What about masturbation without porn?

Masturbation posterNot sure how to masturbate without porn? Ask anyone over 40! Remember your ancestors didn't have the Internet. Therefore they didn't fall into the trap of numbing their pleasure response as thoroughly as you have (if you can't masturbate without porn or porn fantasy). It's also possible they didn't masturbate nearly as much as men do today. See Masturbation, Fantasy and Captivity and WEIRD Masturbation Habits.

Your sexual responsiveness will increase automatically as your brain returns to full sensitivity. You don't have to do anything to make this happen; the solution is not doing. Here are one man's observations about how masturbation was without porn:

I've realized I have subverted my ability to reach orgasm by sensual touch. When I first went through puberty I would experiment with seeing just how softly I could touch myself and reach orgasm. When I did this I wasn't looking at porn or fantasizing. It was all about purely experiencing the pleasurable sensations arising from my own body, and these would build in a type of feedback loop until I exploded in orgasm. I suspect this isn't uncommon given I had a friend mention he had done the same sort of thing. My home had a lot of porn available so I pretty quickly started relying on it to help me release. I think I then trained myself to only be able to cum through porn and fantasizing. (He's reversing this now.)

Another guy:

Unlike many of you, I'm not an addict.  At least, I don't self identity as one.  As a typical, American, 24 year old male, I was definitely a user.  I never really delved into rough or more raunchy scenes than I expect me and my girlfriend to engage in. ...

I was able to get it up, but I wasn't able to get off from a hand job and eventually went soft.  Even a blowjob couldn't get the job done.  This was far from what I expected, but I came across this site after turning to he who knows all- GOOGLE!

I was somewhat skeptical at first.  I had heard of a similar philosophy on reddit (no fap) and even seen a TedTalk discussing this topic.  However, until I actually got in the sack with a real life girl, it didn't matter.  I had no signs that I could identify myself.  As I said before, I don't consider myself an addict.  Porn wasn't an everyday thing, it simply was something I did when I masturbated. 

I masturbated 5-7 times a week depending on what I had going on, and that was that. I had never had too much trouble getting off.  I had never had any trouble at all with ED, and thank God delayed ejaculation was the real problem I had.  My penis getting soft after a while was more frustration, though had I gone without rebooting any longer it may have eventually begun to develop more severely.  The key thing that I believe made my journey much easier is that I didn't always go to porn.  I started on my own, without porn.  I masturbated sometimes with my own thoughts about real people either because I lacked access or simply didn't want porn that night. (Age 24 - Not addicted, but developed delayed ejaculation: It's cured.

Frequent ejaculation is not necessary for health reasons, so there's no need to force your body to ejaculate while you're waiting for it to return to normal sensitivity. See Don't I need to ejaculate frequently for good health?

Some men wait for two wet dreams without masturbating, so they can see what might constitute a normal interval for their bodies.

Below are some insightful comments on the effects of porn on masturbation. I think it captures so much of what we are trying to get across on this site:

Subject: Cause and effect. I've been reading these articles with some interest, and also participating in my own anti-porn/anti-masturbatory experiment. Here's what I've been thinking about: the two things, porn and masturbation, seem to be continually lumped together as a common cause of the sexual dysfunctions men are reporting. I realize men don't usually look at porn without masturbating. However, has there been any attempt to conclude whether it is porn with masturbation, porn w/o masturbation, or masturbation alone, that might be the cause of the problem? I realize this is a relatively new issue, and not many studies have been done. It just seems like from a scientific perspective, the researcher would want to try to separate these activities to refine the results. Speaking purely from personal experience, I tend to think its the porn that is the hyper-stimulus resulting in dysfunction, not the masturbation. The odd thing I am finding about my personal experiment is that without the porn, I don't really feel like masturbating and even when I try, I am not aroused enough to masturbate. My mind doesn't fantasize anymore, like it used to when I was a kid in the pre-porn days. I am interested in discovering if, after another month or two, my fantasy life returns. I kind of miss it.

