Author Topic: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)  (Read 2287 times)

blinker12

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Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« on: April 25, 2016, 09:38:24 AM »
Hey everyone! I'm grateful for this forum and have enjoyed reading stories by others.

I was just listening this morning to a recorded talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk. I've been a follower of his teachings for years.

He was talking about a few different things, including how by getting more in tune with the present, we can make greater peace with the past. I was smiling because a few times he referred to this as "touching yourself." I'm not sure he realized the common Western connotation of this, being a non-native English speaker. But the double meaning struck me as especially appropriate given where I am, one week into my reboot!

I just turned 41. I'm in that weird liminal area of guys who are young enough to have used the Internet to jerk off for a significant proportion of my life, but old enough that videos weren't my initial gateway. My dad was always an early technology adopter, so I was online all through high school. Back then (early 1990s), it was text-only, newsgroups and the like, and I discovered erotic stories forums. Reading those stories gave me a way to experience gay fantasies in private.

It was also the peak of MTV. Marky Mark music videos held a particular, er, fascination for me. ;) His image defined my sexual fantasies: Muscular, cocky, masculine.

Here's the thing, though: I never masturbated. Never. People are often shocked by this, but it's true. I'm not sure why. I was raised Unitarian, so I didn't have religious injunctions against jerking off. Something else held me back -- most likely a general, societally-induced shame about being gay. I believe the AIDS scare of the mid- to late-1980s played a role, too. For an impressionable kid, the hysteria made me associate gayness with illness.

I would spend hours in my bedroom, picturing muscular guys in my head, but I never touched myself and I never came. I also never had wet dreams.

I got to college. By my junior year, I'd started to have very rare wet dreams but still never masturbated. I was confused about my sexuality, experiencing strong feelings for both men and women. (But more often men.) I don't remember reading many erotic stories or looking at many pictures during this period. I kinda managed to be asexual, again a testament to how "shameful" gayness was back then, even though I was attending a liberal arts college.

My senior year, I found myself spending more and more time with a gay guy friend. He finally made a pass at me, and I was willing. That's how I came out. It was all pretty disorganized and unplanned!

The first time we spent the night together, I orgasmed. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but I don't think it took much. ;) I wasn't emotionally ready for penetration going in either direction, but we had good, easy oral and frottage sex that whole year.

After graduation, when I was 22, he and I spent about four months apart. And *that*, my friends, is when I discovered masturbation. I started doing it pretty regularly. I can remember one of the first times was in my car on a hot summer day, after working my crap landscaping job. I was like, "Wow. Cool. I get it." It was a positive thing, mostly. I was thinking about having sex with my boyfriend while I jerked off. No porn images of any kind.

But not longer after, as our separation continued, I did start to seek out sexy images online. By now, it was the late 1990s and they were pretty easy to find, even though they often took *forever* to load! I'd stay up late at night in my parents' basement, surfing sites like MenOntheNet. I'd click on thumbnail images and wait seemingly forever (haha) for the full size images of naked or partly naked guys to fill my screen. It was so easy to look at them and then jerk off. This is the moment when my orgasms became detached from the experience of being with a real person and instead became associated with fantasy.

Not long after that, my boyfriend and I moved to New York. In hindsight, I see this is where my Internet use started to become problematic for the first time, and I'll continue that story in my next entry.

For now, I'll close by saying that until a week ago, it never occurred to me that the "problems" I have with sex had much to do with watching porn and masturbating. If anything, I saw those activities as helpful or liberating, especially for a guy who was so "repressed" for so long.

What drove me to seek new answers last weekend, though, was this: I'm now with the most amazing boyfriend I've ever had. He's smart and beautiful and warm and I love him immeasurably. But a year into our relationship, I've never orgasmed with him *out of sensation.* I've always had to remove myself mentally, to resort to fantasies to get off. Usually, I've had to use my own hand to finish, though twice he's been able to bring me to climax with his. My erections are also pretty variable.

I've had to "touch myself" literally rather than in the way Thich Nhat Hanh talks about -- being present.

I turned to the Google, and typed in something like "can ejaculate during masturbation but not intercourse." That brought me to YourBrainonPorn, the book and website, and now to this forum.

