Ask The Academy: My question is, I live in Egypt, and I’m a Muslim, Sex before marriage is forbidden in Islam and in Egypt society. And part of our culture that we don’t get married before 26-28 years old in an average. And now I’m 21, so It’s been like 9 years since my puberty, and I still have around 6-7 years to first have a sexual partner. I’ve never had the chance to even touch a girl or even see one naked or partly naked in real life. And in the same time, I’m really tired of watching Porn and masturbation, my life is being ruined because of them. I always make time, even if I’m really busy, to watch porn and then masturbate. I tried every thing, tried Sports like all kind of sports, I learnt 3 programming languages, and I participated in a volunteering Organizations, but still I manage to find time for porn. I’d really appreciate if you could help me, because I really need so much.
First off, I can imagine how this would be a tough situation to be in. As a man, one of your primary biological urges is to have sex. To have to wait until you are nearly 30 to satisfy that urge can definitely seem somewhat tortuous. Back in the times of our ancestors, men would get married when they were still in their mid teens (because many of them wouldn’t live to see age 40).
While our lifespans have gotten longer, puberty still hits at the same time and this can offer significant challenges for men whose religion or social culture calls for celibacy before marriage. If these constructs are truly embraced they can be tools for tremendous personal growth, if not, then they can simply cause tremendous frustration. However, with all that being said, I do not think your issue is lack of real sex. I think it is possible you are using your social circumstances as a way of overlooking the fact that you have an addiction.
The way you’ve written makes it sound that you are quite compulsive about sexually stimulating yourself. Real sex here is not the answer. In fact, if you did start having sex with someone the way you are now, it would likely lead to even more problems. There is no such thing as a real partner who is as sexually available and constantly novel as porn.
Would you expect your partner to have sex with you as much as you normally masturbate? Would you expect them to behave the same way as the pornstars you watch? Many of these expectations are simply unrealistic and if are carried into a relationship will cause serious problems (I know both from personal experience as well as extensive experience with my clients).
You can either be the master of your libido or a victim to it. The way you’ve phrased your question makes me think that you’ve become a victim. You seem to try and justify your porn use by citing how long you have to wait to have sex and all the things that you’ve tried. The problem is that if that’s how you are thinking at your core, then you won’t be able to quit no matter what you try.
I used to think like you and my turning point was when I realized that I needed to stop making excuses and fully commit to living according to my true morals and values. Yeah it was hard, but guess what? It’s made me a heck of a lot stronger. You can either be crushed by your libido or you can conquer it and reach an entirely new level of personal development. However, it all starts with a decision to BE that person and discard the aspects of yourself that AREN’T that person.
I just can’t concentrate on studying while i’m abstaining from porn and masturbation (that’s three or four days). My head literally starting to hurt, i feel myself stupid, i’m re-reading three sentences/lines of text without even fully understanding it. I’m saying to myself – it’s ok, today is not a day for you to study. Go play some video games or browse the web instead. Those things of course later will lead me to relapse. And the cycle repeat itself.
I had this problem also. By taking away the porn, you are taking away your main form of novelty and emotional regulation. Your brain is just itching to get some more of it – and in the absence of the porn, things sometimes get a little bit crazy for a while.
There is a growing amount of scientific research which is proving that porn addiction has similar effects on the brain as other addictions. And like these other addictions, many porn addicts who quit porn report having a withdrawal period. The important thing to keep in mind is that it is always temporary and passes over time. Once porn is just a part of your distant past, I promise you you’ll be feeling more clear-headed, focused, and positive than ever before.
Keep pushing through, you’ll make it. In the meantime, fill that time that you used to spend using porn on positive activities. My #1 suggestion: EXERCISE – I can’t emphasize this enough. Get outside and perform physical activity: run, bike, lift weights, etc. This small physical change can do wonders for your mind.
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