Here are guys' comments about the differences between masturbation with and without porn:

  • If I just masturbate, then I may have that somewhat yucky feeling afterward, but if I use porn, then I feel a certain amount of revulsion. I guess what I'm noticing is that if it feels like the need for intimacy, the feelings are better or not quite as unpleasant. But when I use porn it's also because I've decided to let go of my self-control and give in to a more powerful compulsion, so probably my brain is far more stimulated, which could account for the stronger reaction afterward.
  • The most striking thing I noticed after stopping porn was how difficult it was to masturbate without visual stimuli. I think that's what I'd say to the person who wants to give up porn but continue masturbating. You may not want to, or be able to, masturbate without porn. For about a month after giving up porn, I really couldn't get hard enough to masturbate, and when I "forced" it my orgasms were pretty unsatisfying. Fortunately, sex with my wife improved pretty quickly after I went on my porn fast. So I didn't miss masturbation all that much.

Remember the lube!

At about 40 days without masturbation or porn, I masturbated and it was the best orgasm I probably every had. I realized I had been masturbating wrong my whole life! A lot of liquid based lube and a light grasp is all you need. No more of that Darth Vader chokehold, but a sensual touch.

Another guy:

Here's another guy with an excellent account of the differences between masturbation with and without porn:

In the last four weeks since my realization that PMO was a far-too-impairing part of my life, I have relapsed twice, and made new discoveries about myself, even my past sexual issues.

Almost two weeks into my first time without PMO, I went through enormous sexual tension. One night I writhed in bed, aching to touch myself or look at something arousing. My body was in high hormonal gear, and I thought the experience would make me orgasm spontaneously! When I awoke the next morning, I had not wet dreamt, nor did I feel the 'buzz' I always had after a PMO session. But I knew one thing: my body was crying out for sex. Real sex.

This is where things are more difficult, seeing as I'm not in a relationship. So I tried something completely different - M and O without P - something I've never considered. I've never even had real sex, so how was this supposed to work?

Two days later, I added the P to the MO on a whim and relapsed.

The two experiences were so vastly different. Just MO was almost shocking at the finale, because I had no buzz, no shift of perception. It turned out to be a sweet, invigorating feeling.

The full PMO session felt like I was totally on a DRUG. Every picture turned my body into a searing blast of tension, each new one more powerful than the last. I felt almost like a "dope surge" run from my brain through my body.Suddenly I could hear and feel EVERYTHING more intensely. Then it was like a cloud of idiocy swept over my being, and everything went numb. That feeling lasted FOREVER. Like, two days at least.

Reading about all this stuff here on YBOP was one thing, but experiencing it, and actually having the chance to NOTICE... That was really enlightening.

Finding a schedule for porn-free masturbation can be challenging, but that's a challenge people have faced for a long time. See Are there any guidelines for healthy masturbation? Just watch for unwanted escalation. This comes from the NoFap Academy newsletter:

What is your viewpoint on me masturbating to memories and thoughts of regular sex (that is, no inclusion of porn-induced fetishes or anything) with my real-life partner? We are currently long distance, and I feel fapping to thoughts of my partner 1-2 times a week is actually helping to keep me away from porn. I want to eventually cut out masturbation as well, but porn is of course the real enemy here. Am I slowing down my reboot? I can't see this being unhealthy, but what are your thoughts?

It is hard for an “ex” porn addict to establish a healthy masturbation routine - that is non-excessively masturbating without the use of pornography or pornographic fantasy. I put ex in quotes because I believe that the effects that porn has on the brain last for a long time, especially since many of us first-generation Internet porn users learned to associate our sexualities with the computer screen from a very young age.

Whenever I told myself I would only masturbate and never go back to porn, it wasn’t long before masturbation became kind of boring to me. I would fantasize about real-life memories in the beginning, but my brain would quickly jump to memories from porn scenes & unrealistic fantasies. From there it would lead to erotic fiction, to amateur images, and then straight back to the hardcore porn videos (notice how it escalates?).

For myself, I’m a huge fan of the cold-turkey approach. Similar to how many alcoholics going through recovery never return to the cup for the rest of their lives, some porn addicts will have a hard time returning to masturbation. I think that Fapstronauts can return to a healthy masturbation routine after engaging in NoFap’s challenges, but for many people it takes longer than 90 days of abstinence.

I’m not an anti-masturbation zealot. If you believe that it isn’t negatively impacting your relationship or other areas of your life, I’m not going to tell you not to do it. But just keep in mind that it seems to be a slippery slope and it’s easy to gradually fall back into old habits. If you notice that your mind is straying towards unrealistic fantasy or pornographic scenarios, maybe it is time to take another break.