It's pretty exciting to read about all this, because for a long time I saw myself as sexually deficient. There was something wrong with me, that I couldn't "let go" with a real partner. And maybe there is some general inhibition lingering in my mind. But I also see how relying on porn and fantasy for so long has undoubtedly played a role. For years, it's been safer and easier to get off by myself than with a partner. Now that I'm with someone I care about so much, though, I want to experiment to see if I can find another way.

I've been open with my boyfriend about all this and he's supportive. I'm also trying not to get too attached to any particular outcome -- like that the common one (from what I've read) that I'll become the perfect sex god who has explosive orgasms upon contact. But I'm interested to see where this leads.

I've made lots of observations already, but here are a couple:

- Almost more than an addiction, PMO feels like a garden variety "habit" for me. Like, when I have a free moment or I finish a project, turning to images on my device is such an easy way to feel a moment of thrill.

- A few days after I stopped, I had great sex with my boyfriend, very hard most of the time, but we didn't end in orgasm. It was kinda cool to realize how much pressure I'd been putting on myself to orgasm each time, and how sex could still be so great even if I don't come each time. (I may be in a bit of a flatline now.)

- It'll be interesting to see how being on this journey works while in a relationship with another guy who's not necessarily looking to reboot.

OK, that's all for now. More later, and thanks for reading! 8)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 07:48:20 AM by blinker12 »

BlueSun

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Re: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2016, 10:00:13 AM »
Yes yes and yes.  I see myself in your story.   Though I started experimenting earlier, and honestly not by choice, its that generation x place we were born into. 

Thich Nhat Hanhs mindfulness trainings have held a special curious place in my heart for years.  After entering recovery from alcohol and drugs, I noticed on my bookshelf a series of books on spiritual development and self mastery.   Generally, avoiding intoxicants and sexual impropriety were on the list of things to abstain from.  Interestingly enough, I would have abandoned the book a few pages later, incapable of living up to that standard. There were quite a few abandoned, bookmarked books on my shelves.

Although not for moral reasons or in fear of retribution from almighty Zeus above, ready to shoot me full of lightening if I misbehave, I am beginning to see the wisdom of the mindfulness trainings, not as restrictions of moral origin, but more and more as a narrow path avoiding the traps that can keep one from truly being at the helm of the ship of their soul and body.

Despite having ignored them along the way, I ironically find myself walking that narrow path.  Perhaps, now, I can return to the dusty books, bookmarked then abandoned, and see whats next. Ironically, abstaining will be the way back to expressing love sexually with my husband,  and with other partners, should I choose that.

I honor your willingness to face this head on.  You are my inspiration today.


blinker12

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Re: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2016, 08:14:30 AM »
Well, here I am entering Week 3 of my reboot. So far, I haven't looked at any porn or porn substitutes -- and I haven't masturbated! This is the probably the longest period of my adult life where I haven't ejaculated.

It's been interesting watching my mind through all this. I notice that the urge to PMO comes up most in the little blank spaces of my busy life. I'm looking for that little burst of dopamine, of course, but I think on a deeper level I'm looking for connection. A break from all the left-brained doing and working, searching for a more right-brained/spiritual/emotional type of experience.

PMO provides a superficial version of that. But the things I see on a screen or make up in my mind are like eating junk food when what I really need is a square meal. They might satisfy in the moment, but I end up with an even stronger hunger later. It helps to remember that.

It also helps to remember something I've seen others point out on these forums, which is that we men tend to overestimate our "need" to ejaculate. There's no biological reason I need to ejaculate 4 times a week or whatever. That is more likely to be draining me of energy than providing me with it.

But again, the strongest motivator is just wanting a deeper connection with my boyfriend. Every time I want to "push the dopamine lever" (haha thinking of those famous rat experiments) I think about him. I don't want to have to roll over on my back and think about my habit fantasies to be able to have orgasms. Who knows when or if rebooting will allow me to have different, deeper, more connected experiences -- ones that are more about sensation with an actual person -- but I'll never know unless I try.

That true connection is what I really want, after all. He's the square meal to my porn junk-food habit.

