Age 31 - I'm the textbook example of "No Fap" is not a cure-all,

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Well here I am officially 152 days in. Hard mode in that I've not yet been in a relationship (fapping 12 years of my life away was extremely isolating), and have been putting my focus into other things these past 152 days.

Before NoFap, I was so hung up on it, because I'd become convinced that being a man was dependent on being sexually active, and living up to society's views (since then, I've become almost a punk about it. "Society? F@#$ that" ;)). At any rate, I tried to deal with it in a number of different ways and none of them were really good for me. It led to P (as a cheap coping method), progressed into PUA (in a misguided attempt to figure it all out and "get laid" so I could "be like everyone else"), and invariably a lot of shaming every time I'd try to stop fapping & never make it past a month.

I felt caught. I felt trapped. Unable to move forward with my life but not really able to tell anyone else that I was stuck, either for fear that they'd judge me or for fear that they would laugh. This stemmed from basic social issues --- not being comfortable around people in general, but more about all of this in a moment, because it's not the central point of this post at all, and I only mention these specifics --- right from the start --- so that when I say AMA, it gives a context to what I'm capable of answering. Speaking of ED or "how has your sex life improved?" etc., are not references that I have. But I can speak of my own journey, and am happy to if it helps others, or if you have any specific questions about techniques or practices that been helpful in getting to 150 (with no intentions of stopping)....

Since Day 90, honestly I no longer perceive changes in the way that I did during the first 2 - 3 months. The really drastic changes already happened, and so what I'm now experiencing is a continuation of new habits that I want to maintain...

Music is better than ever before (as I'm a full-time guitar player & the quality of my playing has skyrocketed ---- although I've been playing for 22 years, I'm actually practicing the guitar again every single day).

I've become a voracious reader & and finally beginning to gain muscle back after having avoided the gym for the better part of 15 years. Working out & eating better have become enjoyable pursuits instead of chores. Probably because I've begun to really appreciate the act of self-improvement and focusing more on the long-term goals than the "gotta have it right now" mentality I used to be in when I was fapping all the time...

In general and also much more appreciative of the people, family, and friendships in my life. Socially speaking, I'm still coming out of my shell, which is something I'm working on with a therapist ---- actually having fun with other people isn't something I did much of as a kid ---- it was easier to go into a room & hide behind music, where everything was safe. There was no chance of embarrassing myself, or saying the wrong thing, or being rejected by a pretty girl, or getting hurt in any way. Ironically, the same hiding mechanism that a lot of us fall into with PMO, but when all's said and done, I am a career guitar player, and of course the music itself is healthy & about giving something beautiful and meaningful in an often dim-world, so I can't really compare it to PMO. But like anything, you can have too much of a good thing. Even playing guitar has its limits...

So I've been stepping out from those limits, and learning a lot about myself in the process. I still have anxiety and situational depression to cope with, but am on absolutely no medication and feel more hopeful than I have in years (31 years old; started fapping at 19 & fell into a haze of PMO, phone sex, cyber sex, and habitual fapping from about the time I was 21 through most of the next decade). In conjunction with challenges of being a freelance guitar player in the music business in the 21st century & some core issues of self-esteem & confidence, it led to the therapist’s office two years ago. Someone I still speak with regularly, who has been very supportive (and entirely encouraging) of this journey. There used to be some regret I just couldn’t get over. Like I’d wasted the best years of my life and would always be behind because of it. Now I just feel like the best is ahead. And am picking up the pieces one-by-one to move forward.

My mind is clearer than I ever would have imagined it could be before, and I feel more driven and motivated in general (although I know that's a cliché on NF, it is true in my experience).

Although there are still challenges I face every day, for the first time in a long time I feel capable of handling those challenges & have finally begun to be okay with discomfort (in the interest of growth). I no longer seek to escape the way I used to...

My thought life is reflected this, in that I've been very diligent to avoid all forms of fantasizing and mental edging (as well as any other kind of edging --- I just don't go there).

Some days I get really horny. I seriously started getting aroused by a woman in the supermarket the other day (which sounds like a bad double-entedre blues song --- which would invariably deal with produce and fruits of some kind in a bawdy 1920s sort of lyric). But I no longer feel controlled by the desire; it is no longer an insatiable fire; and most of all, I wouldn't want to relive it in the least. In tandem with becoming comfortable with challenges, I've begun to enjoy the tension that I feel in my physical body as well as life in general.

