tl; dr I finally overcame PMO addiction after 7 years of failure. It was really easy this time. The solution that worked for me was complete thought control, with a zero-arousal policy, and I enacted it over two stages. Ask Me Anything.
Hey guys and girls. I’ve written an exhaustive (over 6000 words) account of the whole process and posted it on wordpress, because it was too long for reddit or a forum. But I’ll give an abbreviated version here. If you want more detail, head over to that link. I’m writing this in the hope that others might be able to gain some ideas or encouragement. I know I’ve been encouraged by the NoFap Reddit. So thanks to you all! I know this might be a bit premature, since I’m not at 90 days yet, but things have been so steady and under control since Day 20, I can’t see anything changing in the next month. I’d just rather share this stuff sooner rather than later, so that someone might be able to benefit sooner rather than later.
I’m a 32yo Christian male who’s been trying to give up sexual fantasy, porn and masturbation for about 7 years. I was only a moderate user, fapping daily or every two days, mostly to sexual fantasy, and only using porn once or twice a week, although some weeks I would use it much more. I know I was addicted because I couldn’t stop. When I tried, I would usually relapse after a few days or a week. Once I did a month, but that was really hard.
This time was really easy, which I am still amazed by. So I’ll try to explain why. Before the current streak of 70+ days, I did a couple of months where I was masturbating whenever I wanted to, but only to an image of a generic female body. At no time was I to engage in watching porn, or other sexual fantasy or thinking about girls I knew or had seen. This couple of months allowed me to develop mental control while keeping my physical urges under control with regular release. It probably reset a lot of the brain wiring that was associating orgasm with porn and fantasy, and went a long way towards breaking my addiction to porn and fantasy. It also made the whole thing a bit of a non-issue, since I could fap whenever I felt like it. It even became boring after a while, and often I just couldn’t be bothered with my regular fap.
So then I tried to do 10 days without fapping, to see if the mental control was manageable. It was. And ever since then I’ve been adding ten days after ten days, and I’m now over 70. I used to think that it was impossible to go for more than a month, and I used to think that it got harder and harder as time went by, but now I know that’s not true.
So I think that the two-stage thing was helpful, but some other things that were probably more important were:
- Realising that arousal and horniness are just a product of hormones/endorphins in your blood stream, which are released when your brain dwells on a sexual thought, image or cue. So if you keep dwelling on the idea of sex or a sexual image, you will never stop being horny, and the horniness will increase. But if you turn your mind to something else, the hormones will be removed naturally from your system in a short time (depending on how much is in there). I can be completely clear in 20 minutes from a short burst of hormones caused by a random sexual image. The most I’ve ever needed is overnight.
- Realising that abstinence from physical masturbation does make mental control harder, because your sex drive gradually increases over time after ejaculation. The good news is that it doesn’t increase forever. After a few weeks, you’re on hard mode, and in my experience it doesn’t get any harder from there because your sex drive is more or less at maximum. In fact, things get easier, because you gradually get better at handling the increased sex drive.
- Adopting a zero-arousal policy. Whenever I feel even the very initial burst of arousal, I shut out whatever thought triggered it, to prevent the further release of arousal hormones. Then the hormones usually subside in less than an hour. I don’t let myself get into a state of heightened arousal, because in such a state, the decision-making parts of the brain are seriously impaired, and relapse is much more likely. This means that I don’t think about sex. Ever. If you can accept that sort of condition, nofap could be a lot easier than you think! For details about how I detected arousal and blocked it, look at the wordpress post, Section B, 1-4.
- Keeping a journal. Every night I would briefly write down how the day went, and whether there were any random sexual thoughts or images that caused the release of hormones into my bloodstream. I would jot down how I dealt with them, and how long the arousal took to go away. The best thing about the journal was that it showed me that for the vast majority of the time I was fap free and feeling fine. When I’m in the throes of arousal, and struggling, it’s easy to think that life is just miserable, and I need to fap to make things better. Having the journal there, I could read it and realise that I had been feeling fine 90% of the time, and that all the struggles in past days had been overcome without fapping. This gave hope and perspective.
Anyway, as I said at the beginning, there is more detail in my blog post, here, so go have a look there if you like.
Reading back over my experiences, a lot of it looks kind of weird and idiosyncratic, so it might be stuff that only works for me. But I hope that someone might be able to get some ideas from some of the things that worked for me, and perhaps adapt them to their own circumstances and journey. If you have any questions at all, please do ask. I would be delighted to do whatever I can to help someone else get to where I am today. Like I said at the beginning, I’m still shocked that I finally overcame this thing, and that it was so easy this time. I also hope that in all this I don’t come across as smug or proud. For seven years I failed miserably to make any significant process by exercising my feeble self-control and making promises to myself and to God. I clearly have no reason to be proud!
Stay strong fapstronauts, and AMA!