I have been getting some encouraging signs that a different future is possible. Been getting spontaneous erections and morning wood again -- almost nonexistent before starting the reboot. Having sex dreams about my boyfriend, including one last night where I came while having sex with him.

Hey BlueSun and other gay guys on here, have you seen this video yet? It's really a great talk by a gay guy who suffered from PIED and has helped me out a lot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSmJDn-emqY

BlueSun

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Re: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2016, 09:39:43 AM »
Thanks Blinker - Just watched the video.  I'm going to check out his website.  There are so many people coming forth to face this.  It gives me hope.

blinker12

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Re: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2016, 11:23:10 AM »
Howdy,

Well, I'm closing in on a month without any kind of PMO or MO. I'm also counting MO with my partner in my total. Prior to reboot, I'd come to "default" to that with him -- not being able to orgasm during sex so instead rolling over and finishing myself. The disconnection of that is, in many ways, what started me on this path.

I feel good. Not like Superman, but good. So far I haven't been finding it that hard to keep from jerking off. I just do something else. Regular meditation helps -- builds the skill of being able to step back and observe my own mind rather than going into reaction. I've also been reading the book The Power of Habit. Probably others on here have recommended it. It's a great supplement to YBOP for understanding how habit patterns form and how they change.

Wanting to have great, sensation-based rather than thought-based sex with my boyfriend is I think the main thing that keeps me motivated!

When we have sex, my erections are still variable, but I'm noticing increased sensitivity in my cock -- less of a need to go into mental fantasy to get excited. That's pretty, er, exciting! :D

I've also let go of orgasm as the end goal. If/when it happens, great. If not (and in fact, it hasn't yet), it's not the end of the world. I'm not going to die or burst into flames or be abandoned by my boyfriend because I don't come. I know that sounds so simple but it's kind of the mindset I was in before. My boyfriend has been great about reassuring me he doesn't care if I orgasm or not.

blinker12

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Re: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2016, 02:13:36 PM »
Curious -- are any of the other gay guys on here in a relationship with a guy who's not rebooting?

I am, and sometimes it's kind of a strange. I struggle with feeling "deficient" or less masculine because I seem to feel the need to reboot while he doesn't.

Would love any advice on if/how others have dealt with this. :)

malando

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Re: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2016, 02:39:14 PM »
Do you think your partner has a porn problem too? Just asking because I think if both parties in a relationship have the same problem, it would be pretty important to fight it together. In any case, it's great that he's being so supportive of your efforts.

Also, I never see women talking of this struggle. Is this a purely make phenomenon? Is it because we are more visual and women are more verbal?

blinker12

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Re: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2016, 07:39:12 AM »
Malando,
Thank you for the response! It's a great thought. I know he PMO's sometimes, but it doesn't seem like he experiences it as limiting in the same way I do. All kinds of factors could be at play there. Maybe his childhood/adolescent experiences weren't as stifled as mine, so PMO didn't fill quite so big a gap as it did for me. This might be a "watch and wait" kind of situation, where I continue to be open about my own experience and see what happens with him.

blinker12

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Re: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2016, 08:01:45 AM »
Hey everyone!

Since my last full update, I have had an orgasm twice at the hand of my boyfriend. And I do mean "hand" literally. ;)

Especially after the first time, I noticed that I felt disappointed. Getting a hand job from him wasn't The End Goal of waiting 90 days and then having The Best Orgasm Ever during intercourse; therefore, it was a failure. Since then, though, I've been more charitable toward myself. It's still a huge step in the direction I want to go, right? And the fact that I'm not PMO'ing means that these two orgasms have felt a lot more vivid -- and have happened a lot more quickly -- than they did before I started my reboot.

I have to say, it's also kinda sexy "giving" my orgasm to another person. It feels grown-up. Even manly without being annoyingly macho.

The morning after the first time, I took an athletic yoga class and noticed I felt crazy tired. I thought of a comment I've read on here from a guy who said rebooting made him realize how much energy ejaculating uses. It made me wonder about my pre-reboot life. Was PMO'ing several times a week keeping me in a state of depletion, continuous enough that I didn't notice it? (I'm also aware there may have been other factors at play, including having a busy week etc.)