This book discusses the benefits of masturbation without fantasy. “No More Mr. Nice Guy”

Finally, a friendly warning from a guy who tried to incorporate masturbation-without-porn too soon in the rebooting process:

I ended my 2nd attempt a few days ago and went on a 3-day porn binge. My 1st attempt lasted around 30 days and my 2nd attempt ended at 45 days. The relapse after the 2nd attempt was very discouraging and caused me to completely waste a weekend, but I'm back to give it another shot.

On the first two attempts, I only eliminated porn. I continued to have sex and still masturbated occasionally, but less frequently than before. Masturbation led to my demise both times and drastically impeded recovery since it seems to be a gateway to porn relapse.

I would decide to 'masturbate once just to release tension.' This would go OK, so I would decide to do it again a few days later. But, porn fantasies would creep back into my head on the second attempt and I would end up masturbating to visually intense thoughts. The next time, I would start looking at sexually suggestive images online while masturbating. I convinced myself that it wasn't porn, so it was fine.

As you can guess, the next time I decided to masturbate, I ended up on an full-fledged porn binge. So, this time will be a complete abstinence from porn, masturbation, and sex.

Here's what one guy said (who successfully rebooted, thought he would be able to use porn again...and ended up caught in his addiction again for months):

I would not mind masturbating if it's inevitable. But it must be without porn. I am now afraid of binging if I use porn. I already know from my recent experience that if I masturbate while watching porn, I would do it continuously for days. The "chaser effect" is gonna be very strong.

You might also find this article worthwhile: Rethinking the Wonders of Adult Masturbation And check out the childpage links below this FAQ.

Learning the art of ‘mindful’ masturbation (UK Therapist Paula Hall)

Overcoming PIED

Many men in the early stages of recovery from porn addiction struggle to enjoy any kind of self-touching without falling into the trap of replaying old porn scenes in their head or fantasy.  For some, the thought that you actually could enjoy masturbation again without a brain full of images or fantasising about someone you’re attracted to feels completely impossible.  But it’s not.

 As you’ll know from the other pages on this site, one of many problems with internet porn is that it wires your brain to a dependency on porn as a source of stimuli and can numb your pleasure response to other activities, including self-focussed masturbation.  For those of you who’ve been watching porn since puberty, you may never have experienced orgasm without porn and like many clients I’ve worked with you may consider the whole idea of fantasy-free masturbation bizarre.  But let’s look at the good old days before the internet.

Most guys who weren’t brought up with high speed porn first discovered the joys of masturbation purely through touch.  They touched themselves in a certain way and it felt good and so they touched themselves some more and bingo!  As the years passed, they were most likely introduced to pornography in some way and that might occasionally be a ‘special treat’. Similarly they would see people they were attracted to and might have thought about them too, but their initiation into masturbation was through the pure pleasure of the sensations they could create for themselves through touch. And hence, it’s an experience they can return to. For guys brought up with high-speed porn, it’s a new skill you can learn.

In the early stages of re-booting, many find it easier to stop masturbation all together.  And some, especially those who are in a relationship, decide that that they can live without solo sex.  But for those who are single, or those who want to include masturbation in their sexual repertoire, either now or after a period of abstinence, learning mindful masturbation is essential for ensuring recovery.  What follows below is an outline of how it’s done, but first – imagine this.

You’re sitting down to eat your favourite meal.  A delicious, mouth wateringly, satisfying meal.  Do you – A) put the TV on and shovel it into your mouth whilst watching a cookery show?  B) eat it with no distractions but visualise eating something else?  Or – C) rid yourself of all distractions and eat it whilst relishing every taste and texture?  The answer is of course C.  You would eat it ‘mindfully’ and that’s what you’re going to learn to do now with another favourite pastime!

The exercises below are based on self-focus exercises that are widely used by sex therapists to help people become more aware of their physical sensations and increase receptivity to touch.  And most importantly, by focussing on the physical sensations, your mind can remain in the present moment, rather than filling your brain with visual images. In sex therapy, these exercises are used to treat erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation and premature ejaculation, but they are equally effective in treating PIED when combined with giving up porn.

Before you start, be aware that these exercises take time and practice.  You will probably find your thoughts wandering, but when they do, bring your focus back to what you’re doing and feeling.  It may be frustrating at first and feel weird, but as you continue to practice your brain will gradually rewire to touch as the source of arousal, rather than porn.