Ever since day 45 or 50, I've been having wet dreams regularly. I neither try to bring them on nor suppress them, and honestly don't think about them all that much when they do happen. Sometimes they make me more aroused (Chaser effect) the next day, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they're overtly sexual and other times they're not graphic at all (I had one I couldn't even remember). The way I look at it is that they're not voluntary and that they're my body's release which I really can't control. I neither glorify nor shame them, but in my particular case, they happen very regularly. About once every 10 - 14 days regardless of whether I want them to or not.

Visiting NoFap daily was a big part of my initial 90 day journey. Since then I come here less often, but it always helps me to scroll through the New posts & to try to find someone else to encourage. Also, Mark Queppet's videos were big part of my initial 90 days...

I'm setting a goal to now take a little break from No Fap (never used Reddit for anything else) for the next few weeks. Maybe take a month off & check back in when I hit 180 days, although I'll log back in and check replies to this post in case anyone has questions.

Most of all, my determination and goals have become more clear and visible. When I first started No Fap, I honestly didn't even know if I was going to go the full 90 days. But since then I've become increasingly grateful for what I can only describe as a truly better way of life. A lot of other stuff to sort through & work out. I'm the textbook example of "No Fap" is not a cure-all, but I wouldn't trade the progress so far for anything. Best of all, there's more ahead.

LINK - 152 Day Report (Skipped 120 Day Report, So This is the Update From 90) - AMA

by borninthenorthwest


 

UPDATE

Short Observation On Day 242 (Not a full Progress Report) - Things Do Fundamentally Change Within...

Things continue to trend in a positive direction. Years ago, I used to think that if I didn't release all the energy on a daily basis, that it'd make me desperate. But that's not the way it's working out at all...

At times it's like being permanently "switched on." Maybe that's what I used to fear --- and used to confuse with desperation --- because I wasn't yet ready to accept full responsibility for my choices and decisions in life.

These days I feel more switched-on than ever. Something as simple as direct eye contact with a woman --- having a conversation --- can fill me with electricity. But here's the kicker...

The only desire that leads to is a desire for meaningful human interaction. I won't diminish the role of sex drives and hormones, or deny its existence. Only to say that --- it's become about SO much more than that. And that sometimes the simplest of conversations leave me feeling far more charged (in the long-run/big picture of things) than any rush of PMO ever did.

The one thing I have no desire for is to release that energy in a room by myself. I say this carefully because the way I stay on track is by remaining humble -- with an awareness that continued progress requires awareness, vigilance, and renewed commitment every day. So that said, the idea of meeting a girl, liking a girl, feeling attracted to her, and then going home to fap about it --- that whole routine (which I lived for years) --- has honestly become repulsive to me. I just don't desire it anymore.

My urges are no longer centered around PMO. I'd say that the times that are challenging always involve real-life. Instances where I'd get switched-on and want so much more. To get to know someone better. To take someone out. To have it lead somewhere. And to not deny the role of intimacy in that.

But the desires are for that. And when I feel that way and then go home to my apartment, it's never in defeat. And it's not in desperation to "must get laid" either. You know, I see some great debates on this Reddit. Certain arguments between the "you're just anti-sex" rhetoric and the celibate-like "be skeptical of any sexual activity" rhetoric. I cannot speak for anyone else, nor their own motivations for partaking in this journey. All I can say is that in my own personal journey, neither statement has any relevance. I know what my life was like before. And what it's like now --- how it continues to change for the better.

It's more like an embrace of everything that is here right now, and all the growth up ahead. Without anything to hide or be ashamed of


 

UPDATE -

Day 346 ---- Checking In ---- Lost Virginity at 32 years old somewhere around day 316. Haven't been posting as much but'll do an AMA at 365...

Started with NoFap last October when I was miserable and lonely from retreating into fantasy, masturbation, and PMO. Won't provide an in-depth history because most of it's chronicled in my previous posts.

Day 90 came and went. Pretty early on I decided this wasn't going to be a passing commitment. I'm still working through issues as a result of the escape mechanisms I developed at a young age --- which kept me out of real life for well over a decade.

