'm touched by his love and concern. And his willingness to let me share my insecurity and be there for me.

I waited to see if I were going to experience the 'chaser' effect, and I did notice it. It wasn't overpowering, but for the next few days there was a recurring impulse, not to PMO, but to hookup. I happened to be in two different situations where a familiar hookup was readily available. I watched my mind considering it, and then thought "Okay, let's really look at this. Is this going to move my reboot forward? No." End of consideration, end of impulses. One thing I liked about the impulse, though, was that it felt more like actual 'horniness' instead of the urge to 'get off.'

In the last ten days I also noticed another possible withdrawal symptom for a few nights, this time a bit of insomnia, rare for me.

I finished reading "Cruise Control," (such a wealth of information), and started reading the "YBOP" book again. Feels helpful to repeat it.

I've been keeping up on a lot of the posts in here. Sometimes I wonder if I'm in the wrong place. It seems like a lot of the guys are coming from a religious/morality perspective, or one in which the only viable option for sexuality is intimacy within committed monogamy. However, one thing I definitely appreciate about this forum is the respectful and supportive way everyone shares. Our culture is so polarized these days. The way it's presented in the media, people only want to hear what they agree with, and they demonize those who disagree. So I really like seeing the interaction here between men who may have quite different values, beliefs and lifestyles, supporting each other with respect and being genuine.

As I read numerous posts that seem to steer in the direction of 'monogamy and intimacy as the only healthy option,' I feel conflicted. I have considered that it might end up being the right option for me, and I'm open to that. I had five years of monogamy (on my part) earlier in my relationship, and it worked very well for me. But I'm not intending or planning that outcome. My relationship isn't set up that way. It's possible recreational sex can be a healthy option for some men. It seems to be the case for my partner. So, we'll see...

Those are my thoughts on this beautiful NY Eve. Off to enjoy time with a dear friend. Wishing you all well, and grateful for your presence and support.

lyon03

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1363
  • Personal Text
    LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE IT VIRTUALLY
    • View Profile
Re: Gay guy reboot
« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2016, 05:54:24 AM »
Happy New Year! Thanks for the update my friend. I'm so happy that you and your partner had such wonderful and intimate moments together. That's what reboot is all about. In reply:

"I've been keeping up on a lot of the posts in here. Sometimes I wonder if I'm in the wrong place. It seems like a lot of the guys are coming from a religious/morality perspective, or one in which the only viable option for sexuality is intimacy within committed monogamy."

Whether you reboot with a higher power, a loving partner, or in a 'monogamish' relationship (thanks to Dan Savage for creating that term), I've learned that reboot and perhaps happiness are highly personal. I enjoyed what you wrote about this being an open, honest and respectful environment. I must admit that I could be rather dogmatic and dismissive at times - wrongly thinking that my way of rebooting was the only way. Looking back, this was wrong. So what's my point?

I think it's a sign of intelligence that you're asking such questions. I also think that you should approach your reboot in a way that works for you and your partner. I'd recommend you start by defining what addiction means for you. You can then determine whether the occasional sexcapade is harmless or harmful to you and your long-term relationship. Personally I think this is where I'm headed. In a loving relationship with a wonderful man, but 'monogamish' enough so that I can enjoy the odd romp from time to time. However, I have to be mindful to avoid falling in to my old addictive habits of using screens, seeking, and searching like I did in the past. So my point is that you're not alone my friend.

As always, it's a pleasure to read your well-written and engaging posts. I look forward to following your journey. Be well. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.