Since the second time about a week ago, I haven't felt super sexy. A mild flatline, even -- though I was pretty randy yesterday. Sometimes, I notice my mind going to "Wait, I should be horny all the time!" But then I look at my counter and realize how recently, in the grand scheme of things, I started this journey. I also think, given the energy used, maybe it's even normal to have a week or more of recovery -- even as I advance in my reboot.

I'd be interested in hearing from more experienced rebooters about this, especially those with partners... How much sex do you have as you advance? Does the frequency dip and then rise?
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 08:13:50 AM by blinker12 »

malando

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Re: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2016, 11:25:04 AM »
Hey everyone!

Since my last full update, I have had an orgasm twice at the hand of my boyfriend. And I do mean "hand" literally. ;)

Especially after the first time, I noticed that I felt disappointed. Getting a hand job from him wasn't The End Goal of waiting 90 days and then having The Best Orgasm Ever during intercourse; therefore, it was a failure. Since then, though, I've been more charitable toward myself. It's still a huge step in the direction I want to go, right? And the fact that I'm not PMO'ing means that these two orgasms have felt a lot more vivid -- and have happened a lot more quickly -- than they did before I started my reboot.

I have to say, it's also kinda sexy "giving" my orgasm to another person. It feels grown-up. Even manly without being annoyingly macho.

The morning after the first time, I took an athletic yoga class and noticed I felt crazy tired. I thought of a comment I've read on here from a guy who said rebooting made him realize how much energy ejaculating uses. It made me wonder about my pre-reboot life. Was PMO'ing several times a week keeping me in a state of depletion, continuous enough that I didn't notice it? (I'm also aware there may have been other factors at play, including having a busy week etc.)

Since the second time about a week ago, I haven't felt super sexy. A mild flatline, even -- though I was pretty randy yesterday. Sometimes, I notice my mind going to "Wait, I should be horny all the time!" But then I look at my counter and realize how recently, in the grand scheme of things, I started this journey. I also think, given the energy used, maybe it's even normal to have a week or more of recovery -- even as I advance in my reboot.

I'd be interested in hearing from more experienced rebooters about this, especially those with partners... How much sex do you have as you advance? Does the frequency dip and then rise?

That's cool, Blinker. You're really making some progress! I had sex last night with my partner. Even after only 2 weeks of no porn I noticed a big difference in the experience. I felt much more present and I really felt close to her. It was a real shared experience and emotion instead of being two people trying to reach an orgasm. I found I really wanted to devour her and kiss her from head to toe. I didn't need to do any of that when I was watching porn. I would just let the graphic fantasies flood my mind and that would get the job done. I'm really glad I'm doing this now. I think I was maybe not quite as hard as usual when I use the fantasies - but I was more sensitive than before - so that's a compromise that's in my favour.

I agree that during this reboot phase, the recovery time between having sex needs to be longer than it used to be. I have felt a bit of this flatline phenomenon - it's a bit unnerving. I keep wanting to check whether it still works! Giving up PMO is tough, but so worth it.

Best wishes, keep on going. You're getting there!

BlueSun

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Re: Touching Myself: A Journal (41, gay)
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2016, 04:28:00 AM »
My partner and I aren't sexually active.

My guess is, if we were, I'd probably have taken time to reboot or given myself the 3 month healing span. But then again given my tendencies I would likely rebel against my decision despite myself.  I've read the  journals of others who have continued to have sex during reboot, and who both have and have not shared their struggle with their mate.

One thing that seems to be common: Your mileage may vary.  The unpredictable nature of the reboot is pretty traumatic at times, with things working and not working in a variety of ways.

I think a benefit of a couple going porn free would be that shared experience that would likely prove to be Both a challenge and a bonding opportunity.

I think I catch what you mean by "giving" your O away.  But for me, sex with other people isa struggle in more ways than just th P induced ones.  I suppose as long as sex wasn't about chasing the O or having 100% wood all the time, it'd be an open door for exploration.

Which it sounds like it's becoming for you. What do your discussions about your recovery look like?