It wasn't even a primarily sexual motivation. It was more a reclamation of life. So I wasn't out to "stop masturbating until I lose my virginity, or get laid..." --- I was out to stop masturbating until I could honestly see no more growth to be had by abstaining. Fact is, I think that growth is a lifelong process & don't see a return to the former behavior. There's just too much life to live instead. Especially taking into consideration how much I missed out on throughout my 20s...sitting in a room by myself.

Over the last year I started writing poetry, practicing guitar obscene amounts per day (although I'm a professional musician; so I don't attribute that to NoFap; but the QUALITY of my practice improved exponentially), exploring creative avenues, reaching out to friends more, and also a sense of humor and enjoyment in life returned. Also, I started working out at the gym, which has been pivotal. Both in terms of using that energy constructively and also the discipline of going three times a week. I also went from being a complete slob in my apartment to total housecleaning every week...scrubbing floors on hands & knees, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming...making my bed every morning too. There were a lot of little habits I worked at developing to practice the technique of dedication & discipline.

Around last Feb. I started picking up on signals from this girl I'd been friends with for a long time...3 or 4 years....but didn't jump at the signals. Too much else was going on and I was developing myself in other ways...

As a 31 year old virgin at the time, honestly, I'd stopped judging myself for it. or even caring (that's not completely true; I still cared, but I stopped caring AS much --- it just didn't seem like a major issue anymore). If the rest of the world would've laughed, f@# 'em. It wasn't any of their business and I no longer saw sex as any kind of be-all-end-all conquest. I knew I wanted a girlfriend. That was about it. But I wasn't in a hurry...

Finally by early August the tension was palpable, but I still wasn't sure if I wanted to go down that road. I wasn't interested in taking advantage or using anyone just to lose my virginity. It's strange, 'cause I was so caught up in self-loathing and judgment about it before then...but NoFap changed my whole view of sexuality...I started to see sex as a part of life, rather than the whole.

When I got really horny, music was a great gift. I was able to pour that energy into the guitar. But also, just work it off by staying busy in as many areas as possible.

Anyhow, I invited her over to hang out sometime in the third week of August (the exact date is my own private memory)...I thought we were still hanging out as platonic friends but got prepared just in case something happened...had protection around, etc.

So there we were talking on the futon and I guess she just couldn't resist any longer...she made the move and came onto me...

Things happened fairly quickly and by about 3 AM she'd taken my virginity.

For a long time, I used to think that when it finally happened, I wouldn't tell whoever I was with that it was my first time. That it would scare her away...

But with this changed view of life in general, I did the exact opposite...(like George Costanza)

I explained that she probably wouldn't have ever expected this in a million years, but that I'd had some things that'd been holding me back from more fully engaging in life all throughout my '20s, and explained that I'd never had a girlfriend, and that I'd never had sex before either...

I was honestly prepared (and almost expected) her to leave at that point. To say "I couldn't do that" (as in being my first), or at the very least to lose her attraction & interest at that point, as if "this guy's gonna be the worst 32 year old in bed ever," and to just go....to run out of my room in a state of confusion & disbelief.

But she didn't.

She wanted to make sure I was completely comfortable and ready to make the decision for myself...and when it happened, I went into it with full awareness and acceptance of our mutual consent and my personal decision to accept her invitation...

I don't want to share too many more details about our time together, because there's a part of me that's still very private and feels that these matters are best left between a man and a woman --- rather than discussed with 122,000 other people....

But we've continued to see each other since then and the exact nature of the relationship still isn't quite clear to me...

I do know that I respect and admire her and am grateful that it happened when it did...

In hindsight, I don't regret not losing my virginity at 17 or 19 or 22 or even 29...because I wasn't ready in any way...

I can say....PUA wasn't good for me. It poisoned my mind for years in my mid '20s. Getting into it with the hopes of losing my virginity. Ultimately it didn't happen until long after I'd rejected all that...(gratefully so; and I don't miss it at all --- I was having regular panic attacks by the time I was 27 or 28...just trying to approach women the way that the gurus of that community teach you to....as if I just did it the right way, that'd be the answer...my life became very performance based and my perception of women became very objectified).

I'd been living in the realm of fantasy for a very long time. I wasn't ready for any kind of relationship, be that completely romantic or entirely physical...reality was still too foreign to me and if I'd lost my virginity earlier, it wouldn't have been good. I know that. At best, I would have porn-ified the view of it...tried to turn someone into a little porn star or some kind of fantasy. At worst, I would have only spiraled deeper into a dark web of escapism & using sex itself as a means of self-gratification...using others just to get my rocks off.

But what's perhaps most interesting of all, is that having had sex now (on numerous occasions, with the same partner)...

It just doesn't seem like that big of a deal. So what. It's a release. It feels good. And then there's the other 23 hours of your day to day existence...

How compatible are two people those remaining hours of the day and night?

I don't know. I've looked at it a lot of different ways.

In some ways, it must have really changed me in a major way. One girl gave me her phone number out of the blue a day or two after I'd had sex. Another just completely introduced herself ("Hey, I see you here all the time..."). It's almost enough to make me believe what the guys in my peer group used to tell me. "They can sniff it when you're getting laid."

Almost.

But ultimately, I don't accept that theory because it's too superficial. It reduces everything to the physical act of sex, which is exactly what PMO does (and we live in a PMO society)...

That'd be selling both myself and life short, and objectifying sex the way I used to...

What I really attribute it to is the confidence gained from actually living rather than retreating.

As for the partner, we continue to enjoy hanging out; but I liked hanging out with her before this ever happened...

Other considerations and discussions are best left for the therapist's office...not aired in the open...I'm not sure where the relationship is leading, if anywhere...

But for the first time I feel capable of choosing how to express my own sexuality --- be that with a partner, or pouring that same energy into other pursuits like developing my career, playing the guitar, going to the gym, living life (not releasing it into a tissue)...

And if the relationship begins to feel too one-dimensional and purely physical....

I actually feel entirely capable of going back to hard mode. Like it wouldn't be any real dilemma.

Because here's the biggest thing I've learned...

I don't need an orgasm (even with a woman) to be happy or to feel fulfilled...

I need other (like-minded) people, and in relationships, a compatible partner as part of a well-rounded relationship.

So the search continues. Things are still a little confusing because it's all so new to me. Sex. The reality of even being physically close to a woman (let alone the emotional component of an actual relationship).

But I do know that I don't feel like a slave to my genitals anymore and am becoming a more complete person in general.

Anyhow, that post was entirely too verbose (as usual), but I'll check back in around Day 365 and do an AMA then

Many thanks for all those who've been supportive on my journey. Wouldn't be here without you


 

UPDATE-  365 Days --- It Does Keep Getting Better & Is Possible

Much appreciation for this community, which has been an important part of getting to today...

I'm short on time & heading out to the gym, so I'll keep this kinda short, but will do an AMA at some point...maybe later in the week. Hang in there & I'll be back.

Until then, I just want to say that it is possible. 32 years old and this has been the most significant year of my adult life. Much of this has been covered in my previous writings.

I will say this much: you have to really want it. You have to be totally & completely committed. Helping others is a good way of reaffirming that commitment. Whenever I'd have an urge or feel like I wanted to go back into a room by myself & escape, I'd come here instead and look for someone's thread to comment on or somebody that maybe I could help.

Hard mode for 10 months. The had gf for about a month. Then back the hard mode.

Completely cut out all forms of online stimulation. Stopped looking at pictures (even non-nudes), had been off of Facebook for a long time anyhow (and didn't go back)...got out into the real world...

became a better musician, met some new people, rekindled old friendships, started working out, moved to a different apartment, started regularly keeping a clean house (routines became helpful; it keeps me disciplined & focused), became a more open & accepting person, started expressing myself more & showing appreciation for others, making sense of my childhood & relationship with parents, sorting through the root issues that had been behind my affinity for PMO & hiding (which I did for the better part of 12 years)...

I honestly have no plans to go back...

The thing I am most cognizant of is that to re-define & update my goals now, so that I don't start treading water or thinking "I've got it made; I've accomplished everything I set out to accomplish when I started this" (because I haven't yet...and honestly think that this might be a lifelong process --- every day is just one more step forward).

I wish there were more time to delve into specifics or give a more complete progress report, but I'll be back later in the week & sincerely wish each and every one of you the very best on your journeys. It truly is possible & well after the initial 90 days, I things do continue to get better (they certainly have for me, at least)...

Stay strong!!