Exercise 1- General body awareness

To get you started, you should try and do this exercise at least 3 times a week for a couple of weeks before moving on to exercise 2.  Before you begin, switch off the phone and if there are other household members around, tell them you are not to be disturbed.  This is your time – protect it.  

First make sure you have plenty of hot water and your bathroom is nice and warm. 

When you’re ready, begin by running yourself a bath.  (If you don’t have a bath, a shower will do).  Choose your favourite bath foam or oil.  Now step in and relax. 

Focus on enjoying the warmth of the water on your skin.  Notice whether you feel the temperature differently on different parts of your body.  How does moving the water around over your body feel?  Now, using your hands or a sponge and soap if you wish, begin to clean your body all over.  Notice the different textures of your skin and the areas that feel most sensitive to your touch.  Do different touches liven you up or relax you?  For a little while longer, continue to just enjoy the sensations of the water. If your mind begins to wander, just gently bring it back to the present moment.  

When you have finished your bath or shower get dried using a warm towel.  Focus on how it feels to dry yourself.  Does your body prefer being rubbed softly or hard?  What about patting yourself dry?  Maybe the feelings are different on different parts of your body.  Take your time – dry each part of your body in turn – even in-between your toes.  When you have finished, think about how you feel.  Relaxed?  Invigorated?  Pampered?  If you feel guilty or silly having spent so much time on yourself, remind yourself that you are rewiring your brain and creating a new map of sensory touch.  Remember also what your goal is, to reclaim your sensuality and sexuality from its dependence on porn.

Exercise 2- Increasing receptivity to touch

Begin by repeating Exercise 1.  When your body is dry, choose a favourite body lotion – you may prefer unperfumed or you could choose an oil.  Now, smooth the lotion into your skin starting at your face and working slowly down to your toes.

Consider what kind of touch different parts of your body enjoys.  Experiment with different pressure and different strokes.  Notice what direction of stroke your body prefers.  Also take some time to become aware of different body temperatures, for example you’ll probably find that your chest is warmer than your calves.  Notice also the varying textures of your skin and varying hair coverage.  Move your hands down now to focus more specifically on your lower abdomen, hips, buttocks and inner thighs.  Experiment with different types of touch.  Become aware of what pressure and strokes feel most comfortable to you? 

Now focus on your genital area and take your time.  Remember that the purpose of the exercise is to become more aware of the sensation of touch.  You may find yourself getting aroused or you may not – it doesn’t matter. First, feel the texture of your pubic hair.  Run your fingers over your penis and scrotum.  Notice the different textures and the weight in your hand. Notice the different temperatures.  Can you feel a change in temperature as you continue to touch? As before, if your mind wanders, gently bring it back.  Don’t judge yourself harshly, this is a new skill and it will take time.     

When you have finished, hopefully you will have learnt some new things about yourself – or confirmed things you already knew.  How do you feel emotionally?  Are you relaxed, stimulated? 

Exercise 3 – genital arousal

First repeat exercises 1 and 2 – but this time you don’t need to spend quite so much time focussing on the other areas of your body.  Just spend long enough to make sure you are feeling relaxed and focussed. 

Now spend some time touching your lower abdomen, hips and buttocks in a way that you already know your body enjoys.  Begin to move slowly towards your genitals and explore.  If you press in above your penis you can feel your pubic bone.  Now place your thumb behind and one finger in front of your scrotum, just below the penis and above the testicle.  Squeeze gently and you will feel the tube that connects the testes to the urethra, near the base of the bladder (vas deferens).  Now gently stroke your penis, scrotum and the area behind your scrotum (perineum).  Play close attention to the sensations produced.

Try different types of touching.  Be aware of which stokes and touches are most sensitive.  Note which areas of your penis or scrotum are more sensitive than others.  Take your time and learn as much as you can. Some people find it easier to stay focussed if they watch what they’re doing

If you become aroused, use the chance to note any changes taking place.  Arousal makes you feel warmer and sometimes flushes can be seen in the chest and neck.  Your scrotum will probably darken and the skin thicken.  Your testicles will rise up and move closer to your body.  Your penis may darken and veins stand out as they fill up.  The colour changes may only be obvious on fair skin.  If you do get an erection, do you know exactly what touch produced it and what touch maintains it? If you don’t get an erection, don’t worry about it. You can either choose to continue, or if your mind is wandering, go and do something else. 

