As a 34 year old married father of three, I imagine I am in a different demographic than many on here. I was a virgin until I married at 26 years of age. My virginity was due to having grown up in a strict religious home. We didn’t talk about sex or sexuality much in my home growing up.
Silence about sex is in itself a form of sexual shaming to a child. I remember talking with my Dad as a teenager and trying to broach the subject of masturbation with him. He said “until you get married, your penis is for peeing and nothing else.” And that was about the extent of our talks about sex.
I have masturbated almost daily since I was 12, and viewed pornography since I was 19. In my early 20’s, though a virgin, I was obsessed with sex. I married the hottest woman I knew. She was also a virgin. We married each other for all the wrong reasons. Going on 9 years together I can say our marriage has been very difficult, but has been the most amazing, enriching part of my life. (for the other cold shower enthusiasts, my marriage has been like cold shower. Difficult, uncomfortable, and life changing in all the right ways.)
I never considered my pornography use or masturbation an addiction. Typically I would view pornography 2-3 times a week, and masturbate 3-4 times a week. My wife and I typically have had sex about 1-2 times a week. This lifestyle seemed dangerously sustainable. I didn’t experience ED or some other symptoms commonly associated with porn use.
My wife did not like that I viewed porn, or masturbated. But it was not a secret from her (although we didn’t talk regularly about it.) We are both in counseling for our marriage, and we had decided to put the topic on the back burner for now.
Then in December I read “The Brain that Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge. This book really changed convinced me of the harm of porn to my reward circuitry. It made so much sense that I stopped viewing porn immediately (December 24th.) Two weeks later I found no-fap and was intrigued by the social and motivational benefits of stopping masturbating that guys reported. I told my wife that I wanted to do a 90 day sex fast, during which I would be abstaining from all porn and masturbation as well.
That was 50 days ago. Our “no-sex” fast has turned into a “no-orgasm ” fast, as we have begun to practice Karezza together.
The benefits have been amazing. I have had a few flat lining streaks, particularly in the first 3 weeks, each lasting about 3-4 days. Here are some benefits I have experienced:
1.) Improved attention span: I am working on my college degree online, and my ability to read and study boring subjects has greatly improved. Before I was restless and easily distracted after only 10-15 minutes of studying. Now I can read and study for long periods of time and remain focused.
2.) Music and Food are more enjoyable.
3.) Social Skills: I work in sales and meet 3-4 new people each day. I have felt my confidence go through the roof. I am no longer bothered when the customer and I aren’t on the same page, or if they think my pricing is too high. Keeping a good connection with the customer and having confident body language has been much easier. I am sure this parallels many of your experiences with your attempts to socialize better with women.
4.) Mindfulness– I have found a vast improvement in my ability to stay in the present moment, and quite my racing mind. I can sit with uncomfortable emotions (shame, fear) without the need to distract and cope. I can be in a conversation with my wife, children, friends etc… and really be present. My wife has said that I seem much more authentic, real and attractive.
5.) Sexual Energy– While not being overwhelmed with the feelings of insatiated lust, I have far more sexual energy. It is hard to describe, but I feel like much more of a sexual being even though I am not satiating myself through ejaculation. I am constantly attracted to my wife, and want to be intimate with her in non-orgasmic ways (karezza) every day. But it is an energy that I feel like I am in control of, and that is at my disposal for the goals I want, such as connection with my wife, and motivation in other areas of life.
Glad for this venue to monologue about all this stuff. Thanks for the support and encouragement.