clicks, flashes, whirs
I am an addict of pornography and masturbation.
On Wednesday, December 4, 2013, I joined the online community known as Reddit and the subforum NoFap. I did so in order to complete their 90 day challenge to abstain from pornography, masturbation, and orgasm for a period of three months. I voluntarily added abstention from sexual fantasy to my personal goals a few days later. I have now successfully completed the 90-day challenge.
I have completed that challenge, but I have not concluded it. I join the majority of members of my community who believe that 90 days marks a significant moment in recovery. It does not constitute a cure. Strictly speaking, there may well be no cure for this addiction. Many of us feel that we will always want to indulge in pornography. We will always be one day from relapse. But there is demonstrable healing, as the plasticity of the brain allows it to link sexual stimuli and reaction differently at about this time. So the healing can continue, and we climb each day a little higher.
So I am extending the challenge for myself indefinitely, in all of its elements. This is a hard road, one not necessary for everyone, even within my own community. But I believe it is necessary for me, just as we as a community believe that abstention from pornography and masturbation is not requisite for everyone in the broader public. But we have to, because it has had a overwhelmingly negative, damaging, and pernicious effect upon us.
It is difficult to speak precisely to the profound impact pornography and masturbation has had upon my life. On the one hand, I have not succumbed to the stereotypical and sometimes, I have thought, misperceived perils of pornography. I never escalated to more degrading types of porn, I never enacted pornographic scenarios in my sexual life, and I never lost a job, money, or committed a crime because of my addiction.
But if there are any other addicts out there, they will hear the joke of this. These are distinctions which make no difference. An addict is an addict. So, on the other hand, the effect of pornography on my life has been so great that it nearly could not be perceived. I have spoken at length ahem about my addiction history at other times, so I will not go into detail here. But I will say this: it began young, it began occasionally and apparently harmlessly, and it progressed in the way that addictions progress until I was at prolonged daily use for a number of years.
So I will apologize. Yet I will not apologize for my abuse and my addiction. I was ill, I did not initially seek pornography out, and I am in the process of forgiving myself for my errors. So you will hear none of my pleading here to the women of the world or everyone I’ve ever thought of sexually, I did all that through bad poetry in college.
What you will hear is this: I’m sorry. I apologize to my family and friends, not because I had a habit they did not know about, but because I had a habit that kept them from knowing me. Pornography, believe it or not, wasn’t about sex. It was about terror. It was about my fear of vulnerability, exposure, and risk. It was about my cowardice around emotional disclosure, powerful feelings, and my inchoate conviction that no one could ever return any romantic attraction I felt for them.
Pornography was the veil behind which I hid myself from the world. So I apologize not only to my family and friends, but also to the friends and lovers I never had. I could have met you, and talked to you, and listened and shared my heart with yours. I could have done you much good, just as you could have benefited me. But that never happened, because I was doing something else instead. When I think of the number of new friends and fresh contacts I did not make in the last decade I am appalled. I feel keenly the lack of your influence in my life.
Of course, part of my recovery has been reaching out into that world again. Asking young women on a date might well be the thirteenth step of our community. chuckles Along with exercise, meditation and cold showers, though I have not understood that last one. But I have begun that process, even as I understand now, more than ever, that I do not need another person to be complete. I just would not mind having someone else to share my wondrous new life with. It seems a shame that so much growth should be just for me. So of course I’m also reaching out to hobbyists and meetup groups, the friends who have stayed with me through everything, new friends in my church and professional life, and naturally my family, though I live very far from home.
I will not pretend that I feel great every day. My fellow addicts would know me for lying on that one. But I will confess that I feel now that every single day has the potential to be great. And, if you had told me that a year ago, I would not only not have believed you, I could not possibly have understood you. I could not have understood how I would one day go 90 days without orgasm with unfiltered internet beside my bed. It boggles my imagination today. But I credit this transformation entirely to NoFap, its challenge, and the strange, calm persistence that has come from I know not where to fuel me upon this quest.
At this time, I’ll take any questions you might have.
Yes, you in the front row?
Yes, hi, LucasJackson78 formerly of Masturbation Monthly and High Times, now I write for My Life is Fucking Awesome Illustrated. Quick question for other folks struggling,
Could you tell us your age, and how this has impacted your goals and how you think about yourself?
REPLY: Yes, I’m 32. And I think my goals were already coming into focus, or quitting wouldn’t have even been possible. What this frees me up to do is to actually work to achieve them, and set new and more ambitious goals for the future.
LucasJackson78: Thank you, no follow up.
NEXT QUESTION: Yes, hello! CaptainSpacedman, Fucking Shit Up Weekly. Did you experience wet dreams, and did these have any effect on your disposition?
REPLY: Ummh, yes I did have wet dreams, but only very few, maybe four? The first few came with a strong chaser effect, because they were about porn. But the ones after that passed with just me feeling a little looser the next day. I’m wound pretty tightly as a person, so I took that as a good thing, lol. But the difference was by no means extreme.
NEXT QUESTION: What was the breaking point for you?
REPLY: The first “decision” to quit came when I decided to date my best friend. Ten years ago, I’d made an agreement with myself and with my mentor that whenever a girl came into my life romantically, I would have to tell her and the porn would have to go. But I think the real decision to quit came after I broke up with her five days later (long story, completely separate reasons) and decided, that well, everything’s in the shitter anyway. So what the hell, you know? It just felt like the time.