If your arousal is increasing and you would like to ejaculate, stay focussed on the sensations in your genitals and throughout your body.  Is your breathing getting heavier? Can you notice the kind of touch that gets you closer to the tipping point, and the kind of touch that keeps it at bay?  Take your time, keep focussed.  You may find yourself getting frustrated if it’s taking longer than usual, but this is totally normal.  If you begin to lose your erection, don’t worry, you can either repeat the exercise another day or return to the kind of touch that you have already learnt that stimulates you. 

Remember, the goal of these exercises is to retrain your brain (and your penis) to respond to touch, rather than to porn.  Not only will this allow you to enjoy porn and fantasy free solo sex, but it will also help you to stay fully present with a partner and increase your bodies’ responsiveness to their touch.  If you’re still struggling in spite of being porn free and using these exercises, you might find it beneficial to book some sessions with a sex therapist who can tailor make the exercises for your individual needs.

Paula Hall, is a sexual psychotherapist who specialises in sex and porn addiction.  She is author of Understanding & Treating Sex Addiction (Routledge 2012) and creator of the Kick Start Recovery Programme at www.sexaddictionhelp.co.uk  

Think About Genitals, Not Scenarios

Excerpt from Making Love by the late Australian tantra teacher Barry Long

Making Love discusses addiction to masturbationSex-games are like a stiff whisky, a dose of the wrong spirit to try to get our courage up or a drug to help us forget what we're doing because we're not prepared yet to face up to the reality that love is made now, not in some imagined future. So, as is usual in the man-made world, the truth is the reverse of what's accepted and practised. The world plays games and doesn't make love. The truth is: make love and you don't need to play games.

There is no love in imagination. Why do you need the imagination anyway? To get in the mood? To get an erection? Nonsense. You just think you need it because of a habit most of the world has got into through lack of love and understanding. It's a very difficult habit to break, but you've got to do it. You don't need your imagination to make love because you are with the real thing. The actual living man or woman gives you the most delicious, pleasurable sensation that you can have - in the flesh and not the mind.

The people of the earth have been hoaxed by the imagination. Down through the ages, children and adults have been masturbating and making love in the imagination, unaware that the imagery is utter self-delusion and a cruel addiction. Because everyone indulges in the same drug, its loveless escapism is considered normal and even necessary without being considered at all.

Let me anticipate a question that will arise in many men. How do you masturbate without imagination?

You, the adult, can't. When you cease imagining and fantasising about love, the masturbation stops. The imagination is the habit, not the masturbation. The imagination stirs the sexual emotionality like a whirlpool and that momentum drives you to masturbate.

If you have to masturbate (and the pressure to do so is intense, particularly in the male) use as few images as you can. Don't use faces. No one ever made love to a face except in their imagination. If you are a man, use only the image of the female genitals. Get the images down to that alone, because that is closest to the actuality.

Wean yourself from the habit by not thinking or lusting after the opposite sex and the impulse to masturbate will gradually disappear. You can get yourself off the global drug of sexual imagination. Start now. Be in your senses. Be out of your mind - and in your body. Be where you are. Be responsible.

But if you do masturbate don't feel guilty and don't allow your children to feel guilty, if they confide in you. Guilt distorts the personality in both the young and the adult. The error is not in the act of masturbating. It's in the misuse of the imagination, not only during the act but more importantly during the rest of the normal daily activities when the mind is allowed to roam wherever it pleases.

The compulsion to masturbate is almost universal today. It arose in the evolutionary past from the instinctive male drive in all animal species to mate and reproduce. In the case of the human animal the addition of self-consciousness allowed reflection on its own organism, behaviour, emotional reactions and memory. This faculty was denied the rest of the species but it has its downside. In man and woman it produces guilt and self-doubt.

The male monkey in the zoo masturbates with outrageous detachment and lack of guilt. Unlike man he couldn't care less. That's because he can't see himself, can't imagine. The monkey only feels. But he can't feel he feels, can't know it. So the monkey can't make love. The power to make love, which man alone possesses, is the self-reflection that distinguishes him from the rest of the animal species. However, when he misuses this unique creative gift by reflecting on past sexual images and past emotions, he taps back into his animal past, into the mechanical animal drive, and masturbates or mates without love. He is then unhappy.

If the monkey had the creative power to make love he would see himself masturbating and feel wretched too. But his only option is to masturbate or reproduce. I've only seen monkeys masturbate in captivity, not in the wild. Since man is the captive of his mind, and not yet the master of his imagination, he masturbates.

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