After 18 weeks of no PMO I think it’s high time to reflect on my experience.
(And I’m afraid it’s become rather long; if it’s too long for you just skip down to the last three paragraphs for the main points that I want to share with you.)
I’m a 26 year old male and have been fapping and watching porn since at least 13 years (if not longer; even though I have a very vivid memory of my first self-induced orgasm I just can’t remember how old I was that time). So at least half a lifetime of PMO – quite amazing and scary, when I stop to think about it.
Even before I stumbled upon this community I tried to quit a few times (because even then I just knew that this kind of behavior can’t be any good for a healthy human being, no matter what some advocates of sexual freedom, etc. may proclaim). One time I nearly reached 90 days (a nice coincidence considering that this was long before noFap :-)) but then I slid down the valley again and never really recovered.
I had another try about three quarters of a year before after watching three very inspiring TED-talks on Youtube that I can wholeheartedly recommend to everybody (Gary Wilson: “The great porn experiment”; Ran Gavrieli: “Why I stopped watching porn”; Philip Zimbardo: “The demise of guys?”); however, from the start I really didn’t have the confidence in myself that I would be able to do without any PMO and needless to say this just couldn’t work out.
At first I just fapped without watching porn and without thinking about anything at all and amazing as it may sound it worked quite well, but only for the first few days. Then the urge to fap resurfaced stronger than ever before and I sometimes ended up fapping three times a day and before I even knew it I fapped to concrete images in my mind. Even worse I sometimes couldn’t even look at an attractive woman on the streets without mentally stripping her of her clothes and going through the whole program with her and being very eager to get home to indulge fully in my phantasies (talk about difficulties riding on the subway in the summertime!).
And surprise, surprise: I ended up watching porn with such a renewed vigour that thinking about it now even scares me. I honestly felt like a lab rat that doesn’t know up from down given all the stimuli I was offering myself. (Have you ever come to the point where the tabs in your browser get that small that it gets hard to click on one particular? Yes, that’s how much different videos I thought I had to watch and distribute my semen over simultaneously.) I still remember my first night of my full relapse into porn – after fapping 5 times I still felt I had to fap once more, while hating myself more and more for it. That’s what it is like to have an addiction, no doubt about it.
And then there came this one night that was like a revelation for me (maybe some of you experienced something similar): I was watching a whole menagerie of porn pictures (don’t worry, there were no animals besides of humans involved ;-)) until I came to one that reduced me to unfiltered self-hatred. It was a selfie pic of a girl about 18 or 19 years and she had the saddest look in her eyes and somehow I thought she was staring me straight into my eyes and thinking to herself what a pathetic little fuck I am. I immediately closed the browser (finishing the business rendered impossible, of course) and that same night joined noFap and restrained myself from PMO ever since. This feeling that night – it was a sense of pure self-loathing, a repulsion from myself, an estrangement that I cannot really describe, and had not really experienced before, at least not in this strength. If you’ve already been there you surely know what I mean.
At first, I just wanted to try to complete the 90 day challenge (with keeping the option for me to go back to my old lifestyle after this period) and I was able to do it without relapsing (a big thank you to all of you for all your helpful advice and honest confessions in your posts. And praised be the relapse prevention tool! This has proven time and time again to be extremely helpful (and it still is for me)! However, nearing the end of the 90 day period I somehow thought that not much has happened or changed at all, at least it seemed to me that way.
But what I was forgetting or overlooking was that I already put to good use all the freed time and energy that was wasted before to PMO – I was exercising regularly, I was studying in my free time, I was reading more than ever before, etc.
I somehow already managed to make a new schedule for my life; sometimes just out of sheer desperation to avoid PMO, I started rebuilding my life to a new and healthier one. Sometimes I even feel like a newborn – not such an abstruse thought considering that such a long period without PMO is a totally new experience for my whole body and mind. I really think I’m much happier now – sometimes there are moments when I’m just plain happy to be alive and grateful for being able to live this life that I’m living.
In my present time of no PMO different people also have told me that they think I have evolved into a real man now – coincidence?
The urge to fap really subsided a lot for me – most people here report that the most troublesome period for them was the first few weeks – but they were comparatively easy for me. It was the middle section (around week 8) that sometimes was really a huge challenge. I remember one time sitting in front of the computer and really thinking about searching for that porn video that already manifested itself in my mind. This lasted about 10 minutes where I just sat there and reflected upon my own thoughts and urges and I’m still proud of myself to this day that I didn’t give in that moment.
There are of course still periods when I think about giving in to my addiction and sometimes it’s hard to move my eyes away from a particularly arousing picture (now I really know how oversexualized our society and in particular advertisements are), but you know what? My brain seems already to have evolved to a point where it is able to argue with its dark side and it comes out winning, because it is now just obvious that fapping and watching porn is not worth it. Period. This short moment of lust, of giving in to your own weakness has absolutely no positive effect whatsoever.
And there’s one thing in particular that I’ve also stumbled upon in posts by other Fapstronauts – for the first time in my life I feel that I’m the one in charge of it. I feel this tremendous energy in me that whatever needs to be done, can be done, because my experience with quitting PMO has taught me that I already possess the necessary willpower to do it, or at least try to give my best.
To cut a long story short quitting this vicious circle just didn’t work for me without going the whole way – stopping PMO totally is so much easier than making slight concessions to your addiction, believe me. As was written so often before here (but cannot be stated often enough): Your brain is an amazing device for tricking yourself. Just think about: nobody knows yourself better than you do, so you know all the tricks in the trade to fool yourself if you don’t stick to a concrete plan, which in this case means quitting PMO totally, however hard and painful it may be in the beginning.
So whatever you do, just don’t fool yourself with the thought that quitting PMO hasn’t changed or will not change anything in your life – if you really manage to stop it, it simply must have consequences and these just can only be better for you. So, however slow your progress may be – it is still progress, and every progress from your former state is good, or why would you have started to join noFap in the first place?
Keep up the good life, stay healthy, and do not trick yourself! If you are really determined to do this, you don’t need any further encouragement or good luck wishes from me. What you get and deserve is my deepest respect.
Around the World
The Freaking Moon
“I chose to go to the Freaking Moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” (with apologies to JFK, RIP)
Yeah, I know, I should have written earlier, but you know how it is, I’ve been busy working, studying, exercising, and all the while I have also been building the rocket that has just taken me to the Freaking Moon. So you see, there also wasn’t really time for a girlfriend, or at least I’m telling myself this … One year ago, still on Earth, I’ve decided to embark on this voyage, and I didn’t even dare to tell friends or family about it, lest they call me crazy (I still haven’t told anyone I know, btw). Who said it couldn’t be done? Well, that was me all those years before. And it was true: If you tell yourself you can’t do it, you’re a real soothsayer, because you’ve already made your prophecy come true.
So the rocket just arrived here in Crater Aristarchus on the Freaking Moon and as I was contemplating the scenery I had to think about all those engineers of my success that made this journey possible, all those noFap-wizards, all those pioneers that mapped the ground before me and shared their experiences and wisdom. A big thank you to you all.
So what does it take to build a rocket, you may ask? Well, it takes time. It takes persistence. It takes confidence in yourself. It takes the unshakeable belief, that what you do is the right thing. Not because of what other people might think of you, not because of the people you might meet as a consequence, but only because of yourself. It takes, whatever you can give of your resources. But it doesn’t take superpowers. I’ve heard you gasping, didn’t I? But it’s true.
About those superpowers: It’s hard to even talk about something so vaguely defined and being different for every individual but if this term for you means being a women’s hero, leading the life of a playboy, going throughout life without being bothered or worried by anything or don’t giving a shit about anything, then I have to tell you that I don’t possess them and never have. But if you define them as the traits of persisting when the going gets tough, not giving in when your down, feeling joy and elation when comparing yourself now to your former self, then I’ve experienced it and still do.
So, am I happy to finally have made it to the Freaking Moon? Yes. But am I also elated, overjoyed, ecstatic? No. Why? Because most of the ecstasy and joy went into building this rocket in the first place. If it would have been easy all the time, I now wouldn’t even have the urge to write about it – it is the hardships that I remember most vividly and that shaped me the most. But you might say, ‘what about “One step for man, one giant leap for mankind”‘? Well, for me, it’s rather one step for man, then one step again, then the next step … Because, you see, I don’t really see an immediate finishing line for this journey, I just see milestones all the way, that have to be conquered one by one. Really, there is one little milestone every day, often there are also multiple ones, but most of the time we are too busy rushing by, and we only see them in detail, when our car breaks down and the journey gets really rough, when we have to walk, going step by step.
Looking up, looking back, looking ahead
But, you might say, I can see the Freaking Moon, and it is so very far away, I’ll never reach it! Well, sure it is far away, but remember, that’s why you’re looking up to it in the first place. But if its distance overwhelms you, then I have one thing to say to you: don’t look up! Seriously, set immediate goals for yourself that you can reach, go step by step, and before you know it you will find yourself on the Freaking Moon.
As I look back on earth, this pale blue dot, I see opportunity. This place where I am standing now, the Freaking Moon, is a place where only few people have tread (or so they say) and it feels good to follow in their footsteps. But it gets time to create my own footsteps, back on earth. Or, who knows, maybe I’ll also venture further out, to the unknown opportunities that await me among the outer planets and stars …
Wherever it is, I am looking forward to seeing you there!