Age 42 - It's great. It's difficult. A total change. (34 years of addiction)
I'll start out with a brief history of my addiction. This post may seem long, but believe me, this is the cliff notes version. 34 years and I could write a freakin' book. Here goes: I was around eight years old when I was introduced to naked women and porn in a magazine. Softcore stuff, you know the “almost” touching poses. I was hooked. Frequently raided my dad's stash.
Then my friends' dad's stash. Got caught. Didn't stop me. I was around eleven when I saw my first hardcore porn movie. Again, dad's stash. Although I didn't quite get what the heck was going on, I was fascinated and hooked. The pictures and movies continued, maybe a few times a week.
Then puberty hit, masturbation was discovered and the addiction began full on. Probably masturbated 1-3 a day for a long time, porn or no porn. Had sex when I was 15, but it was a nervous and anxious experience. After the brief relationship, I stayed away from women and sex until I was 21. All the while PMO became the focus.
Back in the real world, my social anxiety and awkwardness were intense. PMO continued through my twenties and a few girlfriends. Porn was my main “relationship” - I would often be with someone, looking forward to the time when I could get home, smoke some pot, fire up the VCR (old timer, eh?) and have some “quality” time. I was hiding from everyone. Didn't want to be honest with myself. Was fine to self destruct.
In my late twenties (1990's) the internet was becoming a major source of porn. It was a shopping spree in a candy store for a sugar addict, open 24-7. My relationships crumbled. I was isolated. Only a few friends and some of my family hung in there with me. My work ethic and employment were unstable. My health was poor. And it continued on. I began to develop a “working” addiction – I would go a few days or a week without PMO. Then give in. Once relieved, I'd start the cycle over. Sometimes I would try to quit, say “This is the last time” and erase all my files. Then the pressure would build and I'd go back.
In my thirties I was in a relationship and became engaged. She found out about my porn addiction and the relationship began to fall apart. She eventually left me. After this last relationship, I was probably more willing to try to better myself and develop spiritually. However, all the while still maintaining my “working” addiction: because I could easily convince myself it wasn't a problem – I would go a week or up to a month without PMO, give in to a bender (5-10 hours straight), feel guilty and “quit”, only to repeat a week up to a month later. I would justify this process by telling myself “I don't do it very often”.
But underneath, some part of me knew that the problems I had with women, my inability to maintain a relationship, stemmed from my participating in a fantasy and not reality. Heck, I was in my thirties and I was unmarried. In my late thirties I made a couple of strong attempts to finally stop.
One device that helped was to begin to separate porn from masturbation. I would watch porn, but not masturbate until after I was done watching. This may sound strange, but all I can say is the addictive wiring in my brain was so strong that I need to create some subtle shifts to uncouple the two acts. I don't necessarily recommend this to anyone, but for me it was a key practice – developing my will around my addiction, while still not “depriving” myself of the addiction. That practice led to actually stopping watching porn for a year and half. I would still masturbate. During a stressful time last fall, I relapsed with porn. I quit again and now three months in to this last attempt, I discovered ybop and the nofap community. I am now almost six months without porn and three months no PMO.
That seems like a long post, but believe me I left out a lot of shit. Thirty four years. I can't wrap my head around it. I'm forty two. That's most of my life. I am practicing self compassion and forgiveness, but it's hard to think about what I've given up for PMO. I have this grief inside that wells up. I get broken up thinking about the stress and conflict I've created for those who cared/care about me. I want more than anything to have a family of my own. I feel hopeful now, but also this sadness having denied myself a family.
One of the things I love about this nofap community are the posts where men report the love and connection with people they are experiencing. Dude, those posts are awesome. I got to say, I am truly grateful(and surprised)for the courage and strength I have found in the sharing of you all.
So 90 days. I wish I had a glowing, gushing report. Yes, I have experienced all the benefits, the superpowers. But they wax and wane. It's nice to have the energy, ambition, leadership, attractiveness, etc... Alongside that, I struggle with sleeping, managing sexual thoughts and energy, and the stress the change creates. In having more masculine energy I also notice my ego going rampant at times.
And I have hope. I am relating to people more. Participating in life. That love and connection thing. My work is going really great – well into a career I enjoy with great coworkers.
There have been many nights when I needed to remember why I'm doing this. The answers have come in my reading of your posts. Thank you all so much for sharing with honesty. From the relapses to the successes, I can often relate. Then I don't feel alone and can continue on. My commitment remains no porn ever again and 6 months no PMO with a re-evaluation upon completion.
Peace and blessings. If you have questions, shoot...
LINK - One year porn free
I've done the nofap challenge over this last year, but freedom from porn began on August 25th of 2013. After thirty years of porn, of quitting multiple times, of relapsing multiple times, I now celebrate one year of no porn.
Whew. It's great. It's difficult. A total change in life. Like I said, I've been masturbating to porn for over thirty years. Before the internet. When the internet came out it was like a shopping spree. When high speed connections came out it was like a shopping spree on crack. I've lost a lot of life in isolation and being in my fear-driven fantasy world.
I have to say that nofap has really made the biggest difference in the shift from isolation to participating in life. Abstaining from porn is great, but something about nofap has kicked in my drive to be alive. I date pretty regularly. Have room mates. Church community. Coworkers, friends, and family. Family relationships have been difficult. As I change it has created waves and some conflict. I'm hoping this will smooth over with some time.
It ain't perfect. And that's the surprising gold. Living in my head created a world where I projected a fantasy of who others and the world SHOULD be. Lord knows this was coming out of a strong belief that I wasn't okay - I SHOULD be different, not some pervert, some lonely loser, not someone who wasted their life whacking it to pixels.
Without the judgment, I get to see who I am. I get to see who women are. Truly are. Lifting the veil, the shroud of fear - to see their love, beauty, strength. And begin to witness my own courage, strength, and love. I get to experience that being in relationship is what I want and it makes life pretty damn fine.
I am on 135 days of nofap and am declaring that I will go one year, 365 days of nofap. I'm taking this train to the end of the tracks and when I get off I am headed straight for the green, green hills of having my own family.
Wow. What a ride. So many gains in my confidence, creativity, and relationships. Well worth the exercise in self control.
I will continue on with no porn. I started NoFap well after I had already decided to end my relationship to porn. I am now 14 months into my porn free life.
I am deciding to masturbate again because I think there might be too much self control happening in life right now. Too much anything can lead to stress and imbalance. I'll incorporate masturbating back into life and experiment with the results. If it works well with the gains I've achieved, then great. If it doesn't, and ends up moving me in a disempowered direction - I will be back.
Thanks for being a community of support. I am grateful to have walked